Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why The View aren't in America

As some of our commenters were commenting at the time, the View had to pull their US tour at a moment's notice thanks to the evil drucks.

It's been confirmed that Kyle Falconer from the band was arrested last August allegedly in possession of cocaine; this arrest had to be declared on his visa application: hence, no SXSW for The View.

Don't worry; we're sure there's dozen of other bands who sound just like them to fill the gap.

What is a hot-spot not?

Not a good spot, if the RIAA gets its way.

The always amusing US record industry cartel has run into yet another problem with its ongoing series of lawsuits against the entire world: when it attempted to sue Debbie Foster for "stealing" music, it was unable to prove that she'd taken the music because of her wi-fi ste-up. Anyone could have swung by and used Foster's connection to offload mp3s. The RIAA has been ordered to pick up some of Foster's costs for defending the action.

Naturally, rather than accepting that it had screwed up again, the RIAA is looking to have the law changed again in its favour. (Through interpretation and new legislation, the RIAA is already playing downhill rather than on that mythical level playing field, and yet it still can't find the goal.) This time, they're seeking a motion of reconsideration of the judgement:

They want the judge to rule that the owner of an ISP account is responsible for all activity on that account, which could have a chilling effect on public wireless access and open hotspots. (The appeal also made the point that Foster should be held liable if she was aware of the infringement occuring via her account; in the case of someone with an open Wi-Fi network, that could constitute something as simple as experiencing traffic slowdowns.)

Wired's Listening Post blog points out that, not for the first time, the RIAA's attempts to extend the cloak of criminal activity could have a horrible effect on all Americans:
If the judge rules that we're each legally responsible for all of the traffic that comes through our ISP account, open, unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots would become a serious legal liability, the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people who depend on their neighbors for Wi-Fi will be out of luck, while altruistic (or ignorant) folks who leave their wireless networks open could find themselves embroiled in an RIAA lawsuits even if they've never shared a single song in their lives.

In short: if you don't know how to lock up your wireless connection, you could soon find yourself having to write enormous cheques to Sony-BMG because someone with a laptop happened to borrow your bandwidth to download a tune or two.

The analogy, of course, would be if your car was stolen for ram-raid on Currys, you'd have to pay for the stolen goods.

[Thanks to Michael Moran for the story link]

Swoosh stickers

This week, Nike won a legal injunction against Skins, who had had the temerity to use the Swooshstika in an playful way in its advertising.

Nike, of course, had moral weight on its side:

"[T]his is a clear case of copyright infringement and a misuse of our logo," said a spokesman for Nike.

"We will take whatever steps we need to when we believe other companies are infringing."

Pretty clear cut, huh?

Of course, this is the same Nike who pinched Minor Threat's artwork and seemed puzzled when the punks weren't delighted:
All of the Nike employees responsible for the creation of the tour flyer are fans of both Minor Threat and Dischord records and have nothing but respect for both.

Minor Threat's music and iconographic album cover have been an inspiration to countless skateboarders since the album came out in 1984. And for the members of the Nike Skateboarding staff, this is no different. Because of the album's strong imagery and because our East Coast tour ends in Washington DC, we felt that it was a perfect fit.

There is a well-established principle that if you don't protect your trademark, it can lapse into the public domain. Maybe there should also be a principle that if you, as a company, violate other people's copyrights, your own should lose legal protection? It might focus the minds a little more, don't you think?

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, knock down your hair: Tower comes to market

We're not entirely sure what the attraction of brand tied to high-street music sales - and brand complete with the stench of failure at that - would be to purchasers, but the people charged with flogging off the last of Tower's assets are pretty sure people will be bidding when they auction 'em off next month.

Amongst the attractions are the website - we guess Virgin or HMV might be interested in whacking a forward onto that, and the Tower brand. The value of that might depend on how you feel about the last promo work done on it being by blokes wearing sandwich boards fighting through pre-Christmas crowds announcing the closing down sale, for all the world like the end of the Brand's world was nigh.

EMI still loves DRM

The one member of the RIAA to have been actively considering a way of dropping the need for DRM from its downloads, EMI, has abandoned negotiations and apparently abandoned the idea.

The sticking point? Record company greed, as ever:

EMI, the third-largest music company, demanded an upfront payment to compensate for its risk in releasing the music without software that prevents copying, the sources said. The retailers countered with a lower offer, which EMI rejected, and negotiations are now on hold, they said.

We're not quite sure why EMI even thought this one would fly - after all, if removing the DRM from the downloads meant that each song would be sold just once and then released for free into wild, that's even more of a risk for a download company than for the record company. EMI would still have other ways of making money from the music; if nobody needed Napster to get their downloads any more, Napster has no business. In effect, EMI is asking to be compensated for a risk from the companies actually taking the risk.

Free your cock, and your mind will follow

So, why did Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal take to the stage with his admittedly lovely knob on display?

To make us think, it seems:

"I always wanted to perform's kind of my concept, to bring world peace to the Earth if everyone had to stand naked in front of their peers once a month. I think it's good because it forces you to sort of come to terms with any sort of body issues that you might have and it sort of like cleanses your emotional palette.

"A lot of people get this anxiety that's like 'I was naked in front of an audience!' and stuff, but I think it's kind of cool for people to be able to face that without going to jail. That's the thing, too, I had to pick Vegas because that's the only 21+ venue we're playing on this whole tour, and I didn't want to become a sex offender, because that would be pretty dreadful."

A quick call to Buckingham Palace has confirmed this "hasn't affected his chances to being invited to a Royal Variety Performance in the slightest."

Arthur rolls out its last one

Arthur, the High Times which made sure its curtains were closed before bringing out its stash, has published its last edition. The magazine's blog is announcing its demise with a one-word post:


Bravery move

That's the way to do it: The Bravery have an album, probably due sometime round May, but rather than waiting for it to leak or seap, they're streaming the whole thing from their website. It's a primitive sort of streaming, but it works.

You'll have had your T

The remaining tranche of T in the Park tickets have been sold, and in less than three quarters of an hour. There were 40,000 passes left (roughly the same number had been sold at the end of last year's event); now there are none.

Still, there's always Ebay, where prices seem to be nudging over the £400 a pair mark.

Blunt weapon

To be honest, in the case of James Blunt versus the BA check-in staff, we're with the check-in staff.

Although the rules do allow instruments to be taken as hand baggage again, letting James Blunt into the cabin with his guitar is tantamount to letting a person on board with a dangerous weapon. Do BA know how many people have suffered at the hands of that guitar?

Nice MySpace you've got here: The Delorentos

The Band: Delorentos


Downloadable tunes? Nope

They say: "Riffs and rhythms combine to produce powerful, intimate and captivating songs that have already won them a dedicated fan-base around Ireland through their regular live appearances."

They sound like: Better-than-average provincial indie rock

They look like: They spend some time getting their hair right

How many friends? 4,465, including The Chalets

Have they reskinned? They've chosen black

Do they blog? Tour diary, studio updates, the works

Best comment: I have an idea(not very offten)..... I am gonna get a t shit done with "In Love With Detail" written on the front and Delorentos on the back and i am gonna wear it for the week of the album release! yes it is a brain storm of an idea! wooooo

Do we learn anything? Apparently they should have won some sort of battle of the bands, but, erm, didn't

Do you really want to add Delorentos as a friend? Well... it's better than supporting Kasabian, isn't it?

Fresh n Fly n unhooked

Michelle Gayle - you'll remember her from Grange Hill's Fresh n Fly (or was it Fresh And Fly) and Eastenders. You might also recall her from her not-entirely-glittering post-soap solo career. And being not quite as good at singing as Tony Hadley, as judged by the Reborn in the USA audience.

She's now splitting up from her husband Mark Bright.

The irony that it's taken a split to make anyone remember her won't be helping.

The Sun adds to "Sugababe rape hell" in its own way

This morning's exclusive in The Sun, where details have been added to the "pop star's sister in alleged rape" half-rumour story that's been floating around for a while leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. The paper claims that Samiya Berrabah has "bravely waived her right to anonymity", allowing it run a story identifying her, her sister (the Sugababe's Amelle) and the alleged suspects in the case. The background of the suspects has given the paper the chance to indulge in a spot of implied minority bashing, of course.

We can't help wondering what the circumstances under which Samiya waived her anonymity were - was it willingly, was it proactively or was it under a "friendly" suggestion that it would probably leak out anyway and it'd be best to try and keep control of the story? Did anyone explain to her that the story the paper has run could make it th harder to get a conviction if the case ever comes to court?

It all feels really tawdry.

Hey, Pete, where are you going with that gun in your hand?

Of course, of course Babyshambles have got a shotgun on their tourbus. When you're zooming about with underage girls and dealing drugs all over the place, why wouldn't you have a shotgun?

Victoria Newton links the shotgun to Pete, although the photos she's got of it being waved around like a pop-pop gun feature other Babyshamblers:

A source close to his band BABYSHAMBLES insists it is real, and that Pete himself bought it for £400 on the black market — as protection for the group.

Four hundred quid for a shotgun? What black market is he shopping on? You could get something capable of bringing down an aircraft for that kind of money.

But Victoria clearly knows her onions - she explains the difficult concept of "tourbus" for her readers:
The band use the bus to travel around the country for live shows.

That's brought up to speed the people who thought that, perhaps, Babyshambles used their tourbus to ferry pensioners about the Cotswolds from tea shop to tea shop.

Of course, Victoria doesn't - and, indeed, can't - say if the shotgun is capable of being fired, or ever been loaded.

But it is a bloody stupid thing to do. So how do we go forward? Victoria has an idea:
If Kate does know all about this then she should do the right thing immediately and report it to the police.

But Victoria: if you're so sure of your facts... erm, why haven't you gone to tell the cops?

Friday, February 23, 2007

"The Zune is great" - W. Gates (Mrs)

What's upsetting about the apparent use of blog comment spam by Microsoft is not that they're doing it - ruining people's experiences when in front of computers is their mission, after all - but that it's to promote such a lousy idea. Turn your homepage to MSN and win a Zune? In other words, if you set your browser to launch with a horrible portal, you might be rewarded by getting a fairly clunky media player. It's up there with "cut your arm open and you could win septicaemia" as a proposition.

Once again, Mel C saves us all

Last week, the London Evening Standard was confidently predicting a Spice Girls reunion; with an announcement failing to materialise it's fallen to the Standard's throw-away ("give-away") London Lite to try and save Associated's blushes. See, there was going to be a reunion, but Mel C dug her heels in:

Simon Fuller has enlisted the help of Emma Bunton and Geri Halliwell to convince Mel to sign a deal.

In an exclusive chat, Fuller told us Baby and Ginger have scheduled a meeting with Sporty, 33, in the next couple of weeks, where they will try to get her on side. Fuller, who was dramatically fired by the band in 1997 after propelling them to superstardom, tells us: "All of the girls are up for it and the reunion will definitely happen in the next 18 months."

But if "all the girls are up for it", then, erm, why is it "sometimes in the next year and a half" rather than having a firm schedule? And if they're "all up for it", then why do they need some sort of Potsdam conference with Mel C?

It turns out when Fuller says "all the girls are up for it", he doesn't actually mean that:
"The only person showing any reluctance is Mel C. She thinks her solo career is bigger than the band, which is just not the case. She needs to wise up and realise a reunion would be amazing for everybody concerned. Emma and Geri are meeting her soon to discuss everything and convince her to finally sign a deal."

If the idea is to try and persuade Mel onboard, we're not sure going to the papers, suggesting her solo career is a bit rubbish and that, really, she's letting the side down somehow by not squeezing into her PVC outfit and kickboxing along to the beat one more time, is the best approach to take.

Melanie C: you're doing the right thing. Only you can save us now.

Shop Gossip

We're having a shed delivered that day, and we suspect the crush of the crowd would make it a slightly unpleasant experience anyway, but at least the idea of The Gossip doing a free instore at HMV is a fine one. March 5th, Oxford Street, 6pm.

It's promoting the re-release of Standing In The Way Of Control - a fine single, but is it really cool to be re-releasing singles, Beth?

Girls Aloud in the doll's house

It might seem a mite cruel to suggest that Girls Aloud creating a bunch of Babrie dolls is merely the completion of some sort of karmic circle - ITV create Girls Aloud, Girls Aloud create dolls - but the cinema adverts suggest that it's really happened anyway.

The Cheryl Tweedy one is best if you're looking for something to hit your brother with, we're told.

Endless cycle: Now Allen pokes Sov

"Girls are like that, Gregory. They help each other."

Maybe not, Susan. Shortly after Lady Sovereign gave Corinne Bailey Rae a lame talking-to, Lily Allen is taking umbrage.

Her beef is that Sovereign suggested Allen was only famous because of who her Dad was. Lily - famous for being Keith Allen's daughter - ain't 'avin' none of that:

“In response to Miss Sovereign, I’ve spoken to my dad and he says he’d be happy to adopt you if you think it will give you a leg up.”

Perhaps he should just try fostering at first, though.

The Second Time

Placebo's secret(ish) one-off London gig at the Coronet - being done in celebration and as a warm-up for their South American tour - sold out in a blur of speed greater than that of men typing in "Jennifer Aniston topless The Break Up" into Google images yesterday.

Sniffing the chance to make some extra spends for Rio ("Aware there were many disappointed fans") the band are adding an extra intimate date the night before, 6th March. Tickets will be released for a frenzy of buying on Tuesday morning.

Placebo are also releasing a new, download-only album of Covers. It hits iTunes on 5th March, and is effectively the extra disc that was given away with Sleeping With Ghosts. It's a fine thing indeed - who couldn't love their version of Daddy Cool? - but there's a sense this might be too late. After all, the extra disc was only made available after SWG had been out for a couple of months, throwing the keenest fans into a puzzlement of loyalty - did you buy again and reward this cynical move? or did you go for the semi-illegal download?

The main justification for the new push seems to be the inclusion of their Running Up Hill on the soundtrack as The OC slid down the spiral.

And that is what the Grammys are all about

Yes, yes, being recognised by your peers is always nice, but the real joy of winning the Grammys is the sales bounce. Having come away garlanded with prizes last week, the Dixie Chicks saw a 700% sales rise; Corinne Bailey-Rae bounced back up the album charts to number four; 132% up on last week.

More disappointingly, after debuting in the Top 20 last week, Bloc Party have fallen back to number 68 this week, managing just 17,000 sales. Lily Allen is enjoying her third week at the lower end of the top 40.

Fame costs - and right here is where you start paying

...and if you could make the cheques payable to S. Fuller. Yes, the latest extension to the Pop/American Idol brand is heavy on the exploitation: American Idol camp.

For just $2090, 700 "lucky" children can be pushed by their showbiz parents into a "non-competitive" (yeah, right) boot camp for aspiring Clay Aiken and Will Youngs. By which we mean wannabe singers, of course. Organisers of the camp stress that nobody is going to be sent home in tears:

"As in American Idol, the goal for our kids is to soar beyond their expectations," Fremantle executive VP Keith Hindle said. (Or at least soar beyond a first-round embarrassment next time Idol comes to their hometown.)

"However; because Idol Camp is not a competition, every kid goes home a winner," Hindle added.

The real winners, of course, are Freemantle and 19 Entertainment, pocketing a million and a half bucks in return for providing a couple of karaoke CDs and some sheds to sleep in.

By the end of the summer, kids will be pleading to be let to go to Kamp Krusty.

Mika flounces off That tour

Oh, dear. Apparently unconcerned by the possibility that he's little more than this year's Scissor Sisters, Mika has decided he's now too big and special to support Take That on their European tour. He's calculated that his pair of number ones will ensure he's got greater earning power as a headliner, playing to the already-converted than as mere flunky, playing right across Europe to a whole new audience and developing a wider fanbase all the way from Madrid to Moscow which would give him room to grow... oh.

Less John Peel every day

Inevitable, of course, but nonetheless disappointing: the latest overhaul of the Radio One website has removed all links to the John Peel section of the site. At the moment, it's still there - it just doesn't seem possible to find it without knowing it's there - not even a link from Steve Lamacq's page.

Meanwhile, though, we were interested in this item currently on the Radio One indie page:

The Jesus and Mary Chain discussing the Reformation? "Frankly, William, the Settlement was always heading England straight for trouble..."
"It's time John Fisher was treated properly by history, Jim..."

Elsewhere: John Peel in full

It's not fake, it's "confused" - Stone

Aah, so that explains why Joss Stone popped up on the Brits sounding like she was trying out to voice an episode of WITCH: she told Chris Moyles yesterday her accent was "confused". Rather than "put on", of course. Happily, yesterday the accent remembered she was from Devon and not the Valley.

Trouble is, she used it to whine about her hard life:

She then grumbled about how tough it was “flying round the world every three minutes.”

She whined: “I don’t have any time to hang out with anybody. I know people work hard. They wake up early, go to work and come home. I don’t do that, it doesn’t happen.

“I’m just trying to be honest. I’d rather people hate me than lie.”

Nine weeks in Barbados last year, we understand. Either she's gigging really hard there to break into the local market, or else her life isn't really that tough, is it?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Oh, that's all we need

We'd assumed that Ocean Colour Scene had just drifted off, finding jobs sourcing automobile spares and helping elderly people file welfare claims. But, no, it turns out they're still a going concern and - lord help us - a new album is on the way. And of course, it contains a track written by Paul Weller, because of the law.

The last time OCS were even bearable was when they did Sway. Just looking at the tracklist for On The Leyline suggests that there won't even be anything half as good here:

'I Told You So'
'On The Leyline, Waiting'
'For Dancers Only'
'Man In The Middle'
'I Just Got Over You'
'Go To Sea Boys'
'These Days I'm Tired'
'You'll Never'
'Don't Get Me'
'Loneliest Girl In the Whole Wide World'
'Mr Brown'
'Two Lovers'

Mind you, Mr. Brown suggests that they've at last penned a theme tune.

Of Montreal show it all

We've noticed - as have you, we're sure - that despite our finely tuned words on American media mergers and carefully collated tour dates for indie scruffs, the real big hitters in terms of audience numbers seems to be when the name of a person sits alongside the words "naked" or "nude". In which case, we worry for the safety of the blogger servers as we point you in the direction of Pitchfork, which has got its hands on pictures of Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal, naked. He's not actually completely naked as he never removed his stockings. Not safe for work, of course, unless your office is some sort of burlesque, or you work for Company.

Britney tries rehab

According to universal scuttlebucket clearing house TMZ, Britney has gone back into rehab. Again.

Perhaps her problem is an addiction to check-in desks or giving her name to nurses. She certainly seems to enjoy the check-in process more than the actual staying in bit.

The site claims Kevin Federline has warned Britney he'll be going to badger a judge in emergency session this morning to reclaim custody of the children if she doesn't sort it out.

What with Britney being in and out of rehab and shaving her hair, and so on, of course, Federline seems all of a sudden like the steady, secure, one of the estranged couple. Really, though, if Bill Cosby wanted to throw his hat into the ring, we're not sure there's a court in the land which would hesitate to sign the Spears children over to him like a shot.

Rather weak T

Of course, you can't judge a festival by its headliners - the excitement is always reserved for the print you need a jeweller's eye-piece to read - but the announcement of The Killers and Snow Patrol to be bill-topping for T in the Park still lacks a little something.

As previously announced, there is going to be something for the people who turn up on Friday, but more expansive than originally suggested: there will be music. If you can call Lily Allen "expansive" - and curious that she's soft-launching into the much reduced camping-only audience.

Guns pulled

We know you'd been planning to sleep outside your local record shop on the night of March 5th, to be the first on your block to finally own a copy of Chinese Democracy.

But guess what?

Although they claim the record is "now finished", there's not actually a release date planned.

Sometimes, I wonder if we'll ever see this record.

"How about having Borrell hog-tied and inviting the others to whack him like a piñata?"

There's a vacancy not far from the hottest seat of power over at the NME. They're looking for a new features editor, apparently:

The world's greatest rock weekly is seeking a top notch features editor to speak to Britain's new generation of passionate young music fans.

The successful candidate will be bursting with ideas, be able to edit copy until it sparkles, know what NME's new audience want before they know they want it and be able to get the very best out of NME's army of eager freelancers. You will also be incredibly organised and able work well in a team.

Plus, you'll bloody be able to swallow your tongue and produce an Oasis A to Z when it's deemed appropriate.

How would a person approach and ask for this job?
To apply please complete the following potential cover feature treatment for three bands: The Twang, My Chemical Romance and Razorlight

• Cover photo concept/structure
• Main cover sell
• Feature picture concept
• Feature headline
• Feature sell
• Brief for the feature with word count
• Two potential feature pull-quotes

We're sending in a suggestion for all three which involves scrapping the whole lot and running a half-page interview with The Motorcycle Boy as the cover story.

You'll have to be sharpish, mind, as the whole caboodle closes tomorrow.

Beanie back before the beak

Beanie Sigel had got quite close to the end of his period of close control by the US state, but it looks like he might have blown it: the Probation service are asking for his status to be revised. Sigel was under a two year supervised release program after some business with guns and drugs; the Probation Service is miffed that he never mentioned to them he'd been stopped and questioned by police last August and even more annoyed that he's tested positive for codeine and morphine at the end of 2006.

Sigel countered that his doctor has prescribed him drugs with codeine and morphine in shortly before a random drug test.

Judge Surrick extended Sigel's supervised release period by six months, and warned him to straighten up and fly right:

He told Sigel he would have to get the situation "under control or otherwise I'm going to have to take action you're not going to appreciate."

Because, of course, Sigel would have been delighted by an extra six months of peeing in a bottle when the police have a whim.

Still no Anita Ekberg, mind

The new Fountains of Wayne is not very much different from the old FOW, but if you like that sort of thing, Someone To Love is currently streaming from a Virgin server somewhere in America.

And it never really began

Well, bang goes our planned idea to review this year's Eurovision acts in terms of Smiths songs (Slovenia: Girlfriend in a coma; Netherlands - Paint a paint a vulgar picture; it would have been a hoot, I tell you.)

Morrissey's supposed desire to rescue the UK's pride in Eurovision has come to naught, as he's just too busy to find the time. God alone knows what he's doing - soaking the labels off marmalade jars or weighing up competing tax regimes, probably.

We hear Gareth Gates is still free.

High School Re-Uniform

North America is about to get a warm, salty blast of Brighton's Pipettes all over their lucky faces, and they've just released an expanded tour schedule of the whats and whens and whys:

March 10 - Toronto The Rivoli
11, 12 - Brooklyn, Luna lounge
13 - New York Bowery Ballroom
15 - Austin Flamingo Cantina
16 - Austin Emo's Pitchfork party
17 - Austin Beauty Bar Patio Austin

Obviously, the Austin dates are all part of SXSW, and somewhat disappointingly it doesn't look as if you can actually get food at the Flamingo Cantina. We wonder, just what is the best place for Mexican food in Austin?

Leon linger longer in Lancashire

Not quite sure this'll make up for the loss of that enormous supercasino - a gap which can only be plugged by enforcing every gift shop to sell scratchcards - but Blackpool is getting an extra Kings of Leon date.

They've added an extra night in the Empress Ballroom on April 6th. It'll still be nippy on the west coast then; take a cardigan.

Glastonbury registration: success or disaster?

Michael Eavis has given a delighted report to BBC 6Music about the pre-registration process for this year's Glastonbury and how well it's all going:

Festival chief Michael Eavis told BBC 6 Music: "175,000 have gone through as of today (February 21) - and it's going through at about 600 an hour.

"It's a pretty high number, really. People have been very good about it. Not too many complaints and it means we can forget about touting forever."

Yes... well done for that.

Only we're three-quarters of the way through the pre-registration window now, and you've not had enough people sign up to fill the proposed the new capacity of 177,500. Of course, there has to be some room left for kids and liggers who won't need to have tickets with their gurning faces on, but the somewhat low figure of registrations suggests one of two things:

Either people have decided that this is a hurdle too far, even to see Amy Winehouse in a tent, and chosen to not bother with Glasto this year,

Or the message about the need to register in advance hasn't got out.

If the first option is right, Eavis is presumably to be congratulated for inventing a way of turning a festival from being something like five-times oversubscribed into one barely able to sell out.

If the second option is correct, there's going to be an awful lot of angry people barking "why weren't we told?" when the tickets go on sale April 1st.

For now, the organisers better be hoping that everyone who's pre-registered decides to buy tickets - it only needs fifteen percent or so to decide not to bother and it might even be possible to get a spot in front of the headline acts this year.

For the love of everything...

If you've been missing your fix of superior musical word-jousting, you'll be delighted to hear that I Love Everything is back up and running, along with, of course, I Love Music.

Within moments, Roger Whittaker had posted this:

I think Michael Stipe has the same talent for writing that Elvis Costello has - the lyrics don't stand up to much analysis - but they kind of suggest an intelligence at work

... which suggests that they can use rudimentary tools and find their way unaided through mazes.

Everyone needs to re-register, so this is your chance to dump that screen-name which seemed amusing at four in the morning half a decade ago and select another, fresh one, which will seem just as awful after ten minutes.

Church observes her own Sabbath

Scary to think that Charlotte Church is already twenty-one, isn't it?

Newton reckons that Church caused chaos - chaos by refusing to work on her birthday, although the implication that this was a whim rather than a long-standing plan doesn't really stack up as they brought filming forward to Monday, i.e. before her birthday.

Hmm. Indie production company has couple of extra days for edit. It's chaos, I tell you.

Mind you, Church hardly spent her birthday-day-off having a never-to-be-repeated experience:

[S]he was spotted treating herself to a new bed in Dreams superstore near her home in Cardiff.

After the amount of partying she did last night, I’m sure she slept well.

Maybe, Newton, but not if she was relying on a swift delivery of a Dreams bed, surely?

Gates opens again

Here's a chill wind blowing through the house: what can it be?

The return of Gareth Gates, that's what.

He's overcome his stammer altogether, which has excited Victoria Newton no end:

He now gets to show off his personality — we had no idea what he was like before because he couldn’t express himself.

While it's great that Gates no longer stammers, I think we all managed to get a pretty good idea what he was like last time round, didn't we?

Apparently, though, he hated the music he was doing:
What happened with my first two albums is that I arrived at the studio, walked into the booth, was told what to sing and left an hour later.

“That was my only input on the records I made. But with this one I’ve had the freedom to be able to play guitar and piano on it. It’s much more about me.”

You say that, Gareth, like it's a good thing.

The real indication that this is a threadbare comeback, though, is that Gates is forced to fall back on the only vaguely interesting thing about himself: "Did you know I had sex with Jordan?":
“I’m aware that the story became bigger because I denied anything had gone on, when in fact it had.

“I’m a bit older and more mature about it now. I look back and wish I’d been honest about it.

“The truth is we did have a relationship. She was made to look foolish because I denied it all, and I regret that.

“I don’t blame her for slagging me off over it. I don’t regret my relationship with Jordan.

“I’ve never bumped into her anywhere but I do hope I will so I can have a chat with her and apologise. She’s a nice girl. It’s very easy for people to slag her off but when you get to know her she is great.

“I’m glad that she’s found someone to make her happy and I do hope I can see her face to face soon and put things to rest.”

"Making Jordan look foolish" is quite a difficult thing to do, or more foolish, anyway. But it's curious Gates thinks that what makes her look idiotic was that he refused to confirm their "relationship" (although that's quite a grand description of a random knee-trembler) rather than the pair of them copping off together in the first place.

Gates' single isn't even out until the start of April. Let's hope he's not splashed his Jordan story.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Round the Bloc a few times

Bloc Party are laying plans to complete the summer treble: appearances at Glastonbury, Reading-Leeds and T in the Park.

They're aware that's carrying a risk of over-familiarity:

Gordon Moakes, who spoke exclusively to 6 Music News:

"I don't know which ones have been announced from which one's haven't, I know we're playing T In The Park, I think we're playing Reading Festival, Glastonbury, so I think we'll be ever-present over the summer."

Gordon also gave the story of the Aberdeen coin incident from the band's perspective:
"Somebody threw a coin and it kind of threw Kele's concentration more than anything else, because he was in the middle of a song. When we got through to the end of it, I said 'do you want to go off stage?' So we came off, and I think we were all a bit shaken by the whole thing."

"There was this general feeling before we went on that the crowd was different to the sort of crowd we're used too. We're used to very enthusiastic, carefree audiences, but for some reason there was quite a muted tone to the whole evening and at least one person wanted to make them their presence felt."

Darkness reforms

Earlier in the week, we had the prospect of a reunion falling apart before first rehearsal when Lee Roth and Van Halen called the whole thing off. Now, we've got a prospect of a band reuniting without actually having split, as The Darkness issue a flurry of press releases announcing they've reformed.

Reformed, although this is the same 'rest of the Darkness' left behind when Justin Hawkins quit, and who said back then they were keeping going. So we're not quite sure it counts as reforming - otherwise Oasis could say they've reformed when Liam Gallagher gets back from the cafe to spend ten minutes doing his vocals for an album.

It's hard to imagine the excitement a third Darkness album, only without the flamboyant one, will generate. We imagine HMV will already be wondering how to promote the release - can one do a cardboard cutout of someone nobody would recognise?

Slash faction

While the world waits - okay, while Axl's Mum waits - for a full sniff of Chinese Democracy, and rumours fly of a Guns N Roses reunion tour, another tantalising tease opens up: Slash is writing his autobiography.

He's got Anthony Bozza on board to do the actual writing bit. Bozza has some talent at turning a book from a man without any visible means of verifying his existence at certain points in his life, having done the tricky bits of turning Tommy Lee's "uh... there was, like, a dude... or maybe a bear" into Tommyland, which may not have been the greatest book but was more pleasant than actually having to talk to Lee to get the stories.

Yesterday, Idoaltor put something which may or may not turn out to be the first Chinese Democracy single, Better, onto their site. Guns n Roses management rushed to make them take it down - we suspect out of shame rather than copyright control - but not before it had been hoovered up for you to listen to at the HypeMachine. Approach with caution.

Not again, Britney

What does history do when it repeats itself the second time, assuming the first time was farce? Britney's quit rehab again, say reports from the showbiz reporters who are hanging around waiting for something like this to happen.

The average length of stay at the Promises centre is 45 days, rather than the just-about-one which Britney has managed.

Heather Mills attempts to please people with her twirls

The pledged motivation for Heather Mills' appearance on Dancing With The Stars is simple:

Her spokesman Phil Hall told the BBC News website: "She's doing it because she loves dancing, always has, enjoys a challenge and sees this as a combination of both.

Her participation was "nothing to do with the money", he added. "It's just to do with the challenge and fun of it."

Well, that, we imagine, and the desperate hope that it'll make people like her a little bit more. And the money.

Let's hope it's not as terrible as her last major appearance on US TV, when she sat in for Larry King. There are still an estimated five thousand Americans still hiding from that programme behind their sofas.

Put the blame on you

It's nice to be able to write about a clubnight which isn't in London, so welcome back to Lipstick on Your Collar, returning to The Hatchet on Frogmore Street in Bristol this Saturday.

The music? It's total girl-powered frenzeticness.
The cost? A measly four quid.


Perhaps the saddest press release we've ever had pinged into our box today: Kanye West and KRS-1 have recorded a special song to celebrate the birthday of a plimsole.

To make it worse, not only have these two intelligent, committed, articulate men spent time writing a "happy birthday, dear trainer" song, but the object of their affection is a Nike shoe. It seems its twenty-five years since this particular type of shoe was first made, which means that many of the workers who stitched them together for Nike will be in their early thirties today.

Of course, it's all being done under the hand-stitched cloak of charity, but even so: it's a marketing campaign for a pair of pumps. No wonder you're staring at your shoes, West and KRS.

Glasto: The ten-year plan

Taking advantage of a change in the law, Glastonbury Festival is hoping to avoid the annual heart-in-the-mouth licensing round by applying for a ten years licence for the event. If it gets the go-ahead, the guarantee of festivals up until 2017 means even Kasabian might in with a shout of getting a headline slot.

The bad news, though (besides the thought of Kasabian headlining anything) is that Mendip District Council will be deciding on the application on March 26th, just a handful of days before tickets are due to go on sale.

But enjoy this, possibly the last chance to savour the "will they allow Glasto to go ahead" cliffhanger.

On Her Majesty's DRM

While most of the attention on Downing Street's epetitions website has focused on the anti-road pricing campaign, an equally interesting part of the exercise has been the call for the government to ban DRM. 1,400 signed up, and now the government has come up with its response.

It'll come as a surprise to hear that New Labour is siding with the big companies. Still, let's give it a chance, shall we?

Digital rights issues have been gaining increasing prominence as innovation accelerates, more and more digital media products and services come onto the market and the consumer wants to get access to digital content over different platforms. Many content providers have been embedding access and management tools to protect their rights and, for example, prevent illegal copying. We believe that they should be able to continue to protect their content in this way.

Thanks for the lesson, although to be fair people signing a petition about DRM actually already know this bit. And while it's true that DRM can prevent "illegal" copying, it also prevents legal copying. And interferes with consumer sovereignty.
However, DRM does not only act as a policeman through technical protection measures, it also enables content companies to offer the consumer unprecedented choice in terms of how they consume content, and the corresponding price they wish to pay.

We're not sure if this is just a joke on the government's part, or if they really believe that. DRM acts in precisely the opposite direction - by locking consumers into one supplier and one format, it means you have no control whatsoever over what you want to pay - unless Tony Blair knows of a website selling legal, iPod enabled major label tunes for the 33pence that we reckon is a fair price?

And since when was it unprecedented choice when I can't move tracks from device to device? Back in the 1980s, I could buy a vinyl record and put the songs onto any number of mixtapes for my own personal use - and often did. Now, if I buy a download, I'm limited in the number of mix CDs I can make with it. I suppose, effectively, having to choose if I'll include Something Kinda Ooh on my HappyFebruary mix, or keep it back in case it fits better on another mix sometime in the future is unprecedented, but I'm guessing the government were trying to use Unprecedented in a good way.
It is clear though that the needs and rights of consumers must also be carefully safeguarded. It is reasonable for consumers to be informed what is actually being offered for sale, for example, and how and where the purchaser will be able to use the product, and any restrictions applied. While there is good reason to expect the market to reach a balance as these new markets develop, it is important that consumers' interests are maintained in the meantime.

In other words: it's okay to chop off someone's rights, providing you tell them exactly how shit the deal they're being cut is. It's up to the retailer if he wants to include a cartoon of someone pointing and laughing at the consumer, though.
Apart from the APIG (All Party Internet Group) report on DRM referred to in your petition, Digital Rights issues are an important component in other major HMG review strands on Intellectual Property, New Media and the Creative Economy. In particular, the independent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, published its report on 6th December 2006 as part of the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report. Recommendations include introducing a limited private copying exception by 2008 for format shifting for works published after the date that the law comes into effect. There should be no accompanying levies for consumers. Also making it easier for users to file notice of complaints procedures relating to Digital Rights Management tools by providing an accessible web interface on the Patent Office website by 2008 and that DTI should investigate the possibility of providing consumer guidance on DRM systems through a labelling convention without imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens.

Ooh, a system of labelling. Why didn't you say so? That makes it so much the better.

Karl T, who flagged this story to us, had his own take:
Say what you like about the government, but they do at least have a coherent policy on IT. Sadly, that policy is to make a total horlicks of anything involving IT, particularly where it applies to the rights of consumers.
Today we learn that DRM helps give users "unprecedented choice". As a connoisseur of government "black is white" nonesense, this is very disappointing- they're clearly not even trying anymore.

Nixey fixey

We are, of course, totally fallible, what with being made of flesh and that stuff that ruins the carpet if it sinks in.

But we still can't quite explain how we decided to suggest that Sarah Nixey was ever in Client. Obviously she wasn't, and we regret the error.

To make amends, we'll point out that Nixey is playing Po Na Na in Brighton on Sunday, and that if you want to sample before you commit yourself, her website is streaming samples of what she's up to now.

The rise and fall of Viva Voce

We're guessing the planned album from Viva Voce featuring slices of the first three collections is intended as a kind of "new listeners start here" exercise. Viva Voce Loves You will be out towards the end of April.

Meanwhile, the band are going to do a tour prior to that:

March 25th Glasgow ABC
26th Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
27th Manchester Academy 2
28th London Forum

Britney bugged

Britney, we have been reliably informed by psychologists in the last few days, shaved her head because the hair "represented those stylists and managers who attempt to control her career." Or as a cry for help. Or something.

So far, we've not heard what Britney herself says was her justification:

Britney complained to friends of a "strange itching" on her scalp before running out of Eric Clapton's Crossroads clinic last week on Caribbean isle Antigua The 25-year-old said the bugs "totally freaked me out" and she had no choice but to lose her locks.

Leaving LA's Mondrian hotel, Brit was heard shuddering: "I had to get rid of the lice. They were horrible."

Well, she has been hanging out with Paris Hilton a lot, so it's possible, but... the sense of insects crawling over her skin, thousands and thousands, itching, scratching... who else has symptoms like that?

Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake is being the gentleman about the woman he left behind, sounding for all the world like someone who's just been asked by a terrible-artist friend "what do you think of my latest painting?":
"It was a smart choice, she is starting over, cleaning herself up. It was something you wouldn't expect most people to do, so she is taking a chance."

Yes... some other things you wouldn't expect most people to do include writing "GOD WILL JUDGE" in shit on a hotel wall, holding Al Gore hostage inside a 7/11 or refusing to use forks and eating only with coffee-stirrers. It doesn't actually mean that those would be good ideas, either.

Mika not right on at Brighton

Mika might sit atop of the album and singles charts like some sort of fabulous squatter, but even he can't beat that really horrible flu-like thing that's laying everyone low at the moment; he pulled his Brighton gig last night. Although we're surprised he said he had flu - we'd have expected him to just hint around, blow his nose a lot and then, when asked if he was ill, have a big flouncy fit about how he didn't have to deny or confirm anything, thank you very much.

Kasabian invent new genre

What, you might wonder, will the next Kasabian album be like?

Wonder no longer, for Serge Pizzorno has revealed the masterplan:

“We’re angry. So the album’s going to be angry. It’s like Bosnian folklore music.”

According to Wikipedia, Bosnian folklore music is "fourth generation Beatle copyism, usually featuring a lot of shouting about nothing."

Working Class Hero is nothing to see

A planned documentary on the life of John Lennon has been canned, apparently after Yoko Ono pulled out. Ono seems to have taken the hump that the programme was shaping up to be a biography rather than a hagiography and - presumably worried how the stuff about drugs, dumping on Cynthia and so on would affect sales of John Lennon branded baby toys - cut her support.

EMI, who frankly have other things to worry about right now - say that, no, actually, the programme was dropped "because it wasn't finished in time to coincide with an album release."

If it's really true that EMI scrap hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of work on a documentary because it didn' fit in with the release of yet another "best of" collection, we might have an indication why they're doing so poorly. After all, Lennon seems to be a source of fascination even when there's not a pile of a slightly repackaged CD with Imagine on cluttering up the shops. If it's really true.

Katona mum again; plans extra trip to Iceland

Riot-torn Kerry Katona has given birth to another child, after being rushed to hospital in Warrington. Heidi arrived six weeks early and nearly a week to the day after Kerry married her Dad, Mark.

Sorry, we hadn't realised the story was complete - usually there's either some street fighting or drug taking in any Kerry news.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gene Simmons kisses-off on-demand TV

It seems to be an evening for former rockstars finding their over-hyped projects coming to grief. After the fire bobbies have hosed down the remains of the Van Halen reunion, they'll have to rush over to deal with the bitter end of Gene Simmons' previously announced $40 million floatation of NPTV, a cable video-on-demand service.

It's now not going to happen.

Amos, nearly

Tori Amos has set a date for her next album, American Doll Posse. Recorded in Cornwall, the thing will be out at the start of May.

We're not sure, but we're guessing introspective piano music will be the order of the day.

Thom responds

We know Thom Yorke probably wanted to respond to Noel Gallagher with a picture of a prosimian in an amusing pose, but instead he just went with a blog entry:

"I never went to fucking university. I don’t know what a paint brush is, I never went to art school."

i did. it taught me to respect other artists.

That'll show Noel.

Signed, sealed, delivered: Brown to be laid to rest

The bickering has almost been loud enough to wake the dead, but finally the possibly-wife of James Brown and his six adult children have agreed on a place to bury him.

It's definitely going to be in the ground; now they're just going to have to decide on a location.

Seriously, now they've managed to find a compromise everyone can sign up to, it's expected that Brown will be buried just two months after his death.

Out of my hair: Spears enters rehab

How's this for an explanation for what's been going on, then?

Britney enters rehab.
The staff slip a bill under the door during her first night.
She rings her manager; he points out that it's been a while since she had a big hit, and, what with having had to pay to keep Kevin in Ho-Hos and hookers, there wasn't enough in the bank to allow her to enjoy a full fortnight.
Britney comes out of rehab.
She shaves her head.
One of her people sticks the hair on eBay.
It sells for a million or something stupid like that.
Britney returns to rehab, confident that she can cover the bill, and secure in the knowledge that she can always flog a few pubes if she needs any extras.

Speculative and unlikely, perhaps, but as Britney heads back into rehab it's no less likely than whatever really has been going on.

Her manager has asked everyone to respect her privacy "at this time." Generally, Britney signals she wants privacy by dancing in front of cameras shaving her hair off.

Go ahead and jump: Van Halen split before reforming

The much ballyhooed reunion of Van Halen with Dave Lee Roth looks like being the shortest reunion in history: The Rocky Mountain News reckons that it's now not going to happen. In fact, the paper claims the band won't even share a stage for their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

They could at least have had the good grace to get to one gig for an embarrassing public climbdown.

Andrew WK re-emerges, tries to reinvent himself as Jello Biafra. Again.

Of all the embarrassing episodes in the NME's history, there can be few darker days than the time Andrew WK was hailed not only as good enough to be given a cover, but to be given a double cover-inside-a-cover. Sometimes, we wonder whatever happened to Andrew WK.

But not very often - we spend longer wondering what happened to Samantha Mumba, to be honest (she's running stage schools in Ireland, since you ask). Still, WK has put an end to the wondering, as he's trying to reformat himself as a Jello Biafra style raconteur - doing three nights in New York:

The talks-- titled "The Joy Trilogy"-- are billed on the club's website as "free-form soulsearching," and "participants are come with their minds wide and high."

Mmm. Did we say Jello Biafra? It's more like something out of an early draft of Dead Poets Society.

The classical Milli Vanilli

It's not just the pop audience, it turns out, who'll fall for a pretty face and nice story only to have their trust thrown back in their face. According to analysis of the tracks, every one of the hundred CDs attributed to Joyce Hatto may very well have been a simple copy of an older peformance by somebody else.

Hatto died last year; her reputation had been building almost entirely on the strength of internet word-of-mouth. Very few people had seen her play, as ill-health had led to retirement from the stage 35 years earlier, so it was the recordings which won her plaudits - recordings released on Concert Artists Recordings. The boss at the label? William Barrington-Coupe, who also was Mr. Hatto.

Now, Gramophone magazine has announced an investigation which has uncovered proof that the recordings weren't those of Hatto:

Sound engineer Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio, who performed an analysis of Hatto's recordings on behalf of Gramophone, says every one of the CDs he has analysed can be attributed to another artist.

"We have yet to investigate a Hatto recording that has not proved to be a hoax," concludes Rose. In several cases, says Rose, the original sound recording had been manipulated to disguise the source.

We're surprised, actually, that the tireless beaks at the RIAA hadn't already picked up on this terrible bootlegging scandal. They're meant to specialise in spotting goings-on like this, aren't they?

Will Young ends half-century tradition

Kenwood House summer concerts - a fixture in the English calendar for fifty-five years - have been axed this year, amid fears that the crowd attracted by Will Young would upset local people.

The events, which helped plug an enormous gap between donations and running costs for the stately home in London, had been forced to scale-down last year after some people living nearby complained about the crowds and the noise. This is in Camden, mind you, rather than some leafy glen. English Heritage hope to be able to resume the event next year, assuming they don't cut their million quid a year losses and sell the lot for flats.

The future of the world rests on Snow Patrol's shoulders

Oh, god almighty, Tony Blair, what have you done? The pointless and expensive plans to replace Trident - to ensure that when the world gets blown to smithereens, we can do our bit, too - has generated a monster. CND have launched a campaign with Snow Patrol and Razorlight amongst the big names calling for the scheme to be scrapped.

What's the point of Snow Patrol campaigning against anything? Everything they do is so pallid it's just background music. You might as well ask a small child to hum gently instead for all the good it'll do.

And Johnny Borrell talking about the futility of conflict? That'll come as a welcome change from him throwing bread rolls at his friends, won't it?

Thom Yorke is also involved, as is Kele from Bloc Party. Kele's suggested response is that if a nation hurls a nuke at us, we should just walk offstage for ten minutes until it all calms down so people know we're really pissed off.

Oh, and Ian Brown:

Bloc Party's frontman, Kele, thinks spending billions on "nukes" will bring us closer to "global catastrophe".

Ian Brown, former lead singer of the Stone Roses, is also backing the campaign, calling political leaders "hypocrites and warmongers".

Brown believes that if you have a problem with another party, rather than sending nuclear weapons, you should go down their house and throw paint all over their cars. Violence is never the answer, unless the question is "can I ask you to return to your seat as you are endangering the aircraft, sir."

Lady Sov won't put a record on

One of those great meetings-of-minds of our time, between two figures who aren't quite as important as their managers would lead them to believe. Join us to relive when Lady Sovereign met Corinne
Bailey Rae

[D]uring a recording for T4 [Sov] met the pop singer and told her that "she should be called Corinne 'Boring' Rae."

She went on: "Corinne just said 'Whatever' and turned on her heels like she was the Queen.

We're not quite sure what Sovereign was expecting Rae to do - burst into tears? Admit "yes, you're right - I really should investigate a job at Marks and Spencers"? Retort "you're not a patch on Princess Superstar"?

Not to mention that there's something a bit rich about someone who has taken a name which suggests she is both a "Lady" and in some way "sovereign" calling someone else on acting "like she was the Queen."

Still, Sovereign's pressing need to tell Rae she was dull - Corinne Boring Rae, clever wording, cheers - was motivated by more than just the desire to show off her witty wordplay skills:
I think she's fake. She's too nice. She sings about life being as sweet as roses. But it's not, it's crap."

Now, we don't like Rae much ourselves, but we're not entirely sure what she's meant to be faking. It's not like, say, she was stepping out with Rupert Grint, earning a nice income from Universal Records, doing adverts for mobile phone companies, and sampling Gensis songs while pretending to still be a badass hoodie from a Wembley estate, for example. Or, indeed, pretending that life is crap while piling up royalties from Ugly Betty and seemingly every XBox football game going.

Nirvana at Reading was great, I'll bet

We're more than a little impressed that the readers of have managed to come up with a list of Nirvana's greatest moments to mark today, which is Kurt Cobain's 40th birthday.

We know you didn't send a card, but don't worry; it's been years since he's even sent us a Christmas card.

Here's the full top ten:
1. Reading Festival 1992
2. MTV Unplugged
3. 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'
4. Singing the wrong words on 'Top Of The Pops'
5. 'Nevermind' knocking Michael Jackson off the top of the US charts
6. The band's performance on 'The Word'
7. The 'Nevermind' album cover
8. 'Come As You Are'
9. Starting a food fight and getting thrown out of the 'Nevermind' launch party
10. Pretending to be Madonna's representatives and crank calling The Lemonheads

We have a horrible feeling that, shortly before he topped himself, Kurt had an "It'a A Wonderful Life" moment where he was shown what life would have been like if he hadn't existed. We're picturing Clarence showing him a video of some other band on Top of the Pops, singing the published lyrics. "Had you never lived, Kurt, that episode of Top of the Pops would have contained all the right words... and Viacom would never have made a fortune licensing your work, to fund management expansion in their outdoor advertising busi... Kurt, what are you doing? Put that down, Kur... oh, shit. I knew I should have started with 'Courtney languishing in obscurity'..."

It's all about the music... and other stuff

As if the clothing range wasn't enough of a distraction from the music for Lily Allen, she's now trying to land some acting work, too.

But, obviously, it's all about the music.

She also has attempted to explain away her crying at the airport after the Brits as having been motivated by tiredness and homesickness, and not a big row with Winehouse:

"On Thursday, I woke up at 8 in the am and left my hotel in tears. I didn't want to leave."

Lily added: "I wanted to go home. I wanted my mum to cook me a roast, I wanted to walk my dog and I wanted more than five hours with my boyfriend."

That's why she told the person at the airport she was crying because she'd had a big row with Winehouse. We get "wanting to walk the dog" and "having a row with our friend" muddled up all the time.

Pixie fuss

Again, to the Daily Mail, which runs a story and a photo about one of Bob Geldof's kids, Pixie, being thrown out a nightclub:

The 15-year-old youngest daughter of Sir Bob and the late Paula Yates was thrown out of London's exclusive nightclub Paper at the weekend after security guards finally did the math and realised she was far too young to be there.

So, the bouncers did the maths (what's with the Mail using the American "math", by the way?), but did anyone at the Mail?

A quick look at the Press Complaints Commission code on reporting about children shows that, while Pixie shouldn't have been in a nightclub, she shouldn't have been in the Mail, either:
A child under 16 must not be interviewed or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent or similarly responsible adult consents.
Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child’s private life.

We'd be fascinated to know how 'Geldof's daughter in a nightclub' squared with the code.

The Mail regrets

The Daily Mail is concerned that hanging out with Pete Doherty isn't good for Kate Moss. No, not because of the danger for her career, or the risk of losing her child. Nor is it the financial support for the Colombian drug barons she and Pete provide; not even the drugs themselves.

No, the Mail is worried that hanging out with Pete is making Kate look like everyone else:

Is Pete ruining Kate Moss's looks?
We're used to seeing pictures of Pete Doherty looking greasy, spotty and off his head. But his girlfriend Kate Moss usually keeps a look of supermodel serenity about her. Until now.

The 33-year-old - pictured here leaving for Doherty's Babyshambles gig at Brixton Academy last night - looks anything but a style icon.

The paper "proves" what it clearly thinks of as some sort of "case" by printing a photo. And you know what? Late at night, after a sweaty gig, without wearing make-up, in extreme close-up, in terrible night, when she's not at work modelling, Kate Moss looks like a woman rather than the way she does in glossy magazines modelling pants. Who would ever have thought?

All Saints flop again

There's signs that the All Saints reunion has come completely off the rails - after the album sold slightly fewer than a Bernard Matthews concession at a fashion show, EMI have decided to not bother with a physical CD for the next single, Chick Fit.

Good lord, it's a single called Chick Fit, which sounds like a Fisher Price sorting toy.

It's expected that the label will cut their (quite heavy) losses on the band shortly after.

CD Wow heading back to court

Some three years after CD Wow settled a case brought by the large record labels, EMI, Warners and Sony-BMG are taking them back to the European court, claiming the site has again been importing cheap CDs from outside the EU.

Apparently, by sourcing CDs from the cheapest market and selling them to us at lower prices, they're, um, ripping us off:

"Consumers should not have to pay higher prices for CD-Wow to trade legally," said Matt Phillips from the British music industry group the BPI.

Phillips never explained why consumers would benefit from a company being banned from using the cheapest suppliers.

CD Wow says that Hong Kong sourced discs the RIAA companies claim they purchased from the site were "isolated cases" and the result of "human error".

Let's try again

The Today programme has just reported that EMI has received a takeover offer from Warners; EMI had been considering selling off its record business to focus on the more lucrative publishing so it's probable this has triggered Warners' latest attempt to bring the two companies together.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The inevitable outcome: Sirius, XM merge

After a few years of burning through cash fighting each other, the US' two satellite radio networks have reached the conclusion we all could forsee: Sirius and XM are to merge.

It's good news for their 12 million-odd subscribers, and good news for the radio industry in general. Perhaps less pleased by the news will be the sports organisations who've enjoyed a bidding war for radio rights - Sirius, for example, had signed up to pay $220million to the NFL over a seven year-period. Now the two companies won't be rushing to outbid each other, there might be some money left over for more interesting things.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the web

Clive James' Point of View on Plastic Surgery looks, appalled, at Pete Burns:

He'd had that thing done that people who want new mouths do. They don't want new mouths in the sense of a mouth like the old mouth, only young again. They want a new mouth in the sense of a different mouth, a mouth that has been seen nowhere on earth except below sea level.

Apparently the idea is that the top lip should be at least as big as the bottom lip, and the result, even done in moderation, always looks as if the original mouth has been removed, inflated like a small plastic paddling pool, and put back on upside down.

Pete Burns had the advanced version. I switched Big Brother on accidentally one night and there he was, so I switched it off immediately, but not before having my retinas seared with the image of one of those car-sized fish that lurk deep below the reef, waiting to ingest the brass boot of a deep sea diver.

The Onion reports on Justin Timberlake:
Performer Justin Timberlake, whose hit albums include Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds, was crowned the de facto "King of Pop" Monday by recording-industry executives and millions of fans unable to think of anyone else to bestow the title upon. "It might as well be him," said occasional music consumer Sophie Grant, 23, of Lincoln, NE, who claimed to have purchased one of Timberlake's CDs within the last few years. "We haven't had a King of Pop since Michael Jackson went off the rails, so I suppose they had to pick somebody.

One 80s label boss to another: Alan McGee wishes Tony Wilson well:
Since the first day I met him in 1985, Tony Wilson showed me, more than any other Brit in the music business, that you could set up a record label on your own without being funded by the majors, and run it successfully on your own terms.

Ash: They're ready

Ash's first post-Charlotte album is, they reckon, all done and dusted, with a tracklisting announced and everything:

I Started A Fire
You Can't Have It All
Suicide Girls / Subterraneans (title not yet decided)
End Of The World
Shattered Glass
Roulette (title not yet decided)
Princess Six
Dark And Stormy
What Is The Meaning?
In Hell / The Boy Who Lived In Hell (title not decided yet)

The album should be in the shops (and whatever the digital phrase is that conjures the equivalent mental image) during summer, giving a good few months for it to leak onto the internet.

Robbie Williams is not without his supporters

After they failed to even mumble a "get well soon, Robbie" at the Brit awards, some people suggested that maybe Take That were some sort of evil, uncaring bastards who spend their evenings laughing at the plight of poor Robbie.

The next day, Jason Orange stepped in to explain why they kept quiet onstage:

"We didn't thank Robbie because it is about his private situation. It's not for us to comment. He's going through a personal problem and we wish him the best - we love him."

It turns out, though, that a private situation means "one which can be freely discussed in the pages of Reveal magazine", as Mark and Howard have given an interview commenting on Robbie's medical treatment:
Mark Owen said: "I'm so worried about him. I'm gutted and devastated things have ended up like this. I think he should come back to the UK."

And fellow pop star Howard Donald said in the interview with Reveal magazine: "I've been calling him loads.

"I'm upset some people think it's our success that's made him depressed."

Mark's depressed; Howard's depressed. It's one long circle of misery, isn't it? Clearly, Take That's bounce into having to talk to the press about how they're, whatever, upset about thingy they used to work with being in some sort of hospital is a postmodern joke based on the film about The Queen, and how she was forced to pretend that she was really sad that her husband had killed her former daughter-in-law, or whatever conspiracy about Diana we're meant to be believing this week.

Owen's also upset at some of the jokes being made at Robbie's expense:
Owen also said comments about Williams at the Brits from host Russell Brand and Oasis star Noel Gallagher were uncalled for.

"I felt bad at the Brits because there were some jokes said about Robbie that made it look like he was being mocked," he told the magazine.

It didn't just look like it, Mark. Pretty much, yeah, he was being mocked.

Copenhagen again for 2008?

Eurovision wouldn't be Eurovision without a tv or two, and although no cross-dresser has won the contest yet, it's not dampened the enthusiasm for transvestites at the national heat level. Denmark has become the first country to declare their hand for 2007 depending more than usual on waxing and shaving: Drama Queen.

Writing to reach you

Travis haven't troubled a stage since Live8. Some of us quite like it that way - after all, what's the point of keeping a Snow Patrol and a Travis in the same entertainment industry? Nobody has that much trouble sleeping.

Nevertheless, Travis are determined to return to active gigging, and are threatening to hit the stage at the following fine venues:

March 20th - Camden KoKo
21st - Glasgow ABC
22nd - Warrington Parr Hall

Of course, we're quite tempted to buy as many tickets as we can, and bus loads of people in to just stand and pull horrified faces when they play new stuff. That might spare us the new album, The Boy With No Name, or at least roll it back past May.

Ooh, not a whole quarter-video

After the 66% Jam comes the half-hearted embrace of file sharing by Universal. The New York Times reports that the label is going to release snippets of videos onto the file-sharing networks - and they'll be free of DRM.

There is, however, a catch:

But they will also be incomplete: users who download them will see perhaps half the video and will be directed to the label’s own Web site to watch the complete version — and the advertising planned to run alongside.

Well, it's a sign of some grudging acceptance of the new world - we suspect this may even have worked in 1998. But in 2007, we're not quite sure what the point is - firstly, it torpedoes the RIAA mantra that there's no legitimate use for file-sharing networks, for how can a network be illegitimate when one of the RIAA's major members has started to use it?

But secondly, why only release a smidgin of the video? If the label really wants to sell advertising space, why not fling out the whole video with an advert embedded, perhaps as a static banner along the top of the screen? And perhaps offer a link to their site then, where you can purchase a lovely, full-sized, unencumbered image?

Because who in their right mind is going to waste their bandwidth downloading ickle bits of videos when they could be using that time and processing power to get something complete?

One point to Universal for accepting that they're now a player in a totally different industry to the one they used to be in; no points for execution.

Isle of Wight - skip the first night

The line-up for this year's Isle of Wight festival is starting to take shape - it's a baggy type of shape, not a nice crisp one you can draw with a set of geometric equipment.

Kasabian and Muse are going to do Saturday - Kasabian aren't headliners, obviously, but are given a "special guest" billing to try and make them feel alright that they're not actually headliners because headline bands have to be, you know, somehow headline-y in nature.

Friday, Snow Patrol are topping the bill - actually, then, having a headline quality doesn't seem to be a requirement at all, it turns out. Sunday, Keane are playing second fiddle to a band yet to be announced, which might be the Rolling Stones, or could also be a group who've released a decent record at some point in the last twenty-four years.

Best book an ferry trip that lets you return when you choose.

They'll destroy us to save us: Gore against the greenhouse

Tracking all the Live Earth posts - you know, like we did with Live8:

15.02.07 - Muse consider carbon footprint implications of Live Earth
19.02.07 - Kravitz, Jovi, Duran on board; "Actually, let us die" beg polar bears
26.02.07 - KT Tunstall clears throat, begs for slot
09.03.07 - The eco-friendly gig in the throwaway stadium
29.03.07 - Republican chases Live Earth from Washington
31.03.07 - Rolling Stones say they're staying in Rome instead
10.04.07 - Full line-up announced - 'stop melting, glaciers, or it'll be Madonna gurning at you' threat
13.04.07 - Toast the dying planet with champagne and fine wines
17.04.07 - Live Earth gets just 203,000 interested
18.04.07 - Ebay introduces levy
23.04.07 - Live Earth destroys "England's Rose"
25.04.07 - More bad news: Spinal Tap reunite
26.04.07 - Dave Grohl won't get naked with James Blunt in the room
08.05.07 - Australia mumbles out its line-up
14.05.07 - Bob Geldof wishes Gore luck, asks what's the point?
04.06.07 - National Grid insists electricity must be burned during event
18.06.07 - Al Gore spends time with Victoria Newton
26.06.07 - Canned Turkey, while SA leg moves
28.06.07 - Bush for Gore? Rossdale hints at reunion
29.06.07 - Macy Gray has a Brazilian
03.07.07 - Fly down to Rio, urges Kravitz's press team

Wednesday 4th July
Desperate attempts to get Macca on board at last minute
PETA complain about the hot air rising
John Gibson complains about NBC air time
5,000 extra seats for London

Thursday 5th July
Live Earth running order announced
40% wait for Live Earth to be inspired
Live Earth launch for Gore's presidential campaign, The Spectator doesn't say
Rio on hold amid crowd worries
International names leave Germans cold
Gogol Bordello dump T for Madonna
LA's Viva Earth pulled
Rio back on. For now.

Friday 6th July
Washington brunches to save faces

Saturday 7th July
Phil Collins is "just here for the music"
Environmental stars?
Getting under way with drums and Moyles
Phil Collins turns the air blue
Razorlight promise we'll have forgotten this all in 24 hours
Gray and Rice: together in the face of general indifference
Swearing and spoofing
John Mayer stresses how ego-free he is
Madonna does the tune from Holby City
Paolo: I shall make a difference and save the world

Sunday 8th July
The papers cover Live Earth
Live Earth on YouTube
Madonna makes vague promises about the future

Monday 9th July
3AM Girls save the world
TV audiences disappoint

Only Lenny Kravitz can save us now

Some more names have been added to the not-growing-that-fast bill for Al Gore's "let's save the Planet" gig. The line-up now features Snow Patrol, Bon Jovi, Paolo Nutini, Fall Out Boy, Black Eyed Peas and, of course, the apparently still reactivated Duran Duran.

We think we might have misunderstood the idea of this gig - we thought it was meant to be trying to encourage people to save the planet from global warming, but looking at the terrible bill, it seems more like Gore is trying to get us to be quietly relieved that sea levels will rise and we'll all burn to death after going mad from having to drink sea water. After all, compared to watching Lenny Kravitz lecturing us on using low-energy lightbulbs before launching into 'Are You Gonna Go My Way', being caught in a collapsing infrastructure as Gaia implodes will seem like a cakewalk.

More T, anyone?

As if the increasing number of festivals isn't enough to cope with, the ones which have been on the calendar for decades are starting to expand as well: T in the Park is going to sort of become a three-day event.

Rather than have a full Friday programme, though, the plan seems to be to offer some entertainment of some sort on the evening before the traditional Saturday start, but aimed only at people who have turned up to pitch tents and hunker down for the full weekend. Whatever form it takes, there won't be an option to attend just the Friday nights with one-day tickets. So, it's not going to be the jewels of the festival, we can conclude - probably someone from Balls Of Steel doing some stand-up and the winners of some sort of unsigned bands competition, partially obscured by roadies trying to make the amp stack work properly.

Blockhead disrupts Bloc Party

Trouble at the Aberdeen Bloc Party gig last night, as detailed on the Aberdeen Music forum: two songs in, someone hit Kele Okereke with a coin. The band left the stage, and although they returned to complete the set after a ten minute break, by all accounts the atmosphere was rotten for the rest of the show.

Captcha capture

Blogger's captchas are supposed to be the computer side of the Turing test, but we get the sense that they're starting to try and write content for us. Pithy, but needs some help with spelling.

The Jam reunite (sort of)

It's the news music fans have almost been waiting for: The Jam nearly reuniting for an not-quite-a-reunion tour.

Yes, all of The Jam (except for Paul Weller) are getting back together for the first Jam tour of any sort in twenty-five years, and the first Jam tour without Paul Weller ever. Not that Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler are going to stop Weller joining in, if he wants:

"I have stayed close to The Jam fans over the years,” says drummer Rick Buckler. “The songs mean so much to so many people. Fans have been demanding that we play live for years. Paul Weller has a fantastic solo career and is one of the UK's most talented songwriters. Paul is always welcome to join us for the reunion, but until then, we've got a tour and a new album to do!"

We're not entirely sure we believe "fans" have been petitioning for "just two thirds of The Jam" to get back together, but it's nice to think they have. People marching chanting "what do we want? The less-significant portion of the band back together! When do we want it? Whenever."

And, yes, there is a threat of a "new" album in there, too, featuring new material. So, they're not only going to stomp all over the legacy, but they intend to piss in its face as well.

We're not fans of the solo Weller, but any sort of Jam without him seems distinctly seedless.

Feel the fear; do it anyway

Oh, would you bloody Londoners shut up about the congestion charge. You've got an underground railway, and every third building is a shop which sells pasties and beer. And you get to hoover up all the gigs - this Wednesday, for example, Fear of Music are playing the Islington Academy to push their new "we've all grown up now" EP, We Are Not The Enemy.

And you've got a big Ferris wheel.

Boxy frown

Last October, Foxy Brown was put on probation as punishment for beating up workers in a beauty parlour.

We've done a hard refresh, and deleted the cache, so we're pretty certain that the reports of Brown being arrested for allegedly beating up workers in a beauty parlour is a repeat performance and not merely an old story somehow getting republished.

The official reason given by Broward County Sheriff's office for the arrest was suspicion of battery and violent obstruction. You really wouldn't want to have to do her nails, would you?

Noel warns Liam, apparently

Poor Victoria Newton: she's got hold of a story which claims that Noel Gallagher was so hacked off with how poor Liam's vocals were at the Brits that he's issued a lot of (over-inflated and empty) threats:

A source said: “Noel had some harsh words for Liam after the show.

“He thought Liam’s voice was too nasal and well off his best. He reckons his singing is becoming more pub karaoke than professional."

Trouble is, of course, any Sun readers who rely on Newton for their showbiz coverage might find this a little surprising, since she found no room to mention how rubbish Liam's singing was before. Come, watch Victoria flap in the wind to try and fold Noel's criticisms into her own opinion:
I have to agree with Noel.

I thought Oasis were brilliant at the Brits, blasting out an explosion of sound at Earl’s Court. But the crowd’s singing drowned out Liam’s vocals.

Having watched it back on TV, he seemed short of breath and strained his voice to the point where he sounded like a caricature of himself. His swagger was still superb and attitude seeped from every pore.

Oh, good. He's seeping arrogance from his armpits. That'll sound brilliant on the next album. "Sorry, Liam, the microphone isn't picking up the swagger - could you hunch your shoulders and look a little like a tramp in a wind-tunnel a bit closer to the mic, please?"

Ominously for Liam, the 3AM Girls have a quote from Noel which suggests that, like Guigsy and Bonehead, Liam could find himself being thrown from the balloon. Let's all try and pay attention to Noel, who will be interesting, and let's not let our attention wander off, shall we?:
"If I was a solo artist I'd be the biggest solo artist in the country, easy, no messing. I'd be bigger than Elvis.

"I've seen a lot of people from other bands go solo and end up very lonely boys. But don't ever think I couldn't do it. I could."

Yes... bigger than Elvis... of course... or the size of Paul Weller, certainly... or maybe Simon Webbe and Duncan James locked forever in a secret kiss... solonolo... oh...

Dannii Minogue: Terror at 35,000 feet

One of the problems of being famous - or, more honestly, the sister of someone famous - is that people will see you as public property, and think nothing of taking photos of you. So, when a bloke saw Dannii Minogue on a plane, he whipped out his camera and shot some video. Rather than being surprised that he'd recognised her, Dannii is trying to work this up - with help from Victoria Newton - into being just shy of some sort of rape:

DANNII MINOGUE has revealed she was spied on by a pervert in a first-class cabin at 35,000ft.

She said: “As I was about to leave the plane, a man said to me, ‘A guy has been filming you with his cellphone while you slept.’

“A flight attendant approached the guy about it and he admitted filming me but claimed he’d deleted it. I was shaking I was so creeped out.

“He was some sort of sicko, I guess."

Interesting - shouldn't cellphones be switched off during flight? And what was Dannii doing in first class? You're meant to use the toilets in your own cabin, Dan.

But what's most odd about this, of course, is that Victoria Newton now apparently thinks its perverted to take photos of people without their permission in slightly exposed situations. Oddly, though, that hasn't stopped her running papparazi snaps of Mel B crossing the road while pregnant, or Brad and Angelina pushing their kids through the streets, or...

Madonna: clinging to the shoulders of giants

Madonna, have you thought through the role models you're choosing for yourself?

Pop star Madonna has said she "wants to be like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and John Lennon."

Let's just leave aside the whole question of how many babies those three removed from their families under dubious circumstances, and - pausing just a second or two to catch our breath - wonder why she chose three people who were shot to death.

Yes, Madonna is trying to again shift the gathering impression that she's an off-the-boil popstar, spokesperson for a nasty cash-hungry cult and happy to wave cash to short-circuit the rules the rest of us have to stick to, by trying to cast herself as a humanitarian.

Actually, she should have tried going for Mother Theresa, whose main interest in the poor she helped was converting them to her belief system.

Madge also turned her attention to the whole upsetting-orthodox-religions business with the mock crucifixion on her last tour (something she could share with Lennon, admittedly):
"Jesus's message was to love your neighbour as yourself and these are people in need," she added, claiming it had not been her intention to be controversial.

"I tried to take a powerful image and use it to draw attention to a situation that needs attention," she said.

"I'd like to think I am taking people on a journey... I am not just entertaining people, but giving them something to think about when they leave."

Perhaps that's really true - she clearly has started to believe that she's occupying some sort of humanitarian role, and the knock-on from that is she seems to think that everything she does is, instantly, imbued with extra levels of meaning.

But, come on, Mrs. Ritchie: you were lowered onto the stage strapped to a giant, spangly cross in a purple leotard. Did it never occur to you that - if there was a message in this - it would be obscured by the yelling "look at me! LOOK AT ME!"? That, if there was a serious message, choosing a way to deliver it would upset people with deep and sincere beliefs, and continuing to push ahead with that medium further made it seem less like "love your neighbour" and more "I am right, you are wrong"?

And, really, do you think that Gandhi would have owned two large London homes and a massive estate in Wiltshire - and, further, that he would have forced the UK government to redraw maps to steal people's right of access to their land?

Madonna, you're no Martin Luther King. You might, at a push, just about make a Jackie Kennedy.