Scooch? Scooch? Good lord - given a field of second raters, as a nation we ask "do you have a budget option we could see?"
When Terry Wogan tries to suggest we're languishing at the bottom of the Eurovision board because of some sort of Baltic-Nordic block voting, remember: we sent Scooch in.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Scooch? Scooch? Good lord - given a field of second raters, as a nation we ask "do you have a budget option we could see?"
The Scotsman meets up with Jim Reid to find out the motivation for the Mary Chain reunion. Could it be money?
Still, it must be nice to have all that falling-out and bad blood firmly in the past. It is in the past, isn't it, Jim?
At the word "interesting", a dozen venue managers run fingers around the inside of their collars and double-check their insurance policies.
Of note to shoegazers, reformed and otherwise, is the detail that drummer for the tour will be Loz Colbert, formerly of Ride (that's Bobby Gillespie stood down, then - clearly the brothers Reid decided they wanted more than one drum being tapped throughout the show) and Phil King out of Lush will be doing the bass.
Oh, that's all we bloody need - Will Young has decided to concentrate on his music career after... well, let's just say that the acting didn't work out, shall we?
After the seven-page Joss Stone thanks comes a full-force Joss Stone attack. Dallas Austin popped up on YouTube detailing how great it is to work with her:
The video seems to have vanished, apparently after Joss Stone's camp asked for it to go. They're afraid this sort of thing might make Joss look even lamer than she'd already managed to make herself seem. The Mirror have rustled up an "insider" to push the the point:
"But to hear such a well-respected producer slagging her off in such a public manner will devastate her. She will be humiliated by her private life being exposed in such a tawdry way."
Dallas, you'll note, isn't thanked on the current iteration of the Joss Stone thank you page.
More from No Rock on shed seven
Mel C has snorted at Simon Fuller's attempts to re-corral the Spice Girls by pretending it's just a Sporty short of a full reunion. She suggests its only Fuller who is bothered:
When she says "on", of course, she's not necessarily suggesting forward in all cases.
If asked to name the most popular band in Britain, you might take a while before suggesting the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But, apparently, it's them, Snow Patrol, and then the Beatles.
This is down to something called Popscores. The Sun explains:
The Popscores system checks the popularity and familiarity of artists with 5,500 people every month.
Top record labels, broadcasters and advertisers are now using the service — created by Entertainment Media Research — to help reach their target audiences.
Oh, good - a service which detects what's already popular and then allows the labels and music channels to ladle up more of the same. That's what we need right now.
What the Sun doesn't tell you is that Popscores is a self-selected panel; it's not clear that it bothers to weight the results to reflect the UK population or not. Net, blogs and rock & roll has looked a little more closely at the scheme:
* song recognition;
* artist's name awareness (have you heard of Gnarls Barkley? then they have name awareness for you);
* informed awareness (did you know Gnarls Barkley was a US duo, rather than a bloke from Chipping Norton or a band from the Adelaide? then we're talking informed awareness).
* And I read somewhere, but can't find it now, that a fourth measure — intent to buy — will be added shortly.
Name awareness figures for an artist are always higher than informed awareness, but it's suggested (according to Music Week) that the narrower the gap between the two, the greater the sales potential. I don't know the basis of that suggestion, but if it's true then presumably the chart above would encourage the industry to seek to improve James Morrison's 'informed awareness' rating to exploit untapped potential. (I've heard of him, and what I've heard, including Pete Paphides memorable description of him in The Times article as "Chris Martin in a James Blunt wig", suggests that getting better informed isn't going to persuade me to part with cash — but I'm not as representative as 4,500 people.)
Which says it all, really - this is just a focus group using the internet to make it seem a bit more relevant than it actually is. If the music industry really wants to know what sells, it already has a copper-bottomed research method, called the Top 40, which provides a nation-sized sample. If they want to predict what will sell, a survey which claims the Peppers, Patrol and Beatles are the three key sounds isn't going to help.
We're sure the leaking yesterday of details of Gordon Brown's 'secret' supper with Kylie Minogue was just a strange coincidence and not, in any way, intended to try and take the shine of Tony Blair's embracing of his light entertainment destiny by appearing in a Catherine Tate sketch for Comic Relief. (Tony, we discovered, is "not bovvered", which would at least explain the pisspoor performance of his government since the last election.)
The Sun tries to imagine just what Gordon and Kylie might have had to say to each other:
GORD: (Spinning around) I know the face. I just can’t get the name out of my head.
KYLIE: Kylie. We have lots in common.
GORD: Yes, er... the gold hot pants.
KYLIE: No, we’re both well shot of Neighbours. Anyway, I’ve paid, so must be off.
GORD: Indeed. Waiter, where’s that VAT?
We apologise for the damage reproducing that might have done to your poor, straining sides. We're still puzzling over the punchline - we're guessing that they forgot the word "receipt", implying that Gordon will be claiming VAT back on an expense he didn't occur; but maybe the joke was meant to be that he was going to wallow in a giant vat of butter. Actually, none of it makes sense. Even down to why any editor would have run this instead of, say, a larger picture of Kylie.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Of course you are. And here's Kirk Hammett to explain to us:
We can imagine a Metallica album making people think of the Middle East - a long, miserable, drawn-out series of unspeakable horrors that leaves everybody praying for a little bit of peace.
Joss Stone's bid to turn herself into an American soul diva continues apace. Having noticed that their albums generally contain long, rambling thank you lists - always namechecking god - Joss has turned in a thanks list so long, rambling and embarrassing she couldn't fit it on the album liner and has had to post it online instead:
it’s been a pretty intensive course but i know all that is only is because it was meant. also i thank him for keeping me company and hearing me when i speak. what will be will be. many people are uncomfortable with this sentence. some don't like to think they’re not in control of their own fate. i believe in karma. everything comes back around, but it isn't up to any of us to decide when or what shall happen. that’s just fate. we can only be positive and know that there's always a smile lurking. u just have to catch it. Mostly, i thank him / her for giving us all the gift of being able to hear and see art. it's a beautiful thing. so thank u love!
Did she just call God "love"?
But she's just getting going... she then rolls onto thank everyone she's ever met. (Everyone else, as she does appear to have met God in some form as well.) On she goes:
We suspect the old management are probably hiding in the woods somewhere.
Most oddly, though, is when she turns her attention to the record label execs:
alain levy, i just think you’re so lovely every time in see you. you are so sweet and always smiling, i get a positive energy from you. i’m so glad you like my music. to work with both you and david is an honour and actually if i go back like 5 years it’s something i’ve dreamt about and wished for. thank u for having me at your company. i will do the best i can for you. that’s a promise. i’m so glad u like the album and support it in the way u do. i love how you are passionate. alot of people look at you guys and see businessmen and that’s it. well maybe some are like that – ok, definitely some are but not you two. i can’t put my finger on it but, i know u care, more than care. as much as people think it’s all about the money i know that it isn’t just that with you. i hoping i’m right -- usually i can tell with these things. but i know everything happens for a reason. we are all in this together because that is what was meant. now let’s make the most out of what we're given and spread real music across the world. with your help, we can make real music with real musicians and real instruments popular again. no more bullshit! right. thanks for supporting me on that too. much love x
The BBC calculates that the list runs to seven pages of closely-typed text; putting it online means that at least it saves space. It could also allow you to remove awkward passages like, for example, lavishing praise for developing your career two months after he'd been sacked for helping run the company into the ground. In theory.
Pete Doherty takes another step towards being Ronan Keating of his generation, as Babyshambles announce an arena tour:
Manchester MEN Arena - November 22
Newcastle Metro Radio Arena - 23
Brighton Centre - 25
Bournemouth International Centre - 26
London Wembley Arena - 27
Birmingham NIA - 28
Nottingham Arena - 30
Glasgow SECC - December 1
He's like a street-fighting troubadour poet, you know. Even if you can't see him from the back of the room and he's got a well-stocked tshirt stand.
Major labels might be a bit dull when it comes to their product, but they're endlessly inventive when it comes to their business dealings. In a bid to persuade the EU to let them swallow down BMG's publishing arm, Universal are offering to firesale many of their less-attractive assets. The key sandbag to be dropped is Zomba, once a powerhouse of Spice Girls, Britney and Backstreet Boys, now reduced to shuffling back-catalogue of troubled stars. It's unlikely to persuade Indie representatives IMPALA to remove their objections to the deal, mind.
With Ian Astbury off the scene - you'll recall he's gone of to work on his own musical legacy - Riders on The Storm were desperate to get a singer to fulfil their previously-booked tributes-to-themselves Doors dates.
So desperate, in fact, they've signed Brett Scallions from Fuel.
Heading out for a life on the road, with all the Ginsters pasties that implies - The Cooper Temple Clause:
23th - Dublin Whelans
24th - Belfast Spring & Airbrake
25th - Glasgow QMU
26th - Aberdeen Lemon Tree
27th - Newcastle Northumbria University
29th - Manchester Academy 2
30th - Birmingham Irish Centre
31st - Leeds Metropolitan University
2nd Apr - Norwich Waterfront
3rd - Bristol Academy
4th - Portsmouth Pyramid Centre
5th - London Shepherds Bush (they haven't offered a venue - perhaps they'll be dancing in the streets or something)
Poor old Keith Allen's daughter - forced to endorse something she can't believe in at SXSW:
If you hate them so much, why didn't you take a set at one of the many American organisations who must have been clamouring to promote you in Aus... oh.
We're so lost as to where Pete Doherty sits on the demon scale right now that we can't tell if being seen drinking wine from the bottle at 9am is an encouraging sign of his improving health and mental state, or another station of the cross on his descent into Hades. It's so confusing.
Elton John's planned headlining of a gig in the 19th century ("Tobago") has caused festering nonsense to start issuing from Philip Isaac, the Archdeacon of Trinidad and Tobago:
What... fresh flowers every day, elaborate parties and guest appearances with Pete Doherty? Imagine if the whole of Tobago adopted that - there wouldn't be enough vases, apart from anything else. Vase shortages.
Oh... hang on, it's the gay thing, isn't it?
Standing up against a wall, or that position on all fours like you're doing star-jumps - that should be okay.
Organisers of the Plymouth Jazz Festival are choosing to pretend that Isaac is just a rogue churchman.
We wonder what the Anglican church makes of it all.
How touching: Justin Timberlake sent Britney a private message when she went into rehab. We know about this because, it turned out to not be very private after all:
Insiders said troubled Britney, 25, was in tears as she read the singer’s note.
Mind you, since her mind is circulating around the far end of the galaxy right now, she's probably in tears watching the Price Is Right at the moment.
Simon Cowell's vision of music is going to be explored during a US TV interview this weekend - but its as self-regarding as you'd expect:
"In the last five years I've sold over 100m records. If he got $100m, I should have got $500m."
Besides the obvious point - that Sringsteen has actually written song and made records, while Cowell has overseen the assembly of cover versions and soundalikes from bits and pieces - it confirms that Cowell's sideshow talent shows are little more than shams. And never mind your premium rate numbers - the con is that all the contestants are interchangeable. Clearly, Cowell believes that whatever is spat out of the voting process is insignificant in the process of making a record that will sell to that sector of the market. Indeed, he sees the whole process as being one, large, interchangeable blob:
And who cares what face it has, eh?
In an interesting move, Heather Mills has announced that she isn't a publicity seeker. This was on an interview on BBC News 24, rather than one of her many spots on Larry King Live, or Dancing With The Stars, or...
More from No Rock on heather mills
Thursday, March 15, 2007
It might be they believe they are the "biggest fans of Take That's music" who are ramming the songs into a musical, but it's not mutual, it appears: Take That have cooled on their original encouragement for the project - and even the people involved are a little surprised it's going ahead:
Show producer Tristan Baker said: “The show is going ahead. The band are currently not involved but the door is always open.”
Take That put a statement on their website saying: “The band wish their fans and the general public to know this production is absolutely and 100 per cent nothing to do with Take That.”
Apart, of course, from the royalties they'll be making. Distance if it's a failure; cash if it's a success. Bit of a win-win.
Plans to reunite Steps have been put on ice after the organiser woke up in the middle of the night and realised the horror they were about to cause.
Oh, and because Ian 'H' Watkins got a better offer. While Not Being In A Steps Reunion actually constitutes a better offer than Being In A Steps Reunion, in this case its some sort of stage play.
Taking a break from bringing home McCartney's bacon, Heather Mills has found time to break into a pig-factory to expose the harrowing conditions in farrowing crates.
Of course, this noble gesture causes some problems for The Sun, as it hardly fits with DemonHeather. So, instead, they give a platform to the farmer to rant instead:
He also threatened to take Mills and her cohorts to court for trespass.
The paper also fails to provide any link to the video allowing readers to decide for themselves on the merits of the cases.
Coming this Monday, to a shop near you:
The Complete Wedding Present Peel Sessions.
Six discs, just shy of one hundred tracks. (May contain traces of Ukraninan folk songs.)
Running the photos of Elton John in fancy dress, the Sun remembers that Elton is gay, and some gay men enjoy anal sex:
Are you a homophobe, Victoria Newton?
(Apart from anything, he's not even in a naval outfit - it appears to be a Soviet army uniform, but we're sure someone can put us right on that.)
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Marcel Berlins, musing on the Guardian's Comment Is Free site (one year old today) muses that quality should be a defence when buskers and graffiti artists are caught in public:
It's a lovely idea, but surely Berlins is having a little joke with us - he knows the impossibility of a legislated definition of 'talent', surely?
It must be the very peak of an actor's career: playing a blogger. On ITV2.
This is Billie Piper's latest calling, as the network ITV started under the mistaken apprehension that its main channel is so full of new and innovative material it requires extra space picks up the blog-turned-book drama dropped by Channel 4.
Billie Piper playing a woman who hires out her favours. There isn't a spare cubicle in Outpost Gallifrey this afternoon, you know.
HMV continues to spin down the spiral, unable to even launch a three year recovery plan without issuing a headline-stealing profits warning instead.
So, what's HMV's big idea, then?
HMV will install "refreshment hubs" in its music stores where customers can play computer games, log on to internet sites and make music compilations that can be burnt on to CDs while sipping coffee and juices. It will also launch its own social networking site which aims to blend the user-generated content model of YouTube and MySpace with access to copyright material that can be purchased via the site. It has already signed up Universal Music and 20th Century Fox to provide material for the site.
Is there a single five year plan document issued by any company these days that doesn't mention "MySpace/YouTube" in it? There's no indication that we see that explains why the public will flock to create their content on the HMV site rather than one of the sixty-three billion other websites relaunching themselves as Web2.0-style MySpacesque entities - and we're not sure "this is the website run by the shop where your grandad used to buy his records" is going to cut it.
So, to succeed or fail, it'll depend on the stores managing to reinvigorate the brand - and that's where the problem is. HMV stores are horrible places at the moment - cluttered, dark, noisy, clashing musics hammering over each other. And this where HMV believe people will want to sit, sipping coffee and listening to the new Dido album? Can't quite see it myself - not when every bloody store on the High Street has opened a coffee bar ("Even if you don't need to bury a loved one, why not pop into Unsworth's Funeral Director for a muffin and a cappuccino?").
You want a radical, turnaround plan, HMV? Why not turn yourself into a musical Argos - keep all the CD and DVD stock out the back, people come in and order from a catalogue. You could stock ten times the stuff you do now because you can fit more in when it's not on display, and pitch it as "Why wait for Amazon to deliver - come and get it now." Throw in a pledge along the lines of "if it's not in stock when you come, and it's on release, we'll post it to you for free." Challenge Amazon on its strength - breadth of stuff - and its weakness - the delay between order and delivery, and you might just have a compelling UPS. Sticking in a Costa Coffee and allowing people to upload mobile phone videos of themselves farting, and you might as well book a trip to the vets for dear old Nipper.
Talking of lazy cut and pastes from PR material, here's the Biffy Clyro tour dates:
Sunday 20 May Portsmouth Pyramids
Monday 21 Oxford Brookes University
Tuesday 22 London Roundhouse
Wednesday 23 Wolverhampton Wolfrun Hall
Thursday 24 Cambridge Junction
Saturday 26 Leeds Metropolitan University
Sunday 27 Newcastle University
Monday 28 Manchester Academy 2
Wednesday 30 Aberdeen Music Hall
Thursday 31 Edinburgh Potterow
Friday 1 June Glasgow Barrowlands
Thanks to James Page for the following email, which we run in full as we can't really improve on it:
known in their offices, 'Sod it, we go home in half an hour, just copy and
paste a couple of press releases into the News section and we can all chuff
off'-day). And it went like this:
"T4 presenter Steve Jones sends up Joss Stone's infamous Brit Awards
appearance on Popworld tomorrow morning.
"Jones, dressed in a purple wig and floral dress, is seen mimicking the
bizarre mid-Atlantic accent that the 'Fell In Love With A Girl' singer
revealed at the awards ceremony last month.
"However, the presenter was forced to end his impersonation abruptly when
Stone herself arrived at the studio to record an interview for the show.
"According to reports from the set, Stone and her imitator missed each other
by a matter of seconds.
"Popworld airs tomorrow at 10.30am on Channel 4. "
So... Medicore TV presenter attempts slightly-stale 'skit' on ailing TV show
and, in a twist of almost Shakespeareian ingenuity, the subject of that skit
walks in just seconds later. Golly. It's as if Terry and June never left our
screens. No mention of whether the presenter's trousers then fell down just
as the vicar came round for tea, but that would round things off nicely.
I don't know what was worst about that story; The fact that it went into the
'News' section of Digitalspy, the blatant stench of lazy PR, or the
suggestion that us thickies in the general public are supposed to believe
that a programme on national TV is filmed in one little room in which guests
and presenters alike wander in and out unannounced, nobody sure which
popstar will stroll in next, with the risk of hilarious consequences hanging
in the air the whole time.
The only thing we'd take issue with is the jibe at Terry and June - sure, it was no Ever Decreasing Circles, but how many suburban set sit-coms gave the audience a chance to enjoy a spot of illicit pre-Casino-and-online-poker living room gambling by guessing what would collapse in the opening credits?
You can't keep a good band down. You also, it seems, can't keep a bad one down, or a disappointingly reformed one. On their MySpace, All Saints insist they'll be carrying on, even until you hate The Beach as much as you hate the new stuff:
First of all the four of us just want to say that we're really sorry you didn't get to know about the recent news i.e. the split from our label before anyone else. It really wasn't that clear cut for a while and we wanted to let things settle for a while and give ourselves a break. As usual the press seems hell bent on repeating their negative reporting and we just felt it was time to say something official.
As you know we are so happy with the way our single "Rock Steady" went in November. We couldn't have wished for better and it just showed that we still have our fans supporting us as well as picking up some new ones along the way.
Of course we're really disappointed that things didn't work out with our album, Studio 1 on Parlophone. We've just hit some very weird turns along the way with some of the media which is such a shame for our fans as we know you love our music. It's funny how things go with certain people's perception of things - the negativity has been astounding to us all as we've only ever been honest about ourselves and more importantly just wanted to make and perform great music.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to you all. It's great to read all the positive comments on our myspace and on the messageboards.
We're going to continue making our music and we'll keep you in the picture as things go...
It's all the media's fault, it turns out. The nasty old media, ruining things for the fans by reporting the album is poor, and that its sales are disappointing. We're trying to sift some logic out of why a group of four intelligent, media-savvy women would think that the media would bury stories that portray their comeback in a dismal light on the basis that they "just want to make and perform music."
It's like suggesting that Harold Shipman should never have been vilified in the press because he was into what he was doing. The comeback (All Saints, not Shipman's) was ill-conceived, miss-timed and half-hearted - did they really expect nobody to say so because they meant well?
[Thanks to Michael Moran for the link]
Last night's Who gig at the Tampa ended somewhat sharply when Roger Daltrey walked off after just onsong. A few moments later, Pete Townshend came on with an explanation:
"I just talked to Roger and he can barely speak," Townshend said. "I tried to get him to come out here, but he's really, really sick."
The band will try again March 25th.
Of course, there's every chance that the musical which melds together aspects of Take That's back catalogue won't be rubbish.
But chances are, eh?:
"We look forward to creating a legacy with these well-loved songs in the way that shows such as Mamma Mia! have done before."
Good lord; they're not cashing in, they're creating a legacy - because, of course, Abba's impressive body of pop work and smart move to quit while still (just) at the top of their game wasn't a legacy in its own right until a bunch of stage school drop outs started to trill Dancing Queen on tour and on Broadway to a room full of coach-touring cash-payers.
How can Baker really claim to be "the biggest fan" of the That when he's wrenching the songs from their moorings and lashing them down to some melodramatic plot? If he was such a fan, how can he want to see songs that supposedly have some sort of memories attached to them suddenly locked onto a narrative of someone else's devising.
Back before Christmas, you might recall a large advert - paid for by copyright body PPL - signed by artists calling for the government to extend copyright terms.
Now, it turns out, amongst the impressive-sounding list of signatories were dead people.
The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the ad was fine, on the basis that the dead people had been co-opted by their estates, but this seems a little bit sanguine about this - if someone is signing a call for copyright extension on behalf of the deceased, shouldn't there at least be some indication this is an "on behalf of" co-option of the corpse?
Even beyond the general principle, since extending copyright for a longer period is going to have a direct impact on those who benefit from musician's estates, there's a strong argument that while the widows or children might be signing their loved one's name under the impression it's what he would have wanted, there's surely room for the possibility they're signing with their own interests paramount. Nothing wrong with feathering your own nest, but shouldn't an honest advert admit that potential motivation?
Poor old Chris Martin is afraid that nobody sees his job as a craft any more:
Too true. The push for ringtones distorts the true value of music - which, in Coldplay's case, seems to be for being used as soundtracks for second-rate US medical soaps and team details on Match of the Day.
Amongst the ways Eva is influencing policy today is by pointing out that promo versions of Brian Harvey's eurovision entry have got his name spelled incorrectly. Brain Harvey.
It might be the nickname he's known by. Or a sly, sidewards glance at the Arctic Monkeys. Or, just possibly, the whole thing is such a horrible idea it's been left in the hands of an uninterested work experience student.
If I was a Black British woman this morning I think I'd be a little annoyed to discover that the New Nation's chart of the ten most powerful in Britain runs out of ideas at number eight - when it nominates Eva Simpson from the 3AM Girls. Really, New Nation? You can only think of seven people more powerful than a second-rate gossip columnist?
Doreen Lawrence and Justice Linda Dobbs, apparently, wield less influence. What criteria were used for coming up with this chart?
A 3AM Girl? Changing policy? She can't even push Jamelia's sales into the top five, never mind set about influencing opinion on anything important. Once we tried to change the world; now we're just hoping we can get Kerry Katona dropped from the guestlist at London nightclubs. (Valerie Amos, for the record, came out on top.)
It's just like a celebrity version of Airline - indeed, if she's smart, Fergie should try and spin her awkward moment in LAX as 'Comic Relief Does Airport' rather than drunk woman makes a tit of herself.
Supposed to be flying to London, Fergie turned up too tight:
"But when she was prevented from boarding she couldn't believe it.
"She was drunkenly ranting at staff but could barely string a sentence together. It was very embarrassing."
Her clothes were removed from the hold - which can't have taken long - and the rest of the band crossed the Atlantic without her. Which, to be honest, they're probably going to have to get used to doing when she quits the Black Eyed Peas anyway.
We're always interested to hear bands' plans to beat touts, and are especially interested in the Arctic Monkeys new scheme for their UK dates.
You register in advance - by 7pm tonight via arcticmonkeys.com mailing list. You then have to respond to an email, detailing which venue and night you'd like to go to - no following the band round the country allowed. Then, using a "completely random" computer (we know, technically, there's no such thing as a completely random computer, but near enough, eh?) lucky people will be chosen. They'll be sent a unique PIN code which will then, when plugged into a PC, allow them to complete the purchase of a ticket.
Lots of hoops, admittedly, but we're not entirely sure we can see the tout-beating part of it: indeed, by pumping up the ticket frenzy and complicating the process, we'd imagine the returns from beating this system will be much larger than if they just put the tickets online and sold them in the ordinary way. Certainly, if we made a living reselling tickets, we'd be spending most of today opening Yahoomail and Gmail accounts to sign up multiple times for chances to enter the lottery. (Actually, if we genuinely wanted to see the band, we'd be doing that, too, to increase our chances.)
The trouble with this lottery idea is that - without any link between purchaser and person using the ticket, and the opportunity to enter an unlimited number of times - it's really no more toutproof than the equally random process of switching on a webserver and flogging the tickets to the first people able to get on.
Roll up and try your luck anyway:
onday 9th April Guildhall, Southampton
Tuesday 10th University Great Hall, Exeter
Thursday 12th Astoria, London
Friday 13th Astoria, London
Saturday 14th Academy, Liverpool
Monday 16th Academy, Newcastle
Tuesday 17th Caird Hall, Dundee
Wednesday 18th Barrowlands, Glasgow
Friday 20th Academy, Birmingham
Saturday 21st The Leadmill, Sheffield
Sunday 22nd The Leadmill, Sheffield
Here's quite an exclusive from Victoria Newton:
Kidding! She's kidding!
Actually - under a long-standing deal - Williams is still officially one of the co-owners of the trademark and so still appears in the new particulars. It doesn't mean that he's "in" the That anymore than owning shares in Spurs would mean you were playing for them next Saturday. Not that it's going to stop Newton seeing this as significant:
Well, even if there was some reason that not being a registered owner of a trademark was going to cause problems with any reunion - "put the guitar down, you've not got a tiny R in a circle tattooed on your buttocks" - let's hope it doesn't, as the readdition of Williams to the band would inevitably make them unwatchable.
Things aren't looking that rosy for Joss Stone right now, with the Sun taking a lowly midweek album ranking of 12 and extrapolating from that the very end of her career:
Most embarrassing for Joss is that another annoying curly redhead looks set for the Top Ten.
That’s right, SIMPLY RED’s new album Stay is stuffing Joss’s effort too.
When you lose to MICK HUCKNALL in a popularity contest you know it’s time to pack your bags.
Is 12 really that bad, though? Stone has been selling this record as a repositioning (although it's arguably more of a shuffling a bit to one side) which means, presumably, expectations of having to drop and grow a new audience; it's Mothering Sunday this weekend which means the album chart is distorted by the stronger sales of uninspired gifting choices like Ray Quinn and Ben Mills; and Mick Hucknall is a knob, but he's a knob with quite a successful track record of selling large quantities of uninspired records so being bested by him isn't like being outsold by The Krankies or something.
Much as we'd love to believe that Stone is heading back to summer jobs in the Ambrosia creamery, The Sun's piece looks more like wishful thinking to us.
But then, The Sun seems to no longer have half a clue about popular culture at all: Today, it's asking readers about Tracy Barlow's murder case:
Erm... twelve million people watched her character spend weeks creating a false impression of her relationship, saw her tell Charlie that she was going to kill, watched her plot and manoeuvre him into place before thumping him in a most premeditated way with a horrible ornament, before putting a knife in his hand and then spending two months grooming a teenage boy to lie for her in court. The whole bloody point is that she is guilty and the viewers know she's guilty. Really, if the Sun can't understand a simple soap opera storyline, they probably shouldn't be covering entertainment stories at all. Or the news.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Phil Jupitus is leaving the 6Music breakfast show, having helmed the opening programme each day since the channel was born five years ago. He's going to be replaced by Sean Keaveny, which wouldn't have been our first choice.
In even odder 6Music news, the Queens of Noize late-night Saturday show is being given an afternoon slot - presumably so that a larger audience can enjoy ignoring it. And Elbow's Guy Garvey is going to present a programme on Sunday evenings. It's not known what the world has done to piss the controller Lesley Douglas off quite so much.
Meanwhile, Richard Bacon is leaving Xfm again, this time to have a crack at doing more speech for Radio 5 Live.
In much the same way that the airtime demands of The Bill means anyone with an equity card has to pitch up as a wrong 'un or a mark in Sun Hill, in the States, the ever-expanding CSI franchise continutes to pull in anyone with a pulse to guest.
Christina Aguilera now takes buggins' turn:
A darker theme? For CSI? Because it's usually a chuckle-along-a-garrotting delight, isn't it?
Alone in a universe of people, Brian Harvey still holds out hope for another East 17 reunion:
Brian, chickadee, there's precious little limelight to be stolen from East 17 these days - you'd be hard put to read a large print novel in the glow of fame left for you lot.
Meanwhile, Westlife have firmly ruled out any chance of Brian McFadden returning, tail between legs or no:
Good lord, Nicky. There's no reason for anyone to want to be in Westlife - unless, perhaps, they've got explosives strapped under their jackets.
The San Francisco Chronicle attempts a Q&A with Kele Okereke. "Attempts" being the keyword here:
A: Um, um, no, not really. Quantify just what you said there. Give me an example. I don't understand what you're asking.
Q: Did writing these songs ...
A: Yeah, don't repeat what you just said.
Q: I can hear you trying to work a lot of things out.
A: I don't know what you're getting at, but I think it's time for the next question.
Q: Why are you such a hard interview?
A: No, I'm not. You clearly haven't really listened to the music because you're not asking anything about the record. I don't mind. I don't know. Perhaps we should call it a night (Okereke's publicist jumps in: "Yeah, if you don't have any questions about the record, perhaps we should revisit this at another time?"). Perhaps not.
The Wall Street Journal goes behind the scenes at the iTunes music store, and discovers its like High Fidelity multiplied by math club divided by 9 to 5:
Bagel Radio reports on the RIAA money-grab from a webcaster's perspective [thanks to Jon]:
The Onion's AV Club considers covers that improve on the original. They're not always right:
More from No Rock on bookmarks
Indie-punksters Color Revolt have had a bit of a setback: a rather big one, in fact. Their van and all their gear was pinched in Dallas - they're enlisting the world's eyes to try and get it back:
Literally we had just packed up after our show, went back into the venue, 15 minutes later, the van and everything in it had disappeared. We lost not only our van and trailer. But all of our gear and merch, and most of our personal belongings, like laptops, clothes, papers for school. Our van was insured, but most of the rest of the things are not.
Please pass this on to anyone that you know of who lives in the Dallas Fort Worth area!!!
You can call us if you live in the area, it'd be great if you could help us go to pawn shops, etc. and look for this gear. Our cell phones are about all we have left.
The cell contacts are on their MySpace site - they're also accepting more direct support.
As if the footage of her having a public breakdown and shaving all her hair off wasn't going to give the family court enough to ponder, rumours are now flying that Britney Spears' wild period is going to come back to haunt her in the form of a video shot at New York's One club:
The newspaper reports that there are also photos of the pop stars' derriere and that bidding for those has peaked at $150,000.
The club's dancers have told friends that they were fired after the video was discovered in which they reportedly do some "serious partying" with Spears. At this point, it's not clear what "serious partying" could mean.
... which leaves everyone free to make up their own jokes, of course.
It's about twenty years since Are You Scared To Get Happy took Alan McGee to task for the poor value of the music-to-run-out-groove proportions of Creation 12" singles. His embrace of the possibilities for higher margins on CDs, equally, went down badly with the indie purists - there would have been a march and burning effigies and placards, were these not indie kids.
Now, he's calling for record shops to go the way of, erm, Creation Records. Why is the writing on the wall for these places?
Because he doesn't go into them any more:
An entire retail sector doomed because McGee get his stuff off the internet. Let's hope he never discovers Orcado, or that'll be all the out-of-town supermarkets being shuttered overnight.
Never mind that, for some people, the quick-fix attraction of Amazon needs to be balanced by a gentle browsing experience; that travelling to a record store and spending time flicking through product is a different and vital experience - the connections you make from a pile of real CDs are completely different from browsing online. It's why every time I find myself in Denver, I wind up having to find space for a couple of hundred bucks' worth of records I've picked up on a trip into Twist and Shout, for example. Sure, I could have found the Wolfgang Press' Funky Little Demons on Amazon - but without being in the store, idling through the racks, I wouldn't have remembered I wanted it and wouldn't have gone looking.
Alan may or may not realise that the printed NME and NME.com's content actually differs, and we're a little puzzled as to how he can know if there's something in the paper that he "needs for work" if he doesn't read it in the first place - perhaps he flicks through it in the newsagent to save himself a couple of quid. (Good news for WH Smiths, then, if McGee is still using them, at least.)
Actually, MTV has pretty much destroyed itself by mission-drifting into obsolesence, but McGee seems confused about the different ways people consume Music TV and YouTube. MTV and The Box and the others have always been background experiences, floating on the screen in the corner of living rooms and pubs while life carries on more interestingly in the centre; YouTube has merely given the obsessive and dedicated and mainliners a place to go.
Alan, you're getting on for fifty; could that be the real reason why MTV and NME don't hold as much attraction for you?
But how did you fill your iPod, Alan? We bet you didn't buy a load of downloads until the 40 gig was full. And isn't your own argument starting to fall apart here? You don't send your CDs off to live with your aunt in the country in a draughty house - what, even the ones you've just been buying of Amazon in the first paragraph? And there's no point in having record shops like the one your son is spending thirty quid a pop in?
McGee... you flogged 12" singles and CDs in a market which saw 7" vinyl as being slightly over-comodified ("if it really can't be a flexi"); you have never been a Luddite. There's also been a lingering suspicion over your entire career that you've always elevated the cash transaction above the passion in rock music; now, it looks a little like you're more interested in convenience than experience.
Up until now, the Gym Class Heroes rise to the creamy top of music in 2007 has had little more than an endorsement from Colin Murray to hold them down. Now, though, they've entered career stage two, where all their misdemeanours become public property.
So it is that we all know Matt McGinley has been arrested in Mexico. Nobody seems to know why, but he has got a local lawyer going in to bat for him, which we suppose it something.
What could be worse than one of John Lennon's kids touring Europe? How about the pair of them touring together? Apparently, Julian Lennon has joined Sean on his bus:
We notice that slightly barbed "none of my friends will get on the bus...", but we're surprised that this sort of thing is encouraged. The British Royal Family wouldn't let two male heirs travel together in case something terrible happened and they were both wiped out at the same time. Surely not a risk anyone would want to take with these two...
Robbie Williams is on his way back, says Hello magazine. How do they know?
First, they've got a photo of him with the word "Love" badly ballpointed onto his knuckles - what is it with people leaving rehab suddenly writing on their hands? There was Britney with her PUSH (or Pray Until Something Happens, apparently) and now there's Williams having a go with a Bic. Mind you, don't most of the guys on B-wing have LOVE eteched on their fist anyway? The left one, anyway?
But Hello! has more than a hand which may either be sign of placid acceptance of his life, or membership of Big Bertie's Heist Squad to go on. His father Pete has spoken to Robbie, and his auguries are good:
If Robbie not being funny is a sign he's in trouble, the poor bastard must have been in turmoil for at least as long as he's been in the public eye.
We do love that his Dad is going "he told a joke about shagging a nun - how could he possibly still be sucking down xanax cocktails and sobbing himself to sleep every three hours?"
Vigorous anti-fur campaigner Heather Mills has had some explaining to do following the publication of old photos of her wearing a mink coat - although it must be a nice change for her to have clothed pictures of her being young and indiscreet for a change.
It was in the past, she explains:
Now, that makes a certain amount of sense, and it would be a hard-faced, hard-hearted, hard-liner who might object to a bereaved person wearing a dead parent's coat, fur or not. But then, of course, Heather just goes too far:
Heather's mother died in 1989. Heather was born in 1968.
A twenty-one year-old "too young" to be aware of the "issues surrounding the fur trade"? What - did you live for the first twenty years of your life in a distant part of France without phoneline or access to newspapers? How could you miss "issues surrounding the fur trade" growing up in the 1980s?
Meanwhile, Heather has been popping up on US Television to deny that the tabloid coverage is getting her down:
"It's just so ridiculous that you've just got to laugh at it," she added.
So ridiculous, all you can do is laugh. Or, erm, instruct lawyers and threaten legal action.
It will be interesting to see Mills attempting to prove the News of the World and Sun coverage of her life reduces her standing in the eyes of the average person while, simultaneously telling US TV that the average person doesn't believe a word of it.
R Kelly is a man who has some trouble with numbers - mostly trying to juggle the different States' ages of consents. Nevertheless, he's using a number to promote his new single (it sounds, unfortunately, exactly as you'd imagine) by taking a phoneline - 312-278-3965 - for people to contact him in some way. "Call R Kelly at the Chocolate Factory and leave him a message", you're encouraged by his PR team.
Nobody - and I must stress this - is encouraging you to ring that number and ask him how that filming of the sex with the underage girl case is going. And it would be really, really terrible to ring the number and say "Hello? R. Kelly? I just wanted to register my support for your right to send your child to a private school despite having been education secretary." Treat his number with respect, please.
Still, handy to have that number to use when filling out online registration forms, isn't it?
Older readers might recall Franz Ferdinand, from before the the Arctic Monkeys. They're getting back to work:
“It’s a wee bit different from last stuff but still very danceable, that’s the main thing. It’s always pop. Franz Ferdinand has always been pop."
That's that Alex Kapranos, that is. The band are going to be locked in the studio for the summer, so won't be doing anything live during the summer.
No, not that sort of needles - it's cross-stitch we're talking about her. Tracey Moberly has completed a cross stitch project turning every text message she ever got into a sampler. Amongst them is a text from Doherty encouraging her to try some jellied eels:
The text itself?
[Thanks to Mike Griffiths for the link]
Apparently not realising that the X-Factor works by making Simon Cowell rich at the expense of the trilling-units that appear on it, Butlins-bound Ray Quinn is offering to "thank" Simon for the record deal by buying him a car.
He's thinking of a Mini, and although the Daily Record is tittering at the supposed slight, Quinn seems to be quite genuine:
Yes, it'll be handy for Cowell when he pops down the Tesco Metro, won't it?
It's all rather sweet, not least Quinn's shiny-eyed belief that he's going to make so much cash he'll be able to afford to buy cars as gifts.
Joss Stone is being advised to drop some of her entourage, apparently. The suggestion that she gets rid of the hangers-on who bleed her dry and tell her what to do comes from "aides" (or, in other words, hangers-on who bleed her dry and tell her what to do.)
If Joss were to drop everyone on her payroll who doesn't really contribute anything worthwhile, wouldn't she have to just wind herself up and hand in her doorkeys as she left?
The tabloids attempts to bounce Billie Piper and Laurence Fox into marriage has run into a bit of a problem: Piper is still legally married to Chris Evans.
And, no, chances of Piper adopting 19th Century style Mormonism are low.
Monday, March 12, 2007
For years, there's been a push in Colorado to have John Denver's hymn to his adopted home, Rocky Mountain High, recognised as an official State song. Equally, there's been counter-campaigns designed to thwart the idea, because "high" means "out of his head on drugs." At long last, though, the legislature has finally granted it equal billing alongside Where The Columbines Grow (no, we've never heard of that, either).
He's seen it raining fire in the sky, you know.
Who, we wondered idly, in the MTV America audience would find a reality series about starry-eyed youngsters trying to get jobs with Rolling Stone compelling? In 2006? Even although RS is currently running some of the best writing it's done in years, the magazine demographic hardly chimes with the sort of people who want Pimp My Ride, The Real World, Look! I Have Hookers In My Bedroom and the other enterfactumentainmentism on the network.
Now we know: nobody. The remaining segments are being squished into a single hour, which is going to be thrown out after dark next weekend.
No word yet on if MTV UK is really piloting a show featuring teenagers competing to get an internship on the FT's Lex column.
While nobody would begrudge SubPop launching a boutique label, there's not going to be universal delight at the reports that Starbucks is taking the next step: from flogging CDs to manufacturing them.
Starbucks has actually had a music division since acquiring Hear Music in 1999; before Starbucks invested, Hear was trying to push the idea of customers burning bespoke CDs in small booths in its stores. Since then, the brand has been used on a Starbucks-underwritten radio channel on XM. And so, inevitably, it becomes a pressing concern. Equally inevitably, the big labels are scoffing:
"They got the retail and marketing distribution to leverage," said one executive who asked not to be named. "But are they going to sell a million records? No, but they probably don't need to."
Geological experts tell us that the resultant "well, duh" generated by this off-the-record quote could be felt as far away as Antarctica - Starbucks approach to music is the same as its approach to the bags of coffee beans it sells in its stores. They're not trying to compete with Makers Mark; its all about selling high-margin, quality stuff and making extra revenue from people calling in to buy a frothy coffee.
There are claims in the New York Times today that they're trying to line up Macca. Again, more derision from a confused, anonymous exec:
Of course Starbucks are no more likely to put out an edgy queerpunk album by an unknown band from Tuscon than they are to replace their coffees with kumqat root juice. But lets face it, senior record executive, there aren't many RIAA companies who are releasing expectation-confounding confections, are there? And if your banker artists like the McCartneys decide to go and do their work for the Barrista boys in future, what does that do for your financial model? Starbucks' initiative is probably a far more serious threat to the big labels' bottom line than peer to peer networking. Of course, they don't see that.
SubPop have launched a spin-off label - a subsidiary-pop, if we might - called Hardly Art. Its first release - under the slogan "quality records for quality people since very recently" - is Arthur & Yu's debut album, In Camera. ("... and if you'd been there with your camera, you'd know what it means, too...")
Levon Helm, drummer with The Band, has legalised his hump with New York ad agency BBDO after they slapped The Weight onto a cingular ad:
Oddly, though, in the same Associated Press report:
Pinsky said Helm received a royalty payment from the use of "The Weight" in the commercial, but doesn't feel he has been adequately compensated.
It's not clear, exactly, how adequately Helm would have had to have been compensated before he could live with the pouring of as much disrespect as possible on Manuel and Danko's tombs.
Well, new in a manner of speaking - the tracks were recorded back in 1988 and it's unclear if they were ever meant to see the inside of anyone's ears, but a German label has stuck 'em out anyway. Shrinkwrapped is available from firestation records for seven Euro, or equivalent in your own nation's more insular currency.
How nice about British music fans the Kings of Leon are being:
Actually, Caleb, we don't, but we're too polite to disappoint you. As soon as you and your equipment is passed through security at Heathrow, the nation turns to one another and says "what the hell was that all about, then?"
Coca-Cola's very own White Stripes are going to make just one jaunt to Europe this year, and that will be to headline the roaming Wireless festival. This year's event is a confusing four-day affair in London, and three in Leeds - the difference being a day featuring Faithless, Just Jack and Badly Drawn Boy at Hyde Park not being replicated in Harewood House. All shall have the Kaiser Chiefs, CSS, Editors and The Cribs, along with Jack and Meg.
* - White Stripes Headline Wireless
In an unlikely sounding incident in the small hours of this morning, a deer nearly killed The Drifters. The stag had wandered onto the M1 near Rotherham, causing a car to swerve into the path of another. The vehicle it collided with was ferrying the band to London after a gig in Newcastle.
Patrick Lamarr was hospitalised with a head injury; he's expected to be fine to play the band's next date on Thursday.
To a certain extent, when Lily Allen moans about Smile not being aired on MTV when kids might be watching (as if any kids watch MTV these days), she has a point:
On the other hand, we're a little surprised that some channels were showing Smile pre-watershed anyway, as the depiction of poisoning a person by lacing their food with laxatives was a little dodgy for children's viewing.
Razorlight are starting to think there's some sort of curse on them, designed to prevent them ever taking the stage in LA - although what sort of malignant ne'er do well would only curse them to cover one city is far from clear.
They tried to play LA once: Johnny Borrell ran away.
They tried to play LA twice: Keane - who they were supporting - pulled the tour.
With a third gig lined up, what could possibly go wrong? Carl Dalemo having a car crash, apparently, although that wasn't enough to stop the gig. Must try harder, California.
We really hope the planning department at EMI (two blokes with a diary and a slide-rule) chose the release date for Rudebox's one everything-and-kitchen-sink single She's Madonna expecting a headline-pleasing unseating of Take That at the top of the charts. Shine remains untroubled at number one; Robbie... number 16.
The woman who appears in a sex tape currently circulating on the internet[NSFW] has laughed off claims that she appears in a series of television commercials for Iceland:
"You know, I can see that the girl in them does look a little bit like me, but I can assure you I'd never do anything as cheap and tacky as them. Good god, are they even legal? Actually... is that Kerry Katona? Surely not..."
Okay, we could see the reasoning behind Madonna guesting in Will And Grace - the sort of series that she could easily confuse with inventive, but... Nip/Tuck?
The Sun's Pete Samson, though, says it's going to happen:
The Queen of Pop will prove she still has it at 48 by showing all in the US show about sex-mad plastic surgeons.
Then, The Sun's Pete Samson admits that, actually, the naked scene might not happen. And it's not even clear she'll "romp" or even kiss a hunky doctor - or even one of the Palitoy-moulded blank-stare faces who feature in the show's cast. And that she might not even accepted a guest role yet:
“Madonna has the body of a woman half her age and is bound to be in a nude scene.
“She knew that when she agreed to do the show in the first place.”
Nip/Tuck creator RYAN MURPHY is writing a part for the singer and wants her to appear with ROSIE O’DONNELL, her co-star in 1992 baseball movie A League Of Their Own.
So, Pete, your opening sentence, honestly, should have read:
Added to which, this is American network television, which - even before Janet Jackson at the Superbowl - is a bit nervous about people "showing it all" - nudity on Nip/Tuck tends to be of the shot from behind, shoulders upwards sort.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
You'll recall in Sleeping Beauty the failure to invite the bad fairy to a slap-up party ended up with misery being rained down upon everyone - although we've never quite seen why it took 100 years before someone came to have a look at what happened, to be honest. A century and nobody thought "whatever happened to that castle, then?" and not so much as a property developer trying to sort out ownership so they could turn it into homes in multiple occupation. Anyway, something similar - without the evil, and fairies, and sleeping, has happened to Victoria and David.
David West contributed to one of their charity events - a handsome hundred grand, in fact - to get himself an invite to last year's NSPCC party. Trouble was, he claims that the organisers were a bit sniffy about someone like him rubbing shoulders with the fabulous people, and so offered him some sort of second-class invite. He said no; now he's suing the Beckhams for a million quid for, uh, some reason we're having trouble following. Wounded feelings?
Don't worry, though: we're sure, even if they lose, the Beckhams won't take the money back from the orphans and abused kiddies.
You remember Pete Doherty, who has pledged his support for petrol bombers and fighting in the streets?
He spent his 28th birthday going for a picnic. By helicopter.
The Daily Mail spotted something of interesting in the long-lens shots it bought of him and Kate:
... said the Mail, fuelling speculation about the status of their relationship in a surprisingly self-fulfilled prophecy.
Busta Rhymes' move into acting from musician has hit a bit of a problem: New York police have refused to let him appear in a film being shot in the city, despite his starring role in the movie.
The cops officially say it's because they can't supply the cops it would take to protect him from fans, but it looks more like an act of spite after Rhymes refused to cooperate following the murder of Israel Ramirez a year ago.
He hasn't refused to co-operate with a single murder enquiry during the whole time he's been making this film; give him a break, eh? We especially love the suggestion that New York will somehow be diminished by the failure to allow one rubbish rapper take a role in some b-movie on a stick. Can you hear Jersey City laughing at you yet, Manhattan?
Bono's finances - and in particular the gap between "what I say" and "what I do" - come in for some close inspection by Bloomberg. They dig into the tax regime employed by the U2 empire:
Murphy points to the band's decision to move its music publishing company to the Netherlands from Ireland in June 2006 in order to minimize taxes. The move came six months before Ireland ended an exemption on musicians' royalty income, which is generally untaxed in the Netherlands.
"This is somebody who's exceptionally rich taking the opportunity to shift his tax burden to somebody else, but then asking governments around the world to spend that tax take in the way that he would like,'' Murphy says.
U2's move to the Netherlands is wrong, says Dick Molenaar, senior partner at All Arts Tax Advisers, a Rotterdam-based tax consulting firm for artists and musicians. "Everybody needs to pay his fair share of taxation to the government, and therefore we have roads and education and everything," he says.
During the 1990s, U2 used nonexecutive directors who were resident in an offshore tax haven to limit the amount paid by the four band members -- in addition to Bono, they're lead guitarist The Edge, 45, whose real name is David Evans, bass guitarist Adam Clayton, 46, and drummer Larry Mullen, 45.
Bono has three homes - none of which are entirely pokey - and owns great chunks of 15 companies, real estate, and so on. Would it really leave him in danger of starvation if he didn't bend himself into shapes to minimise the tax he pays? Would it really reduce him to wearing generic sunglasses if U2 paid tax in the nation which educated them, nurtured them and, had they fallen onto hard times, helped them out with social security?
Bloomberg also reveals that amount of his own money that Bono has put into the massively loss-making Project Red: Nothing, of course.
There's a hint that some of the other people who work hard on Red might be tiring of their efforts being eclipsed by Bono's showboating:
"I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I was responsible really for the creation of it as a business, to get it to go and make all these things actually happen in the real world," says Shriver, 52, who's based in Santa Monica, California.
The idealist's investment in video games also runs against his public personna - Elevation, his venture capitlaism group, is currently pushing a game Mercenaries 2, which depicts paid-for fighters involved in gun battles in Venezuela:
Elevation's official response is a textbook example of the moral vacuum you find in modern business:
Why would anyone be upset at a game which encourages you to kill their fellow nationals, and which plays conveniently to the US right's depiction of Chavez's Venezula as some kind of non-State where anything goes, eh? Can't begin to imagine, Roger.
There's also a surprising little nugget of detail about the U2 Tower, currently rising against the Dublin skyline and many Dubliner's wishes:
In return to U2 for moving out, the authority promised the band it would provide space for a new recording studio on the top two floors of a 32-story tower it plans to build on the adjacent Britain Quay.
The authority also gave U2 bass guitarist Clayton a seat on the jury that would decide the winner of an international design competition to build the tower.
In 2003, the jury chose joint winners: Dublin-based architectural firms Burdon Dunne and Craig Henry. Felim Dunne, [U2 manager Paul] McGuinness's brother-in-law, is a senior partner at Burdon Dunne.
There's no suggestion that anything untoward happened - Burdon Dunne submitted their design according to the rules, which meant that their application had to be annonymous, so it's impossible that Clayton could have known which was theirs, much less have given it any unfair support. Still, nice that it ended up being kept in the family anyway, isn't it?
[Thanks to Michael Moran for the link]
The always excellent Sweeping The Nation has spawned a bloglet, Corporate Anthems, providing musical stuff in mp3 formats. It's kicking off with Devo and a taste of the Scottish writers/musicians collaborative architecture-dance Ballads Of The Book. Worth a gentle pat-down.
Thanks to Joe, who has passed on to us a press release from The Children's Society which is promoting their, uh, unexpected Chelsea Flower Show exhibit:
Iggy said: "Lust for Life is full of optimism as young people should be...but too many aren't. I'm honoured that The Children's Society's garden is inspired by my music and wholeheartedly support the work that they do - they rock!"
Yes, yes, Mr. Pop, you might be worth a million in prizes - but will you deserve a RHS Gold Medal?
We're not entirely sure which approach to parenting suggests that the best way to help a child in distress is to talk to a newspaper gossip column, but since it "worked" for Robbie's Mum, Mitch Winehouse:
Worried Mitch, who is flying to the Big Apple to join Amy for crisis talks, said: "I'm not ruling out rehab. Amy needs a break. They don't send you to rehab just because you've broken up with someone. There are other things. Amy needs a rest. Her workload is absolutely manic.
"She's an emotional girl. Her schedule has caused problems with Alex. He wants to see her. I don't know if that's the reason for the break-up - but wouldn't you want to see your boyfriend now and again?
"Bosses are aware of the problem. Amy was upset she couldn't do it but you can't ring 2,000 people and say don't come."
We're sure there's nothing like seeing her Dad detailing her Network Rail of a life in the public prints to help her pick up her spirits. Or at least a large glass of red.
We wondered what was making Jason Donovan's leg jitter like a caffeine addict locked in Starbucks during last night's National Lottery - now we know: he's signed a (supposed) million quid deal for his autobiography.
We suspect the payment will break down a little like this:
- My time in Neighbours: £2000
- That singing career: £200
- The true story of making a seemingly endless parade of films about Australian soldiers: £0.75
- Touring in the Rocky Horror Show: Done for free
- Suing The Face for calling me a liar: £9.25
- Accidently releasing my mobile number to the Australian public: £400
- I kissed that Kylie Minogue a few times: £997,390
Darius Perkins' autobiography is still up for grabs.
According to The News of the World and its sources - and remember, they don't eavesdrop on private phone conversations anymore, they claim - Heather Mills is going to "drop her outrageous demands" and take a £29million payout from Paul McCartney. The paper has calculated it works out at just under seven hundred quid an hour for the time they've been married - the sort of rate that even someone as rich as Adnan Khasshogi would have trouble rising to.
Back in 1999, at the time of the original release of Merz's debut album, we interviewed Conrad in two bits for a local website and a local listings magazine. Both Liverpool Hoopla and Ink have fallen off the internet for a bit, so, since it's timely here's the interview - both halves reunited for the very first time:
How far have your travels influenced your music?
Pretty much, actually, the main reason I travelled was music, essentially. A lot of the travel was music related, a music adventure.
What was the most inspirational place?
I kept going back to Africa over five years, I went to 18 countries. I think it ssuch an inspirational place because the origins of rock and roll is in the African blues. Its the birthplace of rock and roll.
How do you describe yourself in your passport?
I didn't know I did. Is that true? It must say musician. It must. There was a time when I was signing on i always put Managing Director - I was on the Enterprise Allowance scheme. It helped you get cheaper insurance. Insurance companies think musicians are going to get wrecked and write off their hire cars; putting 'managing director' got you cheaper insurance.
What other acts do you rate?
I rate Mouse on Mars, a duo from Dusseldorf, also Pollym Harvey and Beth Orton, Ian Brown, Asian Dub Foundation...
Do you see yourself fitting in with the whole Brits/Radio One/Music Industry scene?
Not the way it is at the moment, not for sure. I was pleased Beth Orton and Beck won, they're both really good artists - very true artists. If I can be succesful like that, I'd be chuffed.
You played Liverpool with Suede - how did that go?
I didn't, actually - I had to go to a family wedding, so this will be my first Liverpool gig. I'm looking forward to it - my co-producer comes from Liverpool, and he's always been trying to get me to play there. So hopefully he'll bring his posse down.
What was your first record?
A Scottish Bagpipe Band record
There's a lot of bagpipe things in your biography - didn't you have some sort of instrument that was all pipe and no bag? What sort of noise does that make?
Yeah, that was my first instrument - it sort of squeaks. The bags make a whine, but this just squeaks.
Most embarrassing record in your collection?
Stackridge. Do you know them? No, you're too cool. Put 'Stackridge' - if they know them, they'll know how uncool that is.
I've had many. A mullet. I was thinking of Bono. There was a brief period when the mullet was cool - Bono, Jim Kerr...
Most embarrassing moment?
I'd have to think... I don't think I can answer that. Maybe thats the answer - if something really embarrassing had happened to me, I'd remember it, wouldn't I?
If you had a gun, who should be worried?
Robbie Williams and Liam Gallagher. [This was at a time when Robbie had challenged Liam to a public scrap]
Liam's turned down the fight. He says its undignified and not rock and roll.
Good on him.
Whats your favourite fantasy?
Liam Gallagher beating the shit out of Robbie Williams
What cartoon character do you most identify with?
Cartoon character? Thats not something I've ever identified with... Who was that little cartoon character that advertised seven-up? Fido Dido. People say I look like him because my eyes are close together. And I've got spikey hair like him.
Seven days of doing stuff on No Rock and Roll Fun.
The ten most-peered at individual pages:
1. Heather Mills - who actually wants to see her with no clothes on, anyway?
2. Or R Kelly on video having sex with an underage girl?
3. Or Lily Allen slipping out of her underwear?
4. Or McFly with their dicks out?
5. Is KT Tunstall gay? Or is she just dressed that way?
6. RIP: Brad Delp from Boston
7. Mark E Smith at 50: The Fall on YouTube
8. Jo O'Meara: Pity me
9. Mariah Carey's Playboy cover
10. Damon Albarn says his band, The Good The Bad and The Queen, doesn't have a name
Also this week: Beth Ditto explained how radical Britney Spears is for having a mental breakdown; the first night of the Arcade Fire UK tour ended in a health and safety nightmare; Ricky Wilson had an unquiet night; the current Pope condemned the last Pope for hanging out with Dylan and Louise Whatusedtobeineternal went on a crash diet to discover that not eating is bad for you.
Five years ago this week: Akash claimed to be the most erotic band in the world; they dribbled to an end a few months later; the government took two pages in NME to ask "what do you know about cocaine?" - presumably Pete Doherty will have his answer ready in a couple of weeks; Nerve magazine worried that Britney Spears market-driven virginity would cause problems; Courtney Love got an email from Christina Aguilera and wasn't impressed and 6Music came on air with Ash.
We pointed out these things, in the shops:
That's BBC1's trailers sorted for soundtracks for the next 12 months, then - Arcade Fire's Neon Bible
Hello, Bird of Music. Bonjour, Au Revior Simone
The criminally under-rated Idlewild try their luck again with Make Another World
Grinderman. Or Nick Cave does Tin Machine
It's always amused us that Asian Dub Foundation could find a home at EMI. They reach best of time.
Poor Tracey Thorn/ Ben Watt's all gone/throwing But The Girl in to doubt/she don't care /about the band/'cause she's got a solo one out
Ry Cooder attempts to conflate the US' white-collar backbone with a grumpy cat
Could there be any bigger risk to a legacy than an all-new Stooges album?
...oh, yes: Fox-hunting Bryan Ferry does Bob Dylan
Two year's worth of Electric Prunes from their Reprise years
We still miss Kill Laura, you know. Jane Weaver's latest solo