Saturday, February 19, 2005

THE SWEETEST THING: It turns out that Britain and America weren't the only places to experience problems with the U2 ticket sales - it really does seem to have been a truly international screw-up; Binary Bonsai reporting troubles in Copenhagen. To make matters worse, though, the man in charge of the ticket sales for Denmark refused to accept that there was any sort of problem at all. And there were no onstage apoligies at the Grammys for continental Europeans let down, either.

MAKIN' MOOPEE: So, it's not just nervy teenagers away from home in a tent for the first time who get their ends away in a beautiful fashion at Glastonbury - . Apparently Michael Eavis' flock has a higher conception rate and has lots more cows than is average for a British dairy cow - and their lifestyle is a little bit nicer, too. Part of the high rate of cow-copping is being put down to the time they spend in the sheds during the festival; kind of like the way Londoners during the Blitz had extra babies after being cooped up down the Tube.

Unlike most of the human Glastonbury romances, the bullocks don't even bother to pretend to punch their partner's numbers into their mobile phones before heading off to get some cider and watch Gomez.

SACK OF SPUDS: Wanting to give his lover a gift that reflected where he came from, Gavin Rossdale once sent Gwen Steffani a sack of spuds for Valentine's Day. Trouble was, not only did the potatoes turn out not to come from his homelands, but Steffani phoned Rossdale in a rage saying that if she wanted to spend her evening carrying a couple of shapeless bundles of deadweight, she'd have arranged a rehearsal with the rest of No Doubt.

HOW TO UNDERMINE THE VALUE OF A MAJOR PRIZE: Apparently Bono is being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the second time. It's hugely unlikely that he's going to win - Nobel watchers are convinced it's going to go to a tsunami agency - and he's not the most absurd name being suggested - Colin Powell, the man who spent hours telling the UN about all the weapons that Saddam had in a bid to kick-start the Iraq war is also on there - but that's hardly the point. Let's not forget that just two hours before George Bush declared the start of the "shock and awe" of dropping bombs willy-nilly over Baghdad, Bono made a huge speech about what a good chap Bush was, and refused to take any questions at all on the war about to break. Not quite what we'd expect in a man whose name was being put forward as working tirelessly and bravely for peace.

LET'S POKE ABOUT IN THE POCKETBOOK: The latest plan from the prosecution in the Jackson case: getting Jackson to produce his bank details. They seem to be about to embark on suggesting that Jackson put pressure the accuser and his family to take part in his rebuttal to the Bashir documentary to "protect his reputation and his fortune".

The defense, rather than suggesting this is a bit weak and doesn't really have much to do with getting kids drunk and touching their cocks, are fuming that to do this would involve bringing in details of other famous people's fiscal doings, and that that would hardly be fair. They suggest if these details came out in court, it could harm Jacko's ability to do work in the entertainment industry in the future. Although, of course, not as much harm as being thrown into D-wing and making friends with Big Al would do.

GRUMPY OLD MEN: It's not like it was when I were a lad, it were all trees, you could buy a pint for a thrupenny bit; you can't tell if it's a boy or a girl on top of the pops there days... Bob Dylan doesn't like all this new music rubbish, and bangs on about it in his new programme notes on his current tour:

"I know there are groups at the top of the charts that are hailed as the saviours of rock'n'roll and all that, but they are amateurs. They don't know where the music comes from," he wrote, adding, “I wouldn't even think about playing music if I was born in these times... I'd probably turn to something like mathematics. That would interest me. Architecture would interest me. Something like that."

You know what, Bob? Why not go and do an architecture course. There's nothing worse than watching an old guy banging on about the shortcomings of the new generation. Especially when they're selling bloody glosssy programmes on their current tour. You leave a Bloc Party gig buzzing with the desire to go out and form or fuck a band. You leave a Bob Dylan gig with a glossy, 48-page souvenier programme. Says it all, really.

Maybe if you'd been a bit better with your follow-through, Bob, rock wouldn't even need a saviour.

Friday, February 18, 2005

RUBBISH PUT OUT: La la la la la la... if you want to see Garbage but don't want to have to go to the Download Festival to do so, there is a way you can keep your self-respect, avoid sleeping in a tent and still shake your rumpy-rumpy to Shirley Manson. June 9th, Brixton Academy. Hoops.

We're far from convinced this "shaped CD" would play in any sort of music player outside of the main Japanese islands:

SNAPPING ON THE EDGE OF GRUNGE: If you find yourself in Norfolk, Virginia before May this year, make a detour to hte Chrysler Museum of Art, who have an exhibition of Charles Peterson's grunge photos titled, naturally, Touch Me, I'm Sick. The collection stretches from the popular face of grunge music (Mr. Kurt) through the likes of Mudhoney to the perpetual disappointments (pearl jam). Peterson is excited by being exhibited:

“I always imagined that someday my photography could reside in a museum—to paraphrase the Rolling Stones, it's not only rock and roll....Touch Me I'm Sick was made for both the fanatic and the uninitiated, with the latter being the more exciting to reach. Good documentary photography can intimate an experience of our world without needing any previous personal knowledge by the viewer. Here are the sights, sounds and smells of American underground rock and roll as I lived it.”

If you can't make it Norfolk, 2003's book of the same name is still available.

Also buyable: Five Dollar Bob's Mock Cooter Stew - Excellent Mudhoney 7-track CD

RICH AND STONE(D): Interesting news from pop (all love), which has spotted a story circulating that Sharon Stone and Denise Rich are putting together a tsunami relief single - names suggested include Aretha Franklin, Lindsay Lohan, Natalie Cole, Wyclef Jean, Peter Gabriel, Patti LaBelle, Lionel Richie, Mya, JoJo, Gavin DeGraw, Brian McKnight, Kelly Price and Paulina Rubio. (Second mention of the day for Lionel Richie on No Rock). The Americans always do things so much better than the British, don't they? This is a massive upswing from the horror-scale that Grief Never Grows Old was measured on.

COUNTRYOBIT: The death has been announced of Jewel "Sammi" Smith.

Smith had quit school when just 11, making a fair living and a bad marriage in the clubs of the US southwest. Following a divorce, she took Johnny Cash's advice and relocated to Nashville, where she signed a deal and found her first taste of chart action with So Long Charlie Brown. Her real breakthrough came with her 1970 reading of Kris Kirstofferson's Help me Make It Through The Night got her a crossover top 10 hit, and a Grammy.

Sammi was also writing, and created Cedartown Georgia for Waylon Jennings; Jennings had a hit with the track and its success persuaded Smith to relocate to Dallas to join Jennings and Willie Nelson's Outlaw Movement. She never quite matched the level of national acclaim as she did at the start of the 70s, but still scored a run of country hits with songs like Loving Arms and Norma Jean into the 1980s.

A frequent visitor to an Apache reservation in Arizona - her Apache heritage was an important part of her life - Smith died at home in Oklahoma. She was 61.

ROCK WIVES ON TV: We weren't very impressed with Heather Mills on Question Time last night, but we weren't sure if that was because she came across like she was only just now getting used to having opinions, and they didn't really seem to be fitting comfortably, so we've decided it might be worth calling in expert opinion. We've dropped a quick email to Paul Shorting, who works as a business area manager for Insys, a weapons manufacturer, to see if he had an expert opinion he could share with us. We'll let you know.

Meanwhile, Sharon Osbourne's Asda adverts have started to air, and they're worse than the basic concept (charmless money-grubber does deal with large corporation with sketchy record on employee's rights) made it sound. Sharon pushes a trolley round Asda and yet seems to be convinced she's a busy working mother. Of course, she does work - we don't know why, but she does - and her constant appearance all over the place does seem to suggest that she's busy. It's the mother bit we're having difficulty understanding. Sure, she has kids, but the way she talks in the advert, you'd think her children were barely suckled, never mind actual adults. "Let's see what difference Asda can make to the tough old world of being a Mum", says the woman who had the resources to hire whatever help she needed when her kids were small and clearly hasn't set foot in a supermarket since they used to have a separate counter where you bought your eggs in a big brown bag. Picking up a stack of DVDs, she cackles "this'll keep the kids quiet for a couple of weeks." Sharon: your kids are grown up, two of them have recording contracts and one works for a bloody record company. You don't have to stick them in front of Bambi on DVD to get a couple of minutes peace to let you clean jam marks off the table. That isn't your life, and we know it isn't your life. Why on earth hire a woman to pretend to be a mother of a young family who's best known for being the head of a bunch of infantile adults?

I'M GONNA PUT ME IN THE MOVIES, I'M GOING MAKE A BIG STAR OUT OF ME: The thing we like best about Usher's film-and-live-interview package that he's pushing out to cinemas next week is the choice of interviewer.

Lionel Richie.

Now, Usher has a habit of surrounding himself with adoring flunkies (see this file photo)

...but surely he could have found someone with a little more teeth to make it look less like a self-funded hagiographical attempt?

GLASTONBURY 2007: Normally Michael Eavis keeps as tight-lipped as he possible can on the subject of who's booked for Glasto, but he's actually confirmed that the Sunday headliner in 2007 is going to be Eric "look, can we just try and forget that whole Enoch Powell business" Clapton; which we suspect is a ploy to try and flog extra tickets this year - because if you miss out in 2005, there's no festival in 2006, Clapton's just ruined 2007 which means you're looking at 2008 before you'll be able to enjoy yourself there.

Apparently Eric phoned up Michael Eavis up and asked him if he could headline this year, but Eavis had already lined someone up, so said "next time, Eric."

Interestingly, Clapton's repeated attempts to shake off the stain that comes from having been the twat whose gobbing-off inspired Rock Against Racism did once admit to being racist - although not like that. In what seems to have been an attempt to try and persuade people that he wasn't like that at all, he took the chance of an interview with Richard Skinner in 1990 to throw this in:

Once I got into Broonzy, I kind of very, and I realized that Chuck Berry was black, I quickly switched off white players. I mean I got very racist for quite a while about white musicians. And for instance when the people around Kingston at some point discovered Bob Dylan and it was a couple of ... before times are a changin' the freewheeling Bob Dylan became very popular. I was really anti it and on principle because I was going backwards in my search for the pure essential blues, you know, and when they were becoming interested in that particular Bob Dylan album, I was discovering Robert Johnson. And the more intense that got, the more dogmatic and purist I became.

Mind you, these days Clapton's support of Powell and his proclamations that Britain was becoming "overcrowded" would probably get him a job on the Tory Party front bench. Michael Howard's probably calling him up right now to find out his position on testing foreigners for diseases.

THE COSTELLO SHOW: Thanks to Simon Tyers for pointing out that Costello's endorsement of the battle on p2p networks is even odder when you remember his

Could it be that Elvis takes one posture in public, and thought nobody would notice his lining up in an attempt to change the law's view of peer-to-peer?

IT WAS SUCH A SURPRISE: Christina Aguilera reckons she was stunned when Jordan Bratman popped the question. It was, like, so unexpected:

"It was unbelievable," Aguilera told Us Weekly magazine. "Every cute thing he did, I totally thought was just a Valentine's Day surprise — he got me!"

"He sent me on a scavenger hunt," she said. "My mom used to do scavenger hunts for me when I was a kid, so it had sentimental value. Each clue was a poem — and in the final clue he proposed!"

So, somehow, Christina was the only person in the world who didn't know that Bratman had bought a ring the size of Toledo.

We've heard reports that Bratman is considered to be "homely" - which is American for "I think you've been dragged backwards through the ugly bush, but I don't trust my friends not to report back on me", and because he "shies away from the limelight" it's hard to find out for sure. But we have scared up a picture of him:

Nope, he's not the handsome guy in the centre of the shot; he's the one desperately edging out the frame. Remind you of anyone?

Oooh... little bit of celebrity politics there. I thank you.

BRITNEY VEXED OVER HONEYMOON SNAPS: Britney's a bit pissed off that Us magazine have run pictures of her and Freder Kevinline on their luxury honeymoon. She's angried up a statement:

"Kevin and I chose a resort location where we were promised absolute privacy and seclusion," the 23-year-old pop star said. "Unfortunately, staff members took photographs of us, which we allowed them to take once we were assured they were being taken only for private use in a scrap book they gave us as a souvenir."

"Other magazines, including Star, contacted us when presented with these photographs and refused to publish them," said Spears. "Kevin and I thank those other magazines for respecting our rights of privacy."

We would wonder how Britney could have fallen for a line like "do you mind if I take a couple of rolls of photos of you, and perhaps a few shots through the bedroom window from that tree outside, just, you understand, for my scrapbook", but then she did also swallow "I promise, as soon as we're back off honeymoon I'll be straight back to the dancing - you won't have to be keeping me, baby."

Us magazine aren't that fussed, to be honest. Taking a break from "you know, just ringing round the Beverley Hills gynacologists to see if they've any spare CCTV footage", a person from the title snorted:

"Coming from a celebrity who sold pictures of both her wedding and her stepdaughter, it's unlikely the issue here is privacy. Could it be that Britney is seeing red after not seeing the green from these photos? Britney Spears should start a magazine if she'd like to dictate her own coverage."

Don't put ideas like that in her head. Please, please, don't.

SPECTOR TO GET DAY IN COURT: Judge Larry Fidler has set a date for Phil Spector's murder trial - it's due to begin on September 16th; clearly the good judge is trying to avoid a scheduling clash for E! by trying to move it until after Jackson knows his fate. Spector waived his right to a swift trial, hoping for a long, fair one instead.

Buyable: Wall of Pain - Dave Thompson's Phil Spector biography - with a nifty appendix listing all Spector's production credits

Thursday, February 17, 2005

NME AWARDS: The gongs have been distributed, the chairs have been folded, and the winners have been paid in hairproducts for the NME awards:

Best British Band – The Libertines

We've not seen any small print to see if this applies to pre- or post- Pete version of the band...

Godlike Genius Award – New Order

We've been meaning to go back and see just how many times New Order won nme polls in the past - not that many, we're guessing; but then sometimes the genius lies in breadth of survival than depth of effect.

Best Album – Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Franz Ferdinand’

Probably making up for the empty-handed trip home from the Grammys last week, then. A little.

Best Event – Paul McCartney/Glastonbury 2004

The sharper-eyed amongst you will have noticed that a name has suddenly appeared in the best event category. The shortlist nomination was for Glastonbury; but it appears that Macca had his name written in in a hurry when he turned up for the presentation. Presumably he popped along to keep himself busy while his missus was filming tonight's Question Time.

Best Live Band – Muse

Again, Muse quietly pick up another award. In twenty year's time, people will assume reading poll results that Britain was a nation who were Muse-mad in a way that we're almost certainly not.

Best New Band – Razorlight

So both the best band and the best new band seem to be less than likely to be around this time next year - that's got to be a first, surely?

Best Solo Artist – Graham Coxon

Mozzer and The Streets fail to turn general critical acclaim into NME silverware; this could be the closest thing to an upset in these prizewinners.

Best Track – Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’

Well, yes. Of course.

Best International Band – The Killers

This, equally, is quite a surprise - The Strokes were lazy all year, U2 are arses and Kings Of Leon too hairy to be taken to anyone's hearts - but the Scissor Sisters must be a little surprised at losing this one to the Killers.

The Phillip Hall Radar Award – Kaiser Chiefs

Well, their chap was very good on Buzzococks this week...

Best Video – Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’

Really? Wasn't it more 'nice sentiment, shame about the execution'?

Best Music DVD – Oasis’ ‘Definitely Maybe’

I suppose it depends how you define "best", "music" and "DVD". Although we can't come up with any defintion that actually works for this. Even if you liked the album when it first came out - and can set aside the horrific, gnarled growl-hooter that Oasis became - ten years on, the record sounds pretty much of its time, and visually not even that inspiring. It's as if NME readers had elected to make one of those Time-Life compilations of the 70s Album of the Year.

Best Film – ‘Shaun Of The Dead’

Simon Pegg was handing out awards tonight, you know. But it was nice for Americans to show interest in a British movie that was neither set in the past, nor featuring Hugh Grant.

Best TV Show – ‘Little Britain’

Popbitch posters this week was complaining that Little Britain was a collection of poorly-considered characters attacking straw-light stereotypes through repetition of a bunch of stock phrases.

Best Radio Show – Zane Lowe

We'd quite like to see Radio One enforce a Lammo/Whylo partnership back into the evening sess slot; perhaps by pairing up Lowe with, say, Sarah Kennedy.

Best Dressed – Brandon Flowers, The Killers

Even if the Scissors could cope with not getting International artists, Jake must be fuming: "but at least I make an EFFORT..."

Worst Dressed– Britney Spears

Do they mean on or off stage? Because off stage she might not always dress up like she's Zsa Zsa Gabor; but is she that badly dressed when she's on?

Best Live Venue – London Carling Brixton Academy

As we ascertained when the nominations came out: should have been Glasgow.

Best Website – NME.COM

We'd imagine that the Electoral Commission is being called in to double check this one. Robert Mugabe came second.

Hero Of The Year – John Peel

The NME doesn't do "well done for dying" prizes often, and when it does, they're generally well-deserved.

Villain Of The Year – George W Bush

That's nothing... wait to see what he's doing now...

Sexiest Man – Brandon Flowers, The Killers

Now you're just being silly.

Sexiest Woman – Gwen Stefani

Very, very silly.

Worst Album – Busted’s ‘A Present For Everyone’
Worst Band – Busted

Shhh, shhh, my children, they've gone now.

SAY, YOU WANNA REVOLUTION?: Its, um, podcastular, it's The Revolution, available for your ears, an hour at a time.

A DIFFERENT SORT OF SHOOTING: We were delighted to discover that in Amazon's 'people who bought this, also bought...' section, readers of Sex by Madonna also bought Eats, Shoots and Leaves. I guess it does sound like it could be porny...

THE VIRGIN SOLDIERS: We've been desperately trying to get interested in the battle over at Virgin Radio for the ownership of the precious radio station, but we're finding it difficult for some reason. It's not so much bald men fighting over a comb; it's more some combs fighting over a bald man. The latest twist in the battle - which appears to be Scottish Media Group and Lord Alli having a spat about who gets to throw money away pumping Fleetwood Mac over the medium wave network - is that Richard Branson is threatening to withhold his blessing for the use of the name unless he's happy with the investment Alli is planning to make in the station. Which really only serves to point up that Virgin Radio doesn't really have very much to do with Virgin, the Branson-brain-wrong empire, or Virgin, the record label. Indeed, we'd suspect that Alli might be about this bothered that he couldn't use the name of the crappy rail service for a radio station; we'd bet that he's more interested in the juicy London FM licence and has other plans for the AM network anyway. We really have no idea, but if it was us, we'd be snuggling up to another music-based radio outfit - probably SAGA - and saying "would you be interested in providing programming for this licence, assuming Ofcom doesn't mind a slight shift in the promise of performance?"


- we can understand why Pete Doherty looks like a cadaver being propped up; but can anyone explain why Lauren looks like Kylie Minogue's deathmask?

GREAT NEWS FOR CANADA: Although she insists she's "not turning her back on Canada", look who's now a fully-fledged American:

Yep, Alanis Morissette has become an American. Just at the time when most liberal Americans are rushing northwards to explore the possibility of living in Canada. What does that say about Alanis?

THEY'RE STILL HOLDING OUT FOR ONE OF THE GRAMMYS, THOUGH: A court has told Ray Charles' son that three grand a month is more than enough to live on. Corey Robinson Den Bok's mum had brought a legal action against Charles' estate demanding that the USD3,000 he'd been given in Charles' will be increased to allow him "the lifestyle he'd enjoyed when Ray Charles was alive" - living in a bigger house, and so on. The courts didn't look too kindly on the demand, buty equally rejected the Estate's suggestion that maybe Corey wasn't any relative of Ray's, on the not unreasonable grounds that Ray had popped him in the will in the first place.

All this fighting, and the man had even gone to the trouble of making a will. Blimey.

TOUR DATES IN HEAVEN OR LAS VEGAS(TBC): Since it would be a waste of time going to all the trouble of hiring a new drum riser and buying a set of towels just for Coachella, the Cocteau Twins have confirmed they'll be touring around the time of their festival comeback. No dates confirmed yet, but we've waited this long: we can wait a while longer.

Buyable: The Moon and The Melodies
- Harold Budd and the Cocteau Twins twenty-year old collaboration; he gave them much richer keyboards; Liz Fraser gave him the willies.

HEROES BECOME WEAK: A few years back - the first year that Michael Eavis decided to allow the cops in to watch the goings-on in the Glastonbury - we were at Elvis Costello's Liverpool Royal Court show when someone called out "We don't need the police at Glastonbury do we, Elvis?" For a second or two, Costello had that look of fear; the sense of not knowing what to do - like when you're a teenager out shopping with your parents when you run into a gang of mates and don't know which of the two distinct social roles you should be playing. He then mumbled something inaudible and moved on. But it was clear: he did think the police should be patrolling Pilton, but he didn't want to be seen as endorsing such a scheme.

He's more at ease with the establishment these days, though: lending his support to an industry-lead call for an overturn of a Court of Appeal judgement that p2p networks aren't responsible for copyright breaches through their systems.

Joining Elvis in his bid to strangle peer-to-peer networking are some names you'd expect: the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Gavin Rossdale, Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, the Dixie Chicks, Stevie Nicks, Reba McEntire, Avril Lavigne, Dido, Tom Jones, Diana Krall, Brian Wilson and members of Barenaked Ladies. It's especially furstrating that these chaps seem not to have thought through their position - presumably their managers did that for them - in that they're insisting that p2p networks know what people are using them for; it's absurd, and akin to suing a manufacturer of tape cassette because of what people could do with it. If the RIAA wants to pursue individuals who make copyrighted material available online, then let them go down that route; but just because that's difficult, expensive, and politically embarrassing, you can't go for an easier target.

All those artists should be ashamed at doing their bosses' bidding; but Elvis "radio is in the hand of such a lot of fools trying to anesthetise the way that you feel" Costello? Maybe you should think about retiring.

A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION, HERE, THEN: Because they're going to be over by nine o'clock (yes, that's what we said), it's possible that Pete Doherty could attend the NME awards. The BBC seems convinced that he's all set to be there. They've spoken to Pete's people.

On the other hand, Ananova thinks he's been warned off; the clinic he's "rehabbing" in have given him a final warning and if he goes to the awards show, he could be kicked out. Not a positive message for him to be taking to court next Monday. is saying nothing, like.

CAT QUITS TELLY: A series of rotating guest hosts - in the style of Have I Got News For You - is being proposed as at least a short-term fix until they can find a new host for CD:UK, as Cat Deelye's had enough and quit.

She's going to "concentrate" on Stars In Their Eyes - because we can see how that would demand you full attention, and is talking with ITV about other projects - and let's not assume they're going to be shit just because it's ITV. Mind you, Ms Deeley has got a track record of being involved with slightly rubbish TV programmes:

NELSON, MEANWHILE, DOUBLE-CHECKS HIS CONTRACT: The side-effects of taking a role in The Dukes of Hazzard are starting to make themselves clear to Willie Nelson: he's expected to record a duet with Jessica Simpson as part of the deal. And it'll be released for people to hear, as well.

Nelson was last seen attempting to catch whatever Michael Jackson's got.

KID ROCK: IN TROUBLE AGAIN: This time round, he's been accused of punching a dj at a strip club. He's been released on a three thousand dollar bond; Kid was apparently defending a friend's honour. It's not clear how one can impugn the honour of a man watching strippers at three in the morning on a school night, but we imagine we'll find out during the trial.

DOING IT FOR THE KIDS: For understandable reasons, considering the shitty behaviour of some of the people he used to work with, Les McKeown has a deep commitment to helping abused kids. Now, he's re-recording his meisterwork, Bay City Rollers' Give A Little Love in aid of KidsCharities UK. He's also pulling together a 70s themed tsunami benefit, featuring the remnants of Mud, Sweet and T-Rex in whatever form those bands now walk the earth.

CALL-LO-US: Health is a strange beast, isn't it? One minute, you're taking bows at the end of your big fashion show, the next, you're pulling your European tour due to a mystery illness. But what exactly is wrong with J-Lo? Some suggest that she's not able to fly because she's in that tricky old first trimester; on the other hand, since the vacuous twat was trimming her "fashion" with mink and fox, perhaps her illness has more to do with avoiding coming into contact with people who have left the Middle Ages behind them.

ALL HANDS OFF THE BAD ONES: With a couple of months still to go before the new Sleater-Kinney album The Woods emerges into the marketplace, Corin, Carrie and Janet have gone online to try and stop fans from letting the album:

Hello everyone.
As many of you know, our new record, The Woods, comes out on May 24th. While there is really nothing we can do to stop people from leaking/downloading promo copies of 'The Woods' on the Internet, we want to say that we don't support this action and we want to address it directly, and hopefully, preemptively.

It seems important for you to know how we feel about it.

The people we are most excited to have hear this record are our friends and you, our fans, the people who have supported us and who are eager to hear our new ideas. We feel as impatient for this new music to get out into the world as we're sure some of you do.

Our latest record is something that we have worked on for a long time. The writing took nearly two years in an effort to challenge and push ourselves. And the recording/mixing itself took six weeks. So much of this new record is a response to the deadening and watering down of music. We wanted to make something that felt wild and alive and that made us excited to wake up in the mornings. There is art work and lyrics and images that we want to share. Ideally, we want to present this record in the way we envision it; as a complete entity, flowing and tangible and within the context that we have created for it. Part of that context is the community that we come from, and this community includes you. And we have some of the best fans: you are smart and critical and outspoken, and we're proud to feel a connection with you.

We know that most people who download indie songs/albums for free find other ways of supporting the bands they love. And we acknowledge that it is a new era and that many people discover music through file sharing. We feel lucky to be a band that has grown organically over the years and we realize that technology has changed the entire process of growth and awareness of music. (We love, for instance, that bootlegs of our live shows are traded on the Internet.) It's scary to imagine that this leak might actually affect our livelihoods, but ultimately this isn't about the fear of people not supporting us financially as indie artists. We don't think of 'The Woods' as some product getting out there early, we think of it as our art and lives and dreams. For us it's about respect and about people supporting us by being aware of our artistic intent. We ask that you please respect our wishes to present this record the way we intended. We're certain that you would want the same for your own endeavors, artistic or otherwise.

So much of what this record is about sacrificing everything to feeling, it's about experience and living and being in the present tense. There will be so many things to experience between now and May 24th; so many other records to sit with and live through, as well as films, books, friends, conversations, etc.

The most honest thing we can say is that it breaks our hearts to think of this being out there early. It actually just feels awful. The release date is 3 months away. We have worked for so long on this record. It's not real for us until May 24th; that is the moment when we get to share this piece of our lives that we are so proud of, to share it with you the way we intended; please wait until then to share it with us.

If you have put this record up on the Internet, please take it down now.

Thank you,
Corin, Carrie, and Janet

Hmm... so it's not about the money, it's the experience? It's a fair enough plea - although the "please take it down" has the slight air of my old boss who asked someone to "ring up the internet and ask them how we get on it"; once it's out there, it's out there, surely?

MISSING SOMETHING?: It's odd that has had to rely on the Associated Press report about "British newspapers" paying damage to Yusuf Islam; odder still is they've not managed to find space to mention that they're part of Fox News' parent company. Perhaps they just forgot. That will be it.

Buyable: Outfoxed on DVD - Fox News by people who worked there and through its own memos.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

ACTOR TURNED SINGER: Usually, we would rather stick seasludge in our ears than listen to an actor doing their stint as a singer - yes, even Ghost of the Robot - but Juliette Lewis may be a different matter: she's just played her first UK show with the Licks.

She likes playing the UK, apparently, because we don't put people in boxes:

“whereas over here if you rock, you rock.”

Bad news for Minnie Driver, there, then.

Buyable: Ju Lewis doing the original singing thing, covering PJ Harvey in Strange Days, out on DVD next month

HOW EXACTLY DOES THIS FIT IN WITH HIS CURFEW?: Somewhat oddly, not only are babyshambles apparently planning to play Brixton Academy next Tuesday, they're having a warm-up show on the 21st at the Garage. Presumably to give Pete a chance to get back to his flat before he breaks curfew, the band will have to take to the stage at eight o'clock?

THANK GOD FOR THAT: It turns out that - who knew - Michael Jackson's serious illness is a bit of a snuffle; even before he'd been shown to a little curtained-off cubicle even his own people had downgraded his incapacity to a "flu-like syndrome"; like the Pope, he's been waving at fans from the hospital window. He's not the Pope, of course: the Pope is a man well past his prime whose seen his organisation rocked by large American court cases claiming sex abuse, and who wears white as a symbol of his piety, while Michael Jackson is a man who has made a record with Macauly Culkin.

A HUSH FALLS: How will we cope now that George Michael has announced his retirement from public life? It seems George has decided that his genre of music is "dead" and so he's, uh, going to

"move his career into a different form", but added that he does not know what it is going to be yet. "I'm still going to be making music," he said, but added that he was "not going to be around".

We're not entirely sure that George has thought this through - it sounds a little like he's going to stand next door and play music through the walls.

Sigh... we'll always remember him this way.

Coincedental: Simon Napier-Bell publishes I'm Coming to Take You to Lunch next month, his account of taking Wham! to China.

DIDDY-LE-SQUAT: It's rare for a publishing house to lose its patience waiting for delivery of a book, so for Random House to go to law for the non-appearance of P Diddy's memoir is startling indeed. They want the third of a million bucks they gave him back in 1998, or at least a poorly-written potboiler of a life to publish.

Actually, we think it's probably just a misunderstanding - we imagine Diddy is on the phone to the publishers now: "I sent it in, I'm sure... is there a manuscript there with Diddy on the cover? No... how about Puff Daddy, maybe I put that name on it... no? Combes...?"

DO YOU KNOW, WE NEVER KNEW THERE WAS AN EXACT OPPOSITE TO 'EXCITED': Where would you go if you could time travel? We'd go back to our early teenage self and say "Don't waste your time..." - as the news comes in that Madonna is listening to a lot of Franz Ferdinand and The Darkness and so her next album - and, yes, she's making another one - will be "influenced by rock. So she's not only no longer ahead of fashion, but about two years behind it.

MURDOCH PRESS APOLOGISE AGAIN: The Sun and The Sunday Times have made formal public apologies for linking Yusuf Islam to terrorist groups. The singer - who still carries the words "formerly known as Cat Stevens" with him wherever he goes - has announced his intention to give his damages to tsunami relief.

After he was awarded the libel damages on Tuesday, Mr Islam said: "It seems to be the easiest thing in the world these days to make scurrilous accusations against Muslims, and in my case it directly impacts on my relief work and damages my reputation as an artist.

"The harm done is often difficult to repair."

Interestingly, though, the Sunday Times don't really seem to be all that serious in their apology:

Sunday Times managing editor Richard Caseby said there had been an "agreed settlement".

"The Sunday Times always denied liability and we disagreed with Cat Stevens' lawyers interpretation of the article, but we took a pragmatic view of the case, " he said.

- that doesn't actually seem to be a very genuine sorry to us.

RINGIN' IT IN: Thanks to Lola W for bringing the HipHop SupaStar - hosted by Xzibit - to our attention; it's pitched as Hip Hop's answer to American Idol, but sponsorship - Sony Ericsson and Cingular Wireless - gives a better idea of what the idea is: it's an attempt to spread the gospel of text-message voting in the US. There's some markety-bollocks to go with the thing:

"Hip Hop SupaStar is the pivotal event that will help move mobile music beyond personalization and towards entertainment. Combining the broad reach of the mobile platform with consumer input is an incredible opportunity for a major music company like ours to help find talent that resonates with our audience," said J.J. Rosen, General Manager, Digital Music Products, Sony BMG Music.

It's a little bit lame that Sony need to rely on an easily-fudged text vote to decide who to sign - isn't this way of selecting acts less about test marketing, more about discovering who can underwrite the most SMS messages on their phone?

But if the marketing guys are dull when they talk about themselves, they're hilarious when they try to write in what they figure to be the argot of young hip-hop dudes:

The ten finalists have been announced! These finalists will have the chance to blow up like never before as their music gets listened to, downloaded as a ringtone and voted for, through mobile phones across the country. And they might get to perform their joints live on Tour with Xzibit. X is gonna be performing all his bangers including songs from his new CD Weapons of Mass Destruction. Fans of the finalists can vote for their favorite finalist via text message on their wireless phone. And there's no limit to the number of times you can vote. Every vote helps select the next Hip Hop SupaStar and counts as an automatic entry for the Hip Hop SupaStar Flyaway sweepstakes where the winner gets to meet Xzibit on the set. So use your vote! Win a chance to kick it with Xzibit; and hold it down for your favorite up-and coming Hip Hop Supa Star.

So, then, we can chill with X if we hold it down so our finalists can blow their joints, then? Bitchin. Erm... do the young peoples still say bitchin?

I'd love to meet the 49 year-old white guy from Arkansas who wrote this - "I ran it past the DHL delivery man, as his kids know some black children, and he said it sounded fine to him..."

The big question is: what does xzibit think he's doing?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

ABANDON SNOOP!: On his first trip to the UK, Snoop Dogg took everything the popular press could throw at him - even the demands of the Daily Star that he be kicked out of the country. Now, he can't even take getting a gentle boffing from a bottle: Snoop flounced off the stage at Nottingham when he got hit by a plastic bottle. Apparently it was a really gentle tap from a water bottle; Snoop just yelled "that's the end of the show" and went off the stage.

His spokesperson makes it sound a wee bit like he's a disappointed headteacher:

"Snoop was hit on the side of the face with a bottle during that last track so he told the crowd the show was over. He was upset that this person had spoiled the show for everyone else."

Come on, it was a plastic bottle - you're the bloke who sings If you play me close, you're on a red beam/ Oh you got a gun so you wanna pop back?/ AK47 now nigga, stop that!/Cement shoes, now I'm on the move/You're family's crying, now you on the news /They can't find you, and now they miss you /Must I remind you I'm only here to twist you / Pistol whip you, dip you then flip you /Then dance to this motherfucking music we crip to. And yet Mr. Pistolwhip-AK47 runs off stage in tears when he gets a little bonk from a Volvic bottle?

Shoot em up, shoot em up bang bang/ It's all fair in tha gang bang. All fair except a pop bottle, of course.

Run, Snoop... it's a gang...

KEATING: MID-LIFE CRISIS STARTED: Sure, it's all set to raise funds for charity, but we have our doubts about Rona Keating riding a Harley along Route 66 to raise money for charity - it's not like it's an exactly taxing thing to do, is it? Riding a nice motorbike along a well-maintained road isn't quite in the same league as his sponsored walking round Ireland; it's like offering to do a sponsored cruise.

Mind you, he is going to have to take a couple of weeks off what he calls "working" to make the trip. I think we can find a fiver if he promises to go there and back. Four or five times.

DISTILLED DRUMMED OUT: Distillers drummer Andy Granelli has quit the band, to spend less time being told what to do by Brody Dalle ("to spend more time with Darker My Love, his other band").

Brody was quoted as saying "Granelli... Granelli... can you refresh me... oh, the banging guy? He's gone? He didn't take my push-up bra, did he?

FRIT: It's been 16 bliss-filled months since Coldplay last played live, but the peace is due to be shattered at some point soon; the new album might be a few short months away; and new album means new dates. Apparently they've spent so long fannying about in the studio because - according to Will from Coldplay (apparently there's a bloke in Coldplay called Will) they're afraid of playing live. And if they finish the album, they'll have to go out on tour.

In other words, the more scared they are of getting on a stage, the longer we'll be spared a new album.

Will... the next time you play live, there's going to be angry scorpions in the audience. With hyperdermic needles. And a bunch of hard-to-please brown bears with part-time gigs reviewing concerts for the newspapers your parents read. And the venue might be liable to fall down at any moment.

JACKSON SICK, SAYS OWN DEFENSE: But that's as in unwell; apparently Michael has been rushed to hospital with something "serious". His hospitalisation will delay the jury process again - at the moment, the judge is keeping the potential jurors in a private room while he waits to find out exactly what's up with Jackson.

Witnesses suggest that he had been "sniffling" during yesterday's court session - the first day back after a delay following the death of Jackson Attorney Thomas Mesereau's sister.

DO NOT EAT: Inspired by Apple's product warning to users that they must not eat the iPod Shuffle, presents a poem-based tale of what might happen if you did.
(They're now on sale at; and they do look rather tasty)

DON'T DREAM IT'S OVER: Nobody would ever take any joy at the end of a marriage, but somehow there was something not quite right about these two:


... but now the world seems to have been righted; Gail Porter and Dan Hipgrave from Toploader have had an amicable split and we can save ourselves a couple of minutes a day wondering just how he did that.

"Dan and I have broken up. We separated eight months ago, but have tried to keep it quiet," she said.

"I’ve not a single bad word to say about Dan because he’s a lovely guy and a great dad, but he’s not the right person for me. It’s not sad. We have a good friendship and a lovely baby. No-one died. Life moves on.

"We had been together only six months when we married. I think we went into it without thinking things through."

Presumably both will now be concentrating on their careers, so if anyone knows where they might have lost them, please, drop 'em an email.

HAS AN RIAA MEMBER BEEN SCREWING AN ARTIST FOR OVER SIXTY YEARS?: We don't know, but we could be a lot closer to finding out, as a court in California has ruled that documents covering Bing Crosby's affairs can be revealed in public, throwing some light on the case brought against MCA by Bing's heirs.

They believe that MCA - part of Universal (and don't you love that White Christmas and Thug Love are both part of the same multinational sludge-brand) - has been diddling Crosby on money due under contracts dating back to the Second World War. MCA deny this, of course, and they wanted access to details of an audit:

Steve Kang, a lawyer representing MCA, said: "The documents were communications between not so much Bing Crosby himself but between his business manager Basil Grillo and also Crosby's accountants.

"They concerned an audit that Bing Crosby was doing in the late 1950s and actually we're convinced that the issues they discussed in the audit and resolved are the same issues that the plaintiffs are raising today."

Let's just look at that first sentence, though, shall we? "not so much communications between Bing Crosby himself" - yes, it's probably likely that Bing wasn't sending himself memos at that stage.

THE VERY DEFINITION OF A Z-LIST: What would be the opposite of creme de la creme? Presumably the sludge of the sludge, or maybe just "the type of person who'd turn up for a pre-Brits pool tournament". Amongst the people who RSVPed to say, no, actually, they really didn't have anything better to do with their time was Lee Ryan (Blue's Mr. Brains), local radio dj Jamie Theakston, and...

... Kevin Rowland. Kevin, of course, always wears "Kevin's clothes"; we can only assume that he's now a ninety year old Frenchman.

ANY MORE PIE?: There must be few things more galling in life than having Louis Walsh tell you that you don't look right. Louis Walsh.

Last year, he told Girls Aloud they were too fat. (They weren't). Now, like some kind of sweaty Charlie from Coronation Street, he's telling the band they need to put on weight:

"I'm worried they look too skinny now. The problem is everyone's telling them how good they look."

You don't think, Louis, the problem might be that an amoral twat told them they looked fat when they weren't and more or less bounced them into going on an uneccesary diet in the first place; and, of course, managed to reinforce the 'you have to be a stick to be sexy' bollocks which leads to loads of girls and an increasing number of boys to wind up with eating disorders?

V V GOOD: There's good news for those of you already coming to terms with the slim chances of getting hold of Glasto tickets: the third-best festival in England has a cracking line-up. Scissor Sisters and Franz Ferdiand are headling V, with a vague promise of "an unparalleled main stage joint headline act" yet to be unveiled.

We're a little surprised at Alex Kapranos' statement, though, which reads a little like it was written for him by someone barely literate and very gainfully employed in the V Festival offices:

"We heard about what a great festival V was to play last year and wished we could've been there. We're really excited to be playing the main stage and co-headlining with the Scissor Sisters - we'll be sure to give fans a performance to remember." We love V. We are all belonging to V now. Abandon your puny T-Mobile phones and more-established colas.

SWEARING AND BREAKING-IN: Quite a bumper lot of stupidity in the latest Ofcom Broadcast Complaints Bulletin[pdf document]. BRMB in Birmingham continues its record as possibly the most half-assed radio station in the country, as a cover host on their lunchtime show got an emailed joke that he didn't understand, so he read it out anyway. It revolved around a double meaning of "spade."

Meanwhile, a presenter on Fox FM inadvertently let slip a "those two are fucking..." while talking about Peter Andre and Jordan; she was let off as she'd apologised and had stopped short of using the next word you'd expect there.

And Radio One was up before the beak for Elton John's swear fest on the Chris Moyles programme. Now, we like a light regulatory touch as much as anyone, but there seems to be a slightly starry double standard at play here: Elton John was excused on the grounds that his "fuck" was accidental and his breakfast time "wank" and "bollocks" were playful:

It was obvious that the first swearword was a genuine slip. The further use of mild swearing was intended to be light-hearted and mischievous. In view of the nature of the error, the on-air apologies and the action taken, we consider the matter resolved.

We're a little surprised that the usually Victorian Ofcom now accepts that the sort of language it describes as "offensive" can be light-hearted - we're wondering what precedent this is setting for future judgements.

Meanwhile, there were four complaints about the Filthy Gorgeous video from the Scissor Sisters - as rudely included on the CD for you to, uh, try your judgement at home. All were rejected.

WHO SAW THE GRAMMYS?: Not that many people - the US telecast of the way-too-long awards show managed just 18.8 million, which was down from last year's audience by 28 per cent - although in the post-jackson nipple era, 2004 saw a boost from people eager to see what that crazy pop world would do next. It's the lowest audience for the prize giving since 1995. CBS seem perplexed as to why nobody cared:

"This was the show to beat in terms of how it was produced," said Shari Anne Brill, a television analyst for Carat USA. "It was just great. It wasn't about someone handing out awards. It was about performances. Viewers who didn't tune in missed a treat."

ITV2 carried it last time in peak time, and to be honest, after a couple of minutes we were back surfing away elsewhere. It wasn't helped that the show hadn't been edited down to fit its two hour slot - it had just been randomly chopped, so Queen Latifah started a sentence welcoming everyone to the awards and ended it talking about Art Blakey; at one point, the screen filled for two seconds with a close up of Cyndi Lauper with her name on a caption before she disappeared again. And the performances weren't up to much: Green Day, after nearly convincing us at the Brits, were back to sounding like your dad doing punk; U2 elected to avoid any sort of spectacle at all (although Larry apologised again for the ticket screw-up, which was honorable and impressed us). But really, the whole thing just seemed like a dull splodge. It's more a puzzle how they managed to get 18 million to stick with it.

JET SELL OUT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN: Okay, Oasis helped a little. But as Madonna and Sainsbury show, even a declining brand can shift enough units to appear to be in good health.

SEND THEM TO THE... WELL, TOWER: Following on from last week's smashing up of the Anglia Poly, Patrick Brannam from Towers of London has been charged with criminal damage and assault. Yes, shockingly, it turns out that he's not really called Donny Tourette, either.

A CHILD ABUSE TRAIL WITH THE STARS: It seems that the Jackson defence team - with, apparently, not much else to offer - are going to try and turn the trial into a Save Michael telethon. They're promising, suggesting or hoping to call a range of witnesses - Liz Taylor, Diana Ross, David Blaine, Nick Carter, Larry King and Jay Leno as "witnesses" in the case; presumably witnesses to Michael not touching children. That should prove interesting:

- Mr. Leno; you are famous?
- I am
- Have you ever seen Michael Jackson abusing children?
- No
- No further questions

In effect, this is going to be a line-up of nothing more than glitzy character witnesses (although a man who dangles in a box above the Thames, a woman married more times than Ken Barlow; the DUI diva - these are hardly people whose version of "normal" is going to chime with people who are on a jury). Still, it's great news for lookalike agencies, as they'll be kept busy as E! hires for its reconstruction of the trial.

Kobe Bryant is also on the list.

Monday, February 14, 2005

WARD OFF COURT: Good news for fans of M Ward - There's a new album ready. And just look at the line-up of talent helping out:

jim james (my morning jacket)
jenny lewis (rilo kiley, the postal service)
howe gelb (giant sand)
john parish (p.j. harvey)
rachel blumberg (the decemberists)
mike coykendall (the old joe clarks)
vic chesnutt
nick luca (calexico)
jordan hudson (the thermals)

- although, to be honest, we'd have thought john parish (the chesterfields) would have been better, but that's just us. The new album is called Transistor Radio, and ready for pre-ordering.

There's a world tour, too:
Mon Feb 14th London, UK @ Rough Trade In-Store
Tue Feb 15th Paris, FR @ La Guingette Pirate
Fri Feb 25th Chicago, IL @ Schuba's (SOLD OUT)
Sun Feb 27th Toronto, ON @ El Mocambo
Wed Mar 2nd New York, NY @ Knitting Factory
Fri Mar 4th Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall
Sat Mar 5th Boston, MA @ Remis Auditorium - Museum of Fine Arts
Sun Mar 13th Vancouver, BC @ Richards on Richards
Mon Mar 14th Seattle, WA @ The Tractor
Thu Mar 17th Austin, TX @ The Parish - SXSW Festival
Thu Mar 24th San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
Sat Mar 26th San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
Tue Mar 29th Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
JUNE 10 - 12 Manchester, TN @ BONNAROO FESTIVAL

GOOD OLD BPI: They're not just there for the nasty things in life, like threatening legal action and slavishly following the lead set down by the RIAA. They're also good guys, you know: look, they're desperate to ensure indie labels don't get closed out of the download bonanza and are lobbying to ensure... what, exactly?

"We want to ensure that independent repertoire is as successful in the download world as it is in the physical world," said BPI chief Peter Jamieson.

In other words, they're really keen for indie labels to continue providing acts to make up for the shortcomings of the major's A&R departments, and if the successful indie acts aren't heavily promoted on iTunes, the dimwitted major's chequebook department might find it tricky to work out who they're meant to be hoovering up. The worry is, of course, that if they don't help indies get onto the RIAA-approved download market, the indies might go elsewhere and not play with them at all any more. And since the new music world doesn't really need the BPI at all, the BPI needs to work hard to try and keep everyone in its playpen.

SUICIDE COMMITTED: The line-up for the Vincet Gallo curated All Tomorrow's Parties is starting to take shape: just added to line-up for April 22nd to 24th are PJ Harvey, Peaches and Suicide. Possibly best ATP line-up evah.

Buyable: Suicide's Why Be Blue

BARELY ARSED DESIGNERS OF POP: Mandy Moore has chosen to design tshirts for her clothing range because it's really money for old rope ("I'm totally the jeans and tshirts girl") and there's a bit more challenge involved in getting someone else to design ("designing") clothes with buttons or zips or something. But she has had input into the whole process:

[Her shirt design] is simple in the best sense of the word. It is colorful, it’s comfortable the length is a definite pulse. Something I’m eternally searching for in a T-shirt is the length. I’m a tall girl and [I was tired of] if you wash it once you never want to wear it again.

Yeah, a common problem we find; we just have to throw away clothes rather than wear them again all the time...

BLOGGING ON STEROIDS: We haven't seen the actual Grammy ceremony, but thank God we don't have to - Coolfer has a play-by-play, from Franz Ferdinandmashin up with Maroon 5 through to the realisations that Starbucks has won a grammy.

GREATEST HITS COLLECTION LARGELY IGNORED WHERE HITS WEREN'T THAT GREAT: Although she'll probably be disappointed, the failure to crack the Top 200 in the US with Ultimate Kylie surely won't come as much of a shock: gathering stuff that didn't sell the first time round into one set would constitute a fire sale rather than an all-out push.

JAZZ DUMPED: A small sidenote in the dismantling of the Thatcher years: Jazz FM is to be rebranded as Smooth in the capital. The station was an early creation as part of the incremental services, designed to fill demand for something other than what the original ILR network was doing in each place; in order to curry favour with the Thatcher cabinet, the Radio Authority decided to ignore the many competing demands of Londoners and gave the franchise to a station playing music beloved of at least three high-ranking members of the government. It never worked, though, and the station is set to disappear without having turned a single profit in fifteen years.

BRITNEY: MY PUPPIES ARE NICER THAN PARIS': Having crushed musical foe Christina Aguilera underfoot at the Grammys, Britney is now fighting her other great rival: in the 'Blondes with stupid dogs'stakes.

insists that her rat-like dog is better than Paris Hilton
's rat-like dog. The winner goes to take on Jessica Simpson and her little Nicky in the final.

Buyable: Baby One More Time video flick book - because that video and the word "flick" seem to go together for some reason; this book features about six seconds of the video for you to flick through. Yes, we know. It's the perfect gift for people who love Britney, but hate her music, and either don't have a video or have gummed up the pause button somehow.

I DREAM OF BEING A FAMILY MAN: People who tell you that popstars are all the same are wrong, of course: when Daniel Bedingfield says he wants to have fifteen children, the response would be to say "How sweet and what a loving, close family atmosphere those children would be brought up in"; whereas if a different pop star said it the response would be "I can do you six this morning Mr. Jackson, can I deliver the rest after the weekend?"

Daniel apparently said "I'd like to have about 15 kids -of all kinds of ages."

Perhaps nobody has explained the finer in-and-outs to Daniel so he doesn't know why having fifteen children of the same age would be quite unlikely. It's even possible that he wants to have fifteen because he doesn't realise that it's not a question of choosing between a two year-old and a ten year-old.

GRAMMY GRUMPS: Well, once again, it's been proven: if you want to win a Grammy, the best thing you can do is die. Ray Charles - undoubtably one of the greatest of them all - would have been carrying home eight of those little record players. If, erm, he wasn't dead, of course. You wonder if the Grammy committee sit around saying "right, well, if nobody dies this year we can give the award to someone alive for a change... hang on... what's that? Vincent Balladaro is dead? Bollocks..."

Here, then, are all the winners, and may god have mercy on your scroll button:

Record Of The Year
(Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s), if other than the artist.)

* Here We Go Again
Ray Charles & Norah Jones
John Burk, producer; Terry Howard & Al Schmitt, engineers/mixers
Track from: Genius Loves Company
[Concord Records/Hear Music]

Album Of The Year
(Award to the Artist(s) and to the Album Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s)/Mixer(s) & Mastering Engineer(s), if other than the artist.)

* Genius Loves Company
Ray Charles & Various Artists
John Burk, Terry Howard, Don Mizell, Phil Ramone & Herbert Waltl, producers; Robert Fernandez, John Harris, Terry Howard, Pete Karam, Joel Moss, Seth Presant, Al Schmitt & Ed Thacker, engineers/mixers; Robert Hadley & Doug Sax, mastering engineers
[Concord Records/Hear Music]

And, to be honest, this really isn't Charles' best work - it's his version of the Duets rubbish that Frank Sinatra knocked out when he was starting to lose his ability to hold a tune for the whole length of a single. Tom Jones, of course, did something similar, but then he never really had that much to lose. Doubtless, though, if he'd died in a chip pan fire that year, he'd have been garlanded with Grammys, too. Sentiment is fine, but...

Song Of The Year
(A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parenthesis.) Singles or Tracks only.)

* Daughters
John Mayer, songwriter (John Mayer)
Track from: Heavier Things
[Aware Records/Columbia; Publishers: Sony/ATV Tunes/Specific Harm Music.]

We would have hoped the Grammys people refused him to get on stage to pick this up, in case it caused some sort of mini-riot...

Best New Artist
(For a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist.)

* Maroon5

Oh, Jesus Christ. Them again? But how have Maroon 5 "established a public identity?" They're so anonymous they did that big bank raid in Belfast at Christmas, and yet none of the witnesses picked them out of a line-up. Even although they were wearing stripey jumpers and masks and carrying crowbars and bags marked "swag".

Field 1 — Pop
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Sunrise
Norah Jones
Track from: Feels Like Home
[Blue Note Records]

Norah Jones is pop? Not until I {heart} Pop magazine puts her on the bloody cover she isn't.

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Daughters
John Mayer
Track from: Heavier Things
[Aware Records/Columbia]

See the comments for Norah Jones, but with extra swearing.

Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
(For established duos or groups, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Heaven
Los Lonely Boys
Track from: Los Lonely Boys
[Or Music/Epic Records]

Who? I kind of think that the chances of most people having heard of many of the artists winning this year (the living ones) are going to be on a par with the chances of picking up a milk carton and saying "Hey, isn't this the kid we saw with that strange drifter at the store just now?"

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals
(For a collaborative performance, with vocals, by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Here We Go Again
Ray Charles & Norah Jones
Track from: Genius Loves Company
[Concord Records/Hear Music]

Involving two artists, neither of whom are pop. Genius indeed.

Best Pop Instrumental Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, without vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

* 11th Commandment
Ben Harper
Track from: There Will Be A Light
[Virgin Records]

Best Pop Instrumental Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of INSTRUMENTAL tracks.)

* Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar
Various Artists
James Jensen, producer
[Solid Air Records]

Fairly basic, stolid Grammy material here...

Best Pop Vocal Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

* Genius Loves Company
Ray Charles & Various Artists
[Concord Records/Hear Music]

We wonder if everyone who guested on that album will be claiming they won the Grammy...

Field 2 — Dance

Category 12

Best Dance Recording
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances. Vocal or Instrumental. Singles or tracks only.)

* Toxic
Britney Spears
Avant & Bloodshy, producers; Niklas Flyckt, mixer
Track from: In The Zone
[Jive/Zomba Label Group]

Category 13

Best Electronic/Dance Album
(For vocal or instrumental albums. Albums only.)

* Kish Kash
Basement Jaxx
[XL Recordings/Astralwerks]

We know, we'd have thought Britney was firmly pop, but doubtless the Grammys have a special measuring device. Still, there doesn't seem to be any prize for Christina, so that's a victory there... and lovely news for the Jaxx boys.

Field 3 — Traditional Pop

Every year, we say we don't know what this is. Probably the pop songs Alan Lomax used to record.

Category 14

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

* Stardust...The Great American Songbook Volume III
Rod Stewart
[J Records]

... or maybe "traditional" is one of those words that means something different to Americans. Like our shite, perhaps.

Field 4 — Rock

Category 15

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Code Of Silence
Bruce Springsteen
Track from: The Essential Bruce Springsteen
[Columbia Records]

Category 16

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
(For duo, group or collaborative performances, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Vertigo
[Interscope Records]

Category 17

Best Hard Rock Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Slither
Velvet Revolver

Category 18

Best Metal Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Whiplash
[Big Deal Records]

Category 19

Best Rock Instrumental Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, without vocals. Includes Rock, Hard Rock and Metal. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Mrs. O'Leary's Cow
Brian Wilson
Track from: Brian Wilson Presents Smile
[Nonesuch Records]

Category 20

Best Rock Song
(A Songwriter(s) Award. Includes Rock, Hard Rock & Metal songs. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category #3. (Artist names appear in parenthesis.) Singles or Tracks only.)

* Vertigo
Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge & Larry Mullen, songwriters (U2)
[Interscope Records; Publisher: Universal Polygram International Publishing.]

Category 21

Best Rock Album
(Vocal or Instrumental. Includes Hard Rock and Metal.)

* American Idiot
Green Day
[Reprise Records]

So, apart from the "what the hell is Brian Wilson doing wedged in with Springstein and Motorhead" puzzlement, the sort of thing you'd expect. U2 picking up their regular prizes off the back of a very mundane performance - who knew that the Brits would have more guts than the Grammys? And interesting to see two of the most anti-Bush albums of the year get a prize (Bruce and Green Day). Pity neither of them were actually that good.

Field 5 — Alternative

Category 22

Best Alternative Music Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

* A Ghost Is Born
[Nonesuch Records]

Blimey. That's actually a pretty good selection. But then it's the category that's probably hardest to go wrong with...

Field 6 — R&B
Category 23

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

* If I Ain't Got You
Alicia Keys
Track from: The Diary Of Alicia Keys
[J Records]

Category 24

Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Call My Name
Track from: Musicology
[Columbia Records/NPG Records]

Category 25

Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
(For duo, group or collaborative performances, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

* My Boo
Usher & Alicia Keys
Track from: Confessions Special Edition
[Arista/La Face/Zomba Label Group]

Category 26

Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Musicology
Track from: Musicology
[Columbia Records/NPG Records]

Category 27

Best Urban/Alternative Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Cross My Mind
Jill Scott
Track from: Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds Vol. 2
[Hidden Beach]

Category 28

Best R&B Song
(A Songwriter(s) Award. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category #3. (Artist names appear in parenthesis.) Singles or Tracks only.)

* You Don't Know My Name
Alicia Keys, Harold Lilly & Kanye West, songwriters (Alicia Keys)
Track from: The Diary Of Alicia Keys
[J Records; Publishers: Lellow Productions/EMI Music Publishing, Ye World Music/EMI April Music, Uncle Bobby Music/EMI Blackwood Music & A Dish-A-Tunes Ltd.]

Category 29

Best R&B Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

* The Diary Of Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys
[J Records]

Category 30

Best Contemporary R&B Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

* Confessions
[Arista/LaFace/Zomba Label Group]

It would, of course, be unfair to suggest that the process of giving out these awards is, in any way, a bid to try and keep everyone happy, but the bowing of the knee to the urban gentry - here, Mr. Prince; the Target-friendly face of urban in the form of Alicia Keys and even a small sop or two to the pouty, liable-to-sulk-and-not-come-next-year-if-he-doesn't-get-something Usher does seem to imply these prizes haven't been so much voted on but negotiated at Camp David.

Field 7 — Rap
Category 31

Best Rap Solo Performance
(For a solo Rap performance. Singles or Tracks only.)

* 99 Problems
Track from: The Black Album
[Roc-A-Fella Records]

Category 32

Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group
(For duo, group or collaborative performances of Rap only. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Let's Get It Started
The Black Eyed Peas
Track from: Elephunk
[A&M Records]

Category 33

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
(For a Rap/Sung collaborative performance by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Yeah!
Usher Featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris
Track from: Confessions
[Arista/LaFace/Zomba Label Group]

Category 34

Best Rap Song
(A Songwriter(s) Award. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category #3. (Artist names appear in parenthesis.) Singles or Tracks only.)

* Jesus Walks
Miri Ben Ari, C. Smith & Kanye West, songwriters (Kanye West)
Track from: The College Drop-Out
[Rocafella Records; Publishers: Konman Entertainment/Gimme My Publishing Co./Hip Hop Since 1978 & Mapleshade Productions.]

Category 35

Best Rap Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

* The College Dropout
Kanye West
[Roc-A-Fella Records]

Again, there's a couple of awards to Usher; something for the spectacularly over-rated Black Eyed Peas (real prize title: For services making rap palatable to Clear Channel) and, of course, the mysterious Kanye West. Nothing - pointedly - for Eminem; perhaps it's okay to attack the President so long as nobody really notices.

Field 8 — Country

Category 36
Best Female Country Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)
* Redneck Woman
Gretchen Wilson
Track from: Here For The Party
[Epic Records]

Category 37
Best Male Country Vocal Performance
(For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.)
* Live Like You Were Dying
Tim McGraw
Track from: Live Like You Were Dying
[Curb Records]

Category 38
Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
(For established duos or groups with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)
* Top Of The World
Dixie Chicks
Track from: Top Of The World Tour - Live

Category 39
Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
(For a collaborative performance, with vocals, by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.)
* Portland Oregon
Loretta Lynn & Jack White
Track from: Van Lear Rose
[Interscope Records]

Category 40
Best Country Instrumental Performance
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances, without vocals. Singles or Tracks only.)

* Earl's Breakdown
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Featuring Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Vassar Clements & Jerry Douglas
Track from: Will The Circle Be Unbroken "The Trilogy"
[Capitol Records - Nashville]

Category 41
Best Country Song
(A Songwriter(s) Award. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category #3. (Artist names appear in parenthesis.) Singles or Tracks only.)
* Live Like You Were Dying
Tim Nichols & Craig Wiseman, songwriters (Tim McGraw)
Track from: Live Like You Were Dying
[Curb Records; Publishers: Warner-Tamerlane Publishing/Big Loud Shirt.]

Category 42
Best Country Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Van Lear Rose
Loretta Lynn
[Interscope Records]

Category 43
Best Bluegrass Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Brand New Strings
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
[Skaggs Family Records]

So, great news for Jack White, who sees not only his young protégé Loretta Lynn pick up an award for best album, but also gets to share the love with a best collaboration for the work he did with her. That's recording together, smutbuckets.

We're starting to get into the segment now where we have very little to offer but a floundering "Heh! Funny name!"

Field 9 — New Age
Category 44: Best New Age Album
* Returning Will Ackerman [Decca]
Field 10 — Jazz
Category 45: Best Contemporary Jazz Album
* Unspeakable - Bill Frisell [Nonesuch Records]

Category 46: Best Jazz Vocal Album
* R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal) - Nancy Wilson [MCG Jazz]

Category 47: Best Jazz Instrumental Solo
* Speak Like A Child - Herbie Hancock, soloist
Track from: With All My Heart (Harvey Mason) [Bluebird]
Category 48: Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
* Illuminations - McCoy Tyner With Gary Bartz, Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride & Lewis Nash [Telarc Jazz]

Category 49: Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
* Concert In The Garden - Maria Schneider Orchestra [ArtistShare]

Category 50: Best Latin Jazz Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Land Of The Sun - Charlie Haden [Verve International]

Field 11 — Gospel
Category 51: Best Gospel Performance
* Heaven Help Us All - Ray Charles & Gladys Knight Track from: Genius Loves Company [Concord Records/Hear Music]

...hey, it had the word Heaven in it, didn't it? Godfearin' folks like Ray, too...

Category 52: Best Rock Gospel Album
* Wire -Third Day [Essential Records]

Category 53: Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album
* All Things New - Steven Curtis Chapman [Sparrow Records]

Category 54: Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album
* Worship & Faith - Randy Travis
[Word Records]

Category 55: Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album
* There Will Be A Light - Ben Harper & The Blind Boys Of Alabama [Virgin]

Category 56: Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album
* Nothing Without You - Smokie Norful [EMI Gospel]

Category 57: Best Gospel Choir Or Chorus Album
* Live...This is Your House - Carol Cymbala, choir director; The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir [INO Records]

Without wanting to sound too cynical, we'd suggest that if you want to double your chances of Grammy success, it seems wise to include a line or two about the big guy upstairs - that way, if you bomb out in the categories done while everyone's still awake, you might pick up a spiritual award.

By the way, does anyone know if an Islamic album would qualify for these categories?

Field 12 — Latin
Category 58: Best Latin Pop Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Amar Sin Mentiras - Marc Anthony [Sony Discos]

Category 59: Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album(Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Street Signs - Ozomatli [Concord Records]

Category 60: Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album: (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* ¡Ahora Sí! Israel López "Cachao" [Univision Records]

Category 61: Best Salsa/Merengue Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Across 110th Street Spanish Harlem Orchestra Featuring Ruben Blades [Libertad Records]

Category 62: Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Intimamente Intocable [EMI Latin]

Category 63: Best Tejano Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Polkas, Gritos y Acordeónes David Lee Garza, Joel Guzman & Sunny Sauceda [Guzman Fox Records]

So, with a nice Grammy heading to Mr. Lopez, it's starting to look like Jenny might not be the talented one in the family.

Field 13 — Blues
Category 64: Best Traditional Blues Album: (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Blues To The Bone Etta James [RCA Victor]

Category 65: Best Contemporary Blues Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Keep It Simple Keb' Mo' [Epic/Okeh]

Field 14 — Folk
Category 66: Best Traditional Folk Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Beautiful Dreamer - The Songs Of Stephen Foster Various Artists
Steve Fishell, David Macias & Tamara Saviano, producers [American Roots Publishing]

Category 67: Best Contemporary Folk Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* The Revolution Starts...Now Steve Earle [Artemis Records/E-Squared]

Category 68: Best Native American Music Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Cedar Dream Songs - Bill Miller [Paras Recordings]

Category 69: Best Hawaiian Music Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Slack Key Guitar Volume 2 Various Artists Charles Michael Brotman, producer [Palm Records]

Field 15 — Reggae
Category 70: Best Reggae Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* True Love Toots & The Maytals [V2 Records]

Field 16 — World Music
Category 71: Best Traditional World Music Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Raise Your Spirit Higher Ladysmith Black Mambazo [Heads Up International]

Category 72: Best Contemporary World Music Album: (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Egypt Youssou N'Dour [Nonesuch]

Field 17 — Polka
Category 73: Best Polka Album (Vocal or Instrumental.)
* Let's Kiss: 25th Anniversary Album Brave Combo [DenTone]

Field 18 — Children's
Category 74: Best Musical Album For Children
* cELLAbration! A Tribute To Ella Jenkins Various Artists Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, producers [Smithsonian Folkways Recordings]

Category 75: Best Spoken Word Album For Children
* The Train They Call The City Of New Orleans Tom Chapin [Live Oak Media]

Field 19 — Spoken Word
Category 76: Best Spoken Word Album
* My Life Bill Clinton [Random House Audio]

Field 20 — Comedy
Category 77: Best Comedy Album
* The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents...America: A Citizen's Guide To Democracy Inaction Jon Stewart And The Cast Of The Daily Show [Time Warner Audiobooks]

Field 21 — Musical Show
Category 78: Best Musical Show Album
* Wicked Stephen Schwartz, producer; Stephen Schwartz, composer/lyricist (Original Broadway Cast Recording With Kristin Chenoweth & Idina Menzel) [Decca Broadway]

Field 22 — Film/TV/Visual Media
Category 79: Best Compilation Soundtrack Album For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media
* Garden State Various Artists - Zach Braff, compilation producer [Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax/Fox Music]

Category 80: Best Score Soundtrack Album For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media
* The Lord Of The Rings - The Return Of The King
Howard Shore, composer (Howard Shore)
[Reprise/WMG Soundtracks]

Good god, is the Lord of the Freakin' Rings still winning prizes? Even the Oscars is over them by now, you know.

Category 81: Best Song Written For A Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media
* Into The West (From The Lord Of The Rings - The Return Of The King)
Annie Lennox, Howard Shore & Fran Walsh, songwriters (Annie Lennox)
Track from: The Lord Of The Rings - The Return Of The King
[Reprise/WMG Soundtracks; Publishers: New Line Tunes/BMG Music Publishing.]

Field 23 — Composing/Arranging
Category 82: Best Instrumental Composition
* Merengue Paquito D'Rivera, composer (Yo-Yo Ma) Track from: Obrigado Brazil - Live In Concert [Sony Classical]

Category 83: Best Instrumental Arrangement
* Past Present & Future Slide Hampton, arranger (The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra) Track from: The Way - Music Of Slide Hampton [Planet Arts Recordings]

Category 84: Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
* Over The Rainbow Victor Vanacore, arranger (Ray Charles & Johnny Mathis)
Track from: Genius Loves Company [Concord Records/Hear Music]

Field 24 — Package
Category 85: Best Recording Package
* A Ghost Is Born Peter Buchanan-Smith & Dan Nadel, art directors (Wilco) [Nonesuch]

Category 86: Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package
* Once In A Lifetime Stefan Sagmeister, art director (Talking Heads) [Sire/Warner Bros./Rhino Records]

Field 25 — Album Notes
Category 87: Best Album Notes
* The Complete Columbia Recordings Of Woody Herman And His Orchestra & Woodchoppers (1945-1947) Loren Schoenberg, album notes writer (Woody Herman & His Orchestra) [Mosaic Records]

Field 26 — Historical
Category 88: Best Historical Album
* Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970 Daniel Cooper & Michael Gray, compilation producers; Joseph M. Palmaccio & Alan Stoker, mastering engineers (Various Artists) [CMF/Lost Highway Records]

Field 27 — Production, Non-Classical
Category 89: Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
* Genius Loves Company Robert Fernandez, John Harris, Terry Howard, Pete Karam, Joel Moss, Seth Presant, Al Schmitt & Ed Thacker, engineers (Ray Charles & Various Artists) [Concord Records/Hear Music]

Category 90: Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical
* John Shanks
• Autobiography (Ashlee Simpson) (A)
• Breakaway (Kelly Clarkson) (T)
• The First Cut Is The Deepest (Sheryl Crow) (T)
• Fly (Hilary Duff) (T)
• Shine Your Light (Robbie Robertson) (T)
• So-Called Chaos (Alanis Morissette) (A)

Category 91

Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical
* It's My Life (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Mix) Jacques Lu Cont, remixer (No Doubt) Track from: The Singles 1992-2003 [Interscope Records]

Field 28 — Surround Sound
Category 92: Best Surround Sound Album
* Genius Loves Company Al Schmitt, surround mix engineer; Robert Hadley & Doug Sax, surround mastering engineers; John Burk, Phil Ramone & Herbert Waltl, surround producers (Ray Charles & Various Artists) [Concord Records/Hear Music]

Field 29 — Production, Classical
Category 93: Best Engineered Album, Classical
* Higdon: City Scape; Concerto For Orchestra Jack Renner, engineer (Robert Spano) [Telarc]

Category 94: Producer Of The Year, Classical
* David Frost

Field 30 — Classical
Category 95: Best Classical Album
* Adams: On The Transmigration Of Souls Lorin Maazel, conductor; John Adams & Lawrence Rock, producers (Brooklyn Youth Chorus & New York Choral Artists; New York Philharmonic) [Nonesuch Records]

Category 96: Best Orchestral Performance
* Adams: On The Transmigration Of Souls Lorin Maazel, conductor (Brooklyn Youth Chorus & New York Choral Artists; New York Philharmonic) [Nonesuch Records]

Still with us? Not long now...

Category 97: Best Opera Recording
* Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro René Jacobs, conductor; Patrizia Ciofi, Véronique Gens, Simon Keenlyside, Angelika Kirchschlager & Lorenzo Regazzo; Martin Sauer, producer (Various Artists; Concerto Köln) [Harmonia Mundi]

Category 98: Best Choral Performance
* Berlioz: Requiem Robert Spano, conductor; Norman Mackenzie, choir director (Frank Lopardo, tenor; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) [Telarc]

Category 99:Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra)
* Previn: Violin Concerto "Anne-Sophie"/Bernstein: Serenade André Previn, conductor; Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin (Boston Symphony Orchestra & London Symphony Orchestra) [Deutsche Grammophon]

Category 100: Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra)
* Aire Latino (Morel, Villa-Lobos, Ponce, Etc.) David Russell, guitar [Telarc]

Category 101: Best Chamber Music Performance
* Prokofiev (Arr. Pletnev): Cinderella - Suite For Two Pianos/Ravel: Ma Mère L'Oye Martha Argerich, piano & Mikhail Pletnev, piano [Deutsche Grammophon]

Category 102: Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without Conductor)
* Carlos Chávez - Complete Chamber Music, Vol. 2 Jeff von der Schmidt, conductor; Southwest Chamber Music [Cambria Master Recordings]

Category 103: Best Classical Vocal Performance
* Ives: Songs (The Things Our Fathers Loved; The Housatonic At Stockbridge, Etc.) Susan Graham, mezzo soprano (Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano) Track from: Ives: Concord Sonata; Songs [Warner Classics]

Category 104: Best Classical Contemporary Composition
* Adams: On The Transmigration Of Souls John Adams (Lorin Maazel; Brooklyn Youth Chorus & New York Choral Artists; New York Philharmonic) [Nonesuch Records; Publisher: Hendon Music.]

Category 105: Best Classical Crossover Album
* LAGQ's Guitar Heroes Los Angeles Guitar Quartet [Telarc]

Field 31 — Music Video
Category 106: Best Short Form Music Video
* Vertigo U2
Alex & Martin, video director; Grace Bodie, video producer
[Interscope Records]

Category 107: Best Long Form Music Video
* Concert For George
Various Artists
David Leland, video director; Ray Cooper, Olivia Harrison & Jon Kamen, video producers
[Warner Strategic Marketing]

And so the awards list ends on a "well done for dying prize" to George Harrison, and thus the cycle is completed. Does anyone else wonder at the prize for Vertigo, though? Obviously you'd expect us to complain as we don't think that much of U2, but considering the stuff they've done with videos in the past, this seemed lame by their standards.

It's nice, by the way, to see that Andre Previn still gets treated with respect despite his commercials for Fergusson tellies during the 80s.