Saturday, July 02, 2005


Apparently, the end of the affair is just the back half of Hey Jude. Which does have an element of a singalong to it, which is all very jolly, but its not even the full song. And because it's mostly just going "na-na-na", there's not much dignity to it.

But, yes, Harvey goldsmith pops up, and asks everyone to be safe as they leave, so that is it.

Luckily, the US show also seems to be over-running, so BBC One is able to pick up the Kaiser Chiefs straight away. Which gives I Predict A Riot an unenviable "follow that, then."


That was always the danger, though: it would take something major to persuade the Floyd to reform, but there reformation would overwhelm the event which caused it. So, ironically, although it couldn't have happened without Live 8, their set took itself off to a little bubble that had nothing to do with poverty, Africa, making anything history or even Bob Geldof. Even Williams, while he forgot why he was hear, or didn't know, or didn't care, still had a set that was grounded in the paraphernalia of Making Poverty History. The Floyd set could have been closing off a Sunday in Glastonbury, or a special event in Knebworth, or anything.

Back in the presento-pod, Whiley and Cotton are trumpeting the party line - wasn't Robbie Williams amazing? (Actually, no); Ross chips in with how "superb" Pink Floyd were (if you like that sort of thing); they're desperate for the stage to be set up for Macca and George Michael so we can all go home/to bed/shamble off to a station. "We're so privileged."

Macca has finally come on - doing Get Back, which considering the song's dubious origins is a bit of an odd choice for such a positive-feeling event. These days, McCartney is, of course, a bit like a superpowered Scissor Sisters, tending to only come out for big events, which means he's a good, solid choice for show closer if nothing else.

Drive My Car next - well, we could complain about the global warming implications, but having George Michael on stage for what is essentially a novelty song is a cheeky spot of ego-popping (Michael was moaning earlier that he'd really wanted to do one of his own songs; how sweet he ends up doing something with less gravitas than Bad Boys).

Fucking hell! Helter Skelter - okay, it's not Tomorrow Never Knows, but it's close enough to keep us happy. We'd say that we can't believe he does this live very often, but we'd only be setting ourselves up for emails from archivists with details that he plays it down a pub on the dock road every third Sunday. Sadly, this will lead three-quarters of the audience to go on a murder spree as they head back to the coach park, but that's a price worth paying.

The Long and Winding Road is, I guess, a fitting tip of the hat to the Long Walk concept, but you can hear that it desperately wishes it was Live and Let Die instead.

So, are we now about to get the big closure? Surely it won't be Do They Know Its Christmas, will it?


There's some sort of crushing inevitabilty that the screen time for the reunion which is actually interesting (Roxy Music, on tape from Berlin earlier) is going to be cut short by the bore-revival of the almost hyper-overrated coming together of the second Pink Floyd line-up. To be honest, Bryan's more or less just walking through it, but at least they've made the effort with a bunch of showgirls.

Yes... there it goes, as we prepare for the marching on of the Floyd, or 'no bloody good since Syd left', as we call them. Oh my sweet christ they look so scary now, it's like a bunch of Kwik Fit fitters have come into town. To be fair, I guess if you'd joined in the excitement of the ceremonial passing of the Dark Side of the Moon from generation to generation, then this will be the bit of Live 8 you think of as you hug yourself to sleep this evening, and to be even fairer, considering they're a bunch of people who would have still been attacking each other with wrenches, carjacks and anything else to hand this time last year, they're turning in a fairly tight performance. But they always felt to me like old men too heavy on the carpentry of rock and too sure of their importance to be loveable, and this slot, on this day hasn't done anything to lessen that sense.

"We're doing this for everyone who's not here, but particuarly, of course, for Syd." Oh, go on, then, you're not so bad.

By our calculations, they've already overrun Hyde Park by two and a half hours. If they're not careful, there's going to be all sorts of problems with people missing last trains home. Let's hope the rail companies are being a bit flexible.


Well, by now it was meant to be all eyes on America, but perhaps mercifully there's enough British stuff left to keep us going without having to worry about watching Keith Urban.

Although that did mean Peter Kay doing Is This The Way To Amarillo (wrong charidee, shurely?) beyond the point where the joke had worn thin while The Who's stuff was being set up. Pete Townshend is wearing dark glasses, although if he thinks that'll stop Rebekah Wade spotting him and naming and shaming him in The Sun next week, he'll be lucky. Roger Daltrey looks like a man who needs an American Express card to be recognised these days - he's slowly morphing into Cliff Richard, which is quite alarming. And dancing like Andy McCluskey, which is even more disturbing. Without wanting to open an old sore, actually, how does it work with Townshend signing the sex offenders register and Mariah Carey marching kids around backstage? We know that there's not any real risk involved, but was that something that had to be worked around?

We've just been trying to get AOL to work again to see Placebo, who might or might not be on stage in Paris at the moment - thats how we like our non-vanilla sex - but it's crashing the browser like crazy. We're not quite sure why, when they're obsessed with streaming in Windows Media, they won't actually work with Internet Explorer. It's frustrating as we've always had problems trying to get Firefox to accept Windows Media Player as a plug-in, which we quite understand - it's like trying to get your space rocket to accept a tape-player and AM radio.


Where could they find anyone more irritating than Robbie Williams to do the introduction for the handbag of ego? Step forward, David Beckham. (And how much must it kill Geri Halliwell that the closest the Spices got to the Live 8 stage was one of their husbands doing a run-in.)

We're not quite sure what message Williams is trying to send by gooning round the stage to Let Me Entertain You while flashing images of unfortunate and dispossesed children on the big screen behind him. And we're equally uncertain why he's wearing Albert Steptoe's scarf round his neck, come to that.

Still, compared to Jet - who are onstage at Canada - Williams looks like he's spent a fortune in Moss Bros. We can only presume that the band had to sleep under some sort of hedge before the gig. For six or seven nights straight. In thunderstorms. There's a slight feeling around everything we're seeing from Canada that nobody's really making that much of an effort - the feeling is the one you get at the Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury in the closing hours of the ceremony, that everyone's having fun but with the sense that something better and more exciting is happening elsewhere. (Actually, we've got a couple of friends - Rufus and Claire, hi and congratulations - who were getting married in Toronto today; they had toruble getting their guests anywhere to stay because a giant Alcoholics Anonymous meeting had booked up every spare room in the city months ago, so it's possible Jet did spend last night under a hedge.)

Turning our attention to Hyde Park, we wish we hadn't - Williams appears to be touching his cock - nervous tick? checking it's still there? - before launching into The Greatest Song Ever Made Ever(TM). It's only really sinking in now that any major event with even an ounce of emotional twang to it is going to have Angels lumbered into it at some point, which would be a great reason to attempt to harden your heart and resolve to never connect.

Philadelphia seem to have been watching Maroon 5 forever - they've just started Rockin In The Free World, too, which means they'll be on for a good half hour yet, too.


Oh, lord, she's going to be so embarrassed: Mariah Carey, on stage in front of a squintillion viewers, and she's forgotten to put a skirt on. And someone's forgotten to fade up her vocals. And she's forgotten to do a proper song, too. She'll just die when she watches the Sky+ tonight when she gets home.

Luckily, though, there's sweet relief just a red button away, with Sarah Mclaughlin doing, you know, proper music (and looking proper sexy, too) on stage in Philadelphia - although, to be honest, we're starting to lose track of what's live and what's been saved up from earlier. Sarah even apologises for sounding corny when she says we can all make a difference.

Back in Hyde Park, Mariah is parading "the African Children's choir" - apparently, they represent "eleven million orphans and they deserve a round of applause." Mariah claims "children like these inspire me" - which is quite disturbing since her art, such as it is, seems to involve little more than removing her knickers, ramming her tits into a push-up bra and screeching and panting. Is she really thinking about small children when she's doing that?


Still, at least there was Kanda Bongo Man to escape to on the BBCi service while Velvet Revolver was going. And after Scott and Slash Sting comes as a bit of a relief. And what makes the difference between Sting and his partner in light jazz and concept projects Annie Lennox is that Sting accepts that if you're playing a gig to large numbers of people, most of them won't give a fuck about your new, Montreux-friendly stuff and will really want to hear the songs you did when you were still famous. So he's come on with Message in a Bottle, and is about to do Every Breath You Take. The Police - like the Eurythmics - had some cracking pop songs, and Sting at least has the sense to not be ashamed of the tracks which got him to his position today.

And it is quite a position, too - nobody but a powerful figure would be able to get Trudi onto the interview couch, despite her not being famous, nor having anything to say, and wearing a stupid, stupid hat of the sort old ladies might crochet for a charity shop whose fundraising aims they didn't totally agree with.


Just when ITV had abandoned all hope of getting any audience at all this evening, on come Velvet Revolver. Who thought it would be a good idea to let them on the bill at all, much less during the evening, when they'd had a chance to enjoy some of the chilled drinks available backstage? They've never been anything more than the brainwrong of a bunch of over-promoted rock grunts, a vanity unit of dubious beauty, but tonight's performance took their rather low benchmark and didn't even set out to try and grab up towards that.

"You can come out now, they've gone" said Ross as they returned us to the safety of the presentation pod, where Paul McCartney was recalling his meeting with Vladimir Putin: "he seems a nice man... then someone reminded me he was the head of the KGB."


BBC News has been running a Blog all day, mixing BBC correspondents posts with public text messages which has given an interesting, if slightly depressing, chance to measure just how high that awareness beam has been raised by today's events:

1920, Lucy, from East Sussex, at Hyde Park
I'm just here to watch the bands, really.

1901, Jo-anna, from London, at Hyde Park
Dido was amazing and when she was singing with that guy, singing 'Seven Seconds', it was amazing. Everybody's in such a great mood.

We're sure there'll be a small queue at record shops on Monday morning seeking records by "that [African] bloke."

1630, Mark Jeynes, via text
The inactivity and disinterest of the lucky few in the golden circle is a disgrace. The bands must be disappointed the real people are so far away.

1600, Jamie, via text from Liverpool
I thought when Bill Gates introduced Dido, he was going to start singing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? I was gutted when he didn't!

1519, Phillipa Thomas, BBC News, London
Looking around, there are very few black faces on the stage and there are very few black faces in the crowd. But the organisers have already said that's not the point, the point was to get the big commercial acts on stage and as many people as possible listening and watching as possible.

1440, Dave from Exeter via text
At the back of Hyde Park. Great opening by U2. The sound is travelling slower than the big screen vision! Paid £2 for cup of coffee!

We're sure, of course, that that's fairtrade coffee and most of the scalped price will be heading its way to a grower's collective in Africa, won't it? Won't it? Bob...?


The Scissor Sisters really are made for this sort of thing, aren't they? We expressed a fear last week that they're fast turning into a band who have little time left to do anything other than a never-ending circuit of festivals and benefits and awards shows, but they've actually written a new song, which they're electing to do here and now. Which is probably the most brave thing anyone's done so far in this show - if you're going to debut a song, why not try it just a spit from the finale of the biggest gig in history (TM)?

It's brave; it's just a pity the song isn't quite as strong as anything from their first album.

The whole thing's starting to look like it's going to run a little late, at least in London.

MOTOWNOBIT: Renaldo Benson

The death has been announced of Renaldo 'Obie' Benson, one of the original Four Tops.

Born in 1936, Benson came together with Levi Stubbs, Abdul Fakir and Lawrence Payton in 1953 to form the band, originally named The Four Aims. The line-up remained unchanged until the death of Lawrence in 1997. Over the course of fifty years they managed two number ones - I Can't Help Myself and Reach Out, I'll Be There - but their status never quite regained after their songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland quite Motown in 1967, leaving the Four Tops to be shuffled from one team of producers to another. Although they never touched the top again, they remained successful enough to make a living from music. Even a forced change of label when they elected to not follow Motown to Los Angeles in 1972 didn't leave them totally beached - they still charted regularly until the late 70s.

After the chart action started to dry up (their last visit to the Top 40 was 1988's destructable), the band focused their attention on a lucrative business of tours, cabarets and PAs. Besides a one-off festive special, they haven't bothered with a new album since 1988, but being The Four Tops had effectively provided them with all they needed to guarantee an interested audience would turn up.

Obie died in a Detroit Hospital on Friday, from lung cancer. He was 69, and his last appearance with the band was on a performance on David Letterman's show in April this year.


See? Who can complain that this is just a load of white people pretending they know what's best for Africa? BBC ONE finally remembers the Africans are playing down in Cornwall, just in time to catch, erm, Dido.

Snow Patrol shout "The Killers are coming on next - isn't that exciting?" and, well, compared to them, yes it is. Bemusingly, at the end of their microset, The Killers announce that Martin Luther King Jr is about to do something. What, we'll never know, as the BBC cut back to Jonathan Ross at that point. We're guessing it might be King's crowd-pleasing juggling act that we missed.

Joss Stone's just turned up now - not driving her Lexus but nevertheless looking like a girl raiding her Mum's purse in order to try and swing the homecoming queen vote at a private school's prom.


This event - where most participants are sat in their living rooms with a plate of gypsy cremes and a cup of tea - is just made for the instant punditry beloved of the bloggers. We're just going to dip a very ginger toe into the waters:

My Heart's In Accara picks up a report in the Christian Science Monitor, which showed that Live8 ticket holders in the US didn't really have much of a clue about Africa: "only half the concertgoers could name a single African leader. (In three of four cases, the concertgoers came up with “Robert Mugabe”, suggesting something about what African countries do and don’t receive Northern media coverage."

For Pambazuka, Gerald Caplan isn't entirely sure that Live 8 is going anything like far enough: Anyone who doesn't distrust the Group of 8 leaders who'll be meeting next month hasn't been paying attention. They're the ones responsible for the economic apartheid that characterizes rich-poor country relations today. Every one of them has failed to live up to repeated pledges about aid, debt relief and agricultural subsidies, solemnly made and blithely ignored. The recent ballyhoo about debt relief for 14 African countries was wildly overblown; it was no more than a modest first step. The more leaders like Tony Blair and Paul Martin shed crocodile tears talk about their moral crusade for Africa, the more liberal imperialist rhetoric they spin, the more nervous we should be. The job of Bono and Bob Geldof and other Live 8 organizers is to let their fans know that Africans need no more missionaries or do-gooders. Instead, Africans have a right to justice and equity to make up for the incalculable harm that we in the rich world have inflicted on them for such a long, long time.

Of course, that's the politics - what's really getting people excited is the swearing:

Razorlight cause a Ruckus! By saying the "F" word twice before the watershed! Oh my! Good for them. Update: Madge does, too! saysRecord Card; while Gav's Studio begs for some understanding:She swore. For god sake no-one complain to the BBC. The poor African woman looked dazed. I’m not surprised seeing 200,000 people looking back at you.

Did anyone actually invite Crosby, Stills and Nash? They've rushed out a press release saying how sorry they were they couldn't take part:

"After working many hours to try and support Live8 and David Crosby even helping to secure a plane as CSN was prepared to do the show, the band was not able to get a workable slot in the Berlin performance sequence that would have put them back in Bonn to perform a tour date that was previously routed prior to any announcement of the Live 8 event," Gerry Tolman, manager of Crosby, Stills & Nash said today. "They are extremely sad that they could not be a part of this historic event."

Yeah, we bet the Berlin organisers were really falling over themselves to try and work CS&N into the schedule. We can just picture them on the phone - "sorry, we have a metal band doing Hang On Sloopy when you want to play... how does ten pm sound? No..."

Paul Korda's blog also has this: The historic opening of today's Live 8 concert in London - U2 and Sir Paul McCartney collaborating on the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" - has been rush-released worldwide by Universal Music Group as a digital download, for sale an hour after its performance on the Hyde Park stage.

The unique recording is available to buy through more than 200 online music stores and services in 30 countries, including, and the proceeds from the download sales are being donated to Live 8.

Pity - or perhaps not - that they can't include it in the download chart, isn't it?

So while that end of the digital world is holding up under the strain, it looks like AOL is having a bit of a nightmare - Caryl isn't the only blogger having trouble watching the streams:

Ok, So its 3:30am and Im staying up TRYING to watch Live8 but the damn site wont let me! Linkin Park are on in less than 30 minutes but I still havent fix this problem! I have been on this fucking site since 11:30 and I haven't even managed to get the radio stream to work! *kicks computer* Damn it!

Mind you, not hearing Limp Bizkit is hardly the most crushing thing that can happen to you, is it?

Back to the politics - and for a useful round-up on African Bloggers' perspectives on Live 8, Global Voices offers some first steps in.


Going into Music, she has a bit of a sitdown and allows two young guys do some bodypopping - that's showbiz, one minute you're stood outside Peacocks in Chester trying to get a couple of quid out of the tourists, then before you know it, you're being brought on stage to provide some young flesh to bring down the average age of the Madonna segment. Her entire bunch of supporters seem to have been told to do some weird tai-chi style dancing. And there are a lot of people trying to shore her up/back her up. It could all be rather clever - Madonna's way of demonstrating that without many others, we are all rather weak, reedy, and unable to do much. But I suspect she's just hoping that we won't notice that these days, she needs a gospel band and a pair of keyboardists helping if she has any hope of carrying a tune.

And, yes, she is wearing her special cult wristband.


And we think that makes a straight run of every TV appearance ever that Johnny Borrell of Razorlight has removed his shirt - we know his nipples more intimately than our own, we think.

Bob Geldof has come out on stage again, this time to show that CBC Drive video which Bowie introduced last time (why no Dame David this year?) and to introduce a girl who didn't die because of Live Aid. (Although, actually, that's slightly arguable of course.) Having used her as a trophy of how great he's been, he then handed the poor woman over to Madonna. Maddy gripped her with her claws and forced her stand, looking a bit bemused, in front of a billion people while she did Like A Prayer. Eventually her interpreter came to her rescue.

Wisely, Madonna has decided to stick tracks from before her career went dismal, although her unconvinced delivery of Ray of Light underlines just how much of a slump she's in. Not so much "I feel like I've just got home" as it's a bit like you've left your gumption at home, lady.


Right, after the public service announcement, back to the cynicism: apparently the venue for Tokyo's Live 8 gig was only half-full; there's a lot of explanations as to why - not least of which is the claims that there isn't a history of charity gigs in Tokyo and there wasn't very much time to get ready. Joel Madden, of Good Charlotte, patted the organisers on the head and gave them a lollipop:

"It's encouraging they got something together. Maybe next time they'll get twice as many people."


There might be flaws with their plans, there might be more sweet intentions than solid plans, there might be a thousand reasons to be cynical, but any pressure in the right direction can only be a good thing. Sign the live 8 list - not for Bob, not for Bono, and certainly not because we've asked you to. Sign it because it adds your voice to the mele, and until the world is fairer, we need all the clamouring we can muster.


Fortune is a strange and wonderful beast, with its twists and turns. A few years ago, Snoop Dogg was such a threat to the well being of every known creature on these islands that the Daily Star was amongst those calling on the Home Secretary to throw him out - possibly with a spot of pre-deportation knuckledusting at Heathrow. Now, though, he's striding the stage at Live 8 in one of the Queen's parks, a valid member of society and even telling Gordon Brown what he needs to do. The slightly creepy way he's drooling over the barely legal gymslip dancers suggests that he might not have totally been reintegrated into acceptable society, but he's probably only only an ace away from his first Royal Variety performance. He still pulls that face like he's trying to poop out a garden tool way too much, though.

It turns out when UB40 appeared in the listings, it wasn't a misprint, or a joke. Ali Campbell and his friends and family did indeed take the stage, making something of a mockery of Bob's claims that the only way to get onto the Live 8 stage was to be a big-selling artist in 2005. They trudged their way through their stuff to a largely disinterested audience - it's not even cod reggae anymore; it's like some sort of cheap cod substitute (Hoki Reggae, anyone?), but at least it gave the BBC something to swap easily from BBC ONE to BBC TWO during. Unfortunately, the astonishingly long Wimbledon ladies' final had interfered with the original plans to show Live 8 on BBC TWO until that finished, and then swap to BBC ONE while TWO picked up the men's doubles final. That was meant to be just before five - as it turned out, they couldn't do the swingover until after six, thereby fucking up anyone who had set their TIVOs to tape the whole thing while they sat at the back of Hyde Park. Mind you, why anyone would want to see a thing on TV having spent all day watching it on TVs anyway is anyone's guess; a bigger question, why the BBC couldn't have put all of one event on one channel and all of the other on the other is one of those subtle mysteries that only the longest serving members of Transdiffusion would be able to explain to us.

Still, it gave us a chance to flick off behind the press red to see what was going on elsewhere - we bet it wasn't youssou ndour playing in Eden, but it's the only African artist they could come up with at the caption department; Brian Wilson looked like he was having more fun in Berlin than he ever had at Glastonbury.

Bakcstage, Robbie Williams took another opportunity to prove how straight he is by flirting with Fearne Cotton. His method of flirting is rather like the sales method used by Indian call centre workers; constantly repeating a not very attractive offer in the face of indifference. Of course, Williams' bid to prove he is a heterosexual bloke is totally undermined by his mannerisms, which are starting to make Sean from Corrie look like Conan the Barbarian.

Over in Rome, Simon LeBon is sounding surprisingly like Bob Dylan. Dylan at least has the excuse that he has a kazoo lodged in his windpipe.


Of course, the Whistle Test team who were behind the presentation for Live Aid joked that it was like getting the team from Radio Cleckheaton to do the job; with Live 8 that's actually happened as all the UK commercial radio stations have bandied together to be able to enable them to just about fail to rise to the occasion. Presentation is being handled by Richard Bacon, Ronan Keating and Ulrika Jonsson - which means Richard Bacon is doing his best to hold things together in the face of an almost pointless presence. Jonsson, before Dido arrived, launched a single-handed attack on people who claim that Dido is bland (giving us, for the first time, a polar opposite of the pot calling the kettle black) and later on took the opportunity to "personally thank the Hilton hotel chain"; she also giggling introduced herself as "Anthea Turner" which would only work as a joke if she had an instantly recognisable voice.

Most bemusing of all, though, the Commercial Radio network has taken the decision that, to avoid panicing its audience by having any dead air at all, between songs in individual sets it'll cut away to interviews with other bands. So, midway between Keane's two songs, we get Snow Patrol. (Snow Patrol, by the way, are nervous. Everyone seems to be nervous).

It's also through this coverage that we listen to Bill Gates' little speech. Bill Gates, telling us how to beat poverty. It's a little hard to take, to be honest: we know that Bill gives oodles to charity, but we still don't buy that he's the world's greatest philanthropist. He gives squillions, but from his hypersquillions, it's unlikely he even notices. And let's not forget how he makes that cash - by ruthlessly exploiting and shoring up a monopoly, charging through the nose for a closed operating system and enforcing proprietary formats on the world. Gates makes his money by forcing governments to spend money on Windows which could otherwise be spent on education; on health; on aid; on debt relief. Every computer Oxfam has that runs Windows; every Medicien Sans Frontieres PC; each Windows computer used by aid workers, third world education projects; each sends a supernormal profit back to Bill Gates. So he gives a little of that to charity to make himself feel better. If Gates wants to do something, he could release the Windows source code. That would make a massive difference - that would be doing something positive. Instead, he turns up at a party supposed to alter the very sort of restrictive trade rules he makes his money from. We'd wonder how he can sleep, but we bet he has a very, very cosy bed.

Elton John brings Pete Doherty on stage - Elton seems to be one of the few acts who seems to realise that if this thing is going to be a success, you'll need to excite and inspire teenagers as much as paunchy middle-aged guys.

As Philadelphia comes online, Will Smith starts them up with the kid-dies-every-three-seconds bit (he has trouble clicking his fingers, but the point is made nevertheless), but back in Britain, Travis are taking the stage. We wonder if they'll do an unlikely cover? Oh, yes, Staying Alive. Do you geddit? Fran Healy is wearing the most horrible trousers ever, although they match the colour of Bono's sunglasses, oddly enough.

And although Bob has said he wasn't going to perform, nobody's that surprised when he comes on and does I Don't Like Mondays - and, frankly, you can't begrudge him his moment. The "and the lesson today is how to die" bit is a straight reprise of Live Aid, although it doesn't crackle with meaning in quite the same way this time round - probably because it now carries the "oh, like last time" message as well.


Just before Coldplay go off stage, Chris Martin introduces a film "and if the BBC doesn't play this, they're not doing their job." The BBC show only about two seconds before cutting away - although there seems to be great confusion on the part of Jonathan Ross if they're going to cut back into it. (It's also a silent film, so not much good for the supposed 28 million people listening to this on radio, then).

Instead, they have Andrew Marr again - already marking himself out as the king of this event - describing being in the "grey human packade."

Walliams and Lucas are now doing the Smith and Jones style comedy introduction for Elton John.


Clearly, every fucker's going to try and emulate Bono's 1985 trick of sticking a bit of a different song into their performance - Bono whacked in some Unchained Melody. Chris Martin, meanwhile, poked Rocking All Over The World into In My Place, before going into some sort of seizure at the end.

Gwyneth has given Apple some ear protection, which was very, very visible. So, both sensible and making sure everyone could see she was being sensible.

Richard Ashcroft's just been brought on - the audience forgot they were supposed to act surprised - and he sounds terrible. It's kind of like when Alan Partridge brings on Cheeky Monkey; it's nice that he kept the promise he made to the bloke whose work he enjoyed before he was famous, but it would have been better for everyone involved if he'd quietly forgotten it.

Ah! "I'm a billion different people from one day to the next" - do you see what they did there?

Meanwhile, we've been trying to see if AOL is having any problems streaming the gig, and all we can get is the page with any empty space above the dire warning:

This concert is a live webcast. Some content during this event may not be appropriate for all audiences. AOL does not edit content so viewer discretion is advised.

What AOL does let us know is that Katherine Jenkins is currently on stage in Berlin.

Richard Ashcroft has, swiftly, knocked Bono off the "cheapest, nastiest sunglasses" podium for the day, at least. Chris has just described Live 8 as "the greatest thing organised in the history of the world", which it's perhaps a little too early to write off as hyperbole.

And, for those of you who keep a record: he's drawn massive equals signs on the back of his hands.


Jonathan Ross manages to fudge his intro - "It's 2pm on July 1st, 2005..." - because nobody is actually ready. So they go to a package of Live Aid before Ross has to do it again, now with the edge taken off. Plus, there's the Greenwich time signal, although Big Ben shows its about four minutes past the hour. Still, at least people can now stop saying "the countdown is underway..."

Macca and U2 come on - no costumes after all, then, although Bono seems to have selected some awful sage green sunglasses for some reason. Sergeant Pepper sounds terrible and as they go into Beautiful Day - the official song of Coca-Cola's football coverage on ITV - everything seems a little bit too bassy. And Bono's voice seems to have been rubbed a bit ragged by the tour. Oh, god, he's changing the lyrics to mention everywhere where there's a gig, except Cornwall ("putting the Africans in the conservatory", as Andy Kershaw called it.)

They should have gone with Status Quo, after all.


Well, Nokia's Live 8 is underway, sort of, not quite; or at least, BBC TWO has cranked up its coverage. Chaired by Jonathan Ross (we'd have hoped for Ellen - Kershaw - Skinner ourselves), with Fearne Cotton running around backstage ("look - Madonna might be over there") and Jo Wylie sitting on the couch asking Dido soft questions - when Dido says she wants to send her message, why didn't you ask her what her message is.

Ricky Gervais is doing his amusing, undercutting the event drop-in films that he's done for Children In Need and Comic Relief as well - no reason why not, everyone else is doing their greatest hits. And Andrew Marr has done a little film to explain what's going on - apparently the G8 is "the sofa of the world", which might be why they could get someone to dig around down the back to find some extra cash, we suppose.

Elsewhere, Fox News is excited by the Pink Floyd reunion, but manages to discuss if Bono uses soap instead of Africa; but it's Euronews which does the best coverage - frequently cutting to its No Comment live footage of the protest marches in Edinburgh.

Everyone seems to have the same two seconds of the "first Live 8 concert, in Tokyo, Japan" of a Japanese rock act going "cling"; the Berlin event is being represented by some scary metal act doing Hang On Sloopy and - to prove how daft it is to pretend the African artists are being excluded - there's two seconds from an unnamed African band rushed by on BBC TWO, as well.


Well, it's Live 8 day, isn't it? When the FT and the Morning Star clear space on their front pages to cover the same event, there's some sort of force at work:

- we love the Morning Star interviewing the Streophonics; we wonder if they tried to get Madonna first?

The Independent, king of the stunt front pages, ties up with Bob Geldof, king of the stunts:

The Times, meanwhile, has to make do with Sting:

The Sun can't quite wean itself off the CD giveaway habit, but at least their CD has a Live 8 theme:

(oh look... it's a Free Nelson Mandela CD)

... the Express, meanwhile, just has a Disco CD and the bollocks claim that "5.5 million will see the Supergig", a mathematical nonesense that Geldof came up with on MTV last night:

The Mirror come up with a novel way of avoiding the potential sales-destroying problem of having a big picture of Bob Geldof on the front page:

The telegraph and Guardian both go for the 'building the stage' shot:

And in the US, too, the nation is in no doubt about what the main story is today. The retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor. Indeed, we couldn't see any of today's papers that have decided that Live 8 is the biggest story in the world today, which might take the edge off what the event is trying to achieve.

SOULOBIT: Luther Vandross

Allowing several news anchors to make cringe-inducing references to "a voice being silenced on a day of music", Luther Vandross has died at the age of 54.

His first breakthrough came as a backing singer during the early 1970s - he provided voicals for the legendary Chic, David Bowie (on the Young Americans album) and Dinna Summer amongst others. Roberta Flack encouraged him to try and develop a solo career, but it would take a while before he settled on an identity; a contract with Cotillion records saw him taking a 'first name only' guise as Luther for a couple of albums. It was signing to Epic in 1981 and re-attaching his surname which allowed him to start selling in larger quantities. His first album for the label, Never Too Much, sold two million (he would go on to sell 23 million further records in his career) and gave him a number one in the R&B charts. This also opened other doors for him, and he developed a lucrative sideline as a producer, working with Aretha Franklin amongst others.

Although achieving success on a scale to match Prince or Stevie Wonder during the 80s, Vandross never quite made the same stride into mainstram success beyond the sould circuit. His 1991 Best Of album contained a new track, Here and Now, which gave him his first US top 10 hit, but even then he never quite made a move to become a regular on the pop lists, relying on duets with the likes of Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey to keep a toe on radio beyond the R&B and soul stations - and, indeed, if it wasn't for those collaborations, Vandross would never have had a UK Top 10 hit. Meanwhile, though, he was quietly adding to what would become a total of 22 R&B US chart hits.

Eyebrows were raised over Vandross' sexuality - he was a confirmed bachelor, and hints were often dropped over his closeness to producer Marcus Miller and the out saxophonist Dave Koz.

In recent years, Vandross has suffered from ill health. Diabetes runs in his family, taking his father when Luther was just five; ironically, Vandross' last studio collection Dance With My Father was dedicated to the memory of Luther senior. (The title track won Vandross a Best Song grammy in 2004, shared with Richard Marx.) On April 16th 2003, Vandross suffered a massive stroke; it was compilcations from this which would eventually end his life yesterday (July 1st).

In a career garlanded with awards, Vandross won five grammys, a BET Walk of Fame tribute and, astonishingly, every one of his fourteen albums went at least platinum in the US.

Besides his music, Vandross is also credited with one fo the 20th Centruy's greatest inventions, the Luther Burger. Supposedly created on a day when he'd run out of burger buns, the Luther employs a glazed donut to hold the patty. It sounds like perfect diabetic fayre to us.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Well, in case you're trying to plan your Saturday, this might give you a clue as to the best point to walk the dog or whatever:

1. Paul McCartney/U2: Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. U2: One
3. Coldplay: In My Place, Fix You, Bitter Sweet Symphony (duet with Richard Ashcroft)
4. Elton John: Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting, The Bitch Is Back, Children Of The Revolution (duet with Pete Doherty)
5. Dido: Life For Rent, White Flag, Thank You
6. Stereophonics: [TBC]
7. REM: The One I Love, Losing My Religion, Imitation Of Life, Everybody Hurts
8. Ms Dynamite: Dy-namitee, Judgement Day, Redemption Song
9. Keane: Everybody's Changing, Somewhere Only We Know
10. Travis: Sing, Turn, Why Does It Always Rain On Me?
11. Annie Lennox: Walking On Broken Glass, Sweet Dreams
12. UB40: Food For Thought, Red Red Wine
13. Snoop Dogg: [TBC]
14. Razorlight: Somewhere Else, Golden Touch, Vice
15. Madonna: Like A Prayer, Music, Ray Of Light
16. Snow Patrol: Chocolate, Run
17. Joss Stone: I Had A Dream, Super Duper Love
18. Scissor Sisters: Laura, Take Your Mama
19. Velvet Revolver: [TBC]
20. The Killers: [TBC]
21. Sting: Every Breath You Take - to include the lyric 'We'll Be Watching You', Message In A Bottle
22. Mariah Carey: Vision Of Love, Make It Happen
23. Robbie Williams: Let Me Entertain You, Rock DJ, Feel, We Will Rock You
24. The Who: Won't Get Fooled Again, Baba O'Riley
25. Pink Floyd: Money, Comfortably Numb, Wish You Were Here
26. Paul McCartney: The Long and Winding Road
27. Grand finale: All the stars will join Sir Paul on stage


We know you;'ve been waiting nervously for the result from the court case where Cyndi Lauper was fighting her landlord over a rent increase. Judges have rules the demand for USD3,250 a month was excessive; they've set the new rent at just under a thousand bucks. Now we can all sleep soundly tonight.


It's funny that the Brits and the Grammys choose to give their lifetime prizes to bands who've had hugely successful careers, although we'd say that once Elton had made his first million, he was in a position where he could wander along quite comfortably with no need to worry about commercial considerations. The real lifetime achievements, it seems to us, are made by those people who continue with musical careers often in the face of widespread public indifference and without the cosy back-up of a couple of houses and a stack of cash-money. That's why, even though we didn't care for their They Might Be Giants style whimsy, we're heartened to hear that The Frank and Walters are still going. It'll never make us love that record about people eating soup with a fork or whatever it was, but it gives us renewed respect for them as people.

Next week: Sultans of Ping found alive in Bolton.


If you think you missed The White Stripe's Glastonbury set last weekend, well, you did. But there are, we understand, mp3s of the set available for you to listen to.


Apparently, Beth Ditto, the Gossip's singer, has had to have emergency gall bladder surgery. The good news is, she's doing just fine; the bad news is that America hasn't yet gotten round to socialising its medicine and so she's looking at a massive bill. Kill Rock Stars is throwing a benefit night on August 15th in Portlan, Orgeon. Tickets - if you're able to go - are on sale at Fabulous Jackpot Records.


Up until now, you've been able to enjoy a wonderful life if you were Swedish; apart from the sexual liberation and the best Eurovision winner ever, you were allowed to download copyrighted material for your own personal use. That's just changed, with the Swedish government bowing to the pressure, flattery and who knows what other inducements being offered by the big entertainment groups to change the law.

There is an interesting little statistic here, though: with the downloading of material free and legal, even then only one in ten Swedes were actually taking advantage of their freedom. It's possible the main reason why the games, music and film companies wanted the law changed was because the Swedish experience proved another one of their favourite arguments in the tiresome war on filesharing to be without basis: "If we don't take a stand" wails the RIAA, "then everyone will be downloading music for free and we'll never make a profit." But Sweden proves this isn't true - even without any threat of legal action or any sense of wrongdoing, nine out of ten people aren't greedily filling up hard-drives. It's possible for filesharing to exist in the music ecosystem without wiping the whole world out.

Meanwhile, the Swedish branches of the US industries have funded a little policeforce all of their own, Antipiratbyran. They're lead by a bloke called Henrik Ponten, who seems to have confused himself with the witchfinder general. He's outraged that he's been barred from invading people's privacy to send out his anti-piracy letters:

"The situation in Sweden is completely unique, with this kind of counter-reaction," said Mr Ponten.

"The forces that are fighting to keep this illegal behaviour are incredibly strong."

Jesus, man, you're talking about a few kids swapping Coldplay; not the forces of darkness gathering at the gates of Malmo.


The only thing that puzzles us is why it's taken so long for someone to come up with the idea of turning Copacabana, the Manilow song, into a film. We're not sure how Manilow intends to extend the three-minute plot into something substantial enough to support a full movie, but it's no more of a challenge than making a decent story out of the bits they had left when they went through War of the Worlds, we guess.

Jessica Simpson shoo-in for the part of Lola, surely?


The thing about having rich people do favours for you, as we imagine Bono has already discovered, is that they tend to have long memories and expect you to do favours in return. Which makes us even more concerned that Michael Jackson is throwing himself onto the kindness of strangers. He's had his debts renegotiated by Ron Burkle, it seems. Burkle could have done this out the kindness of heart; on the other hand, as the majority shareholder of the Alliance Entertainment Corporation, he could be suspected to having good reason to try and keep the man who co-owns the Beatles song catalogue sweet. Burkle also heads up the main supermarket company in the US and controls Golden State Foods, who are the main supplier of food products to McDonalds. (We're not sure what McDonalds does with the food products once it gets them).

Having helped Jackosn with his financial worries, Burkle has now spirited Jacko off to Switzerland to get some therapy, before plonking him down on a yacht:

“Michael is on his way to Switzerland for medical treatments, and then he’s off to spend time on Burkle’s yacht,” says a source close to Jackson. “Ron thinks that Michael needs time to relax and get away from all that kiddie porn and pedophile nonsense.”

You may, if you wish, insert your own "roger the cabin-boy" joke here.


Although we cheerfully admit she couldn't be worse than Scott Mills, we're not entirely convinced that Radio One are really that interested in offering Charlotte Church a regular show; nor, come to that, would we have thought Church would be that interested in such an offer.

It's a bit of a pity, though, as we reckon she'd be better at playing in the new Usher track and announcing details of the next Roadshow than she would be at this pop business. Maybe something to consider for next year... when Capital will be looking for a new breakfast host.


Let's turn our Live 8 focus briefly to Philadelphia, shall we, where artists are happily giving their time for free. Almost. It turns out that while they're not actually demanding a cash fee for doing their bit, they're not leaving the stage empty handed. In fact, they're going to pull down nearly twelve grand's worth of freebies:

Live 8 performers are playing for free, but local organizers plan to shower the celebrities with a Hugo Boss duffel bag loaded with high-fashion trinkets valued at about $3,000.

They'll also be able to add to their goodie bags with big-ticket items including Hugo Boss suits, valued at $800 to $1,000 each; XM satellite radios and subscriptions, $500; Gibson guitars, $2,000; Bertolucci watches, valued between $1,500 and $6,000; and other items.

In all, a celebrity could walk away with a bag of gifts worth as much as $12,000.

Twelve grand, eh? Not bad for a half hour or so of work; you might have thought that the enormous bounce in album sales worldwide would have been enough, but then there's no accounting for taste.

Now, we don't want to wheel out Bob Geldof's comments when he found Live8 tickets on Ebay again, but... supposedly helping to adjust the gross imbalances in wealth in our planet, but doing it in return for Hugo Boss suits and a three thousand pound watch - surely, that would be "filthy money made on the back of the poorest people on the planet", wouldn't it?


It's time to settle down, Pink has decided, and has asked Corey Hart to marry her.

Oh, hang about, Carey Hart, isn't it?

Mmm. Quite a catch - David Schwimmer's eyes in an accountant's face in a body apparently scribbled on by disturbed children with crayons. Still, there's no accounting for the power of love, is there?

The engagement was quite something, too:

Hart, 29, was participating in the Pro 250 racing finals in Mammoth, California, when the 25-year-old multiplatinum-selling singer reportedly popped the question by writing "Will you marry me?" on a board in the pit area. A source tells the magazine that an incredulous Hart asked, "Are you serious?" She was, and he accepted.

We can only imagine what the wedding will be like, but we do hear the Super Sausage in Towcester welcomes bikers.


You can't rely on them coming on stage on time, and now Babyshambles' singles are starting to show up late, too. Fuck Forever has been put back to August 8th due to "artwork issues."

We wonder if someone looked at the cover and went 'Hang about, wasn't this a Sex Pistols slogan?'


The lengths to which Bob Geldof has managed to hijack the entire Make Poverty History campaign and confuse "watching Joss Stone do her White Stripes cover" with "take action to try and force politicians to change the balance of our relationship with nations across the planet where people are living in extreme want" is demonstrated by today's Mirror, which has the confusing strapline "Make Poverty History - One Day To Go." As if Live8 is the end in itself:

The Guardian seems to be the only paper which caught Bob Geldof and Tony Blair sharing a platform (and an awful lot of empathetic nodding) on MTV yesterday. There was a time when a Prime Minister appearing on young people's TV programmes would have been a major event and the subject of much comment. Nowadays, Blair pops up on CBBC so often he was briefly in the running to join the Blue Peter team:

The Times has the most eye-catching heading:

Twenty Years Ago Tomorrow. We're not sure if this is a cheeky lament for how bloody middle-aged the line-up is, but the paper seems to be most excited by the Kaiser Chiefs, so perhaps it is.

The Sun, meanwhile, is afraid that Live 8 isn't dull and predictable enough, and so has published the full running order of every song. So you can plan when to take a toilet break:

- as in, pinpoint the few seconds when it's safe to come out of the toilet and rush past your TV.

Finally, it takes the Star to get to the heart of the real scandal - no booze. Which wouldn't be so bad, except it seems those people in the Corporate Hospitality zone will be allowed to guzzle beers, wines and fruit-based alcoholic drinks. We're all in this together, then, except some of us are in this in a little more comfort:

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Now, you might recall that one of the reasons why the BPI feel the need to try and take mothers to court is because if people don't buy their downloads leaglly, why, the artists will lose out and not get paid. This would, of course, be the same BPI at the heart of legal action to try and ensure that artists don't get paid properly for their downloads.

Composers' body the MCPS and PRS, the Performing Rights Society, have suggested that with downloads representing enormous profits for the music industry, it might be nice to share the profit around, and are requesting a 12% share of gross revenues from each download sale - around 10p per iTune download. Not that greedy, considering without composers, there wouldn't be any songs for the record company to sell. But the BPI is having a cow, and along with Apple, AOL, Sony, Real, Napster, MusicNet and Yahoo are forcing this claim to a copyright tribunal. (Yes, this does mean that the record labels which also own publishers are taking themselves to a tribunal.) But, apparently, there's a principle here:

BPI general counsel Geoff Taylor said: "The licence that the Alliance is trying to impose for online music is unreasonable and unsustainable. It is charging a royalty rate on a download that is double the rate it charges for a song on a CD.

"It applies this excessive rate to a whole range of online music services, without taking into account their different characteristics.

"The Alliance's tariff threatens to seriously harm the development of the legal online and mobile music markets."

No it doesn't, Geoff, it challenges your ability to make supernormal profits from the downloads. Surely ensuring composers get a fair crack of the profits is the best way to ensure there are plenty of composers around composing in the future? You know, you suggest we should pay for downloads for that very reason, but if you can't be prepared to give the people who create music a fair share, then why the hell should people pay? Why pay through the nose if the money isn't going to go to the people whose talent you are celebrating?


Alan C over at the London News Review has swung into action over the BPI attempts to get four grand out of Sylvia Price on pain of prison, and has established a pledge bank appeal to keep Sylvia out of chokey. If 400 people sign up to chip in a tenner, the BPI demand can be paid off, Sylvia doesn't go to prison, you'll have the warm glow of knowing that you've helped the BPI a further step along in its public transformation from music industry champion to seedy, cash grunning extortion board.

On the other hand, the BPI could just drop the threats to pursue Sylvia for the money. If there's still anyone there who cares what their public image is like.

Go on; pledge a tenner. You know Coldplay need it.


What's even more depressing than the discovery that Live8 has elected to put a cap on the number of disabled people it's allowing to attend the event is the apparent willingness it's shown to lie and to try and blame Westminster Council instead:

Live 8 publicist Bernard Doherty told BBC News a platform had been constructed to offer the best possible view of the stage but its capacity was restricted to 140 wheelchair users and 140 of their carers by regulations laid down by the licensing authority for the event, Westminster Council.

"We are very sorry - but the platform is now full," he added.

Now, we're quite prepared to believe bad things about Westminster City Council, but they seem to feel they're being traduced:

"We take umbrage at the suggestion we told them how big the platform could be - that is up to the promoters and should be based on the number of people who want disabled access.

"We are surprised they are saying we are responsible for the decision. We would be more than willing for them to widen the platform, provided it satisfied health and safety requirements."

Bernard Doherty starts to twist in the wind:

Mr Doherty told BBC News there were already twice as many places allocated to wheelchair users and their carers as there had been at the last annual Prince's Trust Party in the Park concert in Hyde Park, which was attended by 100,000 people.

The existing platform had access to disabled toilets and refreshment stands, and a shuttle bus would carry people to and from free disabled parking spaces, he added.

We're sure the thought of a free shuttle bus they can't catch because they've been excluded from the event will be really comforting for those people who've got tickets they can't use. And the "twice as many" is a bit of a red herring, surely - there were 100,000 at Party In The Park, whereas Live 8 distributed 150,000 in the first tranche and then a further 50,000 released yesterday, which, erm, seems to suggest there's twice as many people going overall.

There's something a little puzzling about a campaign for social justice failing to treat disabled people fairly.


While we're wading through the bins of gossip, interesting details are starting to bubble to the surface that, apparently, Joe Simpson has been trying to plant shit about Lindsay Lohan into gossip magazines. Joe, of course, "represents" his daughters Jessica and the Astonishingly Talented Ashlee:

“Joe called our head offices himself and ranted and raved about it,” says a top editor at one of the weeklies. “It was obvious he wanted to paint Lindsay as a bitch. He couldn’t believe anyone would dare ban Jessica from any party because, as he said, ‘She’s a huge superstar.’….Joe will do anything to make sure she’s in the papers every week and he knows Lindsay’s an easy target.”

Simpson, a former Baptist minister, requested that the pubs under no circumstances reveal him as a source and, in at least one case, insisted that they write that the scoop came from an associate of Lohan’s. By Wednesday, extensive coverage of the incident, fueled by her father’s smear campaign, sent Jessica into damage control mode, rushing to People magazine to deny any rift with Lohan.

Joe knows there's only room for one vapid lunch-dodger (and hanger-on sister) in town. Paris Hilton, you better watch your back.


Why aren't we totally surprised that people are muttering that Kevin Federline is getting a wee bit big-headed?

"Kevin thinks he's a big shot TV star. You wouldn't believe how swelled his head is. The way he carries on, you'd think he had the lead role in some big TV drama, not just a reality TV show," says a fed-up mate.

King Kev is said to fancy himself as "the new Eminem" but insiders-in-the-know say, "his voice is awful."

One particularly cruel critic has even said: "He has no business stepping inside a recording studio, let alone making a record."

We do hope that people stop leaking the gossip and start leaking the demos pretty soon...


We tend to agree with Charlotte Church that it's about time they stopped releasing Tupac records - how much stuff did he leave laying about, anyway? We're sure if you added up all the lengths of his posthumous records, they'd come to more minutes than his life lasted; they certainly feel to have been going on for years. But what really caught our eye was what Charlotte said about Elton John:

"Elton John has had enough number ones in his time and I reckon he should let someone else have a go."

Apart from being wrong - Elton has had surprisingly few number ones - we hope we can take this as a firm promise from Chazza that if her pop career takes off, she'll certainly ensure she only does it for a while and then rolls over to let someone else have a go.

We're suggesting you set your limit at three singles, Charlie. Two more than Jen Ellison, right?


Never mind with the whole Pink Floyd coming back together stuff - Ringo Starr has announced that the Beatles nearly reformed becuase they were offered a slot on a show straight after a bloke wrestling a shark.

How cool would that have been?

Man and shark in combat; sudden end to the battle; on comes Dennis Norden or whoever - "Don't worry, folks, he'll get the best medical treatment money can buy. And once we've sorted the shark, we'll try and do something for the bloke. [Raucous applause]. Now, as they try to reuinte him and his arm, we've got a bit of a reunion going on ourselves... ladies and gentlemen, John, Paul, George... [makes great play of consulting clipboard] Rin-Go... The Beatles..."

They come on, do Hard Day's Night, Help and Twist and Shout, and that's it forever.

If you must have a reunion, do it for fun.


Paul Weller had been planning on striding round a stage in the backyard of Powderham Castle, home of the Duke of Devon, singing a few of his songs. But, sadly, the promoter's gone bust and now it's not going to happen. Weller's godawful website is desperate to make clear that Paul himself hasn't made any money out of the situation, you know.


It seems to be fairly obvious to us that what's going to lead to a Stone Roses reunion isn't so much any burning desire on the part of Brown and Squire to get together again; more it'll just be a way of stopping everyone banging on about when it's going to happen. Ian Brown seems to be getting sick of the whole thing:

“It’s like a yearly rumour now isn’t it? You’re talking to the man who’s done four LPs and is putting together a Greatest Hits, so really that’s all that’s on my mind.”

Meanwhile, he seems to be keen to shift the blame for it not happening onto John Squire:

“If the kid was serious, John, why doesn’t he phone me? Why does he go through the media? Why doesn’t he call me? I’ve got the same phone number as when he last spoke to me on nine years ago. Why doesn’t he phone me? That’s all I’m saying.”

When asked what his response would be, Brown quipped: “It’d probably be two words.”

What's astonishing here is that Brown still has the same phone number he had a decade ago - flicking backwards through our phone book we can't find anyone other than our dad who's still got a phone number that old. The other odd thing is that we could have sworn that Brown has moved more than once in the last few years - wasn't he living in Wales at one point? How did he port his Manchester code down there?


You have to wonder about a place where life imitates Footloose: Santa Cruz is trying to outlaw houseparties. From the end of July, it'll become illegal to hold a gathering in your own home in the city which gets too disruptive for anyone else. Now, while we can see the need for some sort of check that preserves everyone else's right to peace and quiet, the legilsation has been written so poorly that the council forgot to define what, exactly, constitutes a violation. In effect, having a couple round to eat Spaghetti Bolognaise while playing Portishead on repeat could constitute an illegal party.

Our advice: if you're planning a funeral tea in Santa Cruz next month, or a wedding, you'd better be prepared for someone sending in the cops.


We don't really need to add anything to this, do we?

A pop star has rewarded an honest taxi driver who returned the bag she left in the back of his car - with a pair of knickers.

Twenty nine-year-old Serbian singer Tina Ivanovic offered money to Toma Majstorovic after he returned her handbag, which had been left in his car after a trip to a beauty salon in Belgrade.

But instead of taking the money Majstorovic, who earns £200 a month, said he would prefer a pair of her knickers.
Ivanovic was happy to oblige with a pair of silk panties.


I suppose, if you were looking for something nice to say about Coldplay, you couldn't begrudge them that Chris Martin knows how to repay historical debts - he's thinking of bringing Richard Ashcroft onstage during Live 8 because he's always liked the Verve and they're thinking of doing Bitter Sweet Symphony and... well, that's kind of nice, isn't it?

We do wonder how Ashcroft feels about this, though: after all, there was a time when the Verve very nearly did what Coldplay did, and became a transatlantic phenom-type thing, and - towards the end - were doing pretty much the same sort of thing. Surely going on stage with Chris Martin is going to be, for him, like those Kev-Bev adverts on TV, where the bloke who used to be in Three Up Two Down and his wife is humiliated into buying a shit car off more successful versions of themselves?


And, as Live 8 gets ever closer, the papers get more and more excited at the chance to fill acres of space with very little content - why, the only spot of gloom is that the baby-faced matricide/patricide court case happened at the same time. And the Daily Telegraph is quick off the blocks with its multipage special, in doubt about what's important about Bob's event: It's going to be the biggest TV event ever. Afri-what?

The Daily Express also has a nifty multi-page guide, but they've done their best work on the front page. "Everything you need to know about Live 8" it promises, next to a picture of Mariah Carey honking and Robbie Williams gurning. Yep, that's pretty much all we need to know.

Mind you, the "official poster" which gets its first trot out on the front of the Star tells you pretty much everything you need to know, too:

Good god, I hope to hell that was designed by a six year old through a Blue Peter competition and not by anyone who pretends to know about graphic design.

Of course, you have to look a little further afield to actually see why the whole simplistic "it Mariah Carey sings, everything will be alright" approach is tricky and somewhat irrelevant. The Guardian reports that the decisions are going to be taken in a meeting in London this week anyway; thirty ultradiplomats will be having "eleventh hour meetings" in which, as ever, they'll attempt to stitch up all our futures. It's not clear how many will be Elton John fans:

Meanwhile, the FT suggests that the IMF is starting to try and work against any new approach to Africa, making worried noises about how Aid might not, you know, drive growth:

Still, at least the Mirror knows what's important - steer clear of the uberpolitics, and keep with what's simple. Beyonce's arse:

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


The RIAA has launched another tiny little nibble at the millions and millions of people using filesharing, adding another 748 lawsuits. That makes a shade over 12,000 so far, and the RIAA's Mitch Bainwol is pretty bullish:

...declaring that "if there was any doubt left, there should now be none – individuals who download music without permission are breaking the law."

Although, of course, with just two months to the second anniversary of the lawsuits, if the streaming of resources into the lawsuit initiative made any sense, you'd be seeing some results by now. That they're still able to come up with hundreds and hundreds of names would probably be enough to persuade most people they ought to try a different tack, but then the RIAA isn't spending its own money - its spending cash from the labels. The beautiful irony, of course, is that the majors are shaking down their legal customers to subsidise action against the downloaders.

Between 5.2 and 5.4 million filesharers celebrated the new lawsuits by totally ignoring it and swapping files the next day.

Meanwhile, the RIAA continues to push its tie-up with
childnet, an independent charity which has produced a leaflet for parents about filesharing. Curiously, the leaflet is big on the downsides of filesharing - apparently it's full of people waiting to give your kids porn, and steal your personal data - but a bit shakier on the positives of peer to peer. Indeed, if you were a parent relying on this "independent" charity, you might come away convinced there were no potential positive usages for file networks at all. Even more curiously, the only advice it offers is total removal of the networks altogether, rather than offering parents actual useful suggestions about how they can protect their machines and still allow kids to use bittorrent to, for example, make use of the BBC Creative Archive, or share homework and data for school, and so on. Thank god Childnet weren't around ten years ago; if they approached the then new-fangled internet with the hysterical doomsaying approach they bring to peer to peer, it would have been campaigning for the porn rich internet to be closed down. "Keep your kids safe - make sure they only use the wireless."


Other people have pointed out just how much like Michael Jackson Jack White is starting to look these days, but only Medication have the science to back it up. Sample:

Jacko got his start singing in the Jackson 5 a Motown (Detroit) act; Jack got his start playing in the Go, a Detroit band who wanted to be the MC5.


Bloody hell, they thought Bobby Gillespie was out of order for making a jibe in the direction of Kylie fans - Conor Oberst seems to have upset the whole world by slagging MPH and John Peel during their Glastonbury set. People contacted to fume:

Some of the things he was saying concerning the Make Poverty History Campaign and John Peel were completely out of order. Being a bit cynical about some people's motives behind supporting the campaign is one thing, and is perhaps okay, but belittling the campaign which many people strongly believe in is plain wrong.

”The John Peel thing was in my opinion even worse as it was completely inexcusable. You can't slag off one of the most important people in our lives just because he didn’t play your tunes. A lot of people left the show and I think and hope he lost a lot fans that night. He lost me. It's a shame because the guy is quite possibly a genius, but also, clearly, he is a complete cock.”

We wonder if Oberst was slagging Peel off in order to try and get Julie Burchill to sleep with him?

Anyway, Conor's put on the hair shirt:

“I would like to express my sincerest apology to the friends and family of Mr. Peel for anything I said during our performance at Glastonbury. I truly don’t remember much of the show but have been informed since of what I said and it was way out of line and far from my real feelings.

”I have nothing but respect for John Peel and his beautiful gift for sharing music. I never had the pleasure of meeting him but by all accounts he was an outstanding man and deserves much more respect then I showed. I am very sorry.”

Conor, Conor, what have you done, with your pretty eyes... pretty, pretty eyes...

"I have been bad... I'm sorry," said Conor, teeth gritted.

"Not good enough, boy."

The metal ruler came down again on Conor's naked ass; this time it was so hard when his new bitchmaster ran his fingers across the glowing red buttock, he could feel the imprint of the lines and numbers etched on the rule now reversed into Conor's flesh.

"How sorry are you?"

Conor turned his head as much as the chain through his collar would allow him.

"Very, very sorry, master..."


We were marginally interested to read on Popdirt the following:

Michael Jackson's kids were photographed arriving at Roissy Airport in Paris, France on Tuesday (June 28) to meet their father, who is currently staying in Hotel Crillon.

What are the chances of Jacko and his kid's father being in the same hotel at the same time, eh?


In a statement on their official website, Hard-Fi have apologised for missing Glastonbury - although it's not like they really need to:

Hard-Fi apologize for being unable to perform at this weekends Glastonbury Festival.
Both to be asked to play the Love Music/Hate Racism event and The John Peel Tent was an honour that they were very much looking forward to.
Unfortunately, on Saturday afternoon, Richard's mother became critically ill and he needed to be by her side.
This was due to be an amazing weekend for the band, to play Glastonbury, a dream for them, on the weekend of their first top ten record and the are sorry for any inconvenience.
This weeks concerts in Glasgow and Germany have also been cancelled.

Sadly, Richard's mother died. Our sympathies to him and his family.


We're being drip-fed details of the plans for when Britney Spears pops out her kid:

The singer has selected a luxurious room in a Scottsdale, Arizona hospital where she’ll have her baby, according to a report, and has made sure the rooms on both sides will remain vacant.

“Britney wants white and yellow roses in the room when she gets there,” a source told the upcoming issue of the Star.

What’s more, “Britney wants all the nurses serving her to be given background checks.” The staff will reportedly be interrogated by both hospital staff and Spears’ mom. And, of course, there’ll be catered food.

Oh, Britney, don't treat the staff like shit, love - the last thing you want is a small head forcing itself out of you only to discover the nurses are pissed with you for not trusting them. "Gas, you say? Oh, but don't we need your mom to check the gas before we give it to you?"


Citing "substantial logistical and personal challenges", Sheryl Crow has cancelled plans to take part in Paris' Live 8. We're not sure what the logistical problems would be of getting to Paris and doing a brief acoustic set, but we think we can guess what the personal ones are. You keep your distance, Sheryl.


The continuing low rumble in the background that has been the trial of David Mack and Rafael Perez for the murder of Notorious BIG - a crime which touched all of us when it led to the release of really awful remake of a Police single - has come to a sudden halt with the appearance of a new tip-off. The judge halted the trial to allow all sides to adapt to this new witness appearing; it's believed the tip relates to someone who may have heard evidence incriminating the two former LAPD cops in the killing.


Trying to make a firm break from her Daughter/sister of status, Martha Wainwright will spend the dank month of November swooshing about the UK:

* Cambridge Junction (November 1)
* Norwich Waterfront (2)
* Cardiff University (3)
* Birmingham Academy (5)
* Sheffield Plug (6)
* Edinburgh Queens Hall (7)
* Glasgow Academy (9)
* Newcastle Academy (10)
* London Shepherd’s Bush Empire (12)
* Bristol Academy (13)
* Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms (14)
* Brighton Corn Exchange (15)
* Exeter Lemon Grove (17)
* Liverpool Academy (18)
* Manchester Academy (19)

Buy Now, Singalong later:


Will we never be free of the curse of prog rock? Franz Ferdinand are going all Peter Gabriel on us, and not giving their follow up to the first album a name. Indeed, they've gone a step beyond Gabriel, and aren't going to have a different design, either - just a different set of colors on the front. Of course, this ultimately means their US record company will just slap stickers on the outside saying "Second Franz Ferdinand album"; afficiandos will doubtless call this black, red, pale green. It's all part of a master plan, says Alex Kapranos:

“The whole point is that the album doesn’t have a title. We decided quite a while ago that we didn’t want to give any of the albums titles, they were just going to be called ‘Franz Ferdinand’.”

He added: “The albums are going to be identified by their colour schemes rather than a title. The contrast of different colours creates a different mood. We experimented with different combinations of colours and this one stuck. At one level they looked good together, and they capture the mood of this record quite well.”

There will, of course, be problems with this if they get to the ten album stage - people chiding their gran for buying the light green with red trim instead of the pale green with crimson.

We await the Dulux marketing crossover with interest.


There have been all sorts of rumours and hints and claims and gossip, but now, it seems, we're really, really going to have a new Kate Bush album - twelve years after the last one. Sky News has been reporting that Kate has delivered a completed album to EMI.

It's being lined up for an autumn release. We wouldn't hold your breath expecting a tour.