Saturday, August 04, 2007

Korn's drummer like a girlfriend changing the curtains, or something

Terry Bozzio had to split up with Korn because, apparently, he started to behave like he owned the place, reckons James Shaffer:

"There were certain demands that he made. We weren't ready to meet those demands. We just brought him in to write," Shaffner told WENN. "It's like some chick that you hang out with and all of a sudden they want to move in. What do you say to that? 'You were supposed to stay for the weekend, but you moved in all your [stuff].' It was kind of like that.

"He was a great guy and a phenomenal drummer but the demands that he made were offensive. He wanted to be a member of the band, and that included ownership. We were like, 'What, you want to have 25 per cent of everything?' We can't just sign away the right to music on a whim."

Good point. Just because the bloke's doing the drumming work, why on earth should he expect to be paid for it, eh?

United ground CSS

CSS had been due to play Lollapalooza this weekend, but didn't. Their set fell foul of the airlines; habits of selling more seats than they actually have, in the hope that people won't turn up - something that in most industries would be fraudulent.

The band posted the story to MySpace, and was copied to Music Slut:

*Well, folks. Wanna read a story? This is how things happened: A couple of weeks ago we finished the first part of the crazy SUMMER FESTIVAL TOURS. So we were happy we were having some days off, yay! But we had to get our working visas for USA, so instead of going home, we went to Lisbon to get our visas issued. We statyed a couple of days in sunny Lisbon (yummy Lisbon), got the papers, rested for four days and came to US.

Yesterday we played our NYC gig, which by the way was very very very fun. The crew and a part of the band headed right after the show to Chicago with the bus (which didn't have enough room for everybody) and the rest of us went stayed one more night in NYC. We had a flight to Chicago eleven in the morning of the next day (aka today). So we woke up very early, got an expensive taxi to the LaGuardia airport, checked in almost three hours before the flight and GUESS WHAT?

United Airlines oversold the flight and... and... they're very sorry cuz there's no other way for us to go to Chicago and play our gig! And they're also VERY SORRY cuz our luggages went to Chicago. And they're very sorry they ain't paying for our hotels here in NYC today, our cab, our fucking dignity. And by the way, they were the ASSHOLEST people I ever saw in my life. They treated us like shit. FUCK UNITED AIRLINES BIG TIME. BIG TIME. ASSHOLES. ARSE-HOLES.

We're so sorry. And pissed.
Love. And hate.

We've still yet to have it convincingly explained to us how airlines are able to sell something they've already sold to someone else - we have heard vague explanations that it's in someway important to maintain their ability to keep flying, but presumably they could use the same argument if they started pickpocketing customers queuing up to check in.

Exit David Coverdale, pursued by a bear

Or, rather, exit a bear, pursued by David Coverdale. Oh, yes, the bears at Lake Tahoe took on the wrong guy when one of them went into Coverdale's house. Black bear versus Whitesnake? It's not even a fair battle, is it?

The singer said he could feel the animal's breath on his hand as he closed the kitchen window, before he "ran around" the house to make sure all the other entrances and exits were secure.

"I'd like to think it was the smell of my fab cooking that seduced him," said Coverdale, "but it was only a slightly charred bagel!"

Coverdale, 55, recounted how he ran at the animal with an air horn canister and scared him into the garden.

Still, Mr Bear, at least he didn't sing at you. Small mercies, eh?

Stereolab weekend: Pack Yr Romatic Mind

live at The Phoenix, March 14, 2006

Eddie Murphy does the right thing, grudgingly, belatedly

Eddie Murphy has issued a statement accepting that he's not going to be able to wriggle out of this one ("accepting paternity of Mel B's kid"):

"He acknowledges paternity of the child, Angel, and has paid child support to Ms Brown as well as covering the expenses of her pregnancy."

The star added that he "views this as a private matter and as such, will not be making any further comments about it".

Exactly. As he did when he went on the television and implied, in front of the viewing millions, that the woman he'd impregnated was such a harlot it was impossible to discern who may or may not be the father. That sort of private matter.

Gennaro Castaldo watch: Now he's a Fopp

Surveying his new, expanded kingdom, Gennaro Castaldo welcomes the formal transfer of Fopp into the HMV family. (And it is a family. A dysfunctional one with two members of life support already, but a family nevertheless):

"Those stores actually were profitable and the Fopp brand - there's a lot of customer interest in it, it was very appealing, and I think it was working strongly across the country, but some stores were purchased and maybe didn't fit in with the original plans."

"Where those members of staff are available we'll certainly be looking to rehire them which hopefully will mean up to 70 jobs are saved."

As some commenters have pointed out, HMV are by no means picking up all the profitable links in the Fopp chanin, which suggests that the company simply couldn't extend itself to take on any more - you can see they might want to have avoided the MusicZone and MVC branches that dragged down Fopp in the first place, but there must have been some other branches which the people currently keeping HMV afloat wouldn't extend on.

Stereolab weekend: French Disko

The state of pop tv must be bad if we're starting to miss the contribution of The Word to Britain's musical cultural life.

Stereolab weekend

Robbie Williams is not going to have the shellfish there again

Does anyone here remember Robbie Williams? That's right, the straight guy. He's having a rough time of it at the moment, according to 3AM:

Robbie woes began when the 33-year-old cracked his rib during a rough boxing match - leaving him "beyond depressed".
Then, to add insult to injury, a prawn dish had him hobbling to the lavatory all day and night.

Oddly, 3AM don't seem at all surprised that Williams might have been stripped down to his shorts with another bloke, hammering around each other's bones. Robbie Williams boxing? We'd pay money to see that. Especially as he doesn't sound that good at it. Presumably too busy protecting the face.

We're sure you'll want to know more about his prawn mishap:
"I had a prawn incident. I had stuff coming out of my mouth and everywhere else in my body."

Unpleasant. We know how horrible the stuff Williams wants to come out his mouth is, so we're not even going to picture the scene.

3AM tell us that Robbie's especially upset about the injury, as he's been really getting off on that football team he runs:
Since then he has thrown himself into organising games for his football team, complete with bonding sessions in the jacuzzi.

Ah, well, he can still have the bonding in the bath with the other guys, eh? There's always consolations to be had.

Simpsons: maybe quitting music might have been a tad hasty

Jessica Simpson's bid to reinvent herself as something-or-other have run into the sand, as Blonde Ambition, the first movie in which she was asked to do more than stand around in cut-off shorts, has been rated too poor for cinema release by the studio. It's planned now to go straight to DVD, if they can find a disc able to take the movie without decaying.

Oh, god, this doesn't mean she's going to try and resurrect the music career, does it?

Allen kicks photographer, claims photographer

We have a difference of opinion, Geoffrey, over the claims that Lily Allen kicked a photographer who tried to take pictures of her as she landed at Melbourne airport.

The photographer's agency says:

"Lily Allen hid and actually kicked the photographer who asked her for just one photo."

While Allen's people say:
The photographer was jumping all over everyone. He was really in her face.

"He was asked by two tour managers to back off and then he was yelling stuff out."

Although, to us, that sounds like a justification for kicking someone rather than a denial of doing so.

Mind you, anyone who wants to take pictures of Lily Allen is probably asking for some sort of violent intervention, and we can't help feeling in five years the guy will be dining out better on the "I was kicked by a minor celebrity" story than any picture of said celebrity red-eyed after a transcontinental flight.

Embed and Breakfast man: Stereolab weekend - McCarthy

This weekend, some Stereolab stuff from around YouTube.

But, first, topped with a tell-tale ITV chart show caption, Tim Gane's great lost band, McCarthy, with Keep An Open Mind Or Else from 1989 (as far as we can tell, the only video of the band online - unless you know better than us?)

Serene Velocity - a good 'start here' compilation
Oscillons from the Anti-Sun - 3CD, 1 DVD, comprehensive collection of most of the 'labs work
I Am A Wallet - McCarthy's 20 year-old "communist manifesto with tunes" (© Nicky Wire) reissued by the good people at Cherry Red earlier this year

a nifty mini-menu of other Stereolab stuff will unfold here over the course of the Stereolab weekend
French Disko live on The Word
Pack Yr Romantic Mind live in 2006
Cybele's Reverie live in 1997
Les Ypers Sound live on Later

July 2008: Three Women

Timbers and Fiddy show no interest in girls

The lap dancers hired to appear in the 50 Cent/Justin Timberlake collaboration video - and what a charming, unexpected idea for a pop video that is, boys - are surprised that they were treated like actresses rather than girlfriends:

[Jemma Jey tells The Sun] “When I got the job I was really surprised and thrilled – I’m a big fan of them both, especially Justin. So it was a great opportunity to meet him.

“It was disappointing, though, because he was away from the set filming separately for a lot of the time.

“We [Jemma and Lucie Eloise] saw a lot of Fifty and he was a really nice guy – until he fell asleep on us. At one point we blindfolded the guys in the video and danced around them – then realised 50 Cent was sleeping.

“I think all the guys had been out for a party in the West End the night before because they were all pretty tired.”

Or maybe it was your conversation, Jemma. Or, just perhaps, even Fiddy found the video idea as dull as the rest of us.

Oh god, there's more of them

Now we're going to be awash with Allens: Keith Allen's daughter's brother is going to appear in the series spun-off the historical prequel to Casualty.

That's Alfie Allen in Casualty 1907, then.

Friday, August 03, 2007

XFM kick off the music

Back when it was bidding to become the last Manchester FM radio network, XFM looked to the people of the city for help:

Following initial local research and August’s successful restricted service licence, Xfm will apply for the new analogue radio licence for greater Manchester. Focusing on local talent and the best in new music, Xfm aim to bring the area’s music lovers an exciting and vibrant new analogue station that reflects the city’s dynamic music scene.

They showed their support for an alternative radio station, and Ofcom duly presented them with a licence.

Here, the station reaffirmed that they were an alternative music network. In their licence, it says:
Artists featured on XFM Manchester will generally be “Alternative”: credible, youthful and committed to challenging the aesthetics of mainstream pop music, with an emphasis on quality of composition. “Alternative” genres will include Alternative Rock, Modern Alternative, Britpop and Pop Rock.
XFM Manchester’s output will be guided by these principles rather than by chart success, past or present, and so will rarely have significant overlap with other local radio stations, though these artists may occasionally enjoy chart success over the lifetime of the licence in line with fluctuations in popular tastes.

Daytime output will consist of at least 70% current and recurrent Alternative tracks with the balance being ‘classic rock and indie tracks’, defined as classic alternative tracks and heritage rock tracks that have inspired Alternative acts. 45 hours per week specialist shows will showcase the fringes of Alternative music and reflect the diverse tastes of music fans in Manchester, such as dance-rock, underground hip hop and electronica.

All aspects of Xfm Manchester’s output, contemporary and classic, general and specialist, will feature artists from Manchester and the surrounding area prominently. Many tracks will be selected by local listeners via requests, including dedicated request programming of at least two hours per day.

Daily programming (hourly during daytime) will contain local listings for live music and other cultural events, music news and news containing a mixture of international, national and local reports in line with the tastes of the audience. Weekly output will include at least three ‘live’ sessions (each at least 15 minutes) and at least three unsigned artists.

Comedy is a key interest to the target audience; XFM Manchester will accordingly broadcast specialist comedy shows and seek to include comedy elements within general programming where appropriate. The service must be based within the licence area.

Now, where, in all of that, is the bit that justifies their announcement that they're going to cover every Manchester United match, in its entirety - and have an hour-long interview programme with Alex Ferguson every Friday night? Isn't this a transparent example of a company promising to do one thing, and then doing something very different once they have a licence?

YMCA: putting it straight

In a desperate bid to try and change the course of history, Victor Willis is trying to dampen down the surprisingly popular belief that the Village People were the gayest thing ever. Although since he says he left the band because the others were too gay and flamboyant, even he may recognise that he's going to have an uphill task.

But he's trying, anyway, with a claim that YMCA isn't about having sex with men:

Willis, best-known for portraying the cop and the naval admiral in the '70s disco group, also reveals "Y.M.C.A." was written in Vancouver and was never meant to refer to gay cruising, says his publicist Alice Wolf.

Wolf says the group was on tour when Willis wrote the lyrics at the behest of the band's French producer, Jacques Morali, who wrote the music. But Willis never intended the homosexual innuendo that many fans read into the song.

"Victor Willis wrote about the YMCA and having fun there, but the type of fun he was talking about was straight fun," insists Wolf, adding that Willis has nothing against homosexuality.

"When he says, 'Hang out with all the boys'... he's talking about the boys, the fellas.... But it's one of those ambiguous songs that was taken that way because of the gay association with Village People."

See? He meant fellas, for god's sake, not chaps. Why on earth would people assume that just because a bunch of guys dressed up as fetish types and started singing about "doing whatever you feel" and "ways to have a good time" that it was somehow gay.

Oddly, Ray Simpson - who is still with the band - doesn't seem totally swayed by Willis' arguments:
All I can say is: for every story, there's another story

In tomorrow's papers: Tom Robinson insists Glad To Be Gay was merely a 1970s reworking of Whistle A Happy Tune.

US gets taste of Indie Top 20

In much the same way as the UK success of Now Thats What I Call Music spawned indie compilation copyists - first the sublime Indie Top 20 series marshaled by former Peel associate Clive Selwood; then the ridculous Shine series - now Now is big in the US, it's getting some upstart competition too.

It's called This is Next", although the presence of Sonic Youth in the debut tracklisting makes the promise of unknown pleasures offered by the title ring a little hollow. The line-up isn't bad:

01 Bloc Party - "The Prayer"
02 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Cheated Hearts"
03 Sonic Youth - "Do You Believe in Rapture?"
04 The Shins - "Phantom Limb"
05 Spoon - "The Underdog"
06 Bright Eyes - "Four Winds"
07 Cat Power - "Lived in Bars"
08 Neko Case - "Hold On, Hold On"
09 Of Montreal - "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse"
10 Deerhoof - "The Perfect Me"
11 The Hold Steady - "Chips Ahoy!"
12 Cold War Kids - "Hang Me Up to Dry"
13 Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - "Colleen"
14 M. Ward - "Chinese Translation"
15 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Satan Said Dance"

... but nothing that you don't already get on the Paste magazine covermounts, say.

Murder victims families object to Murder singer

We're not entirely sure that having a gig at Virgina Tech is a robust idea in the first place - is the idea that, somehow, forty minutes of Dave Matthews is going to heal the pain? Or is it merely a slightly grisly way of bumping up John Mayer's sales?

What's made it worse, though, is that the organisers - who are, funnily enough, the Dave Matthews Band - has invited Nas to be on the bill.

Yes, Nas. Because how better to remember the brutal murders by a gunman than listening to the bloke who did the "shoot 'em up, just shoot 'em up, what?/ Kill, kill, kill, murder, murder, murder" song.

Some of the families, represented by Vincent J. Bove, aren't happy:

The lyrics "are indicative of the moral decay in our society that contributes to acts of violence," said Bove, a New Jersey security expert who has volunteered to speak for the families. "For a university official to condone it or to be clueless of what this person's track record is, it's unconscionable beyond belief."

University officials, however, said they have received an overwhelmingly positive response since they announced the concert Wednesday and have no plans to revise the lineup.

Because, of course, the Virgina Tech officials are pretty good at not taking responsibility.

Stefani agrees to put it away

In order to try and stop a bunch of Muslim students from campaigning to have her Malaysia gig cancelled, Gwen Stefani has agreed she won't wear 'revealing' outfits onstage.

The student union's vice president, Abdul Muntaqim, told the Associated Press: "Her performance and her attire are not suitable for our culture.

"It promotes a certain degree of obscenity and will encourage youth to emulate Western lifestyle."

We're not sure that simply covering up her belly button is going to satisfy anyone under those circumstances - surely even her stupid houndstooth cap, while demure, is dangerously Western?
Rozalita Abdul Rahman from concert promoters Maxis Communications Bhd said: "Whether it concerns the singer's attire or the security for the concert, we will abide by the rules and guidelines and assure that nothing will go wrong."

Siti Zaleha Baba, a senior official at the Malaysian Culture Arts and Heritage Ministry said: "There is no problem so far. [The concert promoter] has told us what clothes she will wear for the concert."

Mind you, everyone thought that PJ Proby was going to be a safe bet back in the day.

Lights, Cowell, Action

Amongst any working list of things we could do without would surely be Pop Idol the Movie:

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Cowell said: "We want it to be the musical version of Rocky - an underdog story, a feel-good film."

So, not an accurate one, then, where an underdog would fight for their big chance only to discover the public have, instead, blown their dinnermoney on buying some beastly opera thing by a bloke who sells mobile phones for a living, who happened to appear on the telly the night before.

The only reason we're not heading for the set with a flaming torch and a chant of "purge, purge" is the involvement of Jonathan Harvey, who has at least managed to inject some of the old-school sparkle back into his Coronation Street scripts. On the other hand, let's not forget he also did Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie, so we'll keep these torches and a box of Swan Vesta on hand.

Madonna frets over Polaroid timebomb

We're somehow finding it difficult to believe that Madonna is really as bothered by the upcoming auction of stuff she sent to James Albright as the Mail claims.

At the time, Albright was occupying the awkward position of bodyguard-turned-boyfriend, and Madonna had sent him photos of her bits and letters. Now, he's sold them on, and the Mail reckons she's worried that their coming on the market might be awkward with the Malawian authorities about to perform a belated rating of her suitability as an adoptive parent.

Yes, because a department which would turn a blind eye to the Sex book would find some personal items an uncrossable line. Compared to posing for a money-making scheme which required you to pretend to be taken up the arse by Vanilla Ice, sending a few intimate shots to yur then-partner seems somewhat charming, surely?

The real question is who comes out of the story worse: Madonna or Albright?

The letters and notes, all of which come on "Madonna" headed notepaper, were sent by the singer at a time when she was professionally at her most controversial. She had just brought out her Sex book and was about to release a sadomasochisminspired album named Erotica.

The handwritten letters are signed either "Spanky", apparently a reference to her bedroom preferences at the time, or "Lola's Mum", which is understood to refer to the ambition that Madonna had back then to name her first child Lola. Others sign off with pink lipstick kiss marks.

You send your love letters on headed notepaper? That's only a step away from having them dictated to a secretary.

But then, Albright selling out his ex for a few quid is some especially grubby.

Perhaps, though, the least charming of all the particpants in this game is the spokesperson for Marquee Capital, the group who are selling on the pictures:
A source at Marquee Capital, which is selling the items, claims that rather that being merely salacious, they actually give a fascinating insight into the singer and the workings of her mind at the time.

"It's not all about sex. Some of the notes and letters talk of her world falling apart, others talk of her feeling really low and down. She talks of Albright being the best looking guy in the world and that he does not open up enough to her.

"These letters show us that at the height of her career, she was actually a very insecure woman."

Aha. It's a fascinating glimpse of entertainment history they're selling, rather than a tacky glimpse up Madonna's corset.

Craig David all over the place

We're certain that this, from 3AM, only needs a few more words to actually make some sense:

You'd think a nice boy like Craig David would know better.

The R'n'B ladies' man delivered a crude best man's speech, which had record executives blushing.

Shocked Virgin Radio DJ Christian O'Connell revealed: "He said, 'Isn't it amazing when the girl you fall in love with also gives good ****'."

Of course, it's hard to make a story about Christian O'Connell pretending to be shocked by something Craig David said interesting, but shouldn't the story at least explain where this happened - did Craig David run into Sony's headquarters?

And have 3AM really asterisked out "head"?

Beth owes a debt

Beth Ditto has been talking about the origins of The Gossip as a number of lines on original drummer Kathy Mendonca's credit card:

“When you are college age, credit card companies bombard you with applications — so Kathy applied and got one.

“She paid for Nathan to move to Olympia with her and, when I graduated from high school a couple of years later, she paid for me to come out there too.

“That’s when we got the band together. Kathy was our drummer but she’s not in the band anymore.

“I think she’s still in debt because of that card — it was totally maxed out.”

Of course, now she's successful, Beth is going to repay that debt.

No, not by digging into her pocket, silly:
“On our next record I am going to write a song called Kathy’s Credit Card.”

Brilliant... and as you'll be getting royalties, you'll still be living off her credit card.

Newton warms-up Frost story

Having been on the end of a chewing-out for letting the Mirror make the running with the Pete Doherty story, Victoria Newton knows she has to raise her game this morning.

She, erm, doesn't quite manage it, going with a Sadie Frost angle:

NO ONE is celebrating KATE MOSS dumping PETE DOHERTY more than her best pal SADIE FROST.

And I know why.

Actress and mum-of-four Sadie was horrified when she discovered the junkie rocker had hidden drugs in her handbag during a group holiday.

It was in June 2005 when Sadie, Kate and Pete were on a boat owned by the father of their pal DAVINIA TAYLOR, cruising round the Med.

Yes, Newton's big exclusive is actually I Know What You Did The Summer Before Last, tacked onto a vaguely-worded guess that Frost will be pleased that Moss has dumped Pete. Hold the front page, everybody.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Labels told: file sharing is a "petty" crime

The German leg of the legal campaign against illicit file-sharing has suffered a series of setbacks, with public prosecutors telling the labels they can't pursue fielsharers as if they were criminals over a few, petty filesharing offences. In short, the prosecutors say they won't do the label's dirty work:

heise online has meanwhile seen an anonymized version of the lengthy reply of the chief public prosecutor's office in Berlin, dated October 18, 2006. In its reply the chief public prosecutor's office accuses the copyright holders of trying "under cover of pretending to want to initiate criminal proceedings to obtain for free and by exploiting the limited resources of the prosecuting authorities and at the expense of the budget of the federal state of Berlin the personal data required for the successful pursuit of civil claims." The chief public prosecutor's office in Berlin also denied that launching an investigation was in the public interest. All the offenses that had been brought to its attention were minor, the office stated. In a fashion comparable to that of the Local Court in Offenburg the chief public prosecutor's office in Berlin also looked into the damage done by the P2P network uploads. Contrary to the statements found in the complaint the damage done had to be regarded as "insignificant," the office declared. Hence the criterion of "minimal culpability," of necessity, had to result in a nolle prosequi being issued without any prior investigation.

Moreover, the "deciphering of IP addresses" and search warrants were intrusions on basic rights, to which the principle of proportionality had to be applied, the chief public prosecutor's office stated. This principle required that no investigation be launched in response to the complaints filed, the office declared. Here too the chief public prosecutor's office points to the copyright holders' likely motivation in filing the complaints: "Criminal-law-based investigations that entail intrusions on basic rights must not be launched for extraneous reasons -- such as nothing more than a desire to obtain evidence for a civil suit."

And what's disproportionate in Germany is surely disproportionate elsewhere. So, less like someone stealing a CD from a shop, more like someone reading your paper over your shoulder.

Manson gets stick from Pogo

Stephen 'Pogo' Bier, who spent a lot of time in make-up backing up Marilyn Manson with vaguely gothic keyboard plinky-plonk, is launching a lawsuit:

[He] accuses the Goth rocker and his "musketeers" (his business manager, lawyer and the band's manager) of assisting Manson "in filching millions of dollars the band made over the years." According to an e-mail sent to us that was approved by Bier's lawyer, Keith Fink, Manson promised Bier "partnership proceeds" from the band in 1993, but then spluged on "a multimillion-dollar home, had a lavish wedding in Ireland, gave an engagement ring to Dita von Teese" and collected Nazi artifacts and taxidermy. When Bier asked for the "partnership proceeds," Manson "devised a campaign to drive Bier out of the band and rob him of his entitlement," the e-mail states. "Litigation will begin immediately."

It's not known if Pogo wants cash, or just wants some of the "collected Nazi artifacts."

What's with collecting Nazi stuff, anyway? We know people who collect football team stuff, and we know people who have a collection of music memorabilia. Generally, they collect stuff from the team they support. Now, we know Manson likes to try and pretend to be shocking, but using a bunch of mass murderers to make your eyeliner-and-pvc shtick seem more spooky? If it wasn't so soggy, it'd be pathetic.

Fflam flops

The Welsh T in the Park, the Fflam festival, has given up trying to find a new date after postponing earlier in the month and have announced they're giving up altogether:

"It is with great regret that we confirm the cancellation of the Fflam Festival for 2007. After the initial postponement due to torrential weather conditions, we have made every possible effort to try and secure a new date for the festival this summer. Unfortunately, we cannot find a date that suits all parties and due to artist availability, we are not in a position to deliver the brilliant line-up of bands we always intended if we go ahead.

At this stage, we are left with no option but to cancel the festival for 2007 and put all our efforts into making it a huge success in 2008. We would like to thank all the people in the local community who have stuck by us and supported us throughout the past couple of months. For those who bought tickets, full refunds will be available from point of purchase."

Although the weather hasn't entirely helped, the sheer number of festivals calling it off this year must also be related to a total oversupply of events. It'll be interesting to see how many of the no-shows in 2007 actually do bother to come round again next year.

Scarlett Johansson prepares TV work

We're not sure the world entirely needs a Scarlett Johansson album, but it looks like we're going to get one anyway, produced by TV On The Radio's Dave Sitek. What's it going to sound like?

The actress's sound is "avant garde" and "very Marilyn Monroe" says Dockside Studio owner Steve Nails, and he reckons it could even go on to win a Grammy.

Uh... yes, because Marilyn Monroe was known for her avant garde musical work. She was like Yoko Ono or something. And we all know how much the Grammy judges love something away from the mainstream.

Timbaland sees how far he can push it

Sooner or later, Timbaland's apparent inability to just pretend to be too busy is going to get the better of him. In fact, Timbaland electing to work with Celine Dion might be that very point.

Jack White taunts journalists

Jack White has suggested that music journalists are inherently lazy bums who just copy stuff without thinking, according to an interview have cut-and-pasted from elsewhere on the web:

"I'd say 90 per cent of what they get is from the press release. We have fun putting things in there - like in the press release for 'Elephant', somebody inserted a joke about how none of our studio equipment was made after 1963.

"Before you knew it, people thought we wouldn't touch a piece of equipment unless it's 60 years old or something! It gets to the point where you're answering questions based on a joke somebody made."

Hmm. Which is all well and good, but isn't it a bit rich to be putting plausible-sounding fibs in your official press handouts and then complaining when people believe them? It's not like the idea of White only using old equipment is so outlandish, given his track record and the existence of a school of thought that music sounded better when it was all amps and analogue; it's not as if they claimed, say, Paris Hilton was doing backing vocals and everyone fell for it.

White carried on:
"Anytime I pick up a music magazine, I assume 90 per cent of it is incorrect, so I make up my own things to believe.

"Everyone knows the phrase 'Don't believe everything you read,' but how many people actually practice it?"

Or possibly he said "I love wearing frilly knickers, but the strapping beforehand really chaffes."

Doherty causes upset at The Sun

MeidaGuardian's monkey diary suggests that The Sun's jabbing at Pete Doherty following the Mirror's exclusive interview was nothing compared to the drubbing the paper's own staff were given:

Sun editor Rebekah Wade is understood to have sent a furious email to staff after the Daily Mirror's Pete Doherty interview scoop yesterday, when the singer begged supermodel Kate Moss to return to him. A fuming Wade sent the blistering missive asking which staff felt like resigning after picking up the Mirror and realising that they had been scooped. "You have all let me down" the email said, adding "you are a disgrace". Monkey wonders what such a dispatch has done for newsroom morale and is reminded of the old adage, never press the send button in anger.

Victoria Newton goes to the JobCentreWhat would Bizarre do in these circumstances? They'd probably get their "computer boffins" to mock up some sort of image suggesting what the future might be like for the staff who should have been securing the deal.

[Thanks to James Page]

Great news for the Obama campaign

TMZ reckons that Hillary Clinton is lining up Madonna to be her star name for her tilt at the White House next year.

More interestingly, the largest donor to Madonna-fronted Kabbalah charity turns out to be the Clinton Foundation.

Hmmm. Bill's charity is pouring into a group who are using the money to attempt to indoctrinate a nation's children , then:

Raising Malawi is a grassroots initiative created by The Kabbalah Centre Charitable Foundation. It offers lasting solutions to the orphans of Malawi. Our approach is comprehensive, compassionate, and effective. [...]
Our solutions are:


* Create a sense of self empowerment. This is where real societal change begins. To this end we are co-creating a curriculum with local Malawian teachers (based on the principles of the Spirituality for Kids Program) that empowers children with universal life skills.

What the hell are the Clintons doing supporting that sort of behaviour? Does Hillary really believe that charities should be tying relief efforts to proselytising? Or is she just so keen to get Madonna to support her she'll swallow anything?

R Kelly in the dock

If R Kelly had waited as long for making his video as he had for going on trial for it, he'd never have gotten in this mess. At long last, it seems, Kelly is going to appear next month to answer child porn video charges. Kelly's apparently thrilled at the prospect:

"He is looking forward to finally having his day in court. He's confident that when all the facts come out, it will be clear he's not guilty of any crime."

Oddly, we don't recall Kelly having been pushing very much for a court date. He pleads not guilty to charges relating to the alleged filming of a sexual encounter.

Wonder tours

Apparently, Stevie Wonder is gearing up to announce his first tour in twenty years. Which can only mean he's heard that he's been forgiven by the angry mobs for Ebony and Ivory.

That's not true, Stevie. McCartney doesn't know any better, but you should have stopped it, Stevie. You could have made sure it never happened.

The last thing you'll ever hear

There are worse things to have around you as you die (or almost die) than an ITV camera crew. We feel sorry, for example, for Doris Richards, who got Keith at the end of her death bed playing his bloody guitar:

"I sat on the end of her bed two days before she kicked the bucket. I brought round a guitar and sat there and played to her. She's gasping by now, she's out of there, y'know. 'Bye bye mum, see you tomorrow.' "

Still, Doris got the last word in:
"Next morning, she wakes up and tells my secretary, who goes round to see her every day: 'Did you hear Keith play? He was a bit out of tune.' To the end, man. Acid."

We're also touched by Keith's devotion. Not every man would send his secretary round to see his dying mother every day, you know.

Mathew Street Festival axed by City of Culture

Perhaps inevitably, Liverpool's managed to screw up another one of its major events, pulling the Mathew Street Festival citing building work as the cause:

Jason Harborow, chief executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, said in a statement: “In many ways, the Mathew Street Festival has become a victim of its own success this year. The huge growth in the popularity of the festival, combined with the loss of the Pier Head, presented us with a massive problem.

“The advice relates specifically to the unique conditions surrounding the staging of the Mathew Street Festival this year, and does not affect the city’s ability to stage other large-scale events.”

Oh, really? 2007 is meant to be a big party year for Liverpool as well, being the 800th anniversary of the place - and they've just axed the biggest event the city hosts. Whether or not this affects the city's ability to stage other events simply misses the point - the 2005 festival generated £32million for the local economy, according to the Culture Company's own figures, and to pull the 2007 event with just a few week's notice looks suspiciously like a massive disaster from where we're sitting.

The building work, supposedly, is meant to be making the city ready for its spell as Capital of Culture, which raises the question of why shiny new branches of Debenhams and the like are meant to be better for the cultural life of the city than, you know, actual culture.

More misery for the majors: Dolly bales

After losing Paul McCartney to a coffee company, the last thing the RIAA needed was another major artist announcing plans to do without them in the future.

Sorry, guys: Dolly Parton's walked now. She's setting up her own label as she doesn't need major support any more. Well, not record label wise:

Her manager Danny Nozell told Billboard: "She's a free agent right now so we decided to go around to the majors to at least see what kind of distribution deals they were bringing in, and didn't see anything I was interested in."

He added: "To be honest, we have the finances the major labels have, and I put together a marketing plan that was way more extensive than any major has brought me."

They don't support their new acts; they don't support their established acts. What the hell are the labels doing with all their money?

Pete's attempts at reconciliation flop

The plan of appealing to Kate Moss through the Mirror might have been a good one, Pete Doherty. But there was a problem.

What caught Moss' eye wasn't the lovely things you said about her, but, erm, the bit where you called her a 'nasty old rag'. Women are funny like that, Pete - they don't like being called rags in their newspaper of choice. They also, of course, hate to be publicly labeled a Daily Mirror reader:

A close friend of Miss Moss told the Mail yesterday that she reacted furiously to the first report.

"Kate lost all control - flew into a rage. Pete had given Kate lyrics for a song written in blood when they were together. She had it framed.

"Yesterday she smashed the picture, ripped the lyrics up and threw them in the bin. She was so upset that she mentioned something so personal as singing Moon River on an phone message.

"She is disgusted at his claims that she read the tabloid concerned - the very one which turned her over so publicly for cocaine.

"She is furious that it all makes her look so pathetic when she is the one that has cleaned herself up and dumped him. He has been sending her notes and presents via various people but she has never opened them because she recognises the writing.

"Kate's rage has now subsided into tears and she is slightly panicking that he is going to do something more aggressive in his pathetic attempt to get her back."

The Mail, though, isn't convinced that Pete was even trying to win Moss back - they ascribe a slightly darker role to his actions. Sorry, Kate Moss' friend suggests it:
"She is worried he could be persuaded to do the full kiss and tell. There is a lot more he could say. Kate thinks he got paid a massive amount of money to say what he did - she thinks £150,000. But that sounds too much.

"Kate is now being advised to buy his silence before it all gets even more out of hand. She is so angry saying 'How dare he?' She has been ranting, screaming down the phone to family and friends that him talking about their relationship is the one thing he promised he would never do.

"She is going mad with anger - there no other way to describe it. He kept diaries and took pictures of them both.

"There is a lot that could potentially come out. Her aides - like her manager Sarah Dukas - have taken a sharp intake of breath, thinking the whole thing they have built up could come tumbling down."

Although if this "friend" was really that bothered about Moss having her skimpy knickers scrubbed in public, we're not sure going to the papers and saying "Pete Doherty has got tonnes of stuff that would make the public's eyes pop out their heads" is so wise - it sounds more like you're trying to help Doherty negotiate a deal with the tabloids rather than protect Kate's interests.

Dykeenies: Not quite punk

The Dykeenies were shooting a video, when the police got involved.

Drugs? Nudity? Being too damn loud?

Nope, they got told off for playing football in the street. It's not known if the phrase "tell your parents on you" was used.

The road to Glossop

Alex Turner can't stand Sit Down by James:

"I can't listen to Sit Down, it makes me feel sick. That's not because it's a bad song, it's just bad memories. It reminds me of things I don't want to remember. Nothing bad, just a long journey to Glossop. I can't even listen to it now."

A trip to Glossop? Most of us, Alex, have to struggle with memories of rooms full of drunken students attempting to sit down on the dancefloor - and then failing to get up, like a hooded-topped Its A Knockout - when we hear that song. Don't try and tell us you've got problems, pal.

Some people find David Gest a bit creepy

Don't you wish that it was you and not Amy Winehouse was the object of his affections:

"I love that beehive she wears, I love her tattoos, I'd lick her toes.

"I'm in love with Amy, I'd like to lick the inside of her hair - I'd probably find KFC stuck in it. I'd even lick the gap in her teeth. Ever yone knows I've got a good tongue!"

You might have a good tongue, David, but it's a pity it keeps flapping about making noises like that which, clearly, hadn't been signed off by your brain.

It's a thin morning for Bizarre

The two lead pieces in Victoria Newton's column today are fairly poor photos which Newton has attempted to disguise by suggesting they both look like something else.

So we have Kerry Katona smoking a cigarette:

Ciggie in mouth and dressed like that, the I’m A Celeb winner bore a striking resemblance to another Fag Ash Lil, TV’s Waynetta Slob, wife of Wayne (mum and dad to Spudulika).

Erm... no she didn't. And isn't it more interesting that Iceland are apparently still using her for their adverts?

Then, even more tenuously, there's J-Lo:
J-Lo’s sultry pose is identical to EVA HERZIGOVA’s in the legendary Wonderbra campaign.

Well, if you accept that "identical" means "a bit like", and ignore that Eva was looking at her breasts with her hands up and, erm, Jennifer Lopez was looking at the floor with her arms down. But when you're desperate to fill space, I guess anything will do.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Andy Williams dodged the bullet

There are some strange nearly moments in history, and - amongst the strangest - is that Andy Williams was meant to be having dinner with Bobby Kennedy on the night he got killed. Williams felt guilty (and, we suspect, a little relieved - who wouldn't?) about having blown Kennedy out on the night he got blown away, and so said sorry with a tie:

"By the time I got to him, he was already dead... there was blood all over Bobby's clothes, on everything. So I went back to the Beverly Hills Hotel where he was staying, and got him a shirt and suit. But there was no tie. So I took off my own - a black one - and they dressed him in the fresh clothes and my tie for the flight back to New York on Air Force Two.

"And I sang The Battle Hymn Of The Republic at the funeral. We chose that song because he used it on the campaign trail. He had a terrible voice but he loved to sing that song. The only way I got through singing in church that day was by saying, 'This is my job. I can't let emotion get in the way of the song.' I really concentrated on not thinking about him."

Williams chose not to pull an Elton John and release the funeral song as a single, for charity or otherwise.

It doesn't make you the Wat Tyler of our age

Pete Burns has nearly become a no-smoking martyr yesterday, when he refused three times to put out a cigarette while having a spot of lunch.

The police weren't called, but Burns is getting his punishment anyway, as his failure to observe the law means we now all know he was having his refreshments in the Bicester Little Chef. Oh, Pete, for shame.

DMX dogged by pants dog pants

What's the cost of dignity? If you're DMX, it's just under a quarter of a million dollars - that's how much court has ordered him to pay Amusing Diversions Inc.. DMX had apparently entered into a contract in order to promote the company's dog wear; he seems to have thought better of it, and instead chose not to try and push canine wellingtons and sou'westers and god alone knows what other stuff.

It might have cost him a fair bit, but better, surely, than trying to push caps for pooches on television.

What a long, strange Trip it is again

Perhaps inspired by the reunion of The Verve, Eric's Trip have reunited. This is the third reunion for the toasts of early-90s indie rock (or they were when the Drop Nineteens weren't around, anyway), but the first that, to be honest, anyone seems to have really noticed. Even so, they're not doing the largest of tours: five Canadian dates, but perhaps someone can tempt them over to the UK as well?

Placebo samples

Although it's a lovely idea, we're not entirely convinced that this late in their career a "new listeners start here" ep for American Placebo latecomers is entirely worth the effort. The idea seems to be trying to capitalise on the Placebo slot on the package tour with Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance and Taking Back Sunday (and we're not sure we'd have bothered with that, either.)

The tracklisting:

Nancy Boy
Every You Every Me
Taste in Men
Bitter End
Pure Morning (live from Arras)
Infra-red (live from Nimes)
Running Up That Hill (live from Santiago)

The live tracks, of course, are previously unavailable on record, so if they don't tempt converted Taking Back Sundayites, there'll at least be some interest from the completists.

You can hear Infra Red for yourself, by the way.

... And You Will Know Us By The Queues At A&E

A mysterious post on the ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead website suggests a somewhat dysfunctional show they're looking to put behind them:

I'm excited to be doing a show in the neighborhood, walking distance from my laboratory. Our last show in this area at North Six was an absolute disaster. I inadvertently hospitalized one spectator that evening, and nearly severed our already tenuous relationship with our publicity department. I hope that for those people who witnessed that show, we can somehow make it up to them with a less inebriated and physically hazardous performance on the 2nd of August. I'm hoping we'll be rehearsed enough to perform Naked Sun for the first time live.

We're not sure "we'll try not to put any of you in hospital this time" is the most encouraging way to promote a show...

PJ Harvey: Whistler in the dark?

It's a nice idea, but we're far from convinced by Spinner's assertion that the new album art for PJ Harvey's White Chalk is inspired by Whistler:

Exhibit A: The dress. Exhibit B: The curly mane. Exhibit C: The titles of each project -- Harvey's 'White Chalk' vs. Whistler's 'The White Girl.'

So, yes, they both have a white dress, and some curly hair, but... erm, one is sitting with hands in lap, and one is standing with hands at the side; putting a woman in a simple white dress isn't an idea that Whistler can lay sole rights to.

On the other hand, if he were alive today, he'd probably be launching a lawsuit.

Mel B formalises public row with Murphy

We hope that, amongst the outcomes of the official paternity petition Mel B has filed against Eddie Murphy, they formalise the pairing of Angel's surnames. We like the idea of someone who will be going around called Murphy Brown.

EMI joins Private Equity firm

BBC News is reporting that Terra Firma's bid to buy EMI has won ninety percent shareholder approval. We're looking forward to the new EMI exploiting the opportunities for promotional work with its new sister companies - a Robbie Williams tour of German motorway service stations sounds just the ticket.

Liverpool 'green' festival axed

Plans to hold Livefest, which was being billed as "Liverpool's first ever green music festival" have been dumped, after wet weather forced a change in venue. Wet weather had made plans for using Liverpool Cricket Club unworkable and the replacement venue was too small to allow a break-even price.

Hayseed Dixie were set to play the event, so all that rain was probably just Gaia righting herself.

Following the Spice route

It's lucky internet voting isn't scrutinised like TV competitions, otherwise the decision by the Spice Girls to invite fans to vote on what city they should play could blow up in their faces.

Literally blow up, in fact, as Holy Moly is campaigning to get them sent to Baghdad.

Madden to be a dad 'un

Nicole Richie and Joel Madden have popped up on US television to confirm they can't work birth control: Richie is four months pregnant.

This means, of course, Lionel Richie is to become a granddad, and Nicole is now in the position of having to eat for one.

Eminem takes a second bite at Apple

No, no, this isn't the lawsuit which Eminem brought when Apple used Lose Yourself in an iPod advert; this is an all-new lawsuit and one which could spark a sticky time - not just for Apple, but all the record labels and download sellers as well.

Eight Mile Style LLC and Martin Affiliated LLC have ordered Apple to stop selling unlicensed downloads of Eminem tracks on iTunes.

Unlicensed? But isn't iTunes the shining paragon of legal music downloads, that which makes the RIAA purr?

Up to a point, it turns out. At the moment, it's the record labels which give consent to songs going on iTunes, and the deal has been cut to suit them - Apple gives about 70% of the sales to the labels, and the labels, in turn, pass about nine cents on to the publisher of the music. What Eminem's publishing company say, though, is that as owners of the tracks being performed, rather than the actual performances, they should be involved in actively agreeing to the songs being made available digitally. In other words: they don't want to leave it to the record companies to cut a deal and then decide how small the slice the publishers will take. In other other words: the publishing industry wants some of that sweet digital bonus for itself.

Which could all get rather interesting - in effect, this has little to do with Eminem or Apple as such; it's a war between the record companies and the music publishers.

Let's hope they get it settled quickly, otherwise nobody will come out of it well - because if Eminem songs aren't on iTunes, there's not going to be any money for anyone. Except, perhaps, people flogging contextual ads on bittorrent search sites.

Been to Miami? Lovely, Miami

Amy Winehouse and her husband Broke Folding-Bicycle are apparently considering a move to Miami. Apparently the advantages over their current Camden home include the better climate, links with their romance, and far, far fewer people taking pictures of Winehouse slurping beer when she's meant to be playing gigs.

Elton John calls for net to be closed

Not that he's reaching the going-to-the-shops-wearing-slippers stage or anything, but Elton John wants the internet to be switched off to save music:

The internet has stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff.

“Instead they sit at home and make their own records, which is sometimes OK but it doesn’t bode well for long-term artistic vision.

“It’s just a means to an end.

“We’re talking about things that are going to change the world and change the way people listen to music and that’s not going to happen with people blogging on the internet.

“I mean, get out there — communicate.

“Hopefully the next movement in music will tear down the internet.

“Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging.

“I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span.

“There’s too much technology available.

“I’m sure, as far as music goes, it would be much more interesting than it is today.”

He doesn't like bloggers much, does he? But we'll try to leave that aside, and just focus on his suggestion that "people are staying at home making music on their computers which isn't good".

It's not true, of course - and part of the problem is the bloody awful bands comprising of people who don't stay in their bedrooms but instead go out and make Kasabian records; and we're not even going to bother eulogising the value of the internet as a promotional tool - indeed, that it provides the very communication that John talks about. Instead, we'll just point out that there was no internet in any real sense in the early 1980s, and the music scene then was being despoiled by "happily heterosexual husband" era Elton and the Phil Collinses. If that's life without an always-on broadband connection, we'll keep the web, if we can. Ta.

Pete Doherty finds what happens when you make friends with the Daily Mirror

Naturally, you leave yourself open to a kicking from The Sun. And kicking he gets this morning, as the paper simultaneously runs an interview with him and prints photos which they say show him using crack on Monday. Medicinal crack, apparently, says "a source":

“He was on so much drugs he can’t give them all up at once.— it’s too much for him.

“The way his mind thinks is that he’s come off the really hard stuff and a bit of crack to help him through won’t do him any harm.”

The paper also suggests he's got debts of £180,000, which explains why he's going to be turning up doing this sort of thing a lot. Although since he seems to be denying chunks of what he told the Mirror yesterday, maybe the papers' appetite will dry up:
Pete also denied spilling the pair’s sex secrets. He said: “I would never talk about Kate in bed.”

If you're going to pimp yourself out to the papers, you need to come up with new angles the whole time, and Pete delivers something fresh for The Sun:
He also claimed he is being blackmailed over two CD recordings stolen from him which contain proof of another celebrity taking drugs.

He said: “I don’t know who has them but I’m worried.”

Or paranoid, or lying. You're being blackmailed, but don't know who by? And what sort of inept blackmailer would find film of a celebrity doing drugs, and then blackmail somebody else? Surely you'd blackmail the person with the image that would get damaged, not some blabbering crackhead?

And why does Pete have two CDs of a "celebrity" doing drugs in the first place? We hope this isn't a pension scheme that's gone badly wrong.

McDonalds get knickers in a Twista

McDonalds are discovering that being gig promoters isn't quite the easy job they thought it was.

Instead of having a glorious bit of shiny PR, promoting new music and all that, the corporation has wound up with a mess in its own carpark, having invited Twista to take part, and then withdrawn that invitation quite sharpish:

McDonald's spokesman William Whitman said the company "respects free speech and expression".

"We want to ensure these free concerts are fun as well as appropriate for all of our customers," he added.

In other words, having announced the gigs, someone at the company listened to Twista, and heard a lot of shouting about drugs, and came over a little like Morgan Spurlock's liver.

It's not just that they've managed to make themselves look like they really are run by a bungling clown, and opened themselves to charges of censorship, as Twista has found an even better way to turn the knife:
Twista - real name Carl Terrell Mitchell - told the Associated Press the annoucement was unexpected after "hearing from certain people in McDonald's that they were fans of the music and backed me".

He added that he cleans up his act for mainstream shows, and had intended to do so for the Chicago date.

"I was actually going to have a school with a choir come sing the song Hope with me.

"So now McDonald's have to tell the kids that they can't perform," said the musician.

McDonalds break the shiny, shiny showbiz dreams of schoolchildren.

Ba-da-ba-da-dum, I'm lovin' it.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

As I was going down the stairs, I saw a man who wasn't there

There's a great exclusive in Rupert Murdoch's freesheet TheLondonPaper, which seems to have been the only paper at Pete Doherty's solo Romford gig:

A very bitter end for lovelorn Pete Doherty Monday, 30 July 2007 Forget big, star-studded comebacks. Pete ­Doherty celebrated leaving rehab in Harrogate this weekend with a secret gig on Saturday night.

And where did he choose to play? A small pub in Romford, Essex, called The Bitter End.

During the short acoustic set, Pete belted out a couple of ­Babyshambles classics, but also showcased new material.

“Pete was looking the best he’s been for ages,” a source tells theBuzz. “He seemed really on top of it. He was joking about a drug addiction patch on his stomach.”

While there was no sign of his ex, Kate Moss, Pete had plenty of female fans to look at.

Indeed, not only were there no other papers present to see the gig, even Pete Doherty wasn't there. he'd pulled it last week, as confirmed on the venue's MySpace:
Dear All,

Due to unforeseen circumstances the 'Special Guest' for tonight's show is incredibly unlikely to turn up. The venue will still be open as normal and there are still some great acts to see.

I am sorry that I was not able to do the 'Big Reveal' on Wednesday. This was due to us holding out for an answer….

Refunds are available behind the bar for those that wish to get there money back.

So... who was this 'source' reporting on how well Pete looked, then? Doris Stokes?

[Big thanks to Rob Graver]

Those fancy lawyers' fees paid off, then

The latest snapshot of illegal file-sharing has shown an increase in people 'permanently borrowing' tracks and points to a growing failure of fear of legal action to keep people in line:

[Entertainment Media Research's] fourth annual Digital Music Survey, a poll of 1,700 people, suggests illegal music buying is widespread, with 43% claiming that they are illegally downloading tracks, rising from 36% last year and 40% in 2005. This year only 33% cited the risk of being prosecuted as a deterrent against unauthorised downloading, compared with 42% in 2006.

Of course, what this survey really tracks is how ashamed people are of their behaviour, and how likely they are to 'fess up to a total stranger that they're knowingly ignoring the letter of the law, but even on that basis, it's going to be glum reading for the lawsuit hawks of the RIAA-BPI.

Their response? Clinging to the David Cameron model of trying to make ISPs keep track of the copyrights they themselves have lost control of:
The music industry association BPI hit back, saying future success was not just down to new business models but also better protection against piracy, particularly from internet service providers. "Industry cannot do it alone," said a spokesman. "ISPs as gatekeepers, and government as legislators, must also play an active role in tackling copyright theft if the UK is to thrive as a knowledge economy.".

If you're that interested in trumpeting Britain's 'knowledge economy', you might want to look not so clueless about filesharing. It would be incredibly unhealthy to start to force ISPs to be responsible for what's moving about on their networks (as opposed to published on their servers, a distinction the BPI is keen smudge over) and - indeed - the enormous overhead it would place on companies to not just watch all the data flowing about, but check it all for copyright compliance, tell the difference between a legitimate transfer and an illegitimate one, deal with the inevitable RIAA lawsuits against the ISPs, and try and sort out the horrific privacy implications all this would generate would almost certainly do far more harm to the UK's "knowledge economy" than a few kids sharing a Green Day album.

It would also scupper the more go-ahead BPI companies' attempts to cut their digital distribution costs by using peer-to-peer networks for sales fulfilment.

Is the BPI ever going to stop running to hide behind the dinner lady, and actually direct its energy into building successful online business models instead of complaining about the boys stealing their lunch money? Its talk of vibrant knowledge economies rings hollow when the only idea they have for surviving in the 21st century is convoluted and unenforceable legislation to try and let them pretend its still the 19th.

Australia suffers

The legion of Australian indie-kids are nursing disappointment so bitter as to make a heart bleed, with New Young Pony Club and The Long Blondes both blowing them out - NYPC in order to attend the prestigious Mercury Music Prize ceremony, and The Long Blondes citing vague-sounding "recording commitments" to account for sweating off southern hemisphere dates.

HMV take Fopp

We've just heard that HMV have bought the Fopp brand and a few - though nothing approaching most - of the stores. Music Week is reporting HMV intends to keep Fopp as a stand-alone brand:

The move will also save up to 70 of the 700 jobs that were lost when Fopp went into administration at the start of July.

The stores are located in:
• Cambridge - 37 Sydney Street
• Edinburgh - 3/15 Rose Street
• Glasgow - 19 Union Street
• London, Covent Garden - 1 Earlham Street
• Manchester - 19 Brown Street
• Nottingham - The Frontage, Queen Street

It's not clear why HMV - who are having troubles themselves - think they'll be able to do any better than Fopp's own management, although the strict pruning of the chain to a handful of shops hints HMV might believe over-extension to be Fopp's key problem.

At the same time, HMV has offloaded its Japanese interests - including and 62 shops - to DSM Investments Catorce.

Pete Doherty: Will drop names for food

It's been noticeable that, during his time with Kate Moss, Pete Doherty stopped popping up giving interviews to the tabloids every ten minutes. Now, if you were cynical, you might think that a sign that he was doing these pieces as a form of income. That once he was being underwritten by Moss, they dried up seemed to confirm this. And now, funnily enough, once he's fending for himself again, why, he's once again whispering in the ears of the papers.

Today's Mirror interview tries to pull off the awkward three-way of presenting himself as a victim, trying to be nice to Kate in a bid to win her back, and giving enough to the paper to earn the fee:

In one breath the junkie rocker calls the 33-year-old supermodel a vile-tempered "nasty old rag" who frequently lashed out at him and "kicked me in the head".

In the next, he passionately declares: "I love her with all my heart. I like the way she walks and talks. I love her bones. I love her brain."

"Kate has broken my heart.

"There's been this lockdown and I can't get hold of her. This is the only way I can get through.

"I need her to know that she's out of her fucking mind. Kate, if you love me then realise I don't want any other girl.

He doesn't pull it off.
"Do I still love her? Don't ask me that question. Why do you think I'm here today talking to you? I'm here to tell her that I love her.

"Fucking hell man, why does she read the Daily Mirror, anyway? She moans all the time about the fucking paparazzi then first thing in the morning she's got to buy your paper."

There's one for the circulation department, then.
"Kate - a nasty old rag. We fell out for the same old reason. She accused me of fucking this girl who lives around the corner.

"We were watching a DVD together and Kate started going 'I could tell by the way you were sitting back there that you've fucked her'. I said 'You're out of your fucking mind'.

"I was really up for some peace and love that morning. I wasn't up for being called a cunt and being kicked in the head.

"She's got an awful temper. I grabbed a guitar and books and said 'I'm never going to be treated this way again'."

Ah. Doherty walked out. Right. Because he has his dignity, of course. Up to the "scrabbling around for coins in the Mirror" bit.

And what of the drucks, Pete: how is your drugs hell:
"They gave me an anti-drugs implant. I was under very, very heavy sedation.

"Then they gave me a sticker warning the emergency services that I shouldn't be given any morphine.

"All my receptors are now blocked which means I can't enjoy the recreational use of Class A drugs.

"Inside, I feel a little more chirpy than I have for a long, long time.

"But that's only because there's a degree of stability around me that I haven't had for some time."

More bloody implants? Good lord, man, you've been implanted more times than a brood mare to little effect. Why not try some anti-heroin gum while you're at it?

The suggestions about the new music aren't entirely encouraging, either:
"Everything is different this time post-rehab.

"I've never been in a position before where, God strike me down for saying this, I've actually made a record I can listen to and get off on.

"I've always been a bit weird about listening to my own stuff.

"But there are a couple of co-writes on the new album, a few co-writes with Kate - and it's a belter."

Oh, lord help us. Down In Albion was blighted by an apparent inability to be self-critical, so god alone knows what "everything I'm doing is brilliant" coupled with sharing songwriting duties with Kate Moss means.

As a gift to Moss, he pronounces her as clean as a children's book written by nuns:
"The last drugs we did together was the coke in the recording studio when you filmed us. After that, she went into rehab in Arizona and came out a different woman.

"Kate was determined to sort her life out and has done. She doesn't mind the odd spliff but won't go back down the route of the hard stuff. And she certainly won't let me do drugs in her house.

"Drugs are a big no-no for her now. All she wants is to be a good mum to her kid."

What a strange coincidence that the Mirror (or, rather, one of Doherty's mates) happened to catch Kate Moss' last-ever drugs session for posterity. Amazing, isn't it, like when people go through their parents' lofts and discover film of the Titanic leaving Southampton.

Having tried to do Kate a favour, Doherty then ratchets up the guilt a little on her:
"I'm feeling good and I'm determined I can beat the drugs.

"If I had Kate back then life wouldn't be so bad, would it?"

Not, of course, that he'd try to imply that his staying off drugs is in any way connected to her taking him back, or anything.

The one positive thing about Doherty when he's seeing Moss is that he's never as shabby as when he's left to his own devices.

Kasabian position themselves in the pantheon

Serge Pizzorno has been ruminating on where Kasabian sit in the history of music. Oddly, he doesn't see them as being the band who get the call when Oasis won't do it for the money on offer, oh, no:

We’re having a good time and we’re going to continue to make music,” says Serge. “Our place in the history of the music industry is truly wild."

We're not quite sure what a "truly wild" place in history actually is.

Let's not be too harsh on them, though. After all, they've overcome enormous odds of being shunned by the mainstream media - they've done it all underground, man:
“The people who sell records like Snow Patrol or Razorlight are on the radio all the time. But we’re not. We sell albums because the kids get us."

I wish I lived with Serge Pizzorno, because it sounds like he's got the only house in the Kingdom where Kasabian aren't constantly popping up on Channel 4.

It's terrible to hear that Kasabian are shunned by the radio, though. Although, erm, they did headline the Radio One stage at Reading/Leeds in 2005, didn't they? And, erm, weren't they part of last year's Radio One presents? And at Radio One's One Big Weekend this May? And we've got vague memories of Club Foot being used in a Radio One promo. But, you know, apart from that, these guys are outsiders.

And, you know, trendsetters:
“We’re inspiring a new generation in the same way Bowie did thirty years ago.

“In twenty years time people will look back on us and marvel."

Oh, no, we're marveling now. We have no problem with bands trying to suggest they're changing the face of music or creating fires that will burn until morning, but Bowie? Come on, Serge - that would make Hard-Fi the new Marc Bolan, presumably? Let's be realistic: you're more like Spandau Ballet were twenty years ago. Not especially original, not even the leader of your chosen niche, but doing well enough to ensure that your greatest hits will always be on sale for as long as there's CD dump bins in petrol stations.

Sometimes, there's little we can add to the story

Celebrity heiress Paris Hilton has landed a part in the movie version of a futuristic rock musical, according to trade magazine Variety.

She will sing in Repo! The Genetic Opera, which is set in 2056 when the human race is almost destroyed and survival depends on organ transplants.

- BBC News

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hooks out: Peter attacks remnants of New Order

The story so far: Peter Hook told everyone New Order was over. Then Stephen Morris and Barney Sumner said "might be for you, but we're carrying on."

Now, Hook has said 'oh no, you're not':

Addressing Sumner and Morris, Hook wrote on his MySpace page: "This group [New Order] has split up! You are no more New Order than I am! You may have two thirds, but don't assume you have the rights to do anything 'New Order-ey,' because you don't. I've still got a third! But I'm open to negotiation." He signed the statement off by writing, "See you in court!"

Nothing becomes a truly great band like the way they fall apart.

Integrity is priceless. For everything else, there's MasterCard

MasterCard - we still call them Access, to be honest - asked M Ward if they could use one of his tunes on an advert.

Their offer was declined.

So Mastercard went off and made a carbon copy. Ward, of course, isn't happy:

to avoid confusion re: mastercard/europe

Mastercard was denied permission by M. Ward to use his version of Daniel Johnston's "TO GO HOME" - so Mastercard found some anonymous musicians to re-record the song. Neither M. Ward nor the musicians that appeared on his version have any involvement in this recording or the commercial.

You can't put a price on it, can you?

Oddly, Mastercard happily blocked payments going to because it respects artist's rights. Sometimes.

Nails scratched

Nine Inch Nails planned Russian dates have been axed, apparently due to misfiled visas or something. We like to think this is part of Putin's increasingly isolationist attitude, but it's problem more down to Trent Reznor being shit at Cyrillic.

The dream is over

Everything comes to an end: even Albion Market, eventually, reached a finish. And now - officially - Britney Spears and Kevin Federline - have been unhitched.

There is still a little business left between the pair - Britney will apparently be shovelling twenty thousand bucks into the Federline account until November - clearly, that's why she had to make off with all that jewelery from the photoshoot, otherwise where would she get that kind of money from?

The Beatles "too tatty for world"

Now, proving our cutting-edge credentials, a story from forty years ago: The Beatles' much-praised appearance on the first satellite show didn't go down well - many claiming it was a slight to our nation to be represented by a pop group:

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that a BBC official, asked to assess viewer reaction, wrote in a memo: "There was little specific comment on the separate parts of the programme apart from a volume of angry protests at the choice of The Beatles as one of the UK's contributions."

The memo records several comments, including: "This country has produced something more meritorious and noteworthy than The Beatles (much as I admire them)"; "We did not do ourselves justice"; "Have we nothing better to offer? Surely this isn't the image of what we are like. What a dreadful impression they must have given the rest of the world"; "We flaunted The Beatles as the highlight of British culture, no wonder we have lost our image in the eyes of the world"; "After all the culture etc shown by the other countries, The Beatles were the absolute dregs (incidentally I am a Beatles fan), no wonder people think thing we are going to the dogs!"

Still, at least it didn't have Ricky Gervais trying to fill a gap in proceedings with something, anything.

The BBC didn't tell the band that most of the country hated them - instead, it told a little white lie to Brian Epstein. Mark Thompson has just apologised for misleading the Beatles.

[Thanks to Jim McCabe for the link]

It's as if Joe Strummer had two voices or something

Matt W emails us with news of Just Jack, who shared his passion for The Clash with readers of The Sunday Times, enthusing over Train In Vain:

I also love Joe Strummer’s vocal. It has the usual gnarly roughness, but is tempered with a more tuneful, almost yearning quality, carrying the theme of anger and hurt caused by a betrayal perfectly – which leads me to what I find most compelling about this song. Although the lyrics speak of some kind of huge injustice done to Strummer by a woman, there is no discernible malice in the music, no darkness or brooding. It is as if the song is a celebration of the pain and heartbreak, an all-embracing acceptance.

He loves it so much... and yet, oddly, no mention at all of Mick Jones.

Beth Ditto misunderstands Missy

Every time the Beth Ditto phone rings, we find out buttocks clenching - what's she going to say now?

Now, it turns out, she's keen to have a go at Missy Elliot for losing weight, and setting a bad example.

Now, there are probably hundreds of celebrities who have lost weight they didn't need to use, promoting a terrible body image, and feeding eating disorders in young men and women. Why choose Missy - who has at least settled on a sensible weight - rather than, say, Amy Winehouse or Kate Moss, Beth?

Oh. Yes, we forgot, it's impossible for your showbiz chums to set a bad example.

So, until Missy pals up with Beth, she's going to have to take this:

"She lost weight! For health. Well it wasn't like she was gonna fall over dead! "

Erm... yes, yes it was, actually, Beth. She was warned that her body shape had raised her blood pressure to a dangerous level where she was at risk from a stroke. While nobody should be forced to conform to body shape to please other people, it's as dangerous to pretend there's no risk in obesity as it is to, say, suggest that anorexia is a lifestyle choice.
But I can understand why it would be so fucking hard for her to be her size (success-wise) and her weight

But it wasn't a problem - she'd already achieved her first success before the weight-loss and was certainly in a position to choose projects.

Having had a go at Missy, Beth then patronises her:
"I never, ever blame the woman in the position for feeling like she needs to change herself; I blame people who are in power and prevent them for doing what they love to do or what they're fucking amazing at, like Missy Elliott, because of the way they look. It's a fucking joke."

Leaving aside the successful albums, the production and mentoring roles, the guest appearances on other artists' records, which predated the weight loss, would Ditto really look Elliott in the face and tell her that she's a poodle of the music industry bosses, that she had no choice but to lose weight because someone in an office told her too? Beth Ditto, do you really believe Elliott is so weak? Do you really believe you're the only person in the music industry capable of making their own choices?

Elliott told Now that she never was put under pressure to slim by the label:
Being in the music industry, which is incredibly image-driven, had you ever felt under pressure to lose weight before?
No, I was lucky. I'd always been happy with my size and the record label never asked me to lose weight.

They saw me as bringing something different to the table and being unique in my own way. I even used to poke fun at my size, which is why I wore an inflatable PVC suit for the video of The Rain.

It's an interesting aspect of Ditto's professed belief in people being free to follow their own way that she can't accept that someone might choose weightloss over diabetes, and feels free to suggest they're incapable of making their own mind up on the issue.

Fall Out Boy: There really is no rush

The soothing balm contained in the news that Fall Out Ball have written a load of new songs is that they want to wait until they do anything with them, says Patrick Stump:

"I've got a bunch of songs written, but I think I'm going to wait a while before we release it, because I'm still really proud of this record and I want to kind of give it some space."

Presumably, he'll wait until the pride in the current album turns to shame, which could take quite a long time. After all, for most people, the cloying sense of shameful dullness would have started to kick in at the first playback of the record, and since Stump managed to get through apparently unaware that he's produced a record with all the charm of a salmon farm downpipe, who's to say if he'll ever feel it?

There is, though, to be some progression the next time Fall Out Boy record. And not just new sponsors:
"[Billie Joe Armstrong] he didn't want to play four-chord punk rock for the rest of his life. If anybody knows anything about punk rock more than Billie Joe from Green Day, I don't know who it is. So I looked at that and their growth, and I think about how honest that is. They're really just true to what they are, and so that's how we are.

"I think we'll change stylistically, but at the end of the day, that's just something you wear. You're still yourself."

Lessons in being punk from Green Day. It's like picking up a primer for the EU constitution by Richard Littlejohn.

Prince: Sober and still judged

We've read this piece from the 3AM several times and still can't quite believe that they're surprised it's possible to enjoy yourself without being ripped off your tits on Bacardi Breezers:

Water guy! Prince proved he can wow 'em on the dance floor without a drop of booze.

The singer pulled off some wild moves at London's Chinawhite club on Saturday. Our spy said: "Prince was brilliant - he was dancing in the middle of a circle. No one could believe it when they saw him drinking water all night."

Nobody could believe it? It's not that bloody unusual, is it? It's not like he was getting into fights, smashing bottles and waving them in people's faces and throwing up over his shoes and he was only drinking water, is it?

Aguilera collapses

Here's something of a first: Victoria Newton is afraid for the health of a baby that may or may not exist.

Christina Aguilera's Scrhodinger's Cat of a Pregnancy (according to Victoria, it's being kept quiet in order to allow a multi-million 'our baby joy' exclusive in some magazine or other) had a wobble when she collapsed backstage during her Melbourne gig. Doctors insisted she should play no encore - not that they were worried about her health, they just wanted to be able to get out the car park before the ball game down the street started to let out.

Aguilera issued a statement in lieu of an encore:

“I want to personally apologise to all of my fans.

“I am truly disappointed that I won’t be able to share my show with you all.”

In the end, though, rather than apologise personally, she just issued the statement.

The Usher wouldn't be a groom

EastEnders-style marriage mayhem in New York, where Usher pulled out of his wedding a few hours before he was due to do the 'I do'.

We don't think it quite constitutes a jilting - we're pretty certain that Tameka Foster didn't get to the altar. Or not altar, as it was going to be a wedding in LA Reid's house. Actually, he might have an altar. He seems the type.

Anyway, Usher's publicist is now desperately trying to stop the publicity:

The singer's publicist released a statement confirming the wedding was canceled, then added, "No additional information will be given regarding the circumstances of the cancellation, but we hope the privacy of this matter will be respected."

The American gossip press have announced they intend to respect that request for privacy, and won't enter into pages and pages of baseless speculation. Just as soon as they know everyone's been given their wedding gifts back. Until then, they figure, a little speculation won't hurt anyone.

1970s hippie tried drugs - breaking

We're starting to wonder if The Sun is being put together by a bunch of shut-ins at the moment, as they really do run this paragraph this morning expecting us to be surprised:

SIR Richard Branson has revealed how he joined the Mile High club with a married woman AND tried out mind-bending drugs.

Really? Drugs? The man who released Tubular Bells did drugs? Whatever next? It'll be Ozzy Osbourne revealed to have taken them.

And how "mind-bending" were the drugs he actually took? Did we nearly see one of the greatest self-promoting minds of our generation going off his cake on a mixture of LSD and smack?

Not quite:
He said: “I took ecstasy once. But it didn’t have a massive effect on me”. Of cocaine, he said: “I suspect I‘ve tried it, yes.”

The businessman, reportedly worth £5billion, claimed Rolling Stone Keith Richards was the “first person to teach me to roll a joint”. He said he had not tried super-strong “skunk” cannabis.

But he added: “I have smoked cannabis though. I mean, I went with my son on his gap year, for God’s sake. We learned to surf and had some nights where we laughed our heads off for eight hours.”

Of course, the Sun trots out some drug "experts" to condemn him:
Peter Stoker, director of the National Drug Prevention Alliance, said: “Richard Branson as a parent should know better than to take health-endangering drugs with his child.

“It was irresponsible and sets a bad example.”

The real worry, though, is what sort of kid takes their dad on their Gap Year with them?

Dance fans surprised to find Warwickshire "soggy"

What with all the news on the News recently about England having its worst flodding since the invention of water, and poor old Huw Edwards having been stood up to his belly-button in a mix of run-off and sewage to present the Ten O'Clock news from flood-torn central England for what feels like weeks and weeks, we can't help but feel it's a little churlish of the people who turned up at Global Gathering, a few miles from the recently inundated Stratford-In-The-Avon, to complain that the ground was "boggy."

Other Global Gatherers (actually, to be honest, the same one) said that they'd had to queue for four hours to get into the grounds, although organisers dispute that:

Mr Algate said: "Usually I would say 15 to 20 minutes for getting into the event - I don't know where those people were coming from... I think yesterday's (Friday) queues at a maximum were an hour.

"To be honest, for a festival of this size that's expected."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Spice Girls need some help

The Spice Girls tour is going to result in a massive payday for the beauty industry: They're taking at least ten make-up and hair people on their tour with them. Admittedly, seven of those are just going to be trying to shore up Geri Halliwell.

Dunst boots Borrell

Apparently - and we'll have to take the Daily Mail's word for this - the brief period of cohabitation for Johnny Borrell out of the Borrellsound Experiment and Kirsten Dunst out of the Spidermans is over.

Because Borrell is slovenly, it turns out:

Kirsten is incredibly tidy – she is obsessive when it comes to cleaning. Johnny is messy and it was driving her mad,' says a friend of the couple.

'Kirsten has asked him to move back into the place he shares with an old pal in nearby Muswell Hill. They are taking some time out.'

Borrell is, at least, better at taking time out than taking the trash out.

Kinks 'shootist' set free

Ray Davies failed to show up in court for the trial of Jerome Barra, the man accused of shooting him in the leg after trying to steal Davies' girlfriend's bag, which lead to Barra having charges against him dropped.

Davies has complained that he wasn't given enough notice of the court date, and says that he's not happy:

Davies told New Orleans' Times-Picayune newspaper he had been unable to get to the trial in time.

"I am very disappointed with the way this case has been handled," he was reported as saying.

"I intend to pursue it further."

The trial had first been attempted in 2005, but was put on hold when, yes, Davies was unable to attend. The trial date for last Friday had been agreed in May.

Hard-Fi "kill" record sleeves

Hard-Fi have taken it upon themselves to be the executioners of the record sleeve:

Singer Richard Archer says the band decided to feature the band’s name and LP title in small letters, whilst plastering the rest of the cover with the legend ‘No Cover Art’, as a response to a now digitally dominated music industry.

He explains to the Times, “The significance of album covers is becoming little more than a centimetre square on an iPod screen. The sleeve used to add another dimension to an album, but that seems to be disappearing, which is really sad."
Story continues below...

"We had the Sleeve of the Year in 2005 and we looked at every way of trying to top it. But perhaps the best way is to kill off the sleeve altogether."

So, it's not so much the band killing off the sleeve as, erm, there not being any sleeves at all. It all smacks a little of Lydon's PIL "Album"/ "Cassette" branding from, god, two decades ago.

But surely the most interesting thing about the new Hard-Fi album can be that it doesn't have a picture on it, can it? Can it?