So when, as tonight, New Order play Joy Division songs, are they doing their own material, or are they doing a cover? Judging by how Barney's whoops of "c'mon" polish out any bleakness left in Love Will Tear Us Apart after the forcing of Blue Monday beats into its belly, they clearly approach it like it's their song to do as they will with; but really, it sounds like it needs to be taken into care pretty swiftly.
Ana Matronic pops up to guest with ver Order, which really just underlines how - after their triumphant performance last year - Scissor Sisters haven't appeared to do very much besides surprise guest appearances and awards shows. It's possible they've been busy beyond our peripheral vision - someone, for example, must have invented the sodoku - but they're not that easy to misplace, surely?
"Thanks for waiting around in all this [inaudible] weather, just to see Coldplay" says Chris Martin, apparently not joking, either. The bits we see through our fingers are exactly as you'd expect them to be. Whenever Martin pulls that face as if he's really, really feeling something, we want to, in the words of our mam, really give him something to feel about.
Razorlight look as if they're about to embark on the biggest mis-step of the festival - a giant countdown to their appearance on the Other Stage, like they're the coming of the new year, or the final round in Name That Tune. Then when they hit the stage, not only is Johnny Borrell wearing a shirt - not like him - but he's also got a scarf on. It's exactly like your cool mate has gone for his first term at Cambridge and come back a bit of a toff-aspirant knobbage. More worryingly, Borrell now looks like Rod Liddle's twin brother.
And the start of their set is a little wobbly, too; just as we're tugging the lid of our pen to note down 'over-promoted' when we notice they're getting better and better with each minute of each song. Yes... it's a triumphant fightback. Three songs in, and they're actually rather marvellous. The use of the spotlight even makes sense of Borrell's decision to wear a white outfit - a wardrobe choice which looked like a Icke-a-like bid to suggest heavenly credentials for Geldof and like a bloke who'd be coming round to take drinks orders after quoits when picked by Kasabian turned into a simple but effective piece of showmanship for Borrell.
BBC THREE then elected to leave Razorlight to go and see Coldplay doing Clocks. We liked the way when Chris Martin jerked his way to the final note huge searchlights came on lighting up the sky - partly because the visual effect was brilliant, but mostly because it meant Martin was going to stop flailing like a bear with his paw in a beehive.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
So when, as tonight, New Order play Joy Division songs, are they doing their own material, or are they doing a cover? Judging by how Barney's whoops of "c'mon" polish out any bleakness left in Love Will Tear Us Apart after the forcing of Blue Monday beats into its belly, they clearly approach it like it's their song to do as they will with; but really, it sounds like it needs to be taken into care pretty swiftly.
Maybe, to be fair to Tom, it was misty rain rather than sweat that was making him look so soggy - shots across the top of people's heads made it clear that Somerset was either suffering from horrific drizzle, or heavy mist, or perhaps just very, very low cloud. What can't be explained away through meterology, though, is drummer Richard Hughes' resemblance to a 1960s US midwestern college band drummer; all clean cut winking and over-elaborate, but very precise, shoulder movements.
Popping up for an interview on BBC THREE, George Galloway pretends that he's never heard of Chas and Dave and that he's the oldest person at the festival; he then mimics the Arctic Monkeys by launching into a minirant about British bands who sing in American accents. Naturally, he's looking forward to the Proclaimers later, who have never sung in anything other than their own accents. He seems happier being interviewed on Three than by Paxman.
Interpol just don't work properly - not their fault; but they need to be in a small, windowless room, with air conditioning broken and sweat dripping off everything. If they must be at a festival, they should be in a tent. If they can't be on in a tent, they shouldn't go on until the sun has gone down. Just as you can't have a picnic indoors, there are some bands who don't belong outside.
David Tennant suggests that after 24 hours of Glastonbury "I look like Stig of the Dump" - well, you might as well play him, too; you're working your way through all the other key roles in British popular culture. He's also looking forward to The Proclaimers. If we were working for OK, we'd be sending our photographers down to the Avalon tent.
Goldfrapp divided by Mari Wilson = Roisin Murphy. Roisin doesn't look like she got much sleep last night and also appears to be being attacked by invisible bees. For some reason she's got two microphones and, although she's gone solo her flightcases still have Moloko on the side of them. Suddenly she plonks a feather bedecked headdress on her head and everything perks up. She really does have an awful lot of songs about sex.
The thing about the umpteen screens and rumpty-tumpty channels of coverage being mounted by the BBC is how few cock-ups there are; there's the odd moment when things do go wrong - Colin Murray excitedly announces New Order just seconds before cutting to Barney counting from one to two several times with his finger in his ear; a glorious moment when the music to Keane is playing out over Echo and The Bunnymen , and vice versa, behind the red button. Actually, how come the Bunnymen are there? Didn't Mac leave under a cloud during a previous muddy festival, vowing never to return? Tonight, he sings like he's being throttled; sipping something from a glass which suggests his voice is fucked. Again.
If Kasabian are meant to be so cool, so how come they've taken to the stage dressed like junior stewards on a second-rate cruise line?
"There you are, we're only an hour into the coverage on BBC THREE and we're already getting moments like that" trills Colin Murray. "That" being a very sweaty Tom from Keane singing 'somewhere only we know' into a lousy mix, of course.
Although Michael Jackson might seem like a man who could do with a bit oif friendly support right now, he might wish he was getting it from a quarter with a little more credibility than Pete Townshend. Nevertheless, Pete wades in on his behalf:
The day before, a jury cleared Michael Jackson and another absurd celebrity trial collapsed. We 'celebrities' live in Reality Shows these days. I was pleased Michael was cleared. My only experience of his dealings with children is that he has unselfishly helped every cause, and individual child, I have sent his way. In one case he hired a circus for the Down's Syndrome children of a special school of the daughter of a friend of mine, and showed up to happily, and - yes - in childlike enthusiasm - watch the show with them. This little girl believed she was Michael's future wife, and he so kindly allowed her to sit next to him, as his future bride. His feathers may be badly burned, and he may be damaged in other ways too, but he is something of an angel.
Of course, its not entirely surprising that Peto feels something of an affinity with jackson - like Jacko, his behaviour was dubious; like jacko, he seems to believe that the problem is more with how other people feel about what he got up to rather than any actually problem with having stranger's kids in your bed (Jacko) or downloading child porn in the interests of some sort of freelance research (Peteo). Yes, Jackson may have done many, many wonderful things for children and brought light and joy to the faces of many of them - but that really doesn't mean the police shouldn't hold him up to the same standards of behaviour as anybody else, does it?
And if we were Pete, we'd think twice before saying we'd sent kids Jackson's way. That would be a gift to a cruel, cynical satirist.
So, you might have got the impression from people (like us) grumbling and the triumphant headlines that this is the least crime-ridden Glasto since records began (yeah, because anything worth pinching has been washed away) that this just is a very different Glastonbury. However, the Pipettes fell victim last night to two of the things supposedly vanquished forever from the new Clear Channel Glastonbury Experience: hippies and crime. Some old hippy loon stole their van and, because he didn't close the doors before driving it away, managed to scatter all their stuff over the shop. They got the van back, mind, and - in an inspiring tale for all of us - they elected to keep going; swapping their lost vagueness gig for an acoustic set instead.
Inevitable joke: They could have done with a boy in uniform
On the right hand side of our monitor, The Futureheads are playing (and three girls wearing purple Space 1999 wigs are winding their way through the crowd); on the left hand side, erm, this window. This is made possible by the BBC and Playlouder link-up to stream some performances live from the stages. On the grand scale of the other stage, the Futureheads are open and exposed - on one hand, the snog round the back of the chip shop of their songs work really well in providing some bounce for the festival; on the other hand, the 'all the songs sound the same' problem is a lot more obvious when they're blown up this large. Even their TV Personalities cover sounds a lot like the last Futureheads single and, we fear, the next Futureheads single. It's a pity, as we suspect they've got the nous and the moves to offer a selection pack of flavours - instead, it's very much a large packet of the same thing, and even when the biscuit on offer is as lovely as, say, a Bourbon, it makes it a lot less likely you'll want to finish the packet.
You need to grab the good ones as and when you have the chance, and so if Tim Wheeler's so high and happy as he comes off stage that he says he wants to get married, onsite, today, surely that's reason enough to slip yourself into something white and head down to Somerset. After all, he is quite a catch:
And he could benefit from being fed some wedding cake, we reckon.
The man in the white suit was rather good, then - inspirational, convincing; persuading thousands of people to join hands and chant. Mind you, when De La Soul played the Pyramid stage, they also got people to hold hands and chant slogans; persuading people to do something vague and nice sounding isn't that difficult. And that's probably the problem with Bob Geldof's Glastonbury speech: it implied that you don't need to do anything to change the world other than have a bit of an amble round a park and feel like you're doing something. After all, to solve all of Africa's problems is but the work of two minutes for the eight leaders at ther Gleneagles Summit, and by holding hands and tapping a foot along with Dido, "we will face down those eight men." Bob also claimed that the solution to the African crisis is nothing to do with money, because "we live in a world of surplus." Which is sort of true, but only because we're fucking the planet to push out as much stuff as we can greedily cram into our gobs - it's a false surplus; and with all of the surplus apparently in the west, balancing the needs of all six and a half billion people is going to take much, much more than just a policy decision and a press conference in Scotland next week. It'll take complex, awkward, unpopular decisions, persuasion and a little compulsion. Bob is lying to the Glastonbury crowd, as he'll lie to the G8 audience next week. He's right when he says the poverty in Africa is obscene - it is, and the problem is simple enough to define. He's charming, and compelling when he says the solution is just as simple, but like a preacher, when someone tells you that you can reach redemption with no effort, all they'll succeed in is energising their own popularity.
The ImportoEgoBeast is created
It was equally striking that Geldof was desperate that the hand-holding shouldn't be seen as "some hippy, rock-festival thing" - apparently, this was more real than that; he seems to have relocated from his original idea that the boys and girls with guitars were going to tilt the world on its axis - now he seems almost to disdain the rock connection.
We're not entirely sure how Dave Simpson can be so sure Meg White's knickers were either black, red or white - we were watching the TV coverage too, and although there were plenty of shots of her butt poised perkily on top of a stool that had MEG stitched onto it, it was snugly encased in trousers which would afford no such view.
You have to dig around quite a bit to find the reviews this year on the nme festival site - pride of place is given to the free festival ringtone download offer, of course. It's worth the effort of finding, though, for some interesting perspecives - Mark Beaumont points out that the crowd increased tenfold between the Doves leaving the Pyramid stage and the Killers entering it, and turns in a beautiful review of the Doves, which will appear in textbooks in the future as an example of damning with faint praise:
Doves call us ‘Glasters’. Doves show films of space exploration and swimming bikini babes on the big screens (because, let’s face it, The Bravery they are not). And Doves prove themselves a worthy future headline act with field-shattering Big Tunes like ‘Pounding’, ‘Snowden’ and a gigantic ‘The Cedar Room’.
Was he even at the same gig as us? No, because we were at home slurping down ice tea and thinking about mattresses. Elsewhere, Dan Silver found The Others "earnest" but enjoyed MIA; and reports half the Peel Tent emptied when Brett and Bernard came on.
Over at The Guardian, Dorian Lynskey seems slightly alarmed by the Disaster Des nature of The Editors: They strike you as the sort of people who couldn't replace a lightbulb without the ceiling falling on their heads. She then turns around and, in a comedy plank-in-face moment, hits them with the description of "the Brummie Interpol".
She's reserved her best ire for the Others, though:
They are not the worst band in Britain but they have the worst frontman. Dominic Masters' torturous cockney whine makes John Lydon sound like Karen Carpenter. His lyrics might be the work of a remedial pupil at Jack Black's school of rock. "I don't want to sell my soul to the man," he whinnies. Fair enough, but he might want to consider part-exchanging it for a brain.
That's the problem for bands this year: like everyone else, the reviewers are cold, wet, and slightly pissed off. You have to work that bit harder to win them over.
We're slightly rallied by the news that Bob Geldof is going to pitch up to give Glastonbury a lecture about Africa, not because the apparent plan to get everyone in the field to hold hands is appealing, but because it's a bit of a nice tradition - we remember our first Glastonbury was interrupted, briefly, by David Icke popping up to ask us to be careful about litter or somesuch; his slot had a massive build up promising it was going to be something very significant, and so it was slightly dispiriting to discover his big moment was just about putting cans and bottles into black sacks. Mind you, this was before he was the son of God, so maybe he just didn't have the material back then.
The hand-holding in the name of progress seems to be an attempt to recreate the slightly disappointing spirit of Hands Across America and the Jimmy Saville endorsed British version (we have precious memories of Saville, live on Andy Kershaw's Radio One Sunday afternoon arts show, expressing his desire to smash himself into a million pieces, to fly above the country and see all the hand holding; clearly not simply smoking cigars, then).
We're sure it's all meant well, but it's a dangerous combination of the self-importance that sometimes surrounds Glasto with the monster ego that is at the heart of Live 8; if those two forces fuse this afternoon all the hand-holding in the world won't save you as Geldof and Eavis merge into a giant ImportoEgoBeast, sixteen feet high and made of girders and conviction, marching towards Gleneagles and crushing all thoughts of difference of opinions under its enormous feet, each the size of The Sun's famous double-decker bus.
They will be filmed from the air to "show people around the world people at Glastonbury are concerned about the issue", Mr Eavis said.
Mr Eavis added the festival had been supporting similar campaigns for a decade and "we've been doing this for so long that we've got to finish the job". Geldof asked to appear to "talk about his favourite subject, the Africa problem", Mr Eavis said. "He'll get us all worked up."
Run for your lives! It's starting! The ImportoEgoBeast is rising.
Although it's terrible for the family and friends of the person who's died at the festival - a 25 year old man from Street was taken ill and died on the site yesterday evening - it's an unfortunate factor of this size of gathering; even without crime and accidents, the chances are one or two people will die during the weekend.
Slightly less grim, but still sad for those involved: apparently around 2,000 people decided to write-off the ticket money and quit the festival before much more than half a day had been completed; 400 other people have had to be given emergency places to sleep as all they'd taken to Worthy Farm got washed away in a river of mud and shite. Another example of the most important piece of advice for Glastonbury goers: never, ever take anything you couldn't stand to lose.
Well, if the conditions in Somerset aren't too disimilar from those in Buckinghamshire this morning, they're adding a chill wind to the water. We love our hot shower and, i suspect, if we'd gone down to Glasto this year we'd be having visions of the lovely dry toilets in Temple Meads station.
Between our last post last night and now, we watched a couple of more bits on the TV - although, for some reason, the BBC chooses to show no coverage at all before 7pm. (We were a little surprised that yesterday teatime, they chose to carry on putting out shit docubites about Boris Becker on BBC TWO rather than saying "Wimbledon's rained off for now, so we'll take some live action from Glastonbury until the tennis returns," but then we despise Wimbledon and it's apparent superiority in the schedule to music and art and fun and love.) The late night coverage, though, did manage to sneak in a single track from The Tears - we hope they chose to not return to them because the sound was shit rather than because an editorial decision was taken that people would rather watch The Doves for the third fucking time than Brett and Bernard. The band were swathed in blue lights; probably a coincidence that it made it look like a Pizza Hut toilet designed to foil junkies from injecting.
There was some footage from Babyshambles - all rather exciting, although it has to be said that they're not actually very good, are they? Kilamangiro is a lame pun with a Chas and Dave knees-up underscore, and although it's clearly not crucial to the bands appeal that they be like the Halle Orchestra, a degree of competence would be nice. BBC THREE's perspective of the Doherty crowd surf was interesting - the security guards trying to stop him going in, then more security guards trying to pluck him out; and eventually still more frog-marching back to the stage like a confused older person. More telling, though, was the perspective used for the News 24 pictures: it looked and sounded exactly like Bono's Live Aid performance.
This morning, Vernon Kay and Scott Mills were co-hosting on Radio One - shouldn't Kay be off being clammy in the US? We say co-hosting, by which we mean Kay driving his empty vehicle of self-love over the top of Mills. Liz Kershaw was doing duties on 6, but from London.
Meanwhile, the morning reports on News 24 managed to make Bob geldof sound like a natural disaster, announcing his plans to make everyone hold hands with a tired "After torrential rain yesterday, today Glastonbury will be visited by Bob Geldof..."
The mud engulfing Glastonbury would, of course, have been a matter of some concern for Daily Mail readers, what with a large number of their kids being there this year. And nobody knows how to chill the marrow of a middle England parent like the Mail:
Meanwhile, the Express and the Guardian chose slightly more uplifting photos - kids having fun kyaking. Admittedly, kyaking through the places where they were meant to be sleeping, but even so:
Inside the papers, things get even more bizarre: The Sun claims to have "saved" Glastonbury:
As more than 100,000 grim-faced fans waded knee-deep through muddy water a Glastonbury spokesman announced: “All the bands on all the stages have been postponed until further notice.”
But then the gloom lifted — as the sound of music suddenly came blaring from The Sun’s famous red double-decker bus.
Apparently, the Sun had a bevy of Page Three Girls - we've checked, "bevy" is the collective noun - on site handing out free copies of the paper (Page Three girls? Murdoch papers? We have travelled a long way from 1970, haven't we, Mr. Eavis?) from that, uh, famous red double decker bus. (No, we never have, either). Equally odd, though, is that The Sun - who's spent the last few months warning Kate Moss about the trouble she's making shacking up with junkie Pete Doherty - is proudly streaming the new Babyshambles video from their website.
Meanwhile, over at the Telegraph, it's time for perhaps the lamest pun in music history, as they stop their presses for a "last minute addition to the bill" - Muddy Waters. Oh, our sides, our sides.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Bouncing around the four screens of music streaming on BBCi (we're not quite sure why having access to 6Music is counted as an extra screen - it's on channel 870 anyway, isn't it?):
Bloc Party just look like they've been assembled to slot in front of a Glastonbury stage; Kele is all smiles; Matt's taken his shirt off and written "Hello Mum" down his arm. Probably a better band than we deserve, they're the first thing we've seen so far that's been more interesting than the weather - this could be their tipping point; it certainly feels now like the moment they started to become as crucial as a few people were predicting back at the start of the year.
Steve Bays might just edge out Kele in length of hair, but the songs don't have the same bounce to them. Hot Hot Heat don't really rise much beyond the luke warm; the Zutons are pretty much as you'd expect.
The sound quality is much better on the John Peel Stage - which probably comes from being virtually indoors - and Secret Machines make the most of it. Since we've wandered down the path of using hair as a set-judging metaphor: almost as good as their fringes.
The White Stripes - playing live as I do this - are a bit flat, actually. Meg still drums like her head isn't attached to her body, but Jack has clearly been stung by those gags that he was turning into Michael Jackson and is now busily transforming himself into a 1930s silent movie villain. Which wouldn't matter, except he's not making any real effort to entertain: he keeps insisting on doing his silly falsetto thing instead of actually proper singing; he dahses from instrument to instrument (piano! xylophone! bones made into skeletons!) but it comes across more like watching a mildly talented kid being forced to put on a show by his parents - like he's not even that arsed about showing off, but he doesn't know what would happen if he stopped. Someone, please, get Meg a neckbrace and a solo career.
MIA seems to have been elaborately over-promoted with her slot just a Willy Mason south of The Tears; she's been remorselessly hyped on the strength of a fairly solid debut, but live she's the sort of disappointing that veers towards being embarrassing. She's got a mate up with her, and they're stomp dancing around like two Grange Hill kids playing tapes in their bedrooms. At their best, they're almost as good as the Wee Papa Girl Rappers; much of the time, though, they're struggling to be as good as Krush.
For some reason, Jo Whiley is wearing Posh's cheapo cowboy hat.
The Ybor City Corrosion of Conformity gig on Thursday night ended in bloodshed as four people were stabbed; one died [EDIT - see comments]. Trouble blew up in the mosh put when two women started scrapping. The dead fan was a thirty year old man; his wife is in hospital. Corrosion of Conformity issued a statement which appears to lament, well, this corrosion of conformity:
"In 20-plus years of gigging, we've never seen anything like this. It's sad that people can't come together for a good time, listening to music, without something tragic happening. We feel for the families of those attacked and wish success to Tampa law enforcement in their quest to solve this pointless crime."
(It's curiously worded, as it makes it sound like every time people come together, something tragic happens, but we imagine their minds were elsewhere.)
Some people forget that as well as providing a chance for young people to roll about in mud, there's a whole other aspect to Glastonbury - they invite bands to play, as well.
Everything sounds a little bit, well, rough, so far - maybe because of the weather and the stress; or, perhaps, because the broadcasters are working against the odds. Royksopp's set was curious to watch from the position of a camera on stage level - a fantastic ammount of paper-shuffling, which made it a little like being at a poorly-prepared business meeting; they wheeled on a female vocalist at one point who seemed to exist purely in her mind's eye.
BBC THREE then brought on Babyshambles for an interview, in which the band were totally inaudible; Colin Murray seemed to be wearing a fixed grin while everyone else just seemed a bit confused; the director seemed determined that the non-Pete Doherty members of the band would be shot only from above. Their set earlier was, by all accounts, shambolic but memorable. They turned up twenty minutes late, but that's virtually ahead of schedule for them.
The Killers are playing at the moment - BBC THREE has retreated into multi-screen hiding to allow a rerun of Eastenders out; Brandon Flowers, with his white jacket and Max Factor eye make-up has come in the style of a preppy college kid going to a fancy dress party as a non-specific New Romantic. All the hits, but on the evidence of the slightly wobbly quality of performance, they were right enough not to take the offer of the closing slot when Kylie fell ill.
JD is finally getting to see some music - but not before seeing something rather grim, as he reports on GlastoBlog:
We just saw the chilling sight of firemen diving into the water-logged fields to make sure no-one is inside the submerged tents.
We're a little uncertain as to what time the Guardian glasto is actually publishing its stuff as its timestamp seems to be all out of whack. But they are getting some top guest posters - like Bloc Party's Matt Tong:
How am I finding the mud? Well there's always a really thin line between feeling slightly messy and jumping right in. It'll definitely happen, I tend to snap when it comes to these things, and I'm coming to a point where I just have to jump right in.
Q seem to be doing little more than posting a picture every so often; the BBC haven't updated since 4pm and - rather alarmingly - our attempts to see what's happening with the London News Review keep coming up against a DNS error.
Mark Radcliffe hasn't, we think, been the main anchor for Glastonbury coverage since it moved from Channel 4, but he's hosting BBC TWO's coverage this year (quick, draft in a credible, older, north western late night dj man...); only trouble is, the BBC TWO studio has been wrecked by the weather.
BBC THREE has managed to survive the deluge - unfortunately, with Colin Murray intact, and at this moment they're carrying the first pictures of people rolling about covered head-to-toe in mud. They do realise there's cow poo in that, don't they? Edith Bowman - and here we pause to wave at everyone googling for Edith Bowman's tits - looks like a woman who could just about take the mud, if she didn't have to bear Colin's weight too. Isn't it about time she suggested to Radio One they uncouple the pair of them, and perhaps let Colin go and find work in forestry or something?
It's interesting, though, that both channels are really light on guests this evening. Nobody, we suppose, wants to hang about backstage more than they have to. Oh, hang on - KT Tunstall's doing an exclusive bit for BBC TWO. That might also be scaring people off...
Good holy shit, if the bands look so washed out - the Doves look as if they've come to the stage looking as if they've spent the day under water, what must it be like for the poor sods whose tents have washed away in the great Glasto floods? There's some business going on with their drummer at the moment, but we're not quite sure what.
A quick flick to BBC FOUR, newcomers to the festival this year; they've got Elvis Costello. Wonder what he'll start with... oh, you guessed Radio Radio, did you? Mind you, we can see why he's keen to do the high-energy stuff at the start of his set; he's struggling to keep up with the speed of his own youth here.
Back over to BBC THREE - is that Paul Weller standing watching from the side of the stage?
Onto NEWS 24, where they've actually given over one of their news multiscreens to the Flooded Glastonbury story, so those of us in the dry can press red at any time to enjoy a spot of quick gloating from the comfort of our armchair. But what we really want, of course, is to see how those people who paid six grand to stay in a tent are shaping up.
There's no denying their set on the John Peel stage was popular - Steve Lamacq reports there were queues ten-deep trying to get in to see them; but what's not clear is if they were attracting the audience because of their position on the lips of the glastocenti, or if it was because they were playing in a tent.
We're not sure if it's a result of his recent brush with mumps, but the piece we've heard from the set has him sounding very, very husky indeed, like Rod Stewart or something.
In other Glasto news: Apparently, they've been having to officially deny that someone got hit by lightning this morning.
Following their set being pulled in the interests of health, safety and not drowning, the Dead 60s have issued a statement:
“We’re absolutely gutted, not just for ourselves, but for all the other bands too. The Other Stage was struck by lightning at the time we were supposed to be performing, so we’re quite relieved in some way that the organisers closed the stage. We’re currently taking shelter in catering and have started on the brandy.”
Better getting sloshed on brandy than being fried, we guess. The Subways and Black Bud have also seen their slots kicked as rain sweeps the site.
Meanwhile, Michael Eavis is in full crisis-what-crisis mode:
“What’s wrong with a bit of rain? Is it going to be alright? Of course it is! We’ve had two inches of rain and we’ve got to get some tents moved. The tents that are wet have got to be moved, that’s the only problem, they’ve got to go on higher ground. We’ve not closing any of the campsites, just moving the wet tents to higher ground.”
Wet tents, eh? That's not the impression you get from Ian Youngs' blog:
The strangest sight so far at Glastonbury was 20-year-old Stewart Chappell from Somerset swimming to his tent. Literally, doing front crawl.
He was hoping to retrieve his car keys, but he didn't find them. His tent was in the most unfortunate part of the site, where dozens found their tents almost completely submerged.
Mr Chappell retrieved a few bags from his tent and that of a friend before wading back - up to his neck - to shore.
Meanwhile, The Guardian's Imogen Tilden points out that maybe there's a greater force at work - because of the reorganised schedule, the first track on Glasto proper this year was the Undertones doing Teenage Kicks. Peel, is this your doing?
This image is borrowed for Glastoblog:
We understand some music has actually started on the Pyramid Stage - however, perhaps ominiously, BBC Weather's predictions for the festival have changed from sunny intervals to stormy.
There's something quite lovely about the news that Fatboy Slim and Zoe Ball are going to renew their vows after all that business in the past.
Apparently, their renewal is going to cost three quarters of a million quid, which is obviously a wild overestimate by a journalist, but it should concentrate their minds on not screwing up again.
This morning's thunderstorms have caused scenes which Glasto veteran Mark Sutherland is describing as "worse than the mud years of 1997 and 1998" - water is schleping about the site over the top of his eight-hole DMs.
The rain has already caused the cancellation of the first three bands on the Pyramid stage as site officials rush to cope with the deluge:
BBC Somerset Sound's Steve Haig said: "There is nowhere for the rain to soak away and it's just staying on the surface. The communications are down with radios not working and some of the bands who were arriving have been told to stay away because their vans might sink in the mud - the whole thing has been thrown into chaos.
"One can only hope the rain stops soon or this festival is going to go down as a disaster."
As is traditional, Michael Eavis is sure there's no problem:
"It's different from 1997 when the site was very muddy. We've had four or five days of good weather so the ground is firm.
"We've also spent a lot of money on the drainage, so the main site should be OK."
The dry ground and sudden deluge, of course, was the reason for the Yorkshire floods earlier in the week, where they had to send in helicopters to get people out.
We were delighted that JD from Glastoblog got tickets this year; he woke up this morning in the middle of a thunderstorm, but apparently the worst has passed - for now.
The BBC's Ian Youngs was last seen heading towards the Stone Circle - let's hope he reappears before the bands start, as his insights are actually pretty useful:
The most visible brand is not one of the sponsors. It's Cath Kidston - the modern Laura Ashley. Her floral designs, which have become the adopted by the posh ladies of London's Notting Hill, are a common sight across the fields.
Not much, yet, on the Guardian's Culture Vulture blog, although they do have the news that Bright Eyes are replacing Ryan Adams, on the stage just as they did in indie-boy-girl hearts a couple of years back.
It's not fair to call her the hardest working woamn in punk - everyone in punk seems to work three or four times as hard as their equivalents in, say, pop, but Amy Griffin has taken on an extra role.
Shes already working with Raging Teens and Avoid One Thing; now she's also taking on a locum role covering for Dustbuster's Lenny Lashley. Lenny did his hand in a couple of weeks ago; Griffin will juggle shifts until his hand is fixed.
Tracking Glastonbury weekend from the comfort of an iMac and a roof:
Lest We Forget
2004 Coverage from No Rock and beyond
Thursday 23rd June
Hello, young ladies - Daily Telegraph seeks out firmest, youngest, blondest glasto-goers
The Official Sponsorship Moan of the Glastonbury Festival 2005
Ryan Adams pulls out
Friday 24th June
Toilet hiding guys leap out before they're ready
Latest from the Blogs - It's all middle class tents
Heavy rain forces three band axing; overflows eight-hole boots
What it looks like
Dead 60s turn to drink; Eavis still chipper; is this John Peel's work?
Nine Black Alps: A little hoarse?
Doves, Elvis Costello, and a gift for home gloaters
BBC TWO - washed away in the wind and the rain
Glastonbury bloggy round-up
Killers; Babyshambles; Royksopp
Late night round-up: White Stripes, Secret Machines - and Bloc Party claim the world
Saturday 25th June
The Sun does so many shrooms, it comes to believe it's saved the festival
Babyshambles - Doherty does a Bono
Death comes to the festival
Geldof and Eavis - together at last
The first reviews
Holding hands against poverty
Tim Wheeler offers half his kingdom (limited time offer)
The Futureheads: A packet of Bourbons
The Pipettes woz robbed
Keane - sweaty?
Doctor Who, The Proclaimers, Mac The Mouth and Kasabian, taking orders
Headline acts - lights come at the end
Sunday 26th June
Coldplay cover Kylie
UK press largely unbothered by Geldof, Eavis holding hands
Hard-Fi send apologies, note from matron
Police name dead fan
Eavis: I'll not phone U2 any more
Blogs: Joss Stone in her knickers, Chas and Dave, and more
Reviews from Day 2
The third night starts - Brian Wilson and Garbage
BBCi, give us back our red button
PRML SCRM: How to lose friends and downgrade your standing in people's [swastika] eyes
Rufus, Ricky and Brian
Monday 27th June
Round-up of reviews, such as have appeared yet
The late reviews
Bobby Gillespie - he loves Kylie, actually
Wednesday 29th June
Conor Oberst apologies for Peel jibes
Tuesday 2nd August
The Eavis verdict
ACME Glastonbury blog (Alan got the best deal, sitting in the dry with a nice cup of something while Charlie has been sent to the farm)
Glastonbury from the BBC
Guardian Glasto coverage
NME at Glastonbury
Glastonbury on Technorati
Glasto pictures on Flickr
BBC Glastonbury blog
Guardian Culture Vulture blog goes to Glastonbury
Q Glastonbury blog
Soundgenerator Glasto blog
Robert Price Nokiablogs his way around the fields
Oxfam Glastonbury blog
The continuing, bemusing, run of Posh on the front pages continues - at least this time she's taken that bloody hat off:
It also finds a lot of space - on a morning when the rest of the tabloids are excited by the bloke who convinced people he was a spy and the passing of The Great British Disappointment title from Henman to Murray - to report that Charlotte Church has had a shouty-screamy bust-up with her ex (presumably they don't mean "bust-up" in the strict sense, as he couldn't be an ex if they were able to bust... oh, nobody much cares.) Didn't this happen a few days ago, though?
The Guardian, meanwhile, reports on Glastogoers trying to get a free ride by hiding in portaloos:
They'd have gotten away with it, too - three guys scrambled into the toilets while the delivery van was parked in a service area; unfortunately, they leaped out when the van stopped, only to discover it was just outside the Glasto fence, rather than inside. I believe the phrase is "oh, shit."
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Sad news hit our inbox earlier today, telling us of the death of Andy Roberts, multi-instrumentalist with queercore band Linus as well as an active and vital part of the uk underground comic scene.
Sort-of formed in 1989 and 1992, the band started with a fanzine as a first release and played support slots with virtually anyone worth knowing in the lo-fi and riot grrl scenes - from Hole to Bikini Kill, God Is My Vo Pilot to Prolapse and, of course, Huggy Bear. Their first single was the Linus EP - it was always EPs back then - and they quickly followed up with a starring role on Wiiija's Some Hearts Played To Lie compilation ep thingy. 1994's Yougli proves that the band can do more than just four-song spurts of genius, and it's not surprising that Super Gologotha Crucifixion Scene made it to the Evening Session single of the week glory; it's a title that sounds perfect when uttered by Steve Lamacq.
Ten years ago, their label Elemental was bought out by One Little Indian; OLI quickly dumped all Elemental's acts (presumably they were only interested in the coffee table and the office cat); Linus set to writing and writing, building up a massive pile of unreleased material. It was 1998 before any new material would see the light - on Mole In The Ground records and - finally - a year later sees Linus release a second album, Good Listener. A change in the musical atmosphere in the last couple of years had seen the band getting more and more active again - part of a regrouping network of bands thriving outside of the XFM-endorsed semi-alternative mainstream.
Andy's daughter, Sophie, talks about her Dad on her LiveJournal:
For those of you that don't know about what happened, my Dad was a victim of a hit and run. He was at a Homocrime afternoon gig and after he left around 6 o'clock he was hit by a motorcyclist and left. The motorcyclist didn't even stop. The positive side of this is that he was recently at a gig on his way to a rehersal and probably really happy. This couldn't've happened at a more happy time for him, which in a way is very good and in a way very bad.
My Dad is the best man ever. I don't care what everyone else thinks, he just is. My childhood, although sad when I wasn't with him, was the best I could've ever asked for and I am unbelievably greatful for that. I wish I could've known him more and I wish, in the last week and for most of my life, I had called him more and written to him and thanked him every single day. Half of my life is dead.
Andy is one of those very, very rare people in the indieworld who, genuinely, nobody has a bad word for - even when they're out of earshot; and anyone who keeps following their musical dreams for a decade and a half, still thrilled by music and still keen to seek out new bands, new sounds, new gigs despite numerous setbacks and even when fighting the flow of fashion is pretty damn heroic in our book. Our thoughts are with everyone feeling the loss.
If you've watched that toe-curling advert for Microsoft (why do they bother to advertise Windows? It's like a campaign suggesting you use electicity or something - you're virtually a monopoly, dammit) and wondered if anyone in real life really would go "break-up? brilliant, that's going to help with the new album", you might be curious to hear that Katie melua has thrown herself into work following her split with Luke Pritchard - they met at the Brits school; he was in the Kooks. No, us neither. But now she's single, it's work, work, work.
Which is bad news for the rest of us.
As the Live 8 Edinburgh ticket distribution process follows the general trend of going ass-in-the-air, and ticket winners find themselves unable to claim their prize (some confusion between capital and lowercase letters, we're led to believe), tickets for the event have popped up on Ebay, and just as quickly been taken down again.
But why are Ebay doing what Bob has told them? Because, it seems, they've been misled:
On Thursday eBay said Live 8 ticket bids were being removed as soon as they were noticed onsite, a policy it applied to all Live 8 gigs.
"We believe people do have the right to buy and sell items as they choose," an eBay spokesman said. "We made an exception to our policy on the occasion of this unique, charitable concert."
But as Bob has said repeatedly elsewhere, Live 8 isn't a charitable concert - indeed, unless you count the money being given to the Princes Trust to persuade them not to be in Hyde Park on Saturday week, not a penny will find its way to any good cause at all. Bob keeps saying it's not a charity gig - so why are Ebay using the excuse of it being a charity to ban the sale of these tickets?
More to the point, if Geldof was as smart as we're expected to believe, he'd have seized upon the Ebay sales as a positive sales point - "People are so keen to come together and be part of sending this message to the leaders of the world, they're selling their fucking grandmas to buy tickets..." - but instead it's turned into a bit of an awkward mess.
Tom Cruise, the ex-husband of Robbie Williams collaborator Nicole Kidman (okay, it's a little tenuous in connection to pop, but it's just about there) has been talking about how he doesn't care about the rumours and stories in the press:
Asked what he thought about stories about his personal life he said: "I don't really pay attention to it. It does not really bother me. You know what I am saying.
"I do my work l live my life and it's never affected anything before. What do I do? I make my movies and I live my life the best way that I feel that I can. I can't control what people say or do . It is not going to change my life."
Well, good for him. People can suggest he's a tiny gay bloke who's about to enter into a second beard marriage designed to shore up his public image, and such lies roll off him like so much water from a mallard's wings. "It doesn't really bother him."
We presume, then, it must have been a different Tom Cruise who entered into legal action when people suggested he might be gay:
Actor Tom Cruise has won a $10m (£6.23m) case against a gay porn actor who claimed to have had an affair with the film star.
[Lawyer] Ricardo Cestero said Cruise was "very, very pleased with getting this judgment". In his action, Cruise said Slater falsely told a French magazine called Actustar that his gay love affair with Cruise led to the actor's August 2001 divorce from actress Nicole Kidman.
Cruise last acted against gay rumours in 2001, when the 40-year-old actor sued Michael Davis, the Los Angeles publisher of Bold Magazine, for $100m (£62.3m). Davis claimed to have a videotape of Cruise engaged in homosexual acts. The actor dropped the suit later that year after Davis retracted his claim and agreed to a stipulation that Cruise "is not, and never has been, homosexual and has never had a homosexual affair".
Cruise is determined to take legal action for defamation against anyone who spreads false rumours about him, said his lawyer. "He is very concerned and very protective about his personal reputation," [said] Ricardo Cestero. To the extent that if people are writing stories that defame him, he is going to go after them," he said.
Taking a look at the weather forecast and making other plans: Ryan Adams won't be at Glastonbury this Sunday; he's cried off with an ear infection.
It sounds like some sort of late-night 70s sitcom - Britney Spears and six Disney publicists enter her bedroom in the Disneyland Hotel Sleeping Beauty Hotel, only to discover hardcore porn on the TV and Kevin Federline out on the balcony. Quite why he wasn't in the room with porn isn't clear - maybe he's a bit afraid of women without clothes on?
We suspect the payoff to this story is made up by someone somewhere along the line:
Brit babbled, "Boys will be boys" -- then rushed to turn off the flick. After an uncomfortable moment, feisty Brit recovered and got nervous laughs when she hollered out to K-Fed: "Honey, you didn't tell me you'd brought along 'Sleeping Booty'!"
The most disturbing aspect of this is that someone seems to be trying to rebrand Kevin as K-Fed, as if this is going to make him seem more likeable, or go-ahead, or something other than a lottery-winning nightmare.
JOHN MERRICK'S REMAINS... YOUNG BOYS' SILENCE ... A KNIGHTHOOD - THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT YOUR MONEY CAN'T BUY
Michael Jackson's former PR man, Bob Jones, was given the push. Because, of course, it's not like Jackson needs to take care to keep people who saw him close-up sweet, is it? Jones is now promoting a book which rattles about in the darker corners of Neverland.
It turns out Jackson was desperate to buy himself a knighthood:
Jones says, "We spent a fortune trying to communicate with The Queen's people and trying to get them to decide to make him a knight and they weren't interested."
Funny that. It's interesting that Jacko was so keen to become a Knight - usually it's a title given to distant, self-obsessed people with more money than sense. Who haven't been forever tainted because they told a man with a television camera how much they like to have little kids sleeping in their bed and then squealed about being "misrepresented."
But you know what? His supporters probably deserve some sort of gong - if Ellen McCarthur can be a dame for going sailing, this woman must be worth at least an OBE:
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has been hit down by some sort of abdominal pains, which means that Mars Volta have pulled their remaining dates. That includes the Somerset House show on July 9th.
Holy grief, someone on MTV asked Beyonce what she'd miss most about being in Destiny's Child, and she broke down in tears. (The answer, by the way, is clearly "having people to fire.")
Kelly Rowland jumped in to make some hopefull noises about what the future might hold:
"This is not cool because we're very emotional."
She added: "We call it the end of a chapter, which is still a beautiful thing because there's more chapters to come individually.
"We still haven't had kids yet; we're not married. We're not breaking up. We're growing up."
No, Kelly, you're ceasing to work together. That's pretty much breaking up. We wonder if Beyonce also had her people tell her that "it's not you, it's our client" when she told Kelly it was over?
... although, having said that, a couple of fish with a watch on a chain could outsmart Girls Aloud. But someone has hacked into their website and forced them to close it down the forum. It doesn't appear to have been backed up for quite a while, either:
Its very sad to say that the forum was attacked earlier today so we had to take it offline.
We've restored it from a backup that is a couple of months old. So that is why all those posts are missing.
Apologies for any inconvenience to you all as we know you LOVE the forum.
Blame the idiots that did this.
Experts have expressed distress at the loss of two months worth of posting to the Girls Aloud forums. "This is terrible, just terrible," said Dan Cruikshank. "It's bad enough the American Army fucking up Babylon, but to lose this vital, irreplaceable resource, covering as it does the period when Cheryl announced her engagement, is an awful blow which I'm sure historians in the future will mark down as the start of a new dark age."
LA poptronic rock trio Autolux are coming to the UK for a mini-tour:
July 4th - Manchester Bierkeller
6th - London Barfly (with the Duke Spirit)
7th - London Sonic Cathedral Club
They're going to be supporting Nine Inch Nails in the US after this, so it might be your last chance to see them before their bodies are violated and their minds filthily, filthily corrupted.
Not too often you can report a venue escaping from a wrecker's ball, so it's pleasing to hear that Camden's Electric Ballroom has been saved. It had been due to get crished to allow the shadowy finance companies currently in charge of the the London Underground to open some shops ("extend the Camden Town tube station"), but even John Prescott - a man who believes that a field is just a cluster home waiting to happen - could see that it was a shit idea:
The tube extension scheme was deemed to have " devastating impact" on the character and appearance of the area, would be "detrimental to the viability and vitality of Camden Town" and would have "unfortunate far-reaching social and economic consequences."
Nick Cave issued the closest thing you can think of to a happy statement:
"The Electric Ballroom is part of the lifeblood of Camden Town, and long may it remain so."
Even then, he has to work in blood somehow, doesn't he?
This year, even the BBC Business News team is suggesting Glastonbury's become a bit of a, well, corporate sell out.
The festivals, um, director of sponsorship denies this, which is a bit like the FA's head of orgy planning denying the place is full of sex:
"We don't have anything like the involvement with sponsors that other festivals have," says Glastonbury's director of sponsorship Robert Richards.
"We've not increased sponsorship levels for the past four years.
"We don't go for overt sponsorship," he adds, adding that arms groups and tobacco companies are all banned, and the sponsors are expected to offer added-value for festival goers.
We're not quite sure how having an "official beer of the Glastonbury festival" - Budweiser, actually - offers "added-value", but we're sure it does, somehow. We do recall, however, that in the past, beer at Glastonbury was provided by the Workers' Beer Company, a socially-organised affair. But, hey, socialism is dead, and Europe is open for business:
"I seriously believe having dealings with commercial companies does benefit Glastonbury," Mr Richards says.
"It's useful. It helps maintain things and allows us to do what we do.
"If we had no contact [with companies] we'd be in a little bubble of good intentions of the caring kind, fixed in aspic."
Yes, without the pouring in of large sums of corporate marketing budget from multinational companies, you might not be able to get a sample of how life could be simpler if we all lived off the land and rejected multinationals (apart from the ones underwriting... oh).
Nobody really expects Glastonbury to be able to resist the lure of market cash - apart from anything, Clear Channel is keen to get its slice of the action- but perhaps it's time for it to drop the pretence to be in any way alternative. It's no longer a radical celebration of arts, bloody mindedness and everything alternative. It's a place for the children of Daily Telegraph readers to find out about a range of Orange Mobile Phone Packages before they disappear on their gap year.
It says a lot about both Glastonbury now and the Daily Telegraph that the broadsheet is the only paper to report the start of people arriving in Pilton; and, of course, that it does so with a large photo of firm young breasts in skimpy tops:
Elsewhere, for the third day running, Posh is on the front pages (yesterday she was on the Star front page but, frankly, we couldn't be arsed). The Mirror is frothing because you could almost, if you look hard, see how if the wind blew and she moved in the wrong way, see her tits:
But the bigger question is why, exactly, she keeps insisting on wearing that godawful £2.50 cowboy hat she can surely only have bought from a souvenier shop on the seafront?
The Sun has the pictures, too, and - oddly, considering Bob's insistence that if you hadn't won the text lottery, you weren't going - tickets to win for Live 8. Provided by Nokia.
How much of a surprise is it that a bloke who often doesn't show up for his own gigs fails to appear for an epoch-defining Vogue photo shoot? Vogue had wanted to reunite Pete Doherty and Carl Barat; Doherty was a no-show.
And, although we think they're wrong, they'd probably not be interested in running pictures of Carl on his own.
More from No Rock on carl barat
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
There's never going to be a what's left of the Beatles reunion - and that's more or less official: Ringo has said he'll never play with Paul McCartney again:
When asked if the pair would consider joining forces again, he said: "I haven't toured with Paul since '65. We're never going to do it. I go with my band, he goes with his."
Paul McCartney is rumoured to have said "oh boo-hoo-hoo, however will I pay for my Christmas tree now?"
Steve Lamacq has just announced on 6Music that The Loft are getting back together, at least for one gig; possibly more. More when we hear about it...
Lindsay Lohan really could be the next Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey: she disguises a lack of ability at singing by wailing along and pulls pentacular diva strops:
After a screening of the film, which opens Wednesday, Lohan stomped out into the lobby of the El Capitan Theatre huffing, "I'm so (angry)!" Her team of handlers hurried her into a bathroom for a 12-minute cooling down period.
At a block-party carnival after the screening, Lohan was hugged by her mother, Dina, and received compliments from co-star Matt Dillon, before explaining her outburst.
"I was upset when I didn't hear my song (First) during the race scene, where I originally thought it would be," Lohan said while signing autographs. "I was like, 'Whoaaa,' because nobody stays to hear the song in the closing credits.
"So I ran out."
Lindsay, from the reviews we've seen of the Herbie reluanch, nobody's going to be staying to see the opening credits, never mind the closing ones.
More from No Rock on whitney houston
Maybe it's being done as a demonstration of just how bad debt can be, but it's looking more and more likely that the costs of staging Live 8 are way going to outstrip available resources - and Geldof is relying loans to underwrite the costs of the effort. He's also scrambling into bed with some very dubious sponsors:
Nokia has signed a £5 million deal to become a global sponsor
Nokia? Global sponsor of a campaign to try and make lives better for everyone in Africa? Is this the same Nokia who makes use of tantalum capacitors, at least a significant portion of which are in turn made using coltan, blamed by the UN for being at the heart of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo?
Among the most alarming of the report's allegations was that Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian rebels had looted and smuggled thousands of tons of coltan from the Congo into their countries to export to the global market, using the profits to finance their militias. Indeed, the official statistics provided by these countries' governments - which many human-rights observers believe hide large amounts of black-market trading - show that Uganda and Rwanda dramatically increased the export of coltan following their occupation of northeastern Congo. For example, Uganda reported 2.5 tons of coltan exports a year before the conflict broke out in 1997. In 1999, the volume exploded to nearly 70 tons. The pillaging of the Congo's natural resources is exacting a devastating human and economic toll, says Leonard She Okitundu, the Congo's minister for foreign affairs and international cooperation. He told the United Nations Security Council in early May that "a consensus was clearly emerging in the council and in the international community on the links between the shameless looting of Congolese natural wealth and the massacres of the Congolese people." The fighting, he reported, has led to "assassinations of civilians, deportations, torture, rape and deliberate spreading of HIV/AIDS," as well as the displacement of millions of refugees.
It should be pointed out that The U.N. report does not directly blame computer manufacturers and mobile phone makers for the bloody trade, citing instead the companies trading minerals as "the engine of the conflict in the DRC." . And there are other sources of coltan. So, there's no real reason to use looted coltan and fuel the conflict further.
But "so far, high-tech companies have been reluctant to acknowledge they may be using materials originating from Congo rebels. That said, they can do little to prove they do not. "We first heard about this in April and immediately asked our suppliers if they used tantalum from the Congo," said Outi Mikkonen, communications manager for environmental affairs at Nokia. "All you can do is ask, and if they say no, we believe it."" So, that's alright then - if they say 'no', that'll be good enough. Now, Nokia might not be using any coltan from Congo, but not probing too deeply is, at best, letting other manufacturers who are off the hook way too easily; at worst, allowing the company to enjoy the benefits of murder, pillage and enslavement without it having to weigh on their conscience. It could be argued that if Nokia really wanted to spend five million quid making things better in Africa, it could put some of the cash making absolutely certain that none of its products are made using the blood of the Congolese, rather than underwriting Geldof's mid-life crisis. But then there's a difference between doing something useful and spending a portion of your marketing budget.
Meanwhile, back at Hyde Park, AOL will pay about £3 million as an official sponsor. It will transmit the concerts via broadband and receive a number of corporate hospitality packages to offer guests.
Corporate hospitality? At an event supposedly helping the poorest people in the world lift themselves out of poverty? We guess just because you're concentrating on making poverty history doesn't mean you can't enjoy some Pimms roped off from the unwashed.
So, it's got a little bit lost in the pushing of O2's excellent telephony services and complaining about Ebay, but the whole point of Live 8 is to try and raise awareness about poverty and put effort on the G8 leaders. Now, it's clearly an odd way of going about achieving those aims - Gordon Brown is one of those who would need to be convinced, but he's already bought in, at least partly, to the whole idea and has even been offering advice on who should be on the bill of Live 8; it's hard to see why the other G8 leaders would give a stiffy about the concert in Hyde Park ("We here in Russia love your Annie Lennox - she's changed our mind, that's for sure"); much less any form of Geldof-led crusade on edinburgh when they'll be miles away at Gleneagles and kept safely away from the public anyway
Normally, we do wonder if perhaps our mother raised us as a cynic, but it seems on this one the public is with us - only 16 per cent of respondents to a Youov poll thought the gig and demo would make any difference in any appreciable way; and, besides, they'd rather see some action on climate change instead of, or as well as, relief to Africa.
No wonder Bob's trying to get the Spice Girls back together - it's probably the only success he'll manage. If he can do that.
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(Note: You can either read this news story, or wait a couple of years and watch the TV Movie version when it appears mid-afternoon on Living TV2)
Amongst those delighted by the Jackson verdict, of course, was his mother, who otherwise would have had to endure regular visits to chokey and try baking a file in a cake. She's been trilling away about her feelings following the verdict. She's not gloating, of course, she just feels so sorry for the Arvizos:
Katherine Jackson did not know what she would say to Gavin Arvizo and his mother Janet if she met them, she said.
"I feel sorry for them, and from what I hear about their past I feel sorry for their future if they don't change their way," she told NBC's Today show.
We've all learned, and moved on, haven't we? Jacko's learned not have any kids in his bed... or has he?
She added that Jackson would change his friendships with children, no longer allowing them to share his bed.
"I'm sure he's not going to do that now because twice he's been accused of doing something he hadn't done," she said.
Yeah, share your bed with kids and get called a kiddie fiddler once, shame on you. Share your bed twice... how does that go again?
Ma Jackson seems to have come away with a different view of what the trial verdict means for Jackson:
Katherine Jackson told the US TV network she believes her son's name has now been cleared beyond doubt.
"He's been proven not to be a child molester and they know he's not. He's not a child molester, he's not a paedophile, and he doesn't give liquor to children. These kids were bad kids," she said.
Hmmm. He's not actually been proven not be anything - apart from not touching those kids at those time; even some of the jurors came away with the impression that there was something hella fishy going on. If the family Jackson think he's cleared his name, they might be in for a bit of a shock. Only a half-detached person would believe that.
He's not really said who will be suing who, but according to Alex James Blur are now in the throes of legal in-fighting:
"It's a shame really. I thought we might all get together again for Live 8 and try and save the world but no.
"I think my management and my lawyer are both having mental breakdowns. It's mad, it's the hardest thing ever - a combination of new technology and aging rockstars."
Is it just us, or is Alex James starting to look less and less like a pop god and more like David Mitchell playing a creepy uncle?
Can we get an ASBO banning him from buying Werther's Originals?
We're not impressed that Channel 4 is even bothering to put together yet another programme where pranks are played on "celebrities"; and even by the standards of the genre, squirting Tom Cruise with a water pistol disguised as a microphone is a bit dense. Having said that, though, Cruise's complete inability to process what was happening, and then his total over-reaction to a lame stunt which really required little more than a quick "I pity your mother" and a dignified turn about heel was probably the most entertaining thing he's been involved in for a while:
The star struggled to maintain his composure and confronted the man, taking his hand and saying: "Why would you do that ... why would you do that ... why would you do that?"
As the prankster offered a barely audible excuse, Cruise said: "Do you like thinking less of people, is that it?"
After an uncomfortable silence the Channel 4 man went to walk away but Cruise said: "Don't run away."
He told his assailant: "That's incredibly rude. I'm here giving you an interview and you do that ... it's incredibly rude."
Cruise then said forcibly: "You're a jerk ... jerk ... you're a jerk."
Cruise was in town for the premiere of his movie, Yet Another Version Of War of the Worlds. There has been some talk on the internet that the film isn't a genuine movie at all, but is in fact a PR stunt designed to promote his new project, getting married to Katie Holmes, in which Cruise plays the part of a heterosexual bloke.
So, lame gag rescued purely by the pompous over-reaction of the target. (The water pistol team were, of course, thrown into prison - and quite right too; it's unthinkable that any man should squirt into Tom Cruise's face and be allowed to walk away). But could the story get any better?
Enter Sharon Osbourne. She's been got by the same team, with the same gag (this really is a low-rent TV show they're making); only Sharon has decided being hit by a waterpistol is such an assault to her dignity, she's suing. And she's offered Tom Cruise the chance to join her in a kind of irritating class action brought by damp self-publicists.
The only thing worse than not being able to take a joke is to not be able to shrug off a pisspoor joke. Inadvertently, Osbourne and Cruise have turned a gag which would have just made the perpetrators look like childish twonks into a rolling, yelling ongoing situation in which everyone looks bad. The pistol holders have won.
You could have a date with Rachel Stevens, but choose to go down the bar instead. Although, actually, getting barred from everywhere in your home town and finding you can't do your job any more was also a pretty good hint for jocket Martin Cotton. But we imagine it was missing out on Ms Stevens that will be the one that haunts him:
Martin had stopped using cocaine by 2003 but was still drinking too much. The turning point came when Martin pulled out of the date with Rachel Stevens after deciding to go drinking with his friends instead.
Apparently, he won the date on a Chris Moyles competition, which at least answers one mystery. We'd wondered how anyone managed to make it through the Radio One breakfast show for more than ten minutes without seeking out something else, but if a large portion of the audience are still drunk from the night before, thast might well explain it.
Of course, Playlouder run their own ISP with a music-flavour, so their survey into music fans and downloading isn't totally disinterested, but nevertheless, there's some interesting nuggets built into the figures:
82% said they were either unconcerned about being sued for file-sharing or were only slightly concerned and continued to do it anyway.
This does expose one of the major problems with the RIAA/BPI approach of suing some to encourage everybody to behave - they say the legal actions are meant to have an educational effect. Which it does, of course, but the problem isn't that people don't know that filesharing is illegal - it's just they don't care. And as a way of trying to alert people to the plight of poor multinational companies down to their last two or three million profits, it's bloody awful.
This is also quite significant:
Which music download format do you prefer?
AAC (iTunes format): 11%
Windows Media Audio: 5%
No preference: 16%
Maybe the lesson here is that people would happily accept slightly lower quality in return for freedom from being told what they can with the music they've paid for.
In slightly more cheerful news for the people in the comfy reclining leather chairs, the headline on the 2006 Digital Music Survey suggesting they've got the tide of history swimming in their direction:
Around 35% of music consumers now download tracks legally via the Internet and the percentage will soon pass the 40% who have pirated music, according to a new survey released Monday by Entertainment Media Research.
Of course, this doesn't seem to take account of the obvious fact that there's going to be a hell of a lot of overlap between the two groups - we reckon that there isn't a single person with a paid-for download on their hard drive who doesn't also have something or other tucked away that, technically, they shouldn't.
John Enser, senior partner at Olswang, added in a statement: "Clear deterrents to illegal downloading are emerging, with fear of prosecution running high, and close behind is the sense that unauthorized downloading is 'not fair on the artists,' suggesting that the industry's messages, led by the British Phonographic Industry, are being communicated effectively."
Yes... that's right. This is so clearly the case, we're surprised it feels so unlike what our and everyone else's gut feelings about what's actually happening online are.
Following on from the larger Reading capacity, Leeds council has approved an increase in capacity for the Leeds consolation festival. Saturday and Sundays will now see 57,500 people crammed into the site. It's great news for people who sell tickets to festivals, certainly.
We'd recommend noting these words down to compare with the finished product: Mariah Carey, talking about her next two videos:
"We're making two videos," she said. "I actually just got the treatment. We came up with some cool concepts."
What those concepts actually are, Carey wouldn't reveal — because it's "really technical."
"It's a new approach that I would have to let [the director] explain," she said. "It's new territory."
We wonder what the new technical leap forward is. Probably some massive advance in underwired bikini technology.
Half Man Half Biscuit - Urge For Offal
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The Orchids - Beatitude #9
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Tindersticks - Ypres
Jane Weaver - The Silver Globe
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And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead - IX
Scott Walker & Sun-O}}}} - Soused
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