Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh, really?

We're a little surprised to hear that The Killers have already been asked to do the next Bond theme.

Surely they'd wait until the film had been, you know, scripted at least?


More lists and picks on our 2006 Music of the year collection

Girls Aloud at the dispatch box

As a spot of Christmas frippery, the New Statesman have spent some time seeking Girls Aloud for their political views.

Yes, it does turn out to be as much of an oxymoron as you'd expect:

"There should be adverts in the breaks during Coronation Street spelling it out in bullet points: This is what the Conservatives stand for. This is what Labour stands for," says Cheryl.

"You know that basically Labour is the working-class and the Conservatives are the really kind of upper-class, and then everything else is... I have no idea. I only vote Labour because me mam does."

Bandmate Nicola Roberts agrees that politics are a big turn-off for teenagers: "I know there are programmes on late at night when they have debates and stuff. But young people are not going to choose to watch them. It's boring.

"No 18-year-old wants to watch Gordon Brown doing his whole speech - turn it over!"

Is it just us, or is that ever-so-slightly about all 18 year-olds?

Sarah Harding chips in: "We need to make politics more user-friendly. It just isn't talked about in normal magazines and newspapers. We never get asked who we'd vote for. It could be a general question in an interview, but it isn't."

"Normal" magazines being, presumably, the sort that Girls Aloud feature in. You might wonder, though, what would be the point of asking a political question of a band who are so ignorant of the world that they want it boiled down into a bullet-pointed thirty seconds in the break of Corrie?

Putting the screws on Yoko

Police have apparently foiled an attempt to blackmail Yoko Ono by her driver.

Koral Karsan apparently demanded two million bucks, or he was going to send photos of Yoko in her nightwear to the press.

Never mind trying to get cash out of her, if the threat is "give me money or see Yoko in her jimjams", we'd happily put in a few quid.

Gene Simmons: career master

Gene Simmons reckons that if he and Mick Jagger hadn't made it in the charts, they'd both be caught in humdrum work:

The Channel 4 Rock School presenter added: "They'd probably now be asking you if you want fries with that.

"That includes Jagger and myself.

"Classical musicians are real musicians, the rest of us are lazy entertainers who never took time to learn how to play our instruments properly and can't read or write music."

You, Gene, might have been heading for a life behind the fryers, but Jagger? He went to the LSE on a scholarship and was taking a degree in accountancy. His music career wasn't to flee a life of hardship and poverty, it was to try and escape a middle-class future.

Mariah Carey leaving humps in the snow

In a bid to try and show what's at risk if Mariah Carey can't protect her image and stop the public confusing her with a glamour model, Mariah has been sharing her idea of a special, family Christmas:

“I like to get out of the hot tub and roll in the snow,” she told Aspen magazine.

“Somebody told me that it was a tradition in Aspen, but maybe they were lying to me.”

She continued: “It’s a tradition for us to have Santa Claus-looking bikinis, jump in the hot tub, and roll in the fresh snow.”

Well, at least there's an upside to global warming then.

By "Santa Claus-looking" we presume she means "red", by the way.

Pssst... wanna buy tickets to the Diana gig?

We're a little confused by eBay's statement as they attempted to block sales of tickets to see the Lovely Lovely Lady Diana Spencer Big Gig on their site:

A spokesman for eBay said: "In view of the unique and commemorative nature of the Concert for Diana event and as a mark of respect for the memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, eBay has decided to not allow the re-sale of tickets to this event on the site."

Eh? What sort of line is this? Back during the run-up to Glastonbury 2005, eBay pointed out there was nothing illegal about selling tickets online, and allowed auctions to go ahead. They did, however, put the cosh on Live8 tickets - presumably because that was "unique", like the Diana Concert is unique in, erm, exactly the same way.

Seriously, this gig isn't unique - it's a charity gig with a royal name attached, so on a par with the Princes Trust one or that thing where Brian May played on the roof of Buckingham Palace. And, well, yes, it might be commemorative, but then so were, say Diana memorial stamps, but eBay doesn't block sales of them.

What they mean, of course, is more "because, like eBay, people will kick up a stink over this one, we're trying our hardest to stop sales in a way that won't create a precedent."

Still, Arcade Fire were looking for a way to stop their tickets being sold by eBay - all they need to do is say the gig is in memory of, say, Peter Boyle and eBay will surely have no choice but to remove sales of entry to this "unique and commemorative event".

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

iTunes nosedive?

Can it really be true that iTunes sales dropped 65% year-on-year?

Possibly. Apple deny the figures, which have come from Forrester Research.

Forrester's claim is, in effect, a stab in the dark based on some rather vague figures:

Forrester said it got its figures by analysing 2,791 US iTunes debit and credit card purchases conducted by members of its consumer panel.

Apple claim to have sold one and a half billion tunes. We make that a sample of 0.0002% of all sales, which gives us the feeling this is somewhere between an semi-educated guess and a random suggestion.

Folding His Magazine

Just in passing: The American edition of FHM is to close. It was the biggest-selling of all 30 regional versions of the magazine, but was trading at a loss.

Bad news for popstar wannabes who have only their belly-buttons to offer by way of entertainment.

Rocksicklist: The Horrors

No noise tonight from the Horrors: Faris Rotter has lost his voice. They've pulled the Newcastle date of their tour - depending on your viewpoint, it's either lucky or otherwise that it was supposed to be the end of their dates.

Global warming? No problem

Showing the clear grasp of complex facts that makes him the greatest Prime Minister this nation never had, Noel Gallagher turns his attention to ecology:

“Greens are fucking hippies with no place in the world.

How do you suggest we get millions of Chinese not to have a fridge? Or get millions of Americans to stop using their big, stupid cars?”

He's right. Let's all give up now, shall we? But what of the future generations?

“Kids adapt. Our parents are horrified about the society we built for ourselves – drugs and sex and drink and rock ‘n’ roll and television."

Ah, that's it then. The inundation of low-laying land, the failure of global agriculture, millions of people starving, the methane frozen in the seas being released and raining fire down upon us all is akin to the introduction of jukeboxes.

Thank god we have Noel to put it all into context.

[Thanks to Gary White for the link]

Beyonce denies B-Day claims

Beyonce is having to take action to try and stare-down a potentially career-destroying rumour:

That she's actually over 30.

Heavens, imagine that: almost as old as dinosaurs. She insists she's actually twenty-five, and that's that.

Kanye jumped by Evel Knievel

The continuing misery of Kanye West: Kanye's clunking Evel Kanyevel visual pun in the video for Touch The Sky has landed him with a grumpy lawsuit from Evel Knievel, who is claiming breach of copyright:

Knievel has filed a suit in the US District Court, for "illegally using and tainting his image with vulgar, sexually and racially-charged content."

Kanye's co-opting of the Knievel image broke Evel's heart; ironically, it was the only part of Evel's body he hadn't broken for himself doing a job which seemed to revolve around trying to get himself injured.

Gwen snatches back hope from hapless ex-bandmates

Last month, it was good news for theotheronesfrom No Doubt, as Gwen Stefani held out the prospect of a reunion, soon.

Now, the band's hopeful flicking through the Swiss Colony catalogue, dreaming that maybe this Christmas they might have a ham instead of a can of sardines, has been stayed. She's changed her mind and it's receding into the distant future:

"I see it on the horizon, but I'm not focusing on it. Life is going by way too quick," she told "I can't really put a timetable on it, but I think it would be really great. Nothing can compare to the energy of the four of us onstage."

Well, certainly your solo sets don't.

Another record shop closes...

To be honest, we didn't even know that Nick Hornby's High Fidelity had been turned into a Broadway musical.

Neither, it seems, did anyone else.

It's closing after 18 performances and houses more than half-empty.

A grand does come for free after all

Mike Skinner is celebrating a modest casino win and not being killed by polonium poisoning (don't ask us) by offering a faasand paaands (USD2000) for anyone who can tell him what the new Mitchell Brothers single is about:

“After a long day last Thursday talking to the Mitchells about their new song, it was The Beats’ Christmas dinner. I decided to have it at a casino when I saw the James Bond film.

“So Magic Mike was saying he would take it easy but, as each beer flowed, he seemed to be taking on strange powers.

“He’s not just a pretty sound engineer, he had this thing that he called ‘the vibe’ and by the time he was hammered he was always right.

“Then I got into an argument with one of the bankers who thought I’d been stealing from this Russian dude, which I thought might escalate into me getting polonium in my drink, but the security cameras were on my side. Anyway, I walked away with £1,025 cash (I woke up with £1,020 due to a lady taking £5 on the way out to work).”

So, that clears that up, then.

No mention of Stay by the Wedding Present, we note

What, you probably weren't wondering, is the best song to play during sex?

We can't help wondering how badly your sexual technique must be if, not only can you fit it into the length of a three minute pop single, but you're also aware of what's playing on the CD player while you're doing it.

Anyway, some website company have collated a list of the "most arousing songs", mp3s of which we fully expect to be turning up for sale alongside "blue pills" in your inbox round about now:

1. Marvin Gaye Sexual Healing
2. U2 With Or Without You
3. Barry White My First My Last My Everything
4. Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin Je T'aime
5. Chris Isaac Wicked Game
6. Al Green Let's Stay Together
7. Phylis Nelson Move Closer
8. INXS I Need You Tonight
9. Madonna Justify My Love
10. Kylie Minogue Slow
11. Justin Timberlake Sexyback
12. Massive Attack Teardrop
13. Portishead Glorybox
14. Jimi Hendrix Foxy Lady
15. Goldfrapp Number 1

Now, we don't really want to even dignify this with any sort of response which suggests we should treat this as if it's some scientific research, but... does anyone really think "uh-oh... I'm moistening" when they hear that Marvin has a love that's like an oven, or has this just been put at the top because it's a song that's about the sex?

And, while we think With Or Without You is one of U2's better moments, does its cold bleakness really do it for anyone other than Bono?

And Sexyback? Really? Has anyone who fell for Timberlake's Action Man no-groin sexual simulacrum actually been through puberty yet?

Or is this just a list of songs which come up when you type "sex + music" into Google?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

O leaker says "sorry"

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were apparently less than delighted at the leak of Karen O's bedroom demos onto the internet, emailing the leaker to remonstrate. M - who is full of remorse - told Stereogum:

This afternoon, the band emailed me via MySpace with the simple message, "What the fuck were you thinking?" And now I feel completely shitty. Because I wasn't thinking. I wanted to share this rarity, but it wasn't mine to share. This stuff wasn't supposed
to be released; just because I stumbled onto it didn't mean I had the authority to do so.

I'm glad most people are appreciative of the files, but I feel like a total dick.

That was, of course, before they would have read Dave Sitek's response:


as far as i can see , you havent turned a profit , and i (the person you did NOT return something dear to ) feel the same as i always have about you. you are a tired and confused animal who has no grasp on consequences ( i coincidentally feel that way about ALL of our species since we have outlived our usefullness (1970) ) You gained NOTHING ... unless you and those around you who "over look " these thoughtless acts get a betray-o-rection for swiping at someones belongings and making them public .... but even still.... that boner will go down... your "hard cock idea" will go soft whe you realise that you never got any credit.... never got any money .... never got to highfive someone pretty in the sun for this ... it will probably be RIGHT around the time you are getting what you deserved for this . all you got was what you just gave me as i read about it. a heartsickening murmur and an INSISTANCE that we are dumb animals with no purpose and too much free time. we will continue to go to wars , we will die of disease , we will kill our children , we will shame our parents , we will steal from our family, we will poison the land that gives us life , we will deny the existence of the godly, and we will become extinct ... this will not help you in the least in your quest to become immortal...

Hold on there, Dave... it's a few demos which have leaked out onto the web - it's hardly on a par with biting the apple on the tree of knowledge, or sending cossacks to their death.

What's slightly disappointing, though, is Dave's supposition that there must have been a motivation to M's actions. That it didn't occur to him that M might have heard the songs, and liked them, and wanted to share them.

M shouldn't have posted them; they weren't theirs to post. But let's not go so over the top with the reactions, shall we? Some music has got to wider audience, and made some people happy. It's not quite a station of the cross on the way to Armageddon.

The vinyl countdown

While it's difficult to feel too sorry for Virgin and HMV as they struggle to try and find a role in the future, the plight of independent record shops is heartbreaking. Even the best of them are starting to struggle: Spillers Records in Cardiff, believed to be the oldest record shop still in business, is being threatened by increased rent demands from their landlords.

The rent is being ratcheted up because the opening of two soulless shopping centres have suddenly made Spillers' location desirable, and as a thank you to the store for having kept faith with the location for over 100 years, they're being given the bum's rush.

The Manic Street Preachers are just the top of a very outraged tree:

"Spillers was a lifeline, it gave us our musical education. The only record shop in Wales where we could find the music that made us who we are."

Petitions are being run up in a bid to stop the landlords from wrecking something important and valuable in Welsh musical heritage.

Courtney without a blemish on her character

Courtney Love has been spat out of the court system a changed woman, Judge Rand Rubin has decided.

He's ended her probation early, telling her she's done very well:

"Early on in this case, Ms Love, I think you came very close to coming into custody.

"I think you've done very well. You've shown to me you are interested in a much less destructive lifestyle."

Excellent news. Well done Courtney for... hang on, what's this?

Courtney has a few words for Steve Coogan:

"I've kept journals of every single thing, every single person I've ever slept with. Steve Coogan needs to lose the naughty fucking altar boy routine. When I was with him, he passed the line of what even I thought was normal. He has an intense sex addiction. He never wanted to stop. If he's given me anything, I swear to God I'd cut his dick off!"

Thank God she's left that destructive behaviour in the past, eh?
[Thanks to Michael M for the Coogan link]

It's what she would have wanted

The giant, creaking event around which pop is destined to spin next year has been confirmed: William and Harry Windsor are throwing a massive party to celebrate ten years since their mother died. (Can that be right?)

The Princes explain:

Prince William said: "We both wanted to put our stamp on it. We want it to represent exactly what our mother would have wanted.

"So therefore the church service alone isn't enough. We wanted to have this big concert full of energy, full of the sort of fun and happiness, which I know she would have wanted.

"And on her birthday as well, it's got to be the best birthday present she ever had."

Perhaps, although if someone gave us a Joss Stone gig we'd be gently probing to find which store we could return it to for a credit note.

We, obviously, didn't know Diana as well as her sons, but from what we saw of her last couple of years she was less all about the "fun and happiness" and more about screwing the Royal Family at every available opportunity, which would make her ideal birthday present less an Elton John gig, and probably something more like having Camilla dragged through the streets of Windsor with a bright red A scratched on her breast while Charles is made to wear a pointy hat as people throw rotting vegetation at him.

Still, we're not organising it, are we?

Who's in, besides Joss Stone? Well, there's Elton, of course:

"I applaud Princes William and Harry for choosing to honour their mother with this concert. I am absolutely thrilled to be performing at this great event.

"Diana was a personal friend and someone I greatly admired for her tireless and enthusiastic work for charity."

Close personal friend, lot of good work for charity - he's not getting her muddled up with DLT, is he?

Duran Duran have signed on:

Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran added: "The concert next summer seems an entirely fitting way to celebrate her life and her work.

"We are honoured that she always referred to Duran Duran as her favourite band as she was certainly our favourite princess."

Pharrell Williams is also on board - Diana often mentioned how much she was going to like his work, she expected. And there's some ballet there, too. Because she wasn't just a teenybopper, of course. Andrew Lloyd Webber has been promised.

Tickets will cost forty-five quid (or more on eBay) and the funds raised will be shared amongst organisations Diana supported during her life. And not, oddly, to the Diana Memorial Fund to help make up some the cash it pissed away trying to sue the Franklin Mint.

Saving McGowan from himself

Some hotels will pop extras in the rooms of their regular customers.

Not if the guest is Shane McGowan, though. To save him time at check-out, anything breakable is being taken out of his room in the Malmaison, as last time it took quite a while to tot up the cost of damage he'd done.

Forewarned is forearmed, and so on.

Robbie Williams is not in possession of a soul

Basement Jaxx supported Robbie Williams on his tour this year. They weren't impressed with the circus they joined:

Felix said: "I wouldn't want to repeat that experience. We didn't hang out with him. He tried to be down to earth but I think sometimes he probably wonders what he's doing.

"It's a big money-making corporate machine. Fans pay a lot of money to get to the gig then they get there and the programme costs £12 for a few pages, then there's the Robbie ring tones and Robbie everything.

"It's milking money at every point."

Simon added: "There are adverts on the big screens. It's like an all day event with people arriving from 2pm with five bands before he comes on.

"We had different screens from the ones Robbie used and on his there was adverts for Orange phones and BMW.

"The thing is he's doing very well, he's very popular, but it's mass entertainment and it just felt a bit soulless."

We're not even sure about the "entertainment" bit - it's a little like the Grand National; everyone watches it, but very few have any idea if what they've seen was a good horsereace or not; there's nothing for them to compare it with apart from the other Grand Nationals they've seen.

...very big house in the country...

Normally, radio presenters buy a farm and move out to the country. Alex James, on the other hand, has moved to the country and become a radio presenter.

James is going to guest on Radio 4's On Your Land. Radio 4 seem to realise this might be as popular as Oliver Stirling offering advice on warble fly to Phil and David:

Radio 4’s Steve Peacock said: “I would anticipate there are plenty of farmers who would sneer at being told about their living by a guy from Blur.

“But when they get to know him, they’ll realise he’s keen on the life and really getting a grip on it.”

"I do so love harvest, when it's traditional for young men to toil, shirts off, under a setting sun. Livestock? I make my llamas wear nappies; it does so save one's Hush Puppies when the fields aren't full of poop. Next year, my priority is to replace the top field with some astroturf. Much, much more durable, and when you have a champagne picnic with Dave Gilmour and Shaun Ryder, you'll find it's less likely to give you grass stains on your derrière, and isn't keeping our bottoms free of unwelcome staining the very essence of agriculture? Erm ... will this do?"

Serge comes to the aid of his chum

Ooh, there's a right old playground scrap brewing. Elton John was rude (but accurate) on the question of Noel Gallagher ("“an absolute twat who looks like Parker from Thunderbirds), Noel's chum in plodrock isn't 'avin any of that, la:

“Elton’s just a fat man in a tracksuit. Whereas anything that comes out of Noel’s mouth is absolute genius.

“Noel is the last man you want to start with. He’s so quick he can destroy anyone. Elton John needs to watch out.”

Yes, who would want to get locked in a battle of words with Noel Gallagher. Gallagher is famed for his rapier-like wit, albeit a rapier which he never takes out its case, choosing to use the dull end of the box it comes in to beat his targets repeatedly over the head.

It's true that Elton has elevated comfort above style when choosing daywear, and - like many of us - shows the signs of over-enthusiasm when the sweet trolley comes round. But he's also the man who recorded Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Rocket Man and Philadelphia Freedom; he also still listens to and absorbs music which has led him to take more risks in the last few years. Sure, he might have dubious taste in friends, and enjoy the company of the gliterrati a little too much.

But, seriously: a choice between Elton or Noel. You're not going to be going with Noel, are you?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monkeys "advertising" rule scuppers charity

Curious news from the Arctic Monkeys world: having agreed to do the Buena Vista style makeover of one of their tracks for a charity album against global warming, the band have apparently flown into a squawking rage that the track is being used in a video to promote the album:

[The Daily Mirror's] source tells us: "The Monkeys were initially very excited about the project as it's for such a good cause. The charity sent them a copy of the video for approval and presumed everything was OK.

"But once it was shown briefly on GMTV, all hell broke loose as the Monkeys' people consider it 'advertising'."

This doesn't make any sense - presumably the band believe in the cause, otherwise they wouldn't have donated the track; and they must have understood they were being asked to take part because their name would be used to sell more records and so raise cash and awareness for the Artists' Project Earth project. So would the band really be that outraged at the organisation attempting to do just that?

After all, a band who turn up to pick up a cheque written by a Building Society at a sponsored "best album" event can't really have too many qualms at getting their hands dirty with a spot of commerce, can they?

Kicking downwards

America being America, everything can usually - with a little legal intervention - be proven to be someone else's fault.

So, Catherine Lewan is launching a class action suit. She was sued by the RIAA, and she's blaming, well, Kazaa:

Accoridng to Lewan's filing, Kazaa deceptively marketed its product as allowing "free downloads", designed the software in such a manner as to create a shared files folder and make that folder available to anyone using Kazaa, while at the same time failing to make the user aware that it had done so and, surreptitiously installed "spyware" on users' computers which made the shared files folder accessible to the Kazaa network even after the user had removed the Kazaa software from his or her computer.

Kazaa's parent company has settled its legal battle with the RIAA; doubtless at the moment they're sitting with their legal team trying to see if they can sue Bill Gates. It must, after all, be his fault they're in this mess; him and his damn computers.

Arcade Fire try to burn touts

Having seen the tickets from their London residency smash onto eBay, Arcade Fire are grumpy as hell:

"Due to the overwhelming demand for The Arcade Fire London shows, we would like to advise fans that we will be releasing some tickets for sale prior to doors opening for each London show."

"There will also be extra shows announced soon giving more people the opportunity to see the band perform. Please don't encourage the touts."

"Wherever we have email addresses and ticket numbers for sellers we will cancel the tickets and put them back up for sale on show day."

"Please don't buy from them and risk your tickets being cancelled."

We're not sure the promise of more tickets on the door is going to stop people searching eBay for tickets - after all, if you're willing to pay eBay prices, would you necessarily think "no, I'll take my chances in the queue on the night instead"?

Doherty, death and the dance of doubt

The police are still fairly certain that they're not treating the death of Mark Blanco as anything more than a tragic accident, and the row he had with Pete Doherty shortly before he died as nothing more than a tragic coincidence.

But the more reports and rumours which appear, the murkier the story seems. For while there's no evidence that anything amiss has taken place, Doherty's reaction hasn't exactly reflected well upon him.

The Guardian spoke to one party-goer who claimed that Doherty had seen Blanco, on the pavement, but still hadn't bothered to wait for police or ambulance to show up:

Doherty left for another party before the ambulance arrived. "He came out of the house and was clearly very concerned. He came and stooped down next to me. I was saying to Peter 'it's okay, it's alright'," said the woman. "Peter went 'it's not fucking okay; it's not alright' and was clearly very distressed.

"It seems that it's a very tragic accident," she added. "I'm sure that from the inquest they will be able to tell us what's happened, and I trust they will be right."

The family of the dead man seem less sure of that:

The family of Blanco, a Cambridge graduate, are understood to be frustrated at the police's apparent failure so far to question all potential witnesses, and a refusal to go beyond describing the death as "unexplained". In a statement, friends described the actor, cast in the lead of Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, as a "solid, intelligent and loving man". They added: "We absolutely do not believe that Mark committed suicide, or that his death was a simple accident."

In yesterday's Mail On Sunday, Johnny Headlock, Doherty's "unofficial minder", gave an interview putting what's so far the closest thing to an official line:

Headlock says he cannot remember how 30-year-old Blanco's body was discovered.

'I remember someone saying, "Mark's had an accident",' he said. 'We came down and there he was on the floor and the girls were checking him. I assumed he walked down and he just fell over because there was no blood anywhere. I thought he was drunk and he just slipped and fell on the floor.

'Mark could have fallen over the balcony, 'cos the balcony's not that high. But he didn't look that bad. No one actually knew he'd fallen over the balcony. No one saw it. How do we know?'

Headlock says he can't explain Blanco's death. He does, however, confirm that hard drugs were available at the flat. He says Roundhill had been taking crack and admits taking cocaine himself.

Nobody, of course, has any real idea what happened, or how Mark died - hopefully the inquest will shed some light on events.

But this is already shaping up to be Pete Doherty's Stuart Lubbock moment - by taking his usual half-arsed approach to the accident, he's managed to leave himself in the shadow of a perpetual question mark. It's not so much the question of how Blanco died: it's more the question of what sort of man sees a friend dying in the street, and heads off to another party?

Priscillas pressie

It's that most wonderful time of the year - the time when people slip something into your ripped fishnet stockings.

The all-too-lovely Priscillas are thanking everyone for their support this year with a free downloadable Christmas single thingy. It's there to be plucked from their MySpace pages. So, every time you download it, Rupert Murdoch's profits take a tiny hit. Gift that keeps on giving.

Cod science is overfished

We're sceptical about how much science has actually gone into the discovery of the saddest song ever, because while Dr Harry Witchel, an expert in physiology and music, is doubtless a fine man, he's carried out his investigations at the behest of a mobile phone manufacturer to help push the idea that your telephone can function as a record player.

His findings?

Sad tunes lowered heart rate, happy ones rekindled good memories and made test subjects sigh and exhilarating ones made them breathe heavier.

Happy songs remind you of happy times. Whoever would have thought?

Mind you, Witchel claims that Lily Allen's LDN is the "happiest song" of all time - because, after all, who wouldn't have a little smile to themselves hearing of a crack whore and her pimp and an old lady having her wedding ring stolen?

The most "exhilarating" song is Blur's Song 2 - here, we imagine, the well-known Hoffmeister Correlation was brought into play, which states "the more times a song is used to flog dodgy beer or rubbish films, the more exhilarating that song will be."

And the top ten sad songs?

1 The Drugs Don’t Work — The Verve
2 Angels — Robbie Williams
3 Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word — Elton John
4 I Will Always Love You — Whitney Houston
5 Nothing Compares 2 U — Sinead O’Connor
6 Leave Right Now — Will Young
7 Are You Lonesome Tonight? — Elvis Presley
8 Beautiful — Christina Aguilera
9 Goodbye My Lover — James Blunt
10 Fake Plastic Trees — Radiohead

But isn't Beautiful meant to be empowering rather than sad? And how can you have a list like this without Gloomy Sunday on it? Or any Joy Division?

"Our outrage goes up to 11"

It is, perhaps, one of the less-popular tracks when labels are compiling their Christmas compilation CDs, but Christmas With The Devil seemed just the ticket for the BBC to use as a bed for their "compilation of festive villains" trailer. After all, everyone enjoys a bit of Spinal Tap, don't they?

Not quite. The sort of Christians who manage to give a two-thousand year-old religion a bad name have missed the point entirely, and have kicked up one of their "look at us, with our wounded pride" calling the song "Satanic":

Canon Peter Howell-Jones, of Birmingham Cathedral, said: “It’s in very bad taste. I’ve enough to do without having to defend God from things like this.” Retired Rev Betty Stephenson added: “It’s disgusting, diabolical.”

She said the Devil — also called Beelzebub — “always works quietly in the background” and mentioning him demeaned the “true meaning of Christmas”.

The Devil is working quietly in the background making trails for BBC One? I find that very hard to believe. Writing the puns they use in Homes Under The Hammer, maybe. Constantly reminding Trevor McDonald of the deal they did (for why else would McDonald repeatedly turn up to demean himself on Tonight, twice a week, for all eternity?), for sure. Scheduling Channel Five, unquestionably. But working doing the trailers?

The BBC have elected to take the line of least resistance and re-record the trailer (clearly, the devil must have taken an attachment to the sports department, tallying the results of Sports Personality of the Year), thereby freeing up Canon Peter Howell-Jones to concentrate on all those other things he has to do now he no longer has to defend God, the deity, from a thirty second snatch of music from a spoof film about a made-up rock group being used on a short advert to promote a special episode of Doctor Who.

Liam Gallagher discovers metaphor; similes taken into hiding as a precaution

Liam Gallagher thinks he's the luckiest kitten in the golden litter:

“I’m the geezer with the champagne getting Man Of The Match. I think we all know that.

“I’m the one who scores in the last minute. NOEL’s the defender who drives it and that. You do the work and I’ll just have a laugh and look good.”

Maybe, Liam, although looking at it, Noel's more the player-manager who seems to be giving you less and less time on the pitch as the season progresses. And while you might win the odd man of the match award, is that really going to make up for the way your team, once Premiership contenders, is sliding down the table and relying on the support of old men who refuse to accept the glory days are over? Is it really so great to be the most flamboyant member of the QPR squad?

Still, at least Liam has finally come clean about the low horizons Oasis suffer from:

“A lot of people like lots of music. I don’t. I think that’s ignorant.

“It’s like having loads of girlfriends. I don’t like lots of styles of music, I just like rock ’n’ roll.”

This isn't much of a surprise - if you've ever heard two Oasis records, you'd have spotted that - but for someone to think that his blinkered, white-bread-and-marge only approach is, in some way, clever and noble almost makes you feel sorry for him.

“I want Oasis to be bigger. I want to make great records that people love. I think there’s a special one round the corner.”

Yes, there certainly is. Unfortunately, it's a corner you've already gone round over ten years ago.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Kate Bush needs canal douche

The recent unlikely weather has caused all sorts of headaches - not least for Kate Bush, whose weir has collapsed, blocking off part of a canal. Bush is going to have to ensure the silted-up waterway is cleared , which could cost her upwards of a hundred grand.

Or she could just offer to recreate the Babooshaka video on the bank while people dig. We're sure that would summon a large enough team of volunteers.

Victoria Beckham suggests denim men didn't try too hard

Nobody plays Victoria Beckham for an idiot.

Oh, alright then.

But if the mutterings coming from her legal team are correct, she believes that Rock & Republic have been shortpaying her share of profits from the jean range she signed off ("designed") for them.

Victoria has already pocketed half a million quid, but is starting to think that she should have got more - although she doesn't think anyone set out to diddle her, apparently. Surely half a million quid for some - literally - butt-ugly jeans must be a more than generous return, considering even corpses refused to wear them on the grounds that "you can buy ugly jeans from Wal-Mart for a tenth of the price."

Another corpse said she wouldn't be seen dead in the jeans because "although I like the faded look, I want the denim to be faded rather than the career of the supposed designer". Which isn't much of a joke, but isn't bad for someone who died in 1963.

Rock and Republic think the whole thing is "ridiculous" - although so was signing up Beckham to the deal in the first place, but that didn't stop it happening - and insist they owe her nothing. Nothing, nothing at all.

Krall: it's twins

Allowing himself a wry smile and maybe a small glass of something festive this morning will be Elvis Costello, whose partner Diana Krall has given birth to twins.

They're two boys, which means there's every chance they could take over from the Chuckle Brothers when the to-me, to-you pair eventually retire.

This week just gone

Being Sunday, we must again collect the week on No Rock and Roll Fun.

The ten most-looked at individual news stories were:

1. Does KT Tunstall like girls?
2. Heather Mills porno past
3. Heather Mills naked present
4. McFly remove their trousers
5. Kooks "leaked email" turns out, disappointingly, to be just an amusing review
6. Bono wishes U2 were called something else
7. Grammy nominations list in full
8. Pete Doherty rows with man; man dies shortly afterwards
9. Amy Lee admits Evanessence albums were a bit samey
10. North Korea braces for iPod shortage

You can slurp the week in one page, or
skim the previous week in one post.

We've started our annual round-up of best of lists. It's the most statistical time of the year.

And we hinted you might like to expand your collections with some of these:

Tidying up Hefner's posthumous remains - the BBC sessions

Lee Hazelwood poses the Izzard question: Cake or death?

One of the more complete "memorial" Desmond Dekker collections

Kat Vipers: if you call her spiky one more time, she'll shove her heels up your ass, you know

We're not sure there is a present-buying problem to which "DVD of the Sultans of Ping reunion gig" is the solution

Einsturzende Neubaten live DVD. Best switch the home theatre sound off.

Collection of some of the best blogging moments of the year, drawn from a range of writers including (cough, cough) this one