Saturday, June 21, 2008

Glastonbury forecast have updated their weather forecast for Glastonbury - as the festival weekend gets clearer, of course, it becomes easier to predict the likely weather with a bit more certainty.

Yesterday, they were predicting dry weather for the fest itself, except for Sunday.

Now, the forecast is rain for Friday, light rain for Saturday and scattered showers for the Sunday. The days aren't going to get above 19 degrees, but on the bright side, the nights won't be dropping much below 11.

Emmy out of her Space

A plea goes up: Emmy The Great has been blocked out of her own MySpace. She's looking for assistance. Or perhaps a thirteen year old with some madskillz to help her out. Or rather in.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Diane, I am holding in my hand a link to the Listening Post's damn fine post on the crossover between Twin Peaks and pop. There's the sharp point that shoegaze had its roots as much in Washington State as the Camden Falcon:

The series made a major impact, admitted Swervedriver front man Adam Franklin recently to me during an interview on the reunion of bands from the late '80s and early '90s, including those who have yet to announce a comeback.

"Everyone was watching that show," Franklin says. "Angelo Badalamenti had a huge influence on the shoegaze sound."

Badalamenti's measured scores created sonic environments that artists like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, Massive Attack, Portishead and many more echoed in their own diverse work. There's even an excellent YouTube mash that juxtaposes scenes from the Twin Peaks multiverse with Portishead's "Roads," without missing a lonesome beat. It's not exactly Badalamenti's iconic "Laura Palmer Theme," but it isn't that far off from it either.

Cathal Coughlan Weekend: Blues For Ceaucescu

Of course, when the Fatima Mansions did this on a Peel Session, a nervous BBC made them change the line about "Dickie Mountbatten" into "somebody famous" - almost as if linking a senior member of the Royal Family to the Kincora child abuse scandal was going to be a problem of some sort. This story never gets mentioned when they make programmes about banned records on Radio One, perhaps because it doesn't feature Mike Read; or, more likely, that nobody much wants to mention 'Prince Charles' godfather' and 'child abuse scandal' in the same breath.

Wonderfully, under the video on YouTube someone has posted this angry comment:

What does this have to do with Ceausescu?

Bah! Just when I was hoping for some footage of a despotic madman overseeing parades and throwing the mentally ill into orphanages, I get some pop music instead...

Assuming you know what you're after, here's the video:

[Part of Cathal Coughlan weekend]

Evidence? That's for little people, says MPAA

In a submission in the Jammie Thomas case, the MPAA has suggested to the judge that they don't really need to prove anything:

"Mandating such proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many instances," MPAA attorney Marie L. van Uitert wrote Friday to the federal judge overseeing the Jammie Thomas trial.

"It is often very difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to provide such direct proof when confronting modern forms of copyright infringement, whether over P2P networks or otherwise; understandably, copyright infringers typically do not keep records of infringement," van Uitert wrote on behalf of the movie studios, a position shared with the Recording Industry Association of America, which sued Thomas, the single mother of two.

It is impossible to prove we were damaged, so we should not have to prove that any copyright theft took place. It's wonderful logic and we look forward to this forming a cornerstone of law in future. After all, it's difficult to prove that Marie van Uitert has been brainwashing my cat in order to turn it into a killing machine, but - hey - that need not be a problem any more, need it?

Cathal Coughlan Weekend: Singer's Hampstead Home

We'd like to think that had Boy George taken on board Microdisney's critique of him, his clique and his lifestyle, he might have avoided the downward spiral that followed. Perhaps someone could have played it to Robbie Williams, too - actually, 'singer's LA football pitch' might be overdue.

This isn't the greatest live recording ever, in terms of quality, but some things are more important than audiophilia.

[Part of Cathal Coughlan weekend]

Live Nation pwned Cohl

As was foreshadowed yesterday, Michael Cohl has paid the price of pursuing 360 degree deals at Live Nation. He's been sacked - in as far as upper management is ever sacked. The official line is that he's been

transitioned to a consultant role

There's nothing more embarrassing as being told you're so useless you're only good for consultancy.

The victor in the boardroom squabblefest, Michael Rapino, has attempted to suggest that it's going to be business as usual:
" We are committed to acquiring additional artists' rights beyond the concert tour..." said CEO Micahel Rapino. "At the same time, we continue to take a disciplined financial approach and are focused on expanding cash flow and margins and increasing value for shareholders."

In other words: Cohl paid over the odds for Madonna and we're not going to let ourselves turn into some sort of cashpoint for the faded top tier stars.

Talking for Tony

Could there be any more apt a memorial for Tony Wilson than non-stop talking?

Steve Coogan, Tim Burgess, Irvine Welsh and - you'd have to hope - others are currently taking part in a round-the-clock talking event that's designed to inspire the next generation of creative people in Manchester.

They've called it The Tony Wilson Experience, though, which is great as it implies that it's going to be some sort of three-piece pub band instead.

Gordon in the morning: Pete in the morning

Amy Winehouse's gentle decline continues, and it falls to Gordon's number two, Pete Samson, to take care of the story. Which he does well, almsot enjoying the chance to knock down Gordon's story yesterday which diagnosed her with TB:

STRICKEN AMY WINEHOUSE has been in quarantine as docs try to contain her chest infection — but her tuberculosis tests came back clear yesterday.

Pete quotes a source that suggests Amy is still "hoping" to play Glastonbury and the Mandela gig. That's what a ninety year-old needs: someone coughing blood all over him.

Gordon has also passed over responsibility for the latest dispatch from the Cole-Tweedy marriage to a pair of writers:
in Marbella, Spain

The pair of them put their heads together and came up with some terrible, terrible puns:
Cheryl's own Cole

- which is supposed to be reference to "pals" who think she's made a mistake getting back with Ashley, but would probably only work as a pun on "own goal" if they included a word like "score" - otherwise, it just seems that the paper is accepting that Ashley is all Cheryl's.

There's worse, though:
Ash she gone mad? ... Cheryl with cheat hubby

"Ash" isn't even a pun - it's anagram, if anything.

Embed and breakfast man: Cathal Coughlan weekend

There's not many people who you would feel pride knowing they spat on you, but - especially since it was accidental - I've always viewed the spit-spattering that I got in the front row of the Fatima Mansions at Liverpool Poly during a particularly rousing Blues For Ceaucescu as one to tell the grandchildren about.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet and YouTube, you can enjoy one of Ireland's most politically-astute songwriters without the need for a sneeze guard and - of course - without incurring a story which will just lead your children's children to look at you in a confused and frightened manner before having you put away.

To get us underway, Microdisney doing Birthday Girl live - complete with an pre-watershed introduction from the great Ivor Cutler:

More Cathal across the weekend:
Microdisney - Singer's Hampstead Home Live
Fatima Mansions - Blues For Ceaucescu
Fatima Mansions - Only Losers Take The Bus
Cathal Coughlan - Dusty In Here Live

Cathal Coughlan official site
Cathal's MySpace
Cathal Coghlan on Wikipedia

Purchases you could make:
Microdisney double CD anthology
Fatima Mansions - Viva Dead Ponies
Cathal Coughlan with the Grand Necropolitan Sextet - Foburg

Darkness at 3AM: Filling every corner

When I was at first school, the head was a frugal woman - a child during the war years, she couldn't stand waste, and so when you finished a writing-book, you had to visit her office for permission to pick up a new one. She would then look through every page of the completed book, and - should she find so much as an eighth of a page unused, she would return you to the classroom with an injunction not to return until the book was really full.

The teaching staff, of course, hated this, as marking became a game of trying to hunt through the book looking for which corners their pupils were having to cram work into. Wisely, they would encourage us to draw pictures in any gaps around our work so that the head would have no places to force us to fill.

For some reason, this spurious 'fill every gap with something, no matter how pointless' rule occured to us when we saw this piece taking up space on the 3AM Page:

would you rather...

...accompany Rhys Ifans - clad only in his Notting Hill underpants - to dinner at The Ivy OR wear the same pants every day for a week?

They should have just drawn a picture of Kate Moss eating some cheese.

Homme-ophobia: Josh Homme defends 'faggot' as term of abuse

Oh, dear. Josh Homme's theatrical rant at a kid throwing stuff at hiim hasn't gone down too well; now, Josh has written an open letter to try and explain why calling someone a 'faggot' as a term of abuse isn't homophobic:

“Some journalists & citizens on the internet & are wondering: Q? Am I a homophobe because I included a slang for gay in with other "acceptable" curse words during a verbal lashing I gave a young concertgoer, after being hit by his shoe, during a show the other day? A= Nope.

You'll note, of course, that Homme has used the Morrissey gambit - shifting what he's been caught doing (here, throwing round homophobic abuse) into a totally different accusation that he's probably innocent of (actively being a homophobe. We say you're throwing around language which can cause offence; you deny being a Nazi.

Still, at least Josh is too sensible to try the "some of my best friends are gay" gambit, isn't he?

He isn't:
“My gay family & friends, as well as myself, KNOW I am not a homophobe.

Josh decides to go a step further, and finally close down that nature/nurture debate once and for all:
For years now I've known gay is not a choice; one's skin color doesn't determine one's intelligence level; & red hair doesn't mean you're someone's stepchild."

If you're trying to build bridges with a gay audience, you might not want to effectively say "it's not like you can help it, is it?" And, if being gay was a choice, would that automatically make it wrong, Josh? Are you implying that gay sex is only okay because you can't help yourself?

We'll answer our own question: No, he isn't. He's just blundering about trying to justify the unjustifiable and blurting out things he assumes may be helpful.

Then he turns to attack - the fault, it seems, is with us:
“You see, it's not the words, it's their intent. I never said, nor suggested, that being gay is wrong, but apparently, based on your outrage to my flu-infused rant, you do!

So, if you're not suggesting that there's something wrong with being gay, why would you use a derogatory term for homosexuals to abuse the kid who threw a shoe at you? You were trying to belittle the bloke; you thought the worst thing you could do was suggest he was gay. Appealing for us to consider the intent makes it worse, not better.

And for a songwriter to suggest that words themselves have no power is just absurd. It's like a man who shoots guns for a living suggesting that his bullets don't kill, it's all down to the angle of the wind.

But, still, kudos for Homme for launching into the most ill-considered attempt to turn an argument round so far this year: "if you object to me calling someone a faggot, that makes YOU the homophobe!"
I also told that young whipper snapper I'd have anal sex with him... how can I possibly reconcile these opposing viewpoints?”

Yes... yes, you did threaten to use rape as a punishment; not - as you're implying here - that you offered to have loving sex with the kid. And it's not entirely difficult to reconcile someone who will use "faggot" as an insult with someone who feels that using forced anal sex is a way to humiliate another person. Perhaps if he'd not spent time trying to solve the 'why do some people have gay sex' question he might have had some time to spend understanding that rape is a weapon, and has nothing to do with sexual attraction. It's telling that Homme spent all his efforts trying to explain away the homophobia, and didn't even mention the accusations that arose from threatening sexual violence.

Just to mop up his confused defence, Homme then, naturally, had a tilt at "political correctness", the right wing's meaningless Aunt Sally:
In his letter, which originally appeared on the bands website, Homme says that he never has been nor does he “intend to be politically correct.”

“That's your cross to bear. To me, that PC world would suck more shit than the porta-potty truck at Glastonbury."

Yeah. Imagine a world where you could threaten anal rape and couldn't get away with it. How terrible would that world be, eh?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Glastonbury forecast

The 10 Day forecast for Glastonbury weekend is posted: it's going to hammer down this weekend; then dry for most of next week - with fog on Wednesday - and rain for the last day.

Having said that, the forecast has been getting more grim as the weekend has got closer.

Craig David loves his comedy version

Back in last November, Craig David attempted a relaunch of his career by moaning on about how Avid Merrion's caricature ruined everything.

Now, he's attempting another relaunch, this time by pretending that he didn't mind it all:

"I'm not angry about Bo' Selecta! I was flattered at first and even appeared on his show, but he just went on to become more vicious, knocking down everything I did. People would come up to me on the street and say, 'Craiig Daavid' in that northern accent, but I didn't mind - it was like they had a form of Tourette syndrome. But it was the only thing I was becoming associated with. Even if people liked my records, I felt they might not buy them because I wasn't cool. People expected me to be sad, but I'm not at all. It didn't hurt me, but it hurt the brand."

Yes, he did just describe himself as a brand - let's not be too quick to judge him for that. Even Dosmestos is, at the heart of it, a brand. Even Happy Shopper.

But you can hear the teeth firmly gritted as he attempts to try and lessen the impression he gave last time of a slightly obsessed bad loser by suggesting he took it on the chin - the big, rubbery chin.

Trouble is, whether he really hated Bo Selecta, or just doesn't want people to think he did anymore, he's still giving interviews in 2008 about a parody someone stopped doing four years ago. When people's first thought of you is 'oh, they used to rip the piss out of him back in the past', you might wonder if there's much point in trying to relaunch all over again.

Presumably, this is how Jo Grimmond felt when Mike Yarwood used to take the rise.

Poison pill for EMI

You spend the best years of your life combing, perming, sparying and perming some more, and what sort of reward do you get?

Not enough, it turns out: Poison reckon Capitol-EMI owe them money.

They've launched a lawsuit which says not only do they believe they got diddled out of miscalculated figures on sales and tax, but they don't even know how much they got diddled out of, as attempts to audit the figures were blocked by the labels.

It does raise the question how they can be sure the losses are large enough to justify an expensive lawsuit, but we'll bet their legal team has already provided a convincing answer to that one.

QTrax has another difficult launch

You'll recall QTrax, the free music service which launched with some fanfare and claims of deals with the majors earlier this year only to have the majors deny it.

Well, they've launched again - for PC using Americans only.

Or maybe not even them, as Ars technica reports:

Signup and installation of the client for "the world's first free and legal P2P music download network" went without a hitch. Qtrax is only available in the US for now, and then only on Windows (a Mac client is on its way) at its re-re-relaunch. After getting the company's client up and running, we were surprised by what appears to be yet another false start. Everything in the store works—artist banners are plugged into the main storefront, searching for artists returns respectable results, and advertising is alive and well—but clicking to preview or download a track simply does nothing. The store reported over 6,000 users online during our testing, but we aren't sure if any of them are having better luck than we are.

Admittedly, this is only being flagged as a Beta launch - which is geek for "we haven't tested this properly" or "we have tested this, but it doesn't work" - but since this is the third time round for QTrax, you'd have thought they'd have realised from their already tattered reputation that they need to take care to build confidence of those who still believe. Perhaps they got the team in?

Shiny new band: Fight Like Apes

Fight Like Apes - whose Marc Riley session is available via the 6Music website for another five days (and also features a Mega City 4 Peel archive session, too) probably should have come to our attention before, but haven't.

Short. Sparky. Spunky. Shoewave. Songs.

This is their appearance - alongside Euroflop Dustin The Turkey, in fact - off Ireland's Once A Week Show last November, doing Do You Karate:

More Fight Like Apes on theirSpace; they've got some live festival dates and We Are Scientist support slots coming up which you'll find listed there.

Festivals band together

Another sign of the festival over-supply: A bunch of smaller events, including Bestival, Creamfields and Summer Sundae, have come together to find a way to make their events "more cost-effective":

James Barton, owner of Creamfields, said the alliance was a “real opportunity” to help “deliver exciting business ideas.”

This could be the festival equivalent of Happy Shopper or My Mum's branding, where independent grocers combine to challenge the multiple retailers through co-operation. Or, on the other hand, it could be like local radio, where everything becomes templated to keep costs down.

Given that festivals tend to feature much the same bands - just shuffled into slightly different orders - the stuff that makes the smaller players successful is their individual approach. It's hard to imagine that this sort of price-down driving collaboration is going to encourage that individualism to any great extent.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Stan Schroeder does the digital maths on Mashable:

But take notice of the percentages. Physical sales = down 13 percent; digital sales = up 34 percent. At this exact rate of growth, in five years the revenue from digital sales will be 12.5 billion. At the exact rate of decline, physical sales will be down to 7.9 billion in five years. Add the two numbers together, and you get around 20.5 billion in overall revenue. Currently, this number is 18.8 billion.

[Thanks to Michael M]

The Cameron talent hour

In today's Times, and built-around the Boris Johnson's sister band Second Person, is a piece about the rise of what, I suspect, we'll have to call Posh Pop.

Lloyd Grossman is wheeled on to explain:

“The Crewe by-election was by no means the turning point, but it was symptomatic of everyone having better things to do now than worry about class warfare. I have long held the view that the less you know about a performer the better. I honestly don’t really want to know where any musician went to school or what his parents did.”

Oh, good lord; it's not bad enough that politics has been overwashed with the privileged trying to suggest that we're all equal now, as if they're not being kept aloft by the pocketbooks of their parents - now they've come for music, too.

Of course, up to a point, Grossman's right: Kinky Machine were no worse for having been led by the son of an Earl; Kula Shaker would have been chased out of any right-thinking town if Mills' folks had been tractor drivers rather than actor-directors. But given that the Times found the class angle the most interesting thing to say about them, you are left with the feeling that if you don't have a guide to the bloodstock, all you're left with are a few rich kids who can afford the instruments and time off to have a jolly old time, with chums who have the cash to promote without needing to worry about the odd loss.

Suffering and poverty don't automatically make for better music, but when you're actually making real sacrifices to make music, that commitment can often be tasted in the mix.

Live Nation at war

Clear Channel spin-off Live Nation - concert promotion company trying to turn full-service music business - is suffering from a management bitch-fight over its 360 deals.

The signing of Madonna as a recording artist as well as a live star didn't entirely make Wall Street sing like they were expecting, and the LiveNation share price has lost 40% of its value since the announcement. Not all the loss is going to be down to the Madonna deal, but it does suggest a certain lack of conviction that the model and management are correct.

This, it seems, is a debate that has been taking place in the top of Live Nation, too - chairman Michael Cohl certain that this is still the way ahead; CEO Michael Rapino wanting to cool the pace.

Rapino looks like the victor, with Cohl believed to be looking for boxes while colleagues try to think of something witty and positive to put in a leaving card.

If you were Madonna, you might feel a little nervous that the company that signed you up for a trail-blazing 360 deal now seems to be wondering if it's the right road to be going down.

60 years on: Mini-liveblog

Bob Harris and Mark Ellen are currently on Today, in a feature marking the 60th anniversary of the long-playing record.

"Lily Allen I think of as an MP3 file artist" observes Mark, pointing out that the production cycle of the music industry is starting to move away from being dominated by the write album - record album - tour album scheme.

Bob is enthusing over the aesthetics of vinyl - especially over shellac, but he introduced someone to his record collection with the words "welcome to obsolesence".

Piers Morgan is a sorry man

Piers Morgan has apologised - although so far, only to Paul McCartney, and only for introducing him to Heather Mills:

"I was fooled into thinking that she was a good person..."

It's easily done, isn't it? You don't realise Heather Mills is bad, you don't realise that obviously-faked photos of prisoner abuse are faked... who can blame you?
[He] insists he didn't know she would turn out to be a "grasping, gold-digging little bimbo".

There's nothing worse than grasping, gold-digging sorts, are there? The sort of person who'd take a husband for everything she can, say, or someone who'd buy £67,000 worth of shares in a company his newspaper is just about to - entirely coincidentally - tip as a great investment.
"I'm not sure if Paul knew she was missing a leg at the time."

Eh? Is Morgan suggesting that having one leg is a character flaw? Or is he just going for a cheap "ha-ha, she's disabled, you know" gag?

Gordon in the morning: Doctor Gordon is in

Gordon Smart had decided that it's been too long that Amy Winehouse has been in the hospital, and that we should have a diagnosis. So, he's given us one. Coughing up blood, weight loss, lack of appetite? It's TB, claims Gordon. Sorry, a pal.

Carol Cooper, the Sun doctor, is wheeled in to point out that addicts get TB, while Gordon gets cofused over if he's talking to a "pal" or a "source":

The source said:[...]"The word tuberculosis might frighten her into getting herself well. It certainly should do.

"She needs to realise she will die if she she doesn’t clean up her act."

Gordon's "source" perhaps not quite understanding the whole "being addicted to something" deal here, then.

Elsewhere, in what might be the most pointless thing Smart's ever run, there's a picture of newly-pregnant Charlotte Church in a petrol station, which seems to have been published purely for this line:
Now she has a new pump, er, bump.

He wrote that. With pens.

Although Gordon was fascinated by Will Smith's penis yesterday, he's handed David Beckham's cock over to "US editor" Emily Smith to deal with. Emily reports "there is a poster advertising pants with David Beckham in" under the bemusing headline:
Becks BIGGER than the Beatles

We know it's meant to be a reference to the supposed size of his knob, but why on earth would you need to mention the Beatles? It's not like the story underneath has any mention of the group; or that the advert is hanging near a picture of Lennon; or that it distracted people from a Ringo Starr book signing. It's like the paper was so keen to mention that David Beckham's cock looks big when he stuffs god-knows-what into his bathhouse knickers, they had no blood left in their head to write a headline that makes sense.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oasis stick with Sony BMG

Take advantage of the new music indsutry? Pah! Did John Lennon ever take advantage of changing technology? (erm, actually, yes, come to think of it) Well, Ringo, then. He never did.

Oasis have renewed their deal with Sony BMG.

The real horror? It's a three-album deal. Guaranteeing a dribble of new (or "new") Oasis stuff until about 2014 at their current work-rate.

50 Cent "amazed" by Mandela

There's a meeting for our times: 50 Cent meets up with Nelson Mandela:

US rapper 50 Cent has described his recent meeting with Nelson Mandela as “amazing”.

The rapper met with the former leader of South Africa during a brief tour of the country earlier this year.

"It's amazing" said Cent; "he's done hard jail time and has worked on stuff with the Spice Girls and Annie Lennox, but he's not done a single deal to leverage his brand across the key sneakers-and-vodka markets."

Oh, alright, Cent was impressed to meet the Mandelas for all the right reasons - it saves having to bother with bloody books:
"I've been enlightened in a lot of different ways," 50 Cent said, talking about his tour.

"To have someone directly involved give me information was exciting. You know, I learn faster hands-on than I do from reading books,” he said.

“It's exciting to be in a position where people [of the Mandelas' stature] will actually take the time out to explain these things to me."

Is it just us, or does the impression Cent give off here is of a man who hasn't quite followed what it is that he was being given enlightening information about, but knew that it was quite important?

Glastonbury: Weekend without Weekend Without Make-Up

Who won't be going to Glastonbury, then? (Besides 'as many people as Michael Eavis had hoped for'?)

Not The Long Blondes: Dorian Cox has fallen seriously ill and they've cancelled their festival dates - including Glastonbury - and Duran Duran support slots.

"Quite avant-garde"

Our buttocks tighten whenever we hear the word "supergroup" being muttered, even when it's one featuring Tim Burgess, Jamie HinceReynolds and Carl Barat.

It's going to happen, though, Tim has said so:

"The idea is to actually record something proper over the summer when we get a chance.

"Myself, Carl and Jamie from Klaxons actually went out for a bit of a band meeting and I think that we are all free in August - but I've just heard the news yesterday that Carl got quite sick so hopefully he'll be recovered by then."

As a general rule of thumb, however gorgeous the resulting band might look in the video, any band meeting which starts with members trying to synchronise diaries so they might turn up in the same place at the same time is a sign that the results of their labours might not be so much fun for the audience as for the artists.
"I just want it to be very serious you know, which would kinda be conflicting in the way that people have seen us in the past, but I think it might be quite avant-garde to be honest."

... so maybe not being fun won't be a problem?

Let's hope that it's not so avant-garde that they don't make a strongly homoerotic video.

The band is currently labouring under the name The Chavs, which you really hope they have another think over.

Microsoft: The reluctant killers

Microsoft - they talk the big talk, but can they really pull the plug when they have to? XP has had more stays of execution than a governor's son represented by Alan Shaw; now the Plays For Sure DRM kill-off has been reversed:

Dear MSN Music customer,

On April 22, Microsoft notified you that as of August 31st, 2008, we would be changing the level of support for music purchased from MSN Music, and while your existing purchased music would continue to play, you would no longer be able to authorize new PCs and devices to play that music.

After careful consideration, Microsoft has decided to continue to support the authorization of new computers and devices and delivery of new license keys for MSN Music customers through at least the end of 2011, after which we will evaluate how much this functionality is still being used and what steps should be taken next to support our customers. This means you will continue to be able to listen to your purchased music and transfer your music to new PCs and devices beyond the previously announced August 31, 2008 date.

Clearly, nobody at Microsoft had forseen a public relations disaster in switching off a machine and forcing people who'd paid for music to choose between never upgrading their hardware again or losing their collection. Or, indeed, the great moral wrong.

Redmond must be hoping that by 2011 everyone will either have swapped to Zunes or be prepared to let the expensive Plays For Sure flop die quietly. And... oh. Nobody's reading any more, are they; they're all popping 'rag Micrsoft about Plays for Sure' into their online diaries for 30/11/11.

Soul Train to call at more platforms

Now-defunct US music show Soul Train has been sold to MadVision Entertainment. They have all kinds of multiplatform plans - including relaunching the programme, which seems a little like the sort of hope-filled thing you say in press releases even although you know the numbers will never stack up properly. More useful, though, is the archive which MadVision now control - and that, we guess, is where they'll make the money back.

Gordon in the morning: A heart-warming partnership

The revelation that there are a large number of unsold copies of Jordan and Pete Andre's album isn't such a surprise, is it? The single sold like hot flushes and that would clearly mean there's got to be a box somewhere. Sure, there's something Ozymanidas-like about the photo of them covered with bird poop awaiting their fate - although the CDs have clearly been mucked about with to make a nice photo as only one appears to be slathered in crap, the others aren't.

But the notable aspect of the story is the byline:


Two people, including the head of the column, to write up such a slight piece? What, exactly, was Gordon's input to the tale?

Still, we know, at least, what Gordo's role was in the story about meeting Will Smith. Although the picture seems to be little more than one of those awkward moments when a star trying to get into a premiere has to pretend to like everyone of the journalists en route, Gordon splashes a large photo of himself with Smith - for all the world like one of those cringe-creating "me and someone famous" shots you get on magazine letter pages. Smart also gives the picture a caption:
The big boys ... big Will and Biz man Gordon

And - oh, yes - a somewhat immodest headline:
Gordon Smart meets Big Willy

We'll all remember where we were when we heard that news. The question, of course, is why someone who claims to be at the very beating heart of showbiz would be so surprised to shake hands with someone we might have heard of. It's a bit like the Queen using her Christmas speech this year to go "fucking hell, I got to hang out with the President of the United States..."

Still, like a good company man, Gordo even manages to work a reference to his paymaster's products into the article:
I had Tom Anderson from MySpace in the office the other day, who is officially the world’s most popular man with over 210million friends.

But Mr Smith could give him a run for his money judging by the turnout at the huge opening for this cracking film.

Still, Will and Gordo. Great mates, you know. They had a time:
Will had a joke at my expense when I asked if he’d played footie with DAVID BECKHAM yet.

He said: "Football? I think you’ll find you mean soccer."

Ha-ha-ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha haa HAAAAAAA! Crazy times, eh?

Gordon's summation of his time with Will Smith? For an article under the heading 'Gordon meets Big Willy' and a piece which starts with a reference to cruising, it's fascinating:
If he wasn’t such a nice bloke I would have shown Big Willy my two-footed tackle.

Everyone loves Will Smith, don't you think?

Dr Pepper swallows hard, looks worried

The one piece of soothing balm for Dr Peppers is that they never pledged to give everybody in America a can of their product if a blog ripped tracks from a ready-for-market copy of Chinese Democracy. It's got to be a proper release to bankrupt them.

Having said which, the now-legally-removed stream of the album seems as if it might be a genuine deal. It would be typical of Rose to go ahead and release the bloody thing, unaware that the only fun on offer is the waiting, not the delivery.

[Thanks to Michael M]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jon McClure threatened by right-wingers

Oh, if only Jon McClure had followed Boris Johnson's example and forgotten the anti-racism message and concentrated on the "community" aspects instead; he didn't, and in return for his troubles of organising a Love Music, Hate Racism event in Rotherham has been getting death threats:

“These fascists are saying that they’re going to fuck us up, but they’re not going to change anything. Why should we let these thugs stop us?” Jon told Socialist Worker.

“The BNP claims to be democratic – but this shows that their behaviour is fundamentally at odds with democracy. It shows them up as a bunch of thugs.

The LMHR event is down for September 6th; tickets are available now.

Anderson Wednesday: Love Is Dead

Parading more "sadsack indie cred", a conclusion to our journey through Suede and post-Suede music, with Brett Anderson's Love Is Dead:

[Part of Anderson on Wednesday]

Barat is bedridden

Carl Barat has been rushed off to hospital, suffering from stomach pains which, it turns out, are actually acute pancreatitis.

He's being kept in where the doctors can keep an eye on him; this means Friday's DPT gig in London has been cancelled.

Doherty comes clean

Pete Doherty naked and dripping wet? How could anyone resist?

Oh. Yes. Quite easily.

If you really need Pete's guide to, erm, preparing for going out, get yourself over to YouTube. Reassuringly, you don't get to see his gnarly peppercorn.

We're puzzled as to who'd actually take lessons from Doherty on how to be clean - it's like skincare tips from Lemmy, isn't it?

[Thanks to Michael M]

Kid Rock says take my music... please

Humped that record labels and online wholesalers get to keep most of the money that changes electronic hands when people buy music online, Kid Rock wants you to take his stuff for free:

"Back in the day, we all know the stories of the Otis Reddings and Chuck Berrys and Fats Dominos who never got paid," Kid Rock told the BBC News website.

"So the internet was an opportunity for everyone to be treated fairly, for the consumer to get a fair price, for the artist to be paid fairly, for the record companies to make some money."

But they stuck to the "old system", he continued.

"I will be on iTunes eventually because I can't avoid it, but I like to always stick to my guns and prove a point and do something original and because I believe in it."

The trouble is, Rock manages to destroy the nub of his own argument, by announcing he was rich. If the labels are distributors are replicating the system which kept Redding and Berry poor, how would Rock get rich?
The performer - whose real name is Robert Ritchie - said his record company Atlantic had asked him to "stand up for illegal downloading" a few years ago because it told him "people are stealing from us and stealing from you".

"And I go: 'Wait a second, you've been stealing from the artists for years. Now you want me to stand up for you?'

"I was telling kids - download it illegally, I don't care. I want you to hear my music so I can play live."

The BBC website attempts to bracket Rock with the Beatles and AC-DC in holding out from iTunes, but isn't that over-stating his position in the cultural pecking order a little? To be honest, we're surprised that Kid Rock actually gets to makes records you can buy anywhere, not that they're not available online.

France introduces three two stikes bill

Obviously, France have got the hump this morning which might explain why cultural minister Christine Albanel has introduced a bill attempting to codify two strikes and off the web into law:

Culture Minister Christine Albanel presented the bill to cabinet, saying it was not about "policing" the web but rather encouraging responsible use of the Internet.

We're not sure in what way telling someone not to do something on pain of penalty is meant to be "encouraging" responsible use, but let's assume that's lost in translation.

There is one aspect - beside the one fewer strike - that makes this plan different from that proposed by the BPI: the French are going to appoint a body to oversee requests from the copyright farming companies and decide which to ask ISPs to respond to. The costs of this new layer of bureaucracy will, doubtless, be passed on to the ordinary French.

Anderson Wednesday: The Wild Ones

Bloody hell, what a day. Onwards, with Brett eking out his solo material by revisiting a moment from Suede during a date in Korea. We presume South Korea.

[Part of Anderson Wednesday]

Enmighteningly more mighty

The already majestic Neon Neon's I Told Her On Alderaan has just got a Richard X remix - and Popjustice has enough of a clip to demonstrate that this is a good thing.

Darkness at 3AM: Duffy in floods

What we're a little lost about with the 3AM tale of John Lydon swearing at Duffy when she tried to hug him is: why was she upset?

Surely, if you think Lydon has any cultural value at all, it's because of his iconoclastic, ranting on-stage character? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to burst into tears if Lydon didn't launch into a pantomime "fuck off, you cunt" when you approached him?

Gordon in the morning: Quit or die

With Amy Winehouse still in hospital, and still no word on what's wrong with her, a vacuum has opened up, sucking in speculation. And when speculation gets sucky, we turn to Gordon Smart. He's spoken to a source - no, really, a real source, although apparently one under such deep cover he can't even hint if the quote is meant to be coming from someone medical, a "pal" or simply the chap who comes in to sanitize the Wapping phones and keyboards. It's drugs, you see:

A source said: "She might have escaped this time, but eventually she won’t get up again."

Gordon, love: eventually all of us will fall over and not get up again. Has nobody mentioned the crushing, frightening, painful inevitability of death to you?

Apparently not:
"The only thing to stop that happening is if she quits drugs."

But even then, she'll be vulnerable if anyone cuts her head off. That's the problem with immortality.

There is, of course, a pal on hand too:
"She should not work for at least six months. It’s irresponsible of her team to keep putting her on stage.

"She needs to get away from temptations."

A source close to the Temptations - touring the UK this October and November - strongly denied being responsible for Winehouse's illness.

Elsewhere, we actually enjoyed the interview with Robbie William's beard, which he has now dropped. It's quite an amusing piece - whoever thought that Gordon would have a talent for making up quotes from sources he couldn't ever have spoken to?

Anderson Wednesday: Beautiful

Obviously, after the Suede weekend, Bernard Butler Monday and Tears on Tuesday, inevitably, it's Guy Chadwick Wednesday.

Oh, alright, then: rounding off the series, here's some of Brett Anderson's solo work. He's been releasing solo stuff since the Tears went on to hiatus. He's been covering Christina Aguilera, too:

More across the day:
The Wild Ones live in Korea
Love Is Dead

[You might also enjoy Tears On Tuesday]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tears on Tuesday: A Love As Strong As Pain

Live, in the Conference and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong, the Tears parade a Love as Strong as Pain:

[Part of Tears on Tuesday]

Boris Johnson: Anti-anti-racism - so do the two antis cancel each other out?

For over ten years, the London Rise festival has been one of the biggest and brightest anti-racist rallying points in the UK.

That is, up until now. Now London has elected bumbling right-wing hack Boris Johnson to be in charge, he's decided that the anti-racism event can only go ahead if it drops the anti-racism message. It's kind of hard to see the point; it's even harder to see what Johnson's objection to a strong statement against racism actually is.

The petty banning of the Cuba Solidarity Movement, clearly, at least makes sense in a political point-scoring context. But dropping the key message? Why?

A spokestongue for the man explains:

"Boris has made a commitment to go ahead with the Rise festival this year but wants to emphasise its cultural and community dimensions."

Aha. Clearly, you can't have a cultural event which calls out the small-minded, or a community event that stands up to racists, can you? How brave of Boris to create an event which allows the plastic nazis to feel a part of the community.

Winehouse remains in hospital

Doctors are keeping Amy Winehouse in hospital following her fainting fit yesterday, with the well-known problem "inconclusive test results".

If it wasn't Amy Winehouse...

We wouldn't want to be as cynical to suggest that the entire entertainment industry - prompted by a "Did you mean Adele?" message - have done a find and replace throughout everywhere to take out the words "Amy Winehouse" and drop in "Duffy" instead, but - oh look - Duffy is now being mentioned as the likely singer of the new Bond theme.

Tears on Tuesday: Apollo 13

Live at Roskilde in 2005, former Suede muckers Brett and Bernard aim for the heavens:

[Part of Tears on Tuesday]

Capital of Culture update: Number one in some sort of poll

The Liverpool Echo is delighted that Liverpool has been voted number one in an Arts Council poll designed to find out which city the Beatles came from ("find the most musical city in Britain").

10,000 people - not all from Liverpool - took part in the online poll which is in no way undermined from a credibility point of view by Leicester ("home of Kasabian, Showaddywaddy and Engelbert Humperdinck") coming in fourth place.

Black Lips banned from Tesco

Oh, Black Lips, if you really were about to provide a soundtrack for a Tescos advert but got kicked off because of references to Jesus and Mohammed, you've had a narrow escape.

Of course Tesco won't let you mention Jesus in their adverts. You'd be breaking their commandment: Thou shalt have no other god but cash...

Kiss blame the consumers

Whose fault is the demise of the record industry? Gene Simmons points the finger at the audience:

"The record industry is dead, it's six feet underground, and unfortunately the fans have done this.

"They've decided to download and file share. There is no record industry around so we're going to wait until everybody settles down and becomes civilised."

So, it's not the fault of the industry itself for failing to respond to changing technology and shifting consumer demand.

And does it not occur to Simmons that - if an industry finds itself without people willing to pay for the products it produces at a price they are happy with - there actually is no industry? Does he believe that the major labels are in some way a social good, like education and socialised healthcare and that - although they are profit-maximising beasts who have happily embraced capitalism in the good years - customers owe them something to support them when times get tough?

Why is 'unfortunate' that businesses which fail to respond to the markets in which they operate will, themselves, fail? Isn't that what the market economy is supposed to do?

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Mick Hume in The Times lambasts Coldplay and a world without political pop:

In 2005, when the singer sent Mr Blair a love note declaring: “I think everything you're doing in terms of trying to sort the whole place out is BRILLIANT”, I called Martin “the musician that the Prime Minister always wanted to be, a prefect in the school of rock”. They shared an appearance of being all things to all men, with little real heart or soul behind it.

Three years on, Mr Blair and new Labour appear about as cool as Eurovision. Yet here are Coldplay, back on top of the album charts with their snappy toe-tapper Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. The songs seem if anything duller than before. Such is the morbid musical mood, however, that they still command, says one bigwig, “the broadest appeal of any band around”. Blairism rocks limply on.

Tears on Tuesday: The Ghost Of You

Butler, Anderson, some MTV cameramen, a hell of a song and little else:

[Part of Tears on Tuesday]


They've just had a bloke from the PRS on Today, talking about their crackdown on small businesses. In the middle of trying to sound reasonable, he said "if someone was a sole trader, or working alone at home, we wouldn't choose to licence them."

The quote isn't quite verbatim, but the word "choose" was the one he used - how generous of the PRS to choose to not make you buy a licence for sitting at home listening to your own wireless.

Darkness at 3AM: Why, yes, you're close, Luke

Luke Pritchard, head prefect with the Kooks, reckons he could well be dating that Agyness Deyn, oh, yes:

"Agyness is hot. I heard she might be here so that's pretty cool.

But he added: "She used to go out with my mate so I can't really go there."

She's hot and cool simultaneously. Like a baked alaska. What a shame, though, that Luke is unable to consider dating her. Because it would be wrong.

Gordon in the morning: Gushing without Yellow

We're never quite sure if it's that, when he gets access to a household name, Gordon feels obliged to gush, or if he's contractually obliged to gush, but naturally a few minutes hanging out with Coldplay has resulted in a large chunk of student paper wowism this morning.

It's a pity, actually, as Martin did give the paper some nice quotes:

“I think our concert will be really cool and a good balance between old and new. Because that’s the danger at this point – to not play Yellow.

“When people say we have moved on and shouldn’t play old hits like Yellow, I laugh.

“It’s like growing your hair and then wearing a hat. What’s the point of growing it? That’s how I feel about hits.”

Trouble is, Gordon doesn't quite know how to cope with this and tries to keep up with the knowingly-weird:
When Chris grows his hair long, I sometimes do wish he would wear a hat. Does that mean I don’t like Yellow?

He doesn't manage it.

Told that the new show is based on Mary Poppins, the Bizarre column seizes its chance to write a headline on the model of the Scottish football classic Super Caley Go Ballistic - Celtic Are Atrocious:
Super-Coldplay base-their-show-on-Poppins, how precocious

They don't manage it. It doesn't even have the right number of syllables in it.

Meanwhile, Gordon sneers at Radiohead's attempts to give away French gig tickets to cyclists:
RADIOHEAD were left with a raft of empty seats at a recent French gig after a ticket giveaway proved a dismal failure.

Dismal? Well, they only had a 30% take up. A raft of seats? 70 unused tickets in a 17,000 venue. Still, why let the facts get in the way of laughing at people who try to do something about the environment, then?

Tears on Tuesday: Refugees

Following the Suede weekend and Bernard Butler on Monday, the inevitable Tears on Tuesday, then.

There was a mixture of excitement and alarm when Butler and Anderson reunited - the decision to use The Tears (from a Larkin line) instead of Suede indicating this was being seen as something other than a straight reunion. The album, Here Come The Tears was better than you might have hoped for; the reception less warm than they'd have been hoping. Although not officially junked, it's notable that there hasn't been much Tears activity since 2005.

So, enjoy them while you could. Or can. Refugees - from the album, off Top of the Pops:

More through the day:
The Ghost Of You - acoustic for MTV
Apollo 13 - live at Roskilde
A Love As Strong As Pain - live in Hong Kong

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mojo Honours announced

The annual attempt to try and show some interest in the Mojo Awards, then - and, once again, the puzzlement over why they do a copy of the Q/Brits/NME/etc etc awards and not something a little more inspired?

Perhaps the clue is in the less-than-inspired list of winners:

Song of the year: Duffy - Mercy

Breakthrough act: Last Shadow Puppets
Oh, yes - because they came out of nowhere, didn't they?

Best live act: Led Zeppelin
Heaven help us. Still, Mojo must be delighted at the chance to give them something other than a 'old blokes prize' category

Best album: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig
Okay, this is slightly less predictable. And the prize sponsored by Ford as well. We bet they'll be popping a comp copy into every Focus in-car CD player from now...

Best compilation: Juno
What is point of best compilation prize? What is point?

Inspiration: John Fogerty

Icon: The Sex Pistols

Hall of Fame: The Specials

Classic album: Loveless - My Bloody Valentine

Hero: Motorhead

Catalogue release (no, we don't, either): Cherry Red 1981 - 1984
(Okay, that's a surprising one, and - unlike the Specials and the Valentines, not linked to a major comeback tour)

Les Paul award: John Mayer.

Oh, alright then. John Martyn.

Outstanding contribution: Paul Weller

Roots: Toots
Possibly the first rhyming awards winner since Beth Spewtummer was Brits best newcomer in 1996)

Mojo Vision: Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten
(It turns out they mean best rockumentray)

Mojo Medal: Dave Robinson
We don't know if there's an actual medal - it would be rather fun if there was, and Robinson will have to wear it on his lapel on official occasions.

Legend award: Irma Thomas
It's been noted her contribution has yet to be considered outstanding

Special award: Judy Collins
Judy is, therefore, special and not legendary

Lifetime achievement: Genesis
The citation was careful not to mention the illegal alien video, or - indeed - it's role in inspiring Tescos tortilla chip packaging

Classic songwriter: Neil Diamond
How fortunate to rediscover him while he's out touring a new album

Butler on Monday: Rockferry

We would normally rather gnaw on our ancestor's bones than embed a Duffy video on No Rock, but this one does rather neatly round off today's clatter through Berard Butler's career: He's currently the force behind Duffy; it's interesting to note how little on-camera evidence of their work together exists (indeed, the rare bit you find online makes use of the word "rare") but here they are:

[Part of Butler on Monday]

Lamb chops

Also in today's G2, Laura Barton files a sympathetic interview with George Lamb. It's true that - on paper - Lamb doesn't sound bad, almost affable. But you can't help but still feel that, if he's right for 6Music (or at least daytime on 6), the station is moving in a direction that will make it a very different station. For example, Lamb says:

[I]f I put on music it's to block out everything. And I listen to melodies more than to lyrics."

Which isn't a crime, but is a strange approach to someone presenting music on a station that prided itself on being "closer to the music that matters".

And, describing his show, he says:
[I]f you're trying to do boundary-pushing content, sometimes that will happen

Suddenly it makes sense - you're not listening to a music fan sharing records with you on a radio show, you're tuned into a bloke trying to do boundary-pushing content.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Alexis Petridis takes a corner of G2 to tell bands who think calling themselves 'fuck' something to, well, fuck off and die:

Cower before our fearless individuality and unique disregard for conventional mores! Look on in awe as we épater la bourgeoisie with our sweary name! Alas, if the idea was to strike a unique note, you have to say it falls a bit flat. Said three bands join a burgeoning list of artists who seem to have had exactly the same idea about fearless individuality, cocking a snook at herd-like mentalities etc: Fuck, Fuckbomb, Fuckpony, Fuckhead, Fuckface, Fuckmouth, FuckEmos, Fuck Vegas, Fuck on the Beach, Fuck the Facts, Mister Fuck, Swamp Fuck, the Fucking Champs, the Fucking Wrath, the Fuckmasters, the Fuckerettes, the Fuck You Ups, the Exploding Fuck Dolls, the Fuckin' Shit Biscuits and - a personal favourite - the Guadeloupe-based rapper who clearly couldn't decide whether he wanted to sound shocking or sweetly endearing and attempted to split the difference by calling himself Fuckly.

Gwen Stefani commits to hours of backcombing before school

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossfromfriends are laying a plan that just shades into child abuse: raising their kid as goth:

'We are going to put him in a black room,’ [Gavin] says!

‘It’ll be a Goth baby so it doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl.’

We're not quite sure when 'goth' became interchangeable with your gender-identification - perhaps we missed a vote.

Actually, we suspect this is actually a sly dig at Pete Wentz's blind panic at the thought of a boy liking pink.

Butler on Monday: It's Just Love

From one of the more curious corners of his guitar-for-hire roaming of the musical foreground: A collaboration with Sofia Talvik, Swedish singer-songwriter, on the track It's Just Love:

[Part of Butler on Monday]

Winehouse falls

Like a rag doll, it seems: she fainted while signing autographs for some Canadians outside her house; she was taken to hospital - with her father, oddly - "as a precaution." As a further precaution, they're probably going to keep her in overnight.

If it was yours, wouldn't you keep quiet?

Creaky Boards - no, us, neither - have posted a message on the web claiming Coldplay have ripped them off:

In a video message on YouTube, Andrew Hoepfner, the bands songwriter, says that Martin even saw the band when they performed last year.

"We were flattered when we thought we saw Chris Martin in the crowd that night. He seemed pretty into it. Maybe too into it,” he writes.

We're trying to picture Martin creeping round America stealing melodies from obscure indie bands and then - having sucked all the life out them - trapping them in his own records. It would certainly make a cracking episode of Buffy.

Butler on Monday: A Change Of Heart

Although McAlmont and Butler are - we think - still notionally a going concern, Bernard continued to try other things. The idea seems to be to record with every band that's ever existed, in some way. Surprisingly, he's also squeezed in two solo albums.

From the first (1998's People Move On, this is A Change of Heart live on TFI Friday in 1998. And, apologies, this clip may contain significant quantities of Chris Evans:

[Part of Butler on Monday]

Good news for the music industry

At long last, it seems the music industry has finally won its battle against copyright theft: a new survey has discovered that taping music off the radio has almost entirely been eradicated.

There's little else for the industry to be cheered by, though, in the University of Hertfordshire conducted for Fergal Sharkey's lot, the British Music Rights body:

[O]f an average 1,700 tracks stored by the 90 percent in the age range who own MP3 players, 842 (almost half) have not been paid for. "Young people 14-17 have not paid for the majority of music in their collection."

Actually, if only almost half of the collection isn't free, then haven't these people paid for the majority of the music?

And it shouldn't be forgotten that 'not paying for' music isn't quite the same thing as 'obtaining illegally'. Preview mp3s, free tracks, try-before-you-buy offerings - there's lots of ways to fill an mp3 player without breaking the rules.

Having said which, they break the rules:
-- 95 percent of people copy music in some fashion, with 58 percent copying from a friend's hard drive for example.
-- 63 percent download music from P2P networks and 42 percent have allowed others to take their own tracks via the same method, with most thinking they are doing a good deed.
-- People download an average 53 illegal tracks per month via P2P, though some respondents said they bagged up to 5,000 tracks per month.

Personally, if the average number of tracks in the respondent's collection was 1,700, we'd be tempted to play down the importance of people claiming to bag 5,000 tracks a month. And, more importantly, logic suggests that someone adding 60,000 tracks to their music player every year isn't going to be listening to them all - so they hardly represent lost sales of music.

British Music Rights is a little less swivel-eyed than the BPI, so they're able to see the positive aspects of the survey:
Feargal Sharkey, Chief Executive of British Music Rights: “The music industry should draw great optimism from this groundbreaking survey. First and foremost, it is quite clear that this young and tech-savvy demographic is as crazy about and engaged with music as any previous generation. Contrary to popular belief, they are also prepared to pay for it too. But only if offered the services they want. That message comes through loud and clear.

“These responses also pull no punches in highlighting how dramatically music consumption has changed, and continues to change; certainly in the case of copying, sharing and recommendation.

“Technology has greatly increased the value of these activities – but it is clear that the financial gains are not necessarily feeding back to the creators: artists, composers and songwriters. How the music industry repositions itself here, and builds new mutually-beneficial commercial partnerships with technology providers remains the key challenge ahead.”

Naturally, you wouldn't expect a rights-fixated body to start from any other position than to assume that there must be value involved - nobody who currently earns a crust from the music industry is going to ask the awkward and alarming question of if there is any financial value in having people listen to your music on an MP3 player - and until someone does, most of these surveys are missing the point somewhat.

We're also a little puzzled by the first bullet point in the press release:
14-24 year olds love music – arguably more than any previous generation

How, exactly, does one set about proving that scientifically - and if it's just a gut feeling, then does it really have any place in this academic paper? I have nothing against 14 to 24 year-olds, but I seriously doubt if they could be loving music any more than my generation did. Especially since we had less other distractions to lavish our affections on.

Local talent: It's the future

Last week, Richard Park was talking about the need to nurture radio talent in the regions:

"All I was ever reading from people in publications like yours [MediaGuardian] was that there is no one out there, nothing doing, we can't find any talent. Well excuse me, you're not looking." He accepts the talent production line has stuttered to a halt but insists it can be restarted. "There are people broadcasting right now in Newcastle, in Scotland, in Manchester, in Birmingham that could be very good."

Allied to that, he recommends a less cavalier, more celebratory approach to the key talent commercial radio does have.

So, we can look forward to the new Global-GCap merged stations taking an approach where grassroots talent is nurtured, given space to grow and treated like they're special?

Not quite: GCap is kicking twenty djs out the morning slot to make way for a show networked from London.

Families need fathers

To be fair to Kevin Federline, there are worst choices for Prive Nightclub's Father of the Year award. (Why, come to that, is a nightclub in Vegas running a father of the year contest in the first place?)

And, by all accounts, Federline himself was a bit embarrassed by the prize, refusing to accept it in public.

But not so embarrassed he didn't dump his kids on the nanny - on father's day - to fly out of state to make the appearance. Perhaps it was a trap.

Butler on Monday: Tonight

If it was the Suede Weekend, then it seems only right to follow through the logic with Bernard Butler Monday.

After he quit Suede, everyone waited to see what his plan was. This was the plan: McAlmont & Butler. Here's the pairing doing Falling at the end of one Graham Norton vehicle or another:

More through the day:
Change of Heart live on TFI Friday
It's Just Love with Sofia Talvik
Rockferry with Duffy

[You might also enjoy the Suede weekend]

Gordon in the morning: The gossip columnist looked at Johnny

Most people - faced with John Lydon testing the ground for a new Sex Pistols album - would counsel against. Gordon sounds excited at the prospect:

Johnny said: “There could be a new record. That would be nice.

“But I won’t do anything in a patronising way. The music, the subject and the attitude all have to be right at the same time. Everything has to be from the heart.”

Lydon's main source of income in the last few years has been the US real estate business. If you didn't know better, talk of creaking out a bunch of new Sex Pistols songs would suggest that was a business in some sort of trouble.

Smart, of course, with his borrowed suits and office cubicle probably still thinks there's something rebellious about old men and past glories. It's almost heartbreaking to see that he not only still believes in "Johnnny Rotten":
Frontman JOHNNY ROTTEN, real name John Lydon, revealed the possibility after the hellraisers’ rip-roaring gig at the Isle Of Wight Festival on Saturday.

"Real name John Lydon". Really? Who knew, eh?

Lydon shows exactly why we don't need a new Pistols album, by launching into an attack on Coldplay:
“I pity the poor bastards who have to watch them. They are utterly humourless.

“I met them a few years ago, said hello and realised they were just men in anoraks. They looked like a gang of little poncy masturbators.

“There is no fun, they don’t offer joy. Their music has a couple of quite nice tones here and there but it’s a box of tosh sold to slightly inadequate, half-baked people.”

Here is a man who is flogging a failed teenage rebellion to men in their 50s attacking Coldplay for taking money off inadequates. At least Coldplay don't pretend to be outsiders looking in.

Lydon then tries to start a war of words with The Stranglers - The bloody Stranglers. In 2008! - which, surprisingly, Smart gives the man space in a newspaper to churn on and on about whose self-tribute act is the more genuine.

Smart really does - with a straight face - caption a photo:
Encouraging anarchy ... Johnny

Encouraging anarchy. Oh, Gordon, do you really think your boss would let you run a fawning piece on Lydon if he threatened anything more dangerous than a spot of mild social democracy?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Plenty more room... well, more tickets, anyway

Despite SeeTickets exciting trumpeting of an increase in sales last week, with Glastonbury so close even The Kings Of Leon have accepted that it wasn't a joke and they are going to have to play a set after all, Michael Eavis has revealed there's still 7000 tickets left unsold:

"I think we've got about 7000 tickets left, that's all. With only 2 weeks left to go its forecast glorious sunshine and they are selling out all the time. So they should take about ten days to sell out."

Interesting way of defining "selling out" as something that can happen "all the time", of course.

Curiously, the extended 10-day forecast for the area (of course, no self-respecting forecaster would be predicting weather for the actual weekend so far in advance) doesn't predict glorious sunshine at all - it's rain or cloudy for the next ten days.

Surprising reunions

Not quite a one-off, as they did two shows, but Teenage Jesus And The Jerks got back together this week.

There's video evidence and everything:

Much, much more coverage at Brooklyn Vegan.

Suede weekend: The Next Life

More Suede now, as they turn up in the Jools Holland studio to do The Next Life. DOG lovers will be thrilled to spot the BBC Prime channel identifier hovering in the top left of the screen here.

[Part of Suede weekend]

BPI respond to criticism with snide quote marks, patronising contempt

Bill Thompson - who, amongst other things, contributes to the BBC World Service - wrote a piece about his disappointment with his ISP, Virgin, and their decision to dance to the BPI's tune by sending "warnings" to customers who they thought might be downloading material without due regard to copyright law.

Geoff Taylor of the BPI wasn't, of course, going to take that quietly, and so he dashed off a response:

Bill Thompson's critique of the new education campaign we have launched with Virgin Media was a good illustration of why such a campaign is needed: in drawing misleading analogies between illegal file sharing and taping programmes off the TV he shows that even "experts" get it wrong sometimes.

Given the RIAA and its client organisations worldwide often use the misleading analogy of shoplifting, it seems strange that all of a sudden they've decided to be pedantic about drawing parallels; the trouble is that Thompson's analogy was watertight.

Thompson explained that he'd access a TV programme that he'd missed off the torrents but would still buy the box sets (he actually never mentioned taping programmes, what with being a technology expert he suggested the parallel was with burning them to a DVD off a direct broadcast, but let's allow the BPI to call this taping.) That would seem to be a perfect parallel with timeshifting, wouldn't it?

And how snide is it putting experts into quotation marks?

"Geoff" doesn't actually bother to explain why he believes Thompson's analogy was wrong - presumably he can't distinguish between 'every single possible use of torrents' and 'one perfectly valid use of torrents'.

"Geoff" moves on, though:
But it's naive at best to think licensed music services can prosper without action being taken against illegal downloading.

Yes, you wouldn't expect Apple to be able to sell so many downloads as to become the second-largest music retailer in the US while unauthorised downloading continued unchecked. Or for numerous companies to believe the legal market is worth a punt while abuse of torrents continues. Amazon's not going to open up a download store against a background of filesharing, is it?

Oh... hang on.
Indeed it's Mr Thompson, rather than music companies, who is stuck in the past.

Music companies are radically re-inventing their business models in response to changes in how music fans want to access music online.

Well, that's not entirely true, is it? Music companies have been forced to reinvent their business models faced with a changed world - but not in a way they can take any pride in, as they did everything to avoid getting to that point. And they're still not trying to respond to how fans want to access music - unlimited, everywhere, for a fair price - as they're still hobbling files, striking exclusive deals, locking formats, trying to find ways to gouge customers. Has any fan ever said "hey, you know what I really want? A music collection that I have to pay for every month or it'll just disappear?" I suspect not.
Let's look at the figures. More than six and a half million people in the UK illegally access and distribute music, and it is plain wrong to say that this is good for music.

Independent research has shown time after time that people who download illegally generally spend less on music than people that don't, which undermines investment in new music.

"Geoff" doesn't actually do anything like quote any of this "independent" research. But we can quote research that says the opposite: For example, The Leading Question survey in 2005 reported filesharers spent more on legal downloads than non-filesharers. (Interestingly, Matt Phillips of the BPI is quoted in the Guardian report there, once again claiming 'study after study' shows that without, erm, quoting any research by name. If you say something often enough...).

In fact, the BPI even quotes this research on its own website, but merely glosses the awkward fact as showing "a willingness to use legal services".
The BPI site, by the way, lists a lot of studies - but most suggest that downloading removes sales that would otherwise have been made rather than the somewhat different claim that downloading reduces the amount spent on music. Oh, and the survey which does explicitly say "the purchasing habits of downloaders against non-downloaders revealed that over time downloaders bought less music"? That was a BPI-funded survery, so hardly independent.

Geoff then gets really patronising. Like if-we-were-Bill-Thompson-we'd-be-fumning patronising:
As a self-confessed illegal downloader, Bill may not know there are already hundreds of licensed online and mobile services (carrying more than six million tracks) from which to choose where and how to access music legally.

Of course Bill Thompson bloody knows that, you twit. Is this really the way you think adults debate things?
In short, ours is one of the most digitally-literate businesses in Britain, and innovation is translating into revenue.

So far this year, 13.4% of our sales revenues have come through digital platforms and in total, more than 200 million downloads have been sold in the UK.

But... erm, wasn't it naive to think that licensed music services could prosper with all this illegal downloading going on?

Geoff then goes on to trill about how there's never been a case of mistaken identity or successful contesting of a filesharing lawsuit in Europe - as far as anyone knows, before patting Virgin on the back for joining in with them.
Let's be clear about this. We - the music business - do not want to see any customers have their broadband contract cancelled.

Oh, no? Then why were you threatening to take ISPs to court for some sort of injunction if they didn't sign up to the three strikes policy? "Not wanting to see people lose their broadband" sits uneasily with "trying to force ISPs to threaten to disconnect people's broadband", doesn't it?

Geoff concludes with a rallying cry:
But this [deal with Virgin] is a genuine step in the right direction, and represents a turning point in the music community's bid to restore value in music to its rightful owners: the artists and music companies who invest in their creative careers.

It's all about the artists, see. And, erm, the multinational companies.

Coldplay on top

As has been predicted for weeks, Coldplay's album has gone to number one. Or, as the NME excitedly put it:

Coldplay's 'Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends' has taken the Number One spot in the UK Album Charts tonight (June 15), despite only being available to buy for three days.

Well, yes. Only available for three days. True.

On the other hand, it's a fairly quiet time of the year for major act releases, and they did have a dump bin in every record-selling shop I went in to over the weekend, from Borders to Tesco; and they had a massive advertising campaign and an even larger media push (not entirely hurt by Martin's attention-seeking flounce out of Front Row, of course.) Oh, and it's Father's Day, so demand for a CD by a band interchangeable with aftershave or socks is going to be quite high.

It's a triumph for EMI, certainly. Let's hope Guy doesn't sack anyone in the marketing or press departments - surely they've earned every pound this week?

Suede weekend: Electricity

Sorry, James - no sign of them doing it on Top Of The Pops, so instead - complete with some arch Swedish Trev-and-Simonesque business and opening titles - this is Electricity live on TV4's Sen Kväll Med Luuk:

[Part of the Suede weekend]

Robbie Williams is not a space cadet

While we love the idea of Robbie Williams being blasted off into space, we're distracted by the Sunday People's VIP headline on the story:


Since when did tourism-astronautology actually turn you into an angel, exactly? Unless they know something about the safety of these space-vehicles we don't, of course...

Brown bottled off

Josh Homme thinks he's got problems. It's one thing to have people throw stuff at you at a festival, but when the audience is tossing bottles at you when you're headlining, something's gone hugely awry.

That's what happened to Ian Brown - bottled off stage at his own gig in Sheffield, and left with a nasty eye injury. He still turned up to do his Isle Of Wight set yesterday, though, in the unlikely position of hoping for a better reception from a field audience.

Rav Singh: Madonna calls in the boss

While most gossip columns are happy to speculate that Madonna and Guy might be living separate lives, in different cities, different countries and even - we think this was People - that they'd built a time machine so they could each keep to a different geological eras - Rav Singh knows the real signs of marriage strain:

I hear relations in the seven-year marriage are now so frosty that they’re hardly talking at the dinner table.

We love the idea that the Ritchies might be so stressed they're still meeting for a family dinner, but just not talking. It gets worse:
A source close to Material Girl Madge, told me: “Things are in a bad way. Rather than speak to her directly, Guy will ask their son Rocco to ask Madge to pass the salt during dinner.”

We're given to understand that shortly after publication, the "source close to Material Girl Madge" rang up again to tell Rav they'd got confused - that wasn't Madonna's household at all, that was the Fourmiles in an episode of George And Mildred they were thinking of.

Madonna has asked Rabbi Philip Berg to intervene, says Rav. It's not clear what he's going to sell her to help.

Rav also claims - somewhat implausibly - that the glossy magazines aren't interested in buying Mariah Carey's wedding. Given the way magazines will sign up anyone vaguely famous to splash their wedding across the yawning, empty pages ("This week: She came third on Are You Smarter Than A Ten Year Old? - now, she's hoping to get the 'I Do' question right.") if there's any truth in the story, it's going to be a disagreement on price rather than a lack of interest in the photos.

Suede weekend: Trash

Luckily, there's an aston in view in the first couple of seconds to confirm this is the right one. Trash, live(ish) on Top Of The Pops in 1996:

[Part of the Suede weekend]

This week just gone

The ten-most read individual pages on No Rock this week were:

1. R Kelly's sex video - him, but who knows who else?
2. RIP Joaquin Tavares
3. Amy Winehouse and me, by someone or other
4. Lily Allen under the sea
5. McFly: can nudity save them?
6. Beth Ditto's NME naked stretch
7. Robbie Williams' happy memories
8. EMI hires Second Life executive who doesn't like music
9. RIP: Nick Sanderson
10. Madonna turns her back on Glastonbury

This was pushed on the right-hand side:

Joan As Policewoman - To Survive

Takin' Over The Asylum About-bloody-time-too DVD release for Stott & Tennant's hospital radio/mental health drama

Errors - It's Not Something...

Lykke Li - Youth Novels

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

Emmylou Harris - All I Intended To Be

Yazoo - You And Me Both Reunion-trailing re-release ahoy

Nicole Atkins - Neptune City

Arms - Kids Aflame

Raashan Ahmad - The Push

Morten Harket - Letter From Egypt

Flying Lotus - Los Angeles