This is the Cazal's cover of To Cut A Long Story Short:
We've always thought that early Spandau could stand a bit of a critical rediscovery - especially the Paint Me Down era stuff - whoever knew that a career born wearing Greek national costumes and making softcore gay porn would end in Through The Barricades and sofa commercials?
Saturday, January 05, 2008
This is the Cazal's cover of To Cut A Long Story Short:
Lily Allen isn't just upset by Kate Moss. Oh, no, like a letter-writer to the Daily Mail, she's got other concerns. Text message speak, for example:
... said the singer of chart hit LDN.
More from No Rock on lily allen
What if you appealed a legal decision and nobody was there to hear it? Attempts to revise a change in the terms of the crackhead divorce between Whitney and Bobby Brown came to nothing when neither party, nor any lawyers, bothered to show up. It's most surprising Brown wasn't there, as he'd requested the chance to call for a revision in the first place, but then as the mothers of Brown's kids would attest, he's quite a record for not being around.
The confused world of clothes shop brand and GQ fashion shoot model Lily Allen has got a little more confusing, with the new, non-aggressive Allen sharing her thoughts about Kate Moss:
Deal with what, exactly? What?
Lily's not all shallow like Kate, of course:
Well, you've got to keep something in reserve for when you do the fashion shoots for the men's magazines, haven't you?
Despite using computers to flog In Rainbows to the masses, Thom Yorke doesn't really like people on the internet:
... he announced by posting a message on the board in the centre of the town in Animal Crossing.
In the Times, Peter Paphides considers musical bloggers - which is amusing in its own right, but gets even better when a contributor to the comments chides him for criticizing Courtney's blog:
I don't like Courtney Love much. However, I don't see why anyone should demand a musician or fashion celebrity be able to write or blog.
Well, nobody does. But if you're going to blog, shouldn't you at least be halfway coherent? After all, nobody asks me to be able to make a top ten single, but if I did release one, I don't think my terrible singing and incompetent rhythm would be excused by saying "well, really, I'm a blogger and so I don't see why I should be any good..."
The Daily Mail is outraged - outraged - at the discovery that Jools Holland's Hootenanny isn't actually live at all, but prerecorded. It's found some people who have managed to get through the last twenty years or whatever it is believing that all those people have nothing better to do on News Year's Eve than sit around watching Jools play boogie-woogie piano, and it feels their pain:
And it came at the end of year in which the BBC was embroiled in controversy over faked programmes misleading the public.
But who's actually "mislead" by this? Frankly, the programme never sets out to decieve - as the list of "anomalies" the Mail lists demonstrates. It suggests that having Kylie on the programme while she was in Melbourne on New Years Eve, and David Tennant while he was elsewhere, was a "mistake" which revealed the programme was on tape, rather than just an indication of who was around at the time it was programmed.
The actual upsetment seems to be restricted to some people who post to the Points Of View message board:
But it's not lying, is it? It's a programme for New Year's Eve, going out on New Year's Eve. It's tailoring the programme for the viewer. And what does this poster want? The programme to be renamed "the shortly before Christmas hootenanny" and to have the big count-down to 7.38pm on December the 20th instead of midnight on New Year's Eve.
The hilarious bit comes at the end:
Five years ago, British rapper Ms Dynamite left viewers baffled when she appeared on the programme at the same time as performing at the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh.
So, in two decades, only twice has anyone cared that it's been recorded. Funny that.
Thanks to James P for the link.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Natalie Imbruglia and Daniel Johns out of Silverchair are no longer married, they say in a disjointing statement:
“This mutual decision has not been taken lightly or quickly.
“However, our career demands and our lives in different parts of the world have brought us to the point where unfortunately this difficult decision was necessary for both of us.
“We have simply grown apart through not being able to spend enough time together.”
You might have thought the solution to that would be, perhaps, spending more time together rather than simply divorcing - especially if you like each other so very, very much - but perhaps I'm just a soppy old romantic.
Of Echoes, popular-but-unsigned drift-goth rockers, have had their MySpace account hacked and deleted just as they were talking to labels about a deal. They're hoping to rebuild the record of their fanbase and are putting out an APB to tempt them to resubscribe.
If you're looking for your first new band thrill of 2008 - assuming you've not had one already - how does Nancy suit you? They're from Brazil, as the South Americans continue to tighten their grip on indie-done-well; they're about to release a debut album, Chora Matisse!; they say they sound like Slayer but they're lying; we reckon they sound like Stereolab gone lounge.
Sadly, despite the name, there's not a hint of Bill Buckley being part of their gang. Get Nancy at their MySpace.
Having done her stint "trying out" being size zero last year, it's something of a surprise to discover she's flogging diets for Boots.
Louise is fronting up a Body Mass Index campaign for the store:
Although, erm, body mass index is discovered by counting pounds and inches and doing some maths with them. And the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition has some misgivings about the body mass index in the first place. And we're not sure that merely shifting the focus from pounds and ounces to BMI figures actually does anything very much about dealing with the problems which lead to men and women starving themselves to death, does it?
The news that In Rainbows is likely to take the number one slot in the album charts this week has come as something of a relief to Gennaro Castaldo:
Well, yes. Although it also kind of undermines the claims of the music industry that downloading music must harm physical sales, and if there's an "enduring appeal" to the CD, why are HMV so busily withdrawing from CD sales?
Interpol have pulled together a live ep, available through Think Indie. What does it sound like?
It sounds like this:
Pioneer To The Falls
The Heinrich Maneuver
Rest My Chemistry
Stella Was A Diver And She Was Always Down
BBC News is reporting that Britney Spears has been taken to hospital in an ambulance; shortly after she passed the children to Kevin Federline.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
The easy ride for the RIAA from universities is over, it seems, as while Oregon says it won't just hand over names to the music industry cartel, now the University of Washington is refusing to be the RIAA's mailboy. The university says it won't forward letters demanding cash for alleged filesharing unless it be assured the students were, indeed, illegaly filesharing. The RIAA has provided the University with threatening letters and asked for them to be passed to users with certain ID codes; the university is worried this approach fails to cope with students who share internet connections.
MC Hammer - trouser wearing novelty act turned bankrupt preacher - has come up with a super idea: what if you could upload videos of yourself dancing to the internet? He's plunged his post-bankruptcy savings into a website which does just that.
Yes, yes, we know. We presume his 'existing businesses in the market' research only got as far as sites beginning with 'W'...
It's been a while coming, but the European Commission has finally published proposals for a new approach to digital copyrights across the continent.
Amongst the ideas the Commission has generated is some sort of cross-continent licensing system, allowing one deal to cover copyrights from the frozen north down to the warm seas and a call for DRM to be made interoperable. Noticing that that's unlikely to happen while the labels fudge and mung, the EC also proposes a more realistic ideal:
The main disappointment is the document is motivated by the idea of making money from content rather than seizing the opportunity of online distribution to encourage consumption of music and art for its educational and cultural value - something which you'd think would be important for the European project.
I suppose the Happy Mondays have never been a band to worry overmuch about the idea of their legacy - after all, they never really bothered that much about survival, never mind how posterity will view them. But even so: Ghosthunting With The Happy Mondays on ITV2?
During the course of the programme - helmed by Yvette Fielding, naturally - they're going to have a seance. Possibly to try and contact Bez.
With her high-stakes custody battle looming, Britney Spears is lucky to have some top people fighting her case for her. People like Sorrell Trope, who has been involved in this sort of case for decades, with a surprising degree of success.
Trouble is, she doesn't have Trope any more: After Spears missed another court date, Trope has said "enough" and walked. Trope was the third in a line of divorce attorneys who try to make sense of the Spears case, but then fail.
This year's Midem corporate fest is planning to issue awards to live events organisers to reflect their green credentials. We're not sure if we can spot an irony in a massive event which drags people from the UK and the US to Cannes for a few days of looking at exhibition stands setting itself up as an environmental arbiter, but we'll certainly try.
Cigarette advertising. It's a touchy subject, even in those countries where it's still legal to push fags, like America. Rolling Stone is finding this out the hard way - where the phrase "hard way" refers to "not having thought through the consequences of certain actions". An apparent attempt to link indie rock and Camel cigarettes through a pull-out special section in the magazine has received threats of legal action from nine states of the Union and this angry letter from labels representing the acts who were bounced into endorsing lung cancer:
We, the undersigned independent record labels, wish to share our indignation regarding Rolling Stone's November 15th pull out editorial, which featured the names of our artists in conjunction with an ad for Camel cigarettes. This editorial cartoon gives every impression of being part and parcel of the advertisement wrapped around it.
The use of an artist's name to promote a brand or product should be done only with the artist's explicit consent, something that was neither solicited nor obtained from the labels or bands.
When questioned, Rolling Stone has referred to the "Indie Rock Universe" pull out section as an "editorial", but it hardly seems accidental that this editorial content is wrapped in a giant ad from R.J. Reynolds announcing their support for independent artists and labels. The idea that this was a coincidence in any way seems dubious at best. There are two other pull out sections in this same issue of Rolling Stone. Both are wrapped in advertising, but neither of these ads could be construed as part of the editorial content within.
Many of the bands named, and the labels that represent them, are very unhappy with the implication that they have any involvement with R.J. Reynolds and Camel cigarettes. We ask that Rolling Stone apologize for blurring the line between editorial and advertisement, and in doing so, implying that the bands named support the product being advertised.
Kill Rock Stars, Touch and Go, Skin Graft, Lovepump United, Lucky Madison, 5RC, Audio Dregs, and Fryk Beat.
Some of the bands who feature in the pull-out are also less than thrilled at having their name linked with ciggies. Fucked Up, for example:
Of course, the co-option of bands into advertising materials is dubious regardless of what the product is; you just think that with cigarettes, they'd be a little more careful than usual.
There are bands which are going concerns and, increasingly, bands which are merely not currently going concerns. The Kinks are now considering making a new album, should the health of Dave Davies and Peter Quaife allow, says Ray:
"I think Dave's getting better and Mick's still playing. It would be great to get back together just to see what musical ideas we had and what would happen."
- where, of course "what would happen" is measurable in ticket receipts.
Given that his last attempt to muster a comeback relied on desperately trying to spin out the "I've had sex with Jordan" anecdote, the news that Gareth Gates is getting engaged probably signals the last scrape of bottom of the musical career jar.
Even the BBC News report on his engagement mentions the Jordan connection, which probably means the best man will feel obliged to try and work it into the speeches.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
The Sun might have resisted the chance to blame Mills for McCartney's heart operation: the Mail, however, couldn't resist:
Except, erm, the procedure McCartney underwent was to clear his arteries from cholesterol-related narrowing. Perhaps Heather argues by forcing lard into people's mouths?
Someone's going to be waking up this morning, clutching their head and thinking "what did I do last night?" before dimly remembering pumping another two million dollars into SpiralFrog. It's possible it was the KLF investing, we suppose, as they've form for burning a million pounds for no gain.
More from No Rock on spiralfrog
The RIAA has enjoyed something of an easy ride from universities whose students it claims have been illegally filesharing: the RIAA demands names, the universities cave.
Now, though, they've got opposition: the University of Oregon is fighting the request for 17 names; they've got Hardy Myers, the Attorney General of Oregon, to represent them:
“The larger issue,” Mr. Myers said, “is whether plaintiffs’ investigative and litigation strategies are appropriate.”
Amongst the privacy worries listed by Myers is the question over if MediaSentry, the RIAA's paid-for snoops, should be licensed to carry out this sort of investigation into Oregonians.
Unused to politicians and universities saying "no", the RIAA is having a bulging eye moment:
A man who sues people for thousands and thousands of dollars per song suggesting some genuine privacy concerns is the crazy part, then.
“Hundreds of universities and dozens of commercial Internet service providers have responded to the exact same subpoenas,” the record companies’ lawyers wrote.
Ah. So, because nobody else was brave enough to stand up to a bunch of multinational companies, that means they must be in the right.
"I find it surprising that Tommy Beedle failed to hand over his lunch money" explained Booger Benson, "as dozens of other year ten students have responded to the exact same requests for cash."
By the way, the admissions late last year that the legal attacks on filesharing had failed to make a difference are being rewritten - now, apparently, it's all meant to be educational:
“The litigation program, as controversial as it is often written up to be, has been very successful in transforming public awareness,” Mr. Sherman said. “Everybody used to think this was legal. Now everybody knows it’s illegal.”
... but are still doing it anyway. Sherman has offered no figures on the proportion of the public who believed sharing copyrighted material "was legal" before the lawsuits started, compared with those knowing it's not now, but it does raise a question. Let's assume Sherman isn't lying in a bid to justify to the record companies why he's pissed millions away on a failing strategy; if "everyone" thought it was legal when the RIAA embarked on the lawsuits, isn't it a bit unfair to sue people for thousands for a practice that was genuinely and generally perceived to be allowed? If, on the other hand, it's fair to sue these people for so much, they must have known what they were doing were wrong, and therefore the educational value of the cases is zero. Which is it, Cary?
2008 - a new year, a new sheet. A chance to put the troubles of the past behind you, and start all over again. It's like a... what's that noise? Oh, damn. It's Katona and her mother-in-law having a scrap before Jools Holland had played his last boogie-woogie tune to see in the year.
Gordon Smart has offered his review of the year in the form of an awards ceremony, giving him a chance to fawn once again over the Spice Girls and present Noel Gallagher with the odd "Lord of Bizarre" prize. Yes, the Spice Girls and Oasis. Gordon Smart's heart is stuck in 1997.
There's a marvelous picture of Gordon, Noel and Serge from Kasabian which looks less like a journalist on the largest-selling newspaper in the country presenting an award, more like "can my mate take a picture on the cameraphone cause otherwise Victoria will never believe I've met you, mate?"
Serge has won a prize for drinking a lot, which at least brings Gordon more up to date - about 2005, we reckon.
Sensibly, for most of the other 'awards' shots they've just unconvincingly photoshopped in a prize on top of the picture, although Gordon and his scarf do go to present the Lady Of Bizarre gong to, erm, Jo Whiley for some reason. Gordon explains the strange choice:
What about In Our Time? Or Brain Surgery? Or the Freak Zone? Or...
Okay, we know what he was trying to say, but...
Even more oddly, despite the "rare" appointment-listening of Whiley's show, Smart makes Scott Mills DJ of the year.
Mercifully, The Sun resisted the chance to suggest that Paul McCartney's heart trouble was due to Heather Mills turning it to stone, or ripping it out.
McCartney had a coronary angioplasty after complaining of feeling unwell. This all took place back in the autumn.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Martin at Currybetdotnet explores the forgotten history of copy protection on vinyl records:
The reason I remember it more than anything was that a family friend had built some sort of decoder to eliminate the frequency, and was hoping, should it become widely adopted, to become rich on the back of selling little gizmos that would strip this primitive analogue rights management from recordings.
Mindy McCready is out of jail. For now.
Pete Doherty is rubbishing suggestions that he's working on a tell-all show for ITV2. Not going to happen, he claims:
We don't know why he's so outraged that anyone would consider the programme to be a possibility - after all, he's published his diaries, he's given tattling-interviews to tabloids: why would doing the same on TV be such an unimaginable step?
We're going to get over calling 2008 ZOOB in a hurry, don't worry. But - in case you're waking up nursing a hangover and want to know what the Radiohead webcast excitement was about, it was this sort of thing:
The Radiohead YouTube Channel has the full fifty minute version of Scotch Mist ("a film with Radiohead in it").
If you were in charge of one of the organisations raking off royalty payments for eventual distribution to singers, songwriters and other artists, you'd probably be a little nervous about Creative Commons licences, which - besides other benefits - pretty much leaves them without a role to perform and threatens their income stream.
So, it's not surprising that ASCAP have produced a document arguing why, in their opinion, CC licences are bad for artists.
The trouble is, it seems that - let's be generous - ASCAP have misunderstood some aspects of licence. While this is slightly disturbing - a body whose job is interpreting copyright law not being able to do so - the other explanation, that the errors spotted by Lawrence Lessig were deliberate, would be somewhat disturbing.
Police investigating the death of Kevin Greening have made an arrest; they're stressing they aren't treating the case as a murder enquiry at the moment. The arrested man, in his 50s, has been detained on charges relating to possession and supply of class A drugs.
It's a harsh start for bands and staff at EMI, where Terra Firma are putting on the pressure in a bid to make its takeover numbers work. The FT is reporting that budgets are going to be cut again.
Part of the new regime will involve business plans being submitted before new artists are signed to the label - which, while sounding sensible, seems a spurious endeavour. How can you produce a business plan that accurately reflects likely business for a band which may or may not chime with public taste? Could someone really perform a meaningful SWOT analysis on, say, Power Of Dreams? Would a business plan for Robbie Williams have suggested moving forward with "the fat dancer from Take That"?
Marketing budgets are going to be tighter, too: the EMI source who spoke to the FT was optimistic this might be a positive move:
Well, that's true, of course, but it's not as if there's been much evidence of artist management companies calling for their products to be made less visible in the market place - and for established bands, the marketing of albums is a vital part of their brand value.
So, in effect, EMI is going to make it harder for itself to sign new bands while, simultaneously, pissing off its established acts by reducing support to them. Is that such a very good idea?
In not-entirely-unrelated news this morning, Depeche Mode are considering quitting EMI label Mute, who they've been with since they came out of Basildon with haircuts and Vince Clarke.
Monday, December 31, 2007
This is the shape of 2007 on No Rock and Roll Fun:
Other people's music choices
An enormous and heartfelt thank you to you if you've read the blog this year; an even bigger thank you to those of you who've contributed through tips, comments and emails.
The big events of the year:
Xfm debut album shortlist
Radio 1 at 40
Vodafone Live Music
T in the Park
Live Earth/Save Our Selves
David Cameron BPI speech
Prince in Camden
Sony Radio winners
JAMC at Coachella
Virgin Radio Top 500
Celebrity Big Brother
Evan Farrell, the bass player for a range of bands, has died in a house fire.
Much in demand, Farrell played with Magnolia Electric Company, Japonize Elephants, Rogue Wave, The Hollows, Mega Mousse, Kentucky Nightmare and what is described as "any number" of other projects.
A husband and father, a collection has been established in his memory.
[Thanks to Gary White for the news]
Fittingly, for a year which was dominated with returns and reunions, one last comeback show, as the twelve months which made up the year get back together for one last run-through:
The year opened with the surprising news that Kate Moss and Pete Doherty were married. Or possibly not, as it depended on which paper you read. It was equally possible they'd just had a friendship ceremony, or maybe Pete had been kicked out after Kate caught him sneaking round for drugs. While Pete wasn't getting married, Babyshambles made a pledge of 'forsaking all others' to Parlophone. The Sun meanwhile offered a 10pence per call vote for its readers, asking if they'd had enough of stories about Doherty.
With bright, shining eyes, Donny Tourette, Leo Sayer, Jermaine Jackson and Jo O'Meara attempted to revive their careers by entering the Big Brother house. Except Donny, of course, who didn't actually have much of a career, but did turn out to be mates with Leo Sayer. With just as much hope, Britney went into rehab. The risks of a spell in CBB were clear to read, though, as Preston flounced off Buzzcocks when Simon Amstell read chunks of Chantelle's autobiography to him. Preston presumably was worried he'd be in for an hour of "if Simon Amstell's read my book, why can't you, then?" when he got home.
Tony Wilson had a kidney removed; Glastonbury announced a registration scheme and - demonstrating his love of the UK's place in Europe - everyone hoped Morrissey would write Britain's Eurovision song. And Ringo Starr's house was saved again for a grateful nation.
Could there be something wrong with Amy Winehouse? She barely managed a single song during her performance at GAY before dashing off-stage to be sick.
Also seeming green about the gills: EMI. Perhaps a major management reshuffle would turn the company round? Still, it seemed to be going more successfully than V2, which dropped all its current artists. Universal started to think that it might need a new business plan. Roadrunner joined Warner's downward spiral while NME shuttered its Irish edition.
Back in the Big Brother house, Jo O'Meara had a good old laugh while Shilpa Shetty was subjected to racially-motivated bullying. Quickly, the masses (or at least O'Meara's fans) gathered to stress how, in some way, she was the victim. As she was drummed out the house, O'Meara insisted she couldn't be racist because she thought Shilpa was attractive and insisted that Celebrity Big Brother be axed to save, erm, other non-racists like her from suddenly appearing to be racist.
Rumours of a new My Bloody Valentine album were, surely, just wishful thinking. Bobby Gillespie was busy trying to get his local pub to turn down the music so he could get some sleep and Ian McCulloch came out in favour of anti-Darwinism. And Beth Ditto complained that Scissor Sisters fans "had never heard The Ramones". And Pretty Girls Make Graves started to make their own arrangements and The Beautiful South finally gave out.
The money Sun readers spent hoping to keep Doherty out the paper seems to have been wasted.
It wasn't a good month for Kerry Katona: she got divorced from Brian McFadden.
Glastonbury launched its registration system and it fell over straight away. Also falling straight over: Pete Doherty made another foray into, and out of, rehab. He mumbled a sort-of apology. While, having realised that playing the victim wasn't entirely helping her, Jo O'Meara also sort-of apologised, while her fans complained that Channel 4 had deliberately been leaving Jo footage out the programme to portray her in a bad light. In further racism rows, Village Voice upset TV On The Radio by drawing a picture of them being run over by Bob Dylan.
You read it in the News of the World first: Rav Singh excitedly announced the Wham! reunion which, erm, um... hasn't quite happened yet. Equally oddly, Damon Albarn was insisting that The Good The Bad And The Queen didn't have a name. And one of the America's Next Top Model rejects claimed to have been pleasured in ways she'd never known before. By Robbie Williams. Shortly afterwards, Robbie checked into rehab. Presumably to stop doing that sort of thing.
The long running dispute between Apple Records and Apple Computer finally got settled and for his next trick, Steve Jobs called for an end to DRM. Reckless Records closed but Fopp, meanwhile, expanded and expanded, adding 70-odd Music Zone stores to its high street retail empire. In Cyberspace, Amazon confidently started taking orders for a new Radiohead album. Due August, apparently. The Manics decided to give their music away for free. Perhaps unrelated, Napster closed down its UK offices.
Louise whatusedtobeineternal slimmed to size zero for ITV, discovering it made you unhealthy and feel terrible. Surprising. Alesha Dixon flogged her wedding dress on eBay - should have held on to it, it'd worth a damn sight more now. Not as much as Jay-Z got for writing a coke jingle, but quite a lot. We shouldn't criticise, though. You know what it's like when you're huge - people will try to do you down. It happens to the Kaiser Chiefs all the time. According to them.
Kate Moss told Pete he couldn't go to the Brits - she was afraid he was getting too close to Lily Allen. Kate! It was Winehouse you should have been watching out for. Pete wasn't the only one missing out on awards: North Dakota's elected representatives told Bono they didn't think he deserved an honour. Joss Stone did get to go to the Brits, although wasn't allowed to take her own voice along. Beth Ditto was up for sexiest female in the NME awards, but was annoyed at having to compete with Kate Moss. She consoled herself by telling us how much Noel Gallagher loves her.
Britney Spears cut her hair off. Oddly, this attracted far more concern that Madonna comparing herself to Ghandi and Martin Luther King, which surely is a bigger sign of serious problems?
The long-awaited Jam reunion finally happened, although, erm, without Paul Weller involved in any way. He was probably best off out of it: after all, every last one of the All Saints turned up for their reunion. Awkwardly, though, no fans did. The Darkness pulled off the double though: they reformed without their central member or anyone noticing. Perhaps it was the reinvention of Gareth Gates stealing their thunder. Out went the largely-forgotten soft MOR artist; in came a mostly-ignored soft MOR singer-songwriter. Thank god Mel C was insisting she'd never go back to the Spice Girls.
It wasn't a good month for Kerry Katona: she wanted a showbiz wedding but had pissed off so many people she couldn't muster the required numbers.
The White Stripes revealed their new album would be an homage to The Goodies. The chances of East 17 doing another homage to Take That weren't entirely dead as there was still a chance of a second reunion. Apparently. All Saints, meanwhile, decided they hadn't split again, actually, and were going ahead. And Mel C's strong line against a Spice revival started to waver. Peter Kay and charity sent The Proclaimers back to number one. But not even Channel 4 and Harvey Goldsmith could spark life back into Samantha Mumba's career.
Motherly love: Robbie Williams' mam told all to the papers while Mitch Winehouse suggested Amy calm down a bit.
Brett Anderson went solo while Avril Lavigne abandoned the largely unwanted grown-up makeover to shore up sales by reverting to the role of the gothy-lite Hannah Montana. Also suffering an image problem was Bono, as Bloomberg looked at u2's tax regime. And Snoop Dogg couldn't work out what it was about his image that made the UK bar him from the UK. Not caring it how it looks was Pete Wentz, happily stuffing advertiser's cash into his pockets in return for product placement.
EMI sniffily said no to a proposed merger with Warners as Starbucks launched their own label. Sensing the way the wind was going - and not for the first time - Alan McGee called for a cull of record shops. HMV responded by revealing plans to become a coffee shop instead. Not for the first time, the USB stick was waved as a possible saviour of physical sales.
Scooch were chosen to represent the UK in Eurovision. Could that be right? Getting it very wrong, Mean Fiddler sent confirmations to lucky Reading-Leeds ticket purchasers before, erm, withdrawing the confirmations.
Glastonbury tickets - aided by the demand for citizens to register and present papers - sold out without further incident. We tried to find out exactly what was happening with Ringo's house, but it's not easy. Joss Stone sacked her manager, although allowed her to stay on in her secondary 'mum' role. Labour signed up Dave Rowntree as a potential councillor.
A car was driven into the gates of Paul McCartney's house. It wasn't Heather, for once. Another surprise attack came from Avril Lavigne, who declared Britney Spears' character to be wanting. The battle between Britney and her Canadian nemesis was one of the few sites of conflict that wasn't chosen by George Michael for his mawkish and ill-advised tour of places of horror with John Lennon's piano. Even that, though, wasn't quite as tacky as the Joy Division training shoe. Justin Timberlake mused on the link between art and commerce, claiming responsibility for saving McDonalds. And The Grammys. He couldn't save Britney though; her management tried and were rewarded with sarcastic backchat.
EMI dipped a toe in selling tracks without DRM on iTunes. Rednex, on the other hand, put their band up for sale on eBay. The RIAA sent cease and desist letters to fans taking part in, erm, a Nine Inch Nails promo campaign. And, erm, The Sun defeated touting. Forever. Ebay wasn't so sure; it introduced a 20% levy for anyone flogging Live Earth tickets - and then braced itself for unwanted Mike Oldfield records after the Mail On Sunday raised the giveaway stakes by handing out free Tubular Bells. Travis embraced free, too, making old stuff available on the MySpaces.
The News of the World was first with the Girls Aloud split story. Mel C went to see Take That and mused how terrible Robbie must feel, missing out on the reunion. Pete Best, meanwhile, made some tenuous move towards getting back together with The Beatles. Even Tony Hadley reuniting with Spandau Ballet would seem more plausible. A reunion which wouldn't happen: Wham. One which would: Carter USM. Topping the lot, though, was the Jesus And Mary Chain with added Hollywood actress.
James Blunt claimed he's inspired by Cat Power; the Arctic Monkeys sniffed they didn't like Radio One. Vogue liked Johnny Borrell so much they put him on the cover - but, of course, they didn't like him as much as he likes himself. Mark Ronson was surprised his terrible version of a Smiths song generated angry emails; Ryan Adams was surprised he couldn't play a gig at Stonehenge. And Bryan Ferry expressed his admiration for Nazi achievements - although he insisted this wasn't the same as supporting them. Right Said Fred were also getting embroiled in politics, as Richard Fairbrass threw his hat into the London mayoral ring. Russell Simmons hit the campaign trail to try and stop rappers using 'nigga' - at least on their Christmas albums if not all the time. Sum 41 released a political song but then rushed out a full apology to their fans.
Click, off, gone: Channel 4 axed Popworld and Christians wanted 50 Cent to drop his 'inappropriate' crucifix.
Amy Winehouse got engaged while Pete Wentz tried to get some bisexual cool rub off on him - although not penises, for god's sake, no. The BBC denied that Kylie was going to be in Doctor Who. Patrick Wolf announced he was quitting, but sadly changed his mind almost immediately.
Oh, and the Glastonbury ticket sale turned out not to have been quite so slick after all.
Comebacks are just getting stupid now: Jazzy Jeff? Mel C explicitly ruled out a Spice Girls reunion. It would take place over her dead body - much like the Thin Lizzy one. Carl Barat promised the Libertines would one day reunite if not over Doherty's body. The Police also decided to join in. Oh, good.
At the other end of their career, Peter Hook announced the end of New Order, 5ive's comeback imploded due to lack of interest and Liberty X split - surprising everyone as nobody knew they were still going.
Akon dry-humped a child onstage and shot his Verizon sponsorship. In the UK, advertising trojan horse band Honeyshot were exposed as the corporate shills they were. Doc Martens got themselves in a state as fans reacted badly to dead icons in boots.
Mean Fiddler were caught breaching the Glasto T&Cs while the Kaiser Chiefs offered booking fee free tickets by renaming the booking fee. Perhaps the Canadian politicians who pocketed cash from intellectual property companies while considering copyright law might want to revise the word 'bribery' in the same way. The Culture select committee in Westminster were also enjoying good times at the entertainment industry's expense. American rights organisation SoundExchange were having 'difficulty' finding people to pay - apparently Chris DeBurgh has gone into hiding.
EMI plumped for cash from Terra Firma, Warners restructured 400 out of work, while indies demanded better treatment from eMusic on pain of pull-out. Trent Reznor told his fans they were being ripped off when they bought his music. Twice, some might say. Xfm got rid of daytime djs, who took a large chunk of the audience with them. Asda stopped selling singles and Alan McGee closed Poptones.
Prince announced his intention to take up residency in London; Sting's chef sued for unfair dismissal - lets hope he's a better employer in his strip joint. Lily Allen worried everyone with her MySpace gloom and Fergie sent a letter to her teenage self. Adam Levine of Maroon 5 tried to please his gay fans while not sounding, you know, like he liked that sort of thing himself. Winehouse became Mrs Fielder-Civil.
Sending Scooch to Eurovision turned out to be a mistake. After he was queerbashed in Moscow, Richard Fairbrass might also feel less keen on Eastern Europe. Blood Red Shoes got beaten up by their own security, and Mika whined that gays didn't like him enough. Beth Ditto stripped naked for NME's front page, to demonstrate that all body types are valid and sexy. Oddly, though, she allowed herself to be heavily airbrushed.
Those Jo O'Meara fans who claimed Channel 4 hid footage of her on Celebrity Big Brother were vindicated. Only it turned out the Channel 4 hid some of her worst behaviour.
Victoria Beckham's relocation to the US started to fall apart while the exchange trip, sending Justin Timberlake to Manchester, also went badly. Jack White flew into a rage against a dj who played the new Stripes album.
Bono lavished more praise on Bush and - given Blair's enthusiasm for war - might have thought a little longer about applauding Blair for going out "with all guns blazing". Glastonbury took on 170 piss police. Edinburgh Jazz invited Ike Turner to play the festival; campaigners called for the invite to be withdrawn and for Ike to drop dead. The invite wasn't withdrawn. ITV's big charity album for childrens hospices turned out to be handing over just two quid a copy to the kids.
Look! Look at Lily Allen! She's saying she's an alcoholic now. Amy Winehouse, meanwhile, saw her destiny in motherhood. Probably the coke talking. Especially since she beats Blake up for a bit a of a laugh. The very idea of Gerard Way and Marilyn Manson arguing about something-or-other sounded like a weak plot for a piece of fanfic. Rav Singh was convinced Britney and Kevin Federline were getting back together.
When she wasn't interviewing Al Gore, Victoria Newton announced that Blur would be recording again as a four-piece - by November was her deadline. (The Sun also claimed Prince was going to do a set in the Big Brother house, mind you.) Not-quite-all The Smashing Pumpkins got back on stage in Berlin - no Iha, but his place was more-than-filled by Corgan's ego. Mel C swung again, this time seeming to lean towards a mulit-million pound Spice reunion. Mel B had happily expedited the DNA testing of Eddie Murphy's kid to ensure she was free to concentrate on as much rehearsing as anyone would expect them to do. Rebuilding his career was Craig David, bless him, as The Verve reunited. Again.. Surely Led Zeppelin, at least, would stay dead?.
Tracks record shop in York hit the buffers while Sheffield club Gatecrasher was razed to the ground. Dick Clark's American Bandstand business was swallowed up by private equity firms for only marginally less cash than a publisher wasted on Doherty's self-indulgent diaries. Prince broke record shops hearts by announcing his new album would come free with the Mail On Sunday. It also upset his largely non-Mail reading fanbase. It wasn't the last straw for Fopp, though: they were already going under.
Throwing an unlikely showbiz strop, The Wurzels pulled out of Glastonbury but at least Nicky Wire apologised for having called the place a shithole in the past. Equally sorry: Iggy Pop, who tossed the phrase "Paki shop" into the BBC's Glasto coverage.
It was a bad month for Kerry Katona: she found out even moving couldn't stem the bad stories.
With the Diana Gig looming into view, P Diddy suggested that he could "relate" to the loss of Diana because she was a bit like Biggie Smalls and Bono said he trusted Blair because he was a "guitarist". Apparently that's a better sign than being Prime Minister. Putin had Allofmp3 shut down in the hope that Bush would trust him a little bit more. Africa asked if Bono could stop trying to save it, thank you. In a speech to the BPI, David Cameron told it what it wanted to hear. One of the comments on our post on this told us that "insulting" Cameron was "offensive". Not as offensive as Tony Wilson having to fund his own drug treatment, though; nor as offensive as Dave Mustaine's anti-UN album. In a surprising example of free-thinking, the government rejected BPI calls for copyright extension.
Jennifer Lopez decided she no longer wanted to be known as J-Lo despite it being, erm, the brand she uses on her perfume; Timbaland had had enough of music. Music had had enough of Duncan James. Rachel Stevens had had enough of being a fading star in the UK and planned to go and be a nobody in the US. Johnny Borrell had had enough of trying to 'save' Pete Doherty.
Thurston Moore defended Starbucks being the new home of Sonic Youth. Beth Ditto turned out to be more than a little biphobic. Surprisingly, Snow Patrol managed to get themselves arrested while Paolo Nutini had a crack at satire. The People wasn't being satirical when it suggested Kate Moss was going to lead the anti-drugs campaigning for the government; they believed it. David Letterman may have pushed Morrissey over the edge with a plate of spare ribs.
It was KajaGooGoo's turn to announce a return - without Limahl, of course. George Galloway saluted the Spice Girls comeback. The resurrection of Steps faltered, probably, as nobody could remember what they looked like. New Order rejected Peter Hook's claim that the band was finished. Although it seemed to be just Barney now.
Live Earth was supposed to change people's attitudes to climate change and launch Al Gore's presidential campaign. It didn't really work. Madonna attempted to square her multiple homes, private jets and massive carbon footprint with playing the gig by sending a letter praising her own "self-education" to the papers. That didn't work, either.
We think Victoria Newton was trying to help when she started collecting sightings of Amy Winehouse drinking - although it's like spotting cats in an old lady's house, isn't it? Rhianna was number one forever and ever. The mystery of how Liz Kershaw did phone-ins when she wasn't in a studio was revealed. Everyone decided there must be some sort of sex tape featuring Pete Doherty and Kate Moss, thinking "you can pixelate out Doherty's ass, surely?" simultaneously. Painting themselves into rock history, Kasabian decided they should be in the pantheon, and where.
A handful of Fopp stores were rescued by HMV, if you can call that a rescue.
It was a bad month for Kerry Katona: She was the victim of an 'armed raid'.
Elton John came up with an answer to online piracy: shut down the internet. We're awaiting the man with the Keep Out sign and the planks to nail across the front door any day. Eminem sued Apple again, this time because his publisher hadn't said it was okay to sell his songs online. DMX backed out of a deal to sell dog trousers and so on, so he was off to court, too. Cleaner than clean, though, was the Eurovision Song Contest - a thorough investigation found no evidence of block voting. They clearly hadn't spoken to Wogan, mind.
Although it had been axed in February, Liverpool City Council got round to telling the world the Mathew Street Festival was off a couple of weeks before it had been due. To keep her Malaysian gigs on-track, Gwen Stefani agreed she'd cover herself up so as not to outrage morals. She still did her bloody songs, though. It turned out, though, Christina Aguilera's near-naked prance-dancing had been just an expression of angst at how sexist the music industry is, and not an attempt to sell downloads by frottage.
Families of the dead at Virgina Tech were unhappy that Nas had been invited to sing at a memorial event - even after he promised not to do one of his jolly tunes about shooting people to death.
Sun editor Rebekah Wade eviscerated her entertainment team when the Mirror got that week's big Doherty scoop (probably something to do with drugs, we're guessing); someone or other - we lose track of who - "revealed" Kate had dumped Pete to save his life. Amy Winehouse had her life saved at her local hospital; unfortunately, they returned it to her for safe keeping.
Faced with a music industry in turmoil, the Thurston Revival decided to try charging a hundred quid per copy for their debut single. Everyone waited to see if it'd turn up in Woolworths' half-price bin. By contrast, Ooberman made all their work to date free to download. Nobody wanted Sam And Amanda off Big Brother's cover of Barbie Girl.
In an accident even non-tabloids would call bizarre, Supergrass' Micky Quinn sleepwalked out a window and did himself a serious injury.
A musical based on American Idol managed one night before closing - roughly a Chico lifespan. Madonna invited guests to her birthday party to "dress up as travellers" (=poor people). For some reason, Pete Waterman decided to make a single with the women from the Sheilas Wheels advert. Even more oddly, Beth Ditto got confused about gay men in fashion. Darren Hayes reminded us about his being gay in a bid to try and dampen down the apparently racially-tinged incident he was mixed up in.
A load of dead dogs turned up buried in DMX's garden. Perhaps thats why he quit the dog fashion deal, then.
Things were starting to look really bad for Amy Winehouse: Courtney Love was offering to help. And her story was merged with Pete Doherty's. Funnily enough, it turned out being a pop star is bad for your life expectancy. Andy Kershaw's falling apart personal life became public as he got arrested after breaching a restraining order. The White Stripes might never play live again, as Meg White gets too anxious. But not about the sex tape: that wasn't her.
Amazon finally got round to launching its long-promised mp3 sales; SpiralFrog decided to seek more venture funding seeing as it can't give away its advertising. Vodaphone launched a mobile music store which, like everything else, ever, was dubbed an iTunes killer within seconds. Virgin megastores went up for sale.
The Kaiser Chiefs had a go at Pink's 'idiotic' political songs. Has she ever predicted a riot? See? They also revealed they're too busy to break America. "You don't need drugs" announced Lily Allen, despite her love of the two that apparently don't count. Fergie decided to fight global warming by selling a Hummer. Britney Spears launched her comeback on the MTV Awards, if drunken mistimed stumbling counts as a launch these days. Barry Manilow said he wouldn't be interviewed by someone who believed in the literal truth of the bible. Bono didn't really have anything to say about Burmese monks being murdered by the state, but didn't let that stop him. The surprising sight of Girls Aloud discussing EU harmonisation shows where this sort of thing leads.
Avril Lavigne couldn't resist sharing how generous she is, or at least how much old shit she sent to New Orleans. Fred Durst started driving over people. Slightly surprisingly this far into her downward spiral, Paul Weller praised Amy Winehouse as a "great role model" while Faye Dunaway offered her sanctuary. Rachel Stevens decided the decline in her fortunes was down to rock forcing out pop and not because 'turning up at nightclubs' isn't quite a bona fide career yet.
The big comeback trail still had a tailback - MC Hammer edging onto the route, for example.
It was a bad month for Kerry Katona: Her former drug dealer claimed he was more than her drug dealer. Oh, and her tax bill came in.
Gary Barlow was moaning about British music being rubbish - almost as if someone had kick-started a reunion trend and strangled the scene. The Spice Girls sold out in mere seconds. Eminem hasn't got the hang of retiring and Wet Wet Wet have an album ready to roll. Michelle McManus went dance having tried everything else.
The Charlatans' free album giveaway got slightly overshadowed by something Radiohead had up their sleeves. Universal have cooked up some sort of iTunes killer service that won't work. The internet cowered as Courtney Love kept updating her MySpace. Microsoft refreshed the Zune line in time to confuse grandparents shopping for Christmas and those afraid of being killed by their iPods. Harvey Goldsmith was annoyed with people complaining about Led Zep tickets and flung an angry post onto his website basically grunting "I've got your money, what more do you want?" The NME attempted to show its power by orchestrating a campaign to get the Sex Pistols to number one. They managed the low 40s. Napster are still going, apparently, but Oink isn't.
Sharon Osbourne revealed she wasn't good at daytime TV, but it was the fault of daytime TV, which meant Oprah got the big exclusive that Sinead O'Connor's life is like a bucket. Duran revealed they'd recorded a political song about Iraq, but it was so angry, they dare not release it, ever. Chico weighed in on the size zero debate, the Chuckle Brothers still have yet to issue a statement. It turns out that Richard Littlejohn is a big fan of Glad To Be Gay. Indie rock turns out to be painfully white. Robbie Williams offers to show conquests a clean bill of health, said a woman.
Steve "left" Placebo; Cerys Matthews split from Seth Riddle and returned to Wales to live a life of quiet dignity. For a couple of weeks. Celebrity couple Chantelle and Preston also called it a day, after finding themselves to want different things. Like 'fame' and 'indie credibility'. The use of Blister In The Sun on a burger advert looks like the last straw for the Violent Femmes after all these years. And who says praying doesn't work? Simply Red are over.
Someone at Boulder turned up to see Annie Lennox wearing a gasmask. Not her wearing a gasmask, the fan was. Morrissey canned a support act who made a joke he didn't like. Heather Mills went on GMTV to sob her eyes inside-out.
It was a bad month for Kerry Katona: she had to read some books.
Cerys Matthews told the papers she was doing I'm A Celebrity to "find my Tarzan". She didn't quite manage it. Pete Doherty told the papers he was off smack for good. He didn't quite manage it. Morrissey attempted to stop the NME suggesting his views on immigration were reactionary. He didn't quite manage it.
Robert Fripp claimed EMI was less than honest in its dealings with him. The BPI got excited at the rise in encrypted peer to peer networks, seeing this as some sort of victory. Lily Allen was angry that Radiohead didn't price their album like eggs in a supermarket and so were Tool, although they didn't mention eggs. Prince started threatening everyone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers wanted the Californication pun back.
That creaking? That's the NME brand being stretched onto a TV channel while Virgin slimmed down its digital radio channels.
Craig David tried relaunching his already-stalled comeback mission. Let's give Mika his due - he did try to stop the Boyzone reunion in the only way he knew. Both Ray Quinn and Rik Waller stopped banging their heads against a brick wall built by an uncaring world, but more than offsetting the balance was confirmation that My Bloody Valentine were regrouping. Electralane went into hiatus. Saddest loss of all: Victoria Newton waved goodbye to the Bizarre column. Where would we find a supply of cheap gags? Oh, yes. There.
We won't see Elvis Costello for a while - he's annoyed he gets no respect in the UK. Amy Winehouse will be going to the US, if she can avoid the whole Blake conspiracy to pervert the course of justice case. Sophie Ellis-Bextor couldn't figure out why the Spice Girls took their tops off in their new video. Of Montreal admitted their music was on adverts because, you know, they get paid for it, Yoko flogged Lennon to Penneys but Band Of Horses said no to WalMart. R Kelly's long-suffering PR decided to stop suffering.
It was a bad month for Kerry Katona: She was running out of cash.
Having given away singles themselves, the Manics attacked Radiohead for, erm, selling albums; management companies suggested they - sorry, their artists - get a slice of ticket sales on eBay.
The year ended with questions: Did Scientologists make Beck pull out a movie project? What was Dolly Parton doing in Rotherham? Will any major labels survive into 2009?
Some of the music we've enjoyed this year:
Brett Anderson - Solo debut
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Architecture in Helsinki - We Died, They Remixed
Au Revoir Simone - The Bird Of Music
Balkan Beat Box - Nu Med
Beep Seals live video
The Beep Seals - Stars
Bloc Party - Weekend In The City
David Bowie's Pye Singles
Buffalo Tom - Three Easy Pieces
Bill Callahan - Woke On A Whaleheart
Neko Case Live In Austin
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder
CocoRosie - The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn
Edwyn Collins - Home Again
The Cooper Temple Clause - Make This Your Own
Comsat Angels - To Before
Rhoda Dakar - Cleaning In Another Woman's Kitchen
Dean and Britta - Back Numbers
Deutsch Nepal - Erotikon
Dinosaur Jr - Beyond
Dolls of Pain - Dec A Dance
Durutti Column - Idiot Savants
Editors - An End Has A Start
Electrelane - No Shouts, No Calls
Explosions In The Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone
Feist - The Reminder
Field Music - Tones Of Town
Fiery Furnaces - Widow City
Future Of The Left - Curses
Ghosts - The World Is Outside
Go Teams - Proof of Youth
Green Pitch - Ace Of Hearts
PJ Harvey - White Chalk
Charlotte Hatherley - Deep Blue
The Hedrons - One More Won't Kill Us
Help, She Can't Swim - The Death Of Nightlife
Kristin Hersh - Learn To Sing Like A Star, best bet of this or any other week
Hug - Heroes
I Ludicrous - 20 Years in Showbusiness
Femi Kuti - Definitive Collection
Monkey Swallows The Universe - The Casket Letters
MSTRKRFT - The Looks
Kate Nash - Made Of Bricks
Sevara Nazarkhan - Sen
The New Pornographers - Challengers
Sarah Nixey - Sing Memory
Bearsuit - Oh:IO
Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Candie Payne - I Wish I Could Have Loved You More
Emma Pollock - Watch The Fireworks
Rilo Kiley - Under The Backlight
Kate Rusby - Awkward Annie
Shellac - Excellent Italian Greyhound
Siouxse - Mantaray
The Soft-Hearted Scientists - Take Time...
The Strange Death of Liberal England - Forward, March
June Tabor - Apples
Tiny Dancers - Free School Milk
Various - Kicking Hitler's Butt
Various - Gypsy Creams & Ginger Nuts
Von Sudenfed - Tromatic Reflections
Jane Weaver - Cherlokalate
Wedding Present - Peel Sessions box set
Lucinda Williams - West