It was, we guess, only a matter of time: Rufus Wainwright is writing an opera:
A bit of you, Rufus? In an opera about Callas, Desmond and divas? Do you think?
It was, we guess, only a matter of time: Rufus Wainwright is writing an opera:
Akon. It's not all dry-humping underage kids, you know. This email from James Page came before I fell ill - so apologies for not bringing it you sooner:
The official statement on Mozzer's stepping in to help our RAR points the finger at the "official sponsor" who's pulled out.
That would be the NME which withdrew its cash and left the organisers in a hole. Rather shabby behaviour by the magazine, isn't it?
[UPDATE: the NME denies ever having been supposed to sponsor the event]
The onward march of the Grand Theft Auto franchise - it's like Super Mario Karts with syphilis, apparently - has worried some of the good people who watch our morals. Who can reassure them that, following a night pretending to steal cars full of hookers, young people won't be rushing out to steal cars full of hookers?
Step forward, HMV spokesking Gennaro Castaldo:
In this week's NME, Conor McNicholas makes it clear that we're living in a year zero:
Gordon Smart has astonishing news of a prison conversion:
Who's this, stepping in to save tomorrow's Rock Against Racism concert from financial ruin? Morrissey, of course, digging deep into his pockets and shaking down others to keep the event on track. Which is a wonderful, generous gesture on Morrissey's part. Let's hope his actions speak more loudly than his words.
Having spent a night in the cells at Holborn Police Station, Amy Winehouse has accepted a caution for common assault. This follows the alleged assault on two men while she was out the other night; the police have not indicated if she accepted the caution for both alleged assaults, or just one of them.
It's genuinely heartbreaking to hear of the death of Humphrey Lyttelton at the age of 86.
For his stewardship of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue over thirty-five years, and of Radio 2's Jazz programme for as long as the network has existed, his contribution to British radio is unquestionable; his journalism and writing spanned eight books, numerous contributions to the likes of Punch, and scripting the Flook cartoon strip in the Daily Mail in the late 1940s. But, at heart, Lyttelton remained a jazz musician.
His formed his first band in 1948; initially, he released the group's music on his own label before signing to EMI to be part of the Parlophone Super Rhythm Style sequence. It was with Parlophone that, in 1956, his Bad Penny Blues became the first jazz record to make the top 20.
Although at the heart of the jazz scene - his band opened for Louis Armstrong when Satchmo played London in 1956 - he was never a purist; indeed, the inclusion of more accessible, mainstream stuff in his set and the expansion of the band in the late fifties irked a number of the more stuffy fans on the jazz scene at the time. Luckily, the wider public were more open - in January this year, Lyttelton clocked up his sixtieth year as a band leader.
Lyttelton, who was 86, had recently had surgery for an aortic aneurysm.
Currently, on MySpace, in all its streaming glory: Velocifero, the whole of the new Ladytron album.
As if the thought of a Kooks gig wasn't bad enough, they're now threatening to launch their own festival. Why, besides it being the only way they'd ever manage to find themselves headlining a festival?
Although we're surprised that the Times has concluded that Phil Collins is "hip" because his music appeared on an advert selling largely inedible chocolate, you have to at least credit them with the breaking the news of his retirement.
Yes, you'd been wondering why there had been all those beacons burning and every church bell in the kingdom was clanging, hadn't you?
Has Steve Albini been breaking windows or something? Only surely he'd only be producing Scott Weiland's solo album because a court had ordered him to do so as part of some sort of community service?
Gordon giggles with delight this morning, as Russell Brand may-or-may-not have had sex with an air hostess who works for Branson's airline:
This Sunday, The Sunday Times is publishing the latest edition of its rich list - it's even going multimedia this year, what with Duncan "I have one of those in my living room" Banatyne having chugged an hours' worth of ITV airtime over it yesterday evening. As usual, they've crunched the numbers through some magic spreadsheets and boiled down some specialist lists about which musicians have got the most cash.
The good news for Paul McCartney is that - having shared some of his fortune with that woman whose name escapes us for the moment - he's managed to hold on to the number three slot (behind Lloyd-Webber and Clive Calder of Zomba - so, top, if by "musician" you mean "person who makes living by playing music"). The paper seems to have taken his claim that he didn't have as much money as Heather might have thought at face value, and marked him down from £725 to £500 million. That's a drop in value equivalent to David and Victoria Beckham's entire fortune. Or the annual income for about six and half thousand people at the top end of the now-defunct 10p tax band.
At long last, the purchase of EMI has brought some glory to Guy Hands, as he's the highest new entry on the music list: he's worth £250m, when you factor in Julia Hands' money as well.
As you head down the list, some strange anomalies manifest - not least musicians who are loaded this year and who didn't register last year. Like Engelbert Humperdink, at 36 this year with £79million he apparently didn't have in 2007.
Cliff Richard, who you'll remember was pleading that we think about poor musicians with nothing but a piece of sheet music between them and the workhouse, turns out to have £50million quid to call on. Admittedly, that's about what the PRS levies in six weeks, but we still figure he could do a lot of good for the musicians he cares so much about without even having to reduce the thread count in his own bedding.
Over on the "young musician" list, Dhani Harrison is at the top of the tree - which means, we suppose, if the drummer from Does It Offend You, Yeah, wins a Euromillions treble rollover he could find himself there next year. Vanessa Mae is the 'richest young musician who's done something to earn her money', with £32m. Surprisingly, Craig David is still worth ten million - which must help when people point and laugh at him. Karen Elson is at number six, on the basis that if you fold her money in with Jack White, and his career in with hers, she's a really rich musician. In the same way that if you take me and add my money to Rupert Murdoch's, I suddenly become a multi-billionaire sinophile.
Oddly, James Blunt - who last year appeared on the "young list" with £18m - has vanished; presumably because he's too old for the list this time round. Although as he's 34, wouldn't he have been too old for it last year?
The other thing we can't work out is why members of Coldplay are listed seperately while Liam and Noel are hoiked together like a single entity.
[Last year: 2007 Rich List]
We're not even going to start with Tom Meighan's happy relationship with a plastic ET dolly:
It won't come as a surprise to Victoria Beckham that, much like her solo records, her designer jeans range has turned up in the mark-down bins. Indeed, the mark-down stores - Loehmanns are flogging jeans that had previously carried a sense-defying $289 price tag for under $70.
So, it turns out the lurid tales of Snoop Dogg and his entourages' battles at Heathrow were nothing more than tales. What's more, in upholding Dogg's appeal against his refused visa, immigration Judge Bird says the trouble at the airport was down to the police and, almost unsurprisingly given their talent for disaster, British Airways staff.
Snoop, video of the event shows, was entertaining children rather than despoiling the airport and remained calm when police were shoving him. The question, of course, is why the police were shoving a bloke around for entertaining kids.
Digging deeply into its corporate pockets, Sony has bought Gracenote for USD260million.
The Gracenote technology isn't that spizzy, so it's clear that what Sony has forked out for is the database of CD album and track names. Indeed, although Forbes claim that iTunes wouldn't be able to function without Gracenote might be a little overstating the case, it is clear that Apple make much use of the database; it's also intresting to note that an RIAA parent company will now get a little heads-up when CDs are ripped on most internet-attached PCs around the globe.
Now that the CDdatabase is a proper business, does that mean we can complain to Sony when it misidentifies a Slingbacks CD as Who Let The Dogs Out?
Tim Burgess has worked out where it all went wrong for Pete Doherty - not ordering in:
Eircom, the Irish telecommunications giant, is being sued by IRMA, which is the RIAA's client in the Republic; the reason, of course, is that the labels don't believe the ISP is doing enough to stop illegal file-sharing.
Part of the record company's bid to try and make other people responsible for doing its job, the case will be heard in July.
We're a little bit confused, still, about the point of the NME's American awards, where most of the prize winners seem to be the same sort of people who win the UK awards, just given out by slightly different people.
And surely nobody would bother inventing an entire awards show purely to allow Perez Hilton a chance to give a prize to the Klaxons? Hilton didn't go down that well, either:
Gordon's pages this morning trumpet:
Funny, isn't it? Nobody is actually running photos of a fifteen year-old girl showing a bit of underwear; they merely feel the need to run the pictures of Miley Cyrus showing her bra to illustrate stories about how the pictures are all over the internet.
Of course, there's nothing pornographic about the pictures, it's just the pictures have no business being in the public domain and it's hard to see how anyone over the age of 16 could be seeking them out without feeling a little seedy.
And it's not entirely surprising that she wears a bra, is it? Indeed, she's been happy to offer advice to Montana fans on that all-important first bra purchase.
Good news for New Yorkers: My Bloody Valentine are curating a debut upstate NY branch of the All Tomorrow's Parties franchise. Kutshers Country Club is the venue - so let's hope that Kevin Shields has bought a blazer. Or at least run a comb through his hair.
The take-your-music-anywhere service MP3Tunes, currently fighting legal action from EMI, is looking for funds to stay in the battle. They're appealing to their customers to upgrade to the premium version of their service; the money will be spent keeping lawyers in the manner to which they've become accustomed:
The death has been announced of Paul Davis.
Davis' career was something of a slow-burn; he first entered the Billboard charts 1970, with a cover of A Little Bit Of Soap. That track got to 52; it would be another eight years before he cracked the top ten, with the ballad I Go Crazy. Having taken a while to make a chart impact, Davis managed to milk his moment in the spotlight: the single remained on the Billboard charts for forty weeks - at the time, a record.
Unconcerned about fame and preferring to be at home over going out touring, it was always likely that Davis would be happy to take a step back from the relentless pushing required for sustained, global success. Indeed, he had largely abandoned music by the middle of the 1980s, making only two recorded appearances after his 1981 spell at Arista. Both were collaborations, with Marie Osmond in 1986, and with Tanya Tucker and Paul Overstreet in 1988.
His friend Art Matthews told the Meridian Star that, shortly before his death, Davis had been writing music again and had recorded two tracks.
Davis had returned to Meridian, his childhood home, on his retirement; it was there that he suffered his fatal heart attack on Tuesday.
Smooth Radio - which used to be Jazz FM - has failed to persuade Ofcom to allow it to dump its surviving jazz programming. They'd offered to cut a deal whereby Smooth would drop jazz in return for relauncing Jazz FM as a DAB network. Ofcom said it wasn't able to cut that sort of deal, and that GMG had to accept you can't buy a jazz radio station and just get rid of all the jazz.
Oddly, though, Ofcom never has a problem when companies buy indie radio stations and turn them into chart networks. But then there are probably more jazz fans than indie-eyed kids working down on the South Bank, aren't there?
Just popped up over on You Ain't No Picasso: The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club set from CD Central marking National Record Store day.
Gloomy news for people who did what the RIAA wanted of them, and bought music legally from Microsoft's MSN store, bolstered by the promise of "Plays For Sure": the DRM is being switched off:
We're screwed, aren't we? In some-sort-of-survey into heroes, Brits under 25 chose Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty as their "ultimate heroes".
We can sort of see why Winehouse might just still look like a role model if you're a bit confused - she's fighting back against her demons, intshe? - but Doherty? How hollow must your life be if you can't think of anyone more heroic than Pete Doherty. He's not even made a decent record in a cat's lifetime.
It might just be the methodology of the vague survey - perhaps Doherty was the only person who got two votes, and everyone else asked chose a different hero. Or maybe there were only limited people to choose from, in which case it would make a bit more sense that unlikely choices would bubble to the surface. Perhaps the respondents were taking the piss.
Or - just maybe - people really can't separate being famous and being heroic any more. Oh god, we're screwed, aren't we?
One of the few upsides of feeling too ill to look at a computer screen is you're spared having to check what Gordon's up to. Back to duty this morning, though, with Gordon reacting to the news that Kelly Brook has dropped her comedy boyfriend Billy Zane:
What with being ill and everything, this Guardian Tech weekly podcast is now over a week old, but still worth giving some attention to.
Matt Phillips from the BPI was on again, waving the threat of an "injunction" against ISPs if they hadn't signed up to three strikes and out by the 18th. I have to inform you, no such undertaking has been received. Oddly, when asked as to what, exactly, they'd be injuncting and why, and how, Phillips seemed a bit vague.
It suggests that things really aren't going the BPI's way - the threat of government intervention was supposed to force the ISPs to capitulate; that didn't work, so instead there's the threat of a vague injunction. At the same time, Phillips insisted that they were still having positive talks with all the ISPs, which makes it seem odd they'd be threatening to injunct. Can you imagine what it must be like going on a date with these guys?
Phillips also - in virtually the same breath as the one which he used to say that the BPI were talking to everyone - conceded that Carphone Warehouse had said they weren't going to be taking part in the scheme.
The other moment that really rankled was when Phillips suggested the bid to have people thrown off the internet was actually about social justice - it wasn't fair, he explained, that under the current suing model, individuals who got caught had to bear the full weight of the legal costs. This might be a little more convincing if the level of damages the record industry seeks from "file-sharers" weren't, themselves, totally disproportionate. It seems a little odd to be worried by the chap from Kings Lynn having to pay costs when you're relaxed about him having to find £5,000 in compensation.
Phillips was also asked about mistaken identity, which he conveniently explained out of existence - when it happens in the states, it's usually the kids of the person accused, he claimed. He then said - presumably to head off the inevitable follow-up about dead people and grandmothers without computers receiving summonses - that he didn't know very much detail about what happened in America. Which is either a surprising gap in knowledge for someone supposedly speaking with authority on copyright matters (like choosing Shakespeare as your Mastermind subject but then claiming to not really know the tragedies) or a bit of a fib.
Yes, since you ask. Nudging 103 it was. And the swelling, you don't want to know about the swelling. No, you're better off not getting too close.
More from No Rock on housekeeping
When Velvet Revolver proudly announced they'd move forward without Scott Weiland, they sounded like a band with a plan B.
And, indeed, they did: they're going to advertise online for a singer:
Neko Case has hobbled off the New Pornographers tour after fracturing her ankle.
She'd tried to carry on, dragging her broken bones through two gigs, explained the band in a statement:
We're sat here feeling rotten, so our sympathies for Tom Woodhead are more-than-usually heartfelt: his bad throat led to Forward Russia canceling their Newcastle gig last night. They're hoping to pick up in Liverpool tonight.
With last week's Oasis-to-play-Dome story rousing Noel Gallagher himself to go out and rubbish it within hours of the Sunday Mirror, what's Showbiz Zoe got for her Zoe Showbiz showbiz column with Showbiz Zoe?
Something about Kylie Minogue having blind dates. Or, rather, double-blind dates as Zoe doesn't seem to know who they're with:
Rav's big deal today is that he's got pictures of Amy Winehouse smoking cannabis in Camden.
Or, perhaps, a roll-up. Clearly, everyone in Wapping is happy that Amy is unlikely to sue.
Rav, though, seems a little addled himself:
It might just be a made-up tale filling the pages of this morning's News of the World, but they seem to believe that Paul McCartney wants to take Heather Mills on tour with him. Or, rather, he wants Bea to go, and is thinking of taking Heather to allow that to happen: