This is quite a radical reworking of the version on the album - and features Laurie Anderson somewhere in it, too. The footage seems to have been shot from a seat somewhere near the back, too:
[Part of Weekend in New York]
Saturday, July 12, 2008
This is quite a radical reworking of the version on the album - and features Laurie Anderson somewhere in it, too. The footage seems to have been shot from a seat somewhere near the back, too:
Not like that, though. Musically:
"Those records are better than The Beatles."
"When I was a little kid, I heard those songs on the radio and I loved them. I still love them.
"What The Beatles were for people in the '60s is what glam rock was for us. We love Glitter, we love Bolan, we love Roxy, we love Suzi Quatro."
And yet, when Gillespie started making music, it sounded more like the Velvets than glam rock. Funny, that.
Former celebrities denying stories they feature in is nothing new, but having to issue a statement rejecting claims of a peanut allergy might be a first.
Canadian police had basked in the glory of saving Dave Lee Roth's life:
Roth was suffering an allergic reaction to nuts.
The officers called an ambulance and kept the musician safe until help could arrive.
Now, though, Roth is denying that this ever happened, or at least ever happened to him:
Van Halen’s on-again, off-again lead singer added: “The only thing I’m allergic to is criticism.”
... and, we're given to understand, carries a special pen to help him when he comes into contact with that. It's now being assumed that the man police met was an imposter; it's not clear if he was a peanut-allergic Roth lookalike, or simultaneously embarked on two lies at the same time.
Greenguysglobal visits Glastonbury to look at proceedings with an ecological eye:
We know that part of the festival experience is meant to be the joy of roughing it, but not to this extent: cleaners for the Oxegen Festival this week were given a stable to sleep in.
Admittedly, it was good enough for the Blessed Virgin Mary, but the 52 cleaners were understandably unhappy. Especially since the floor of the stable was concrete, and apparently there were only about one third as many mattresses as people.
It took a call to the police to persuade the cleaning company to try and sort something better out - inflatable mattresses on kitchen floors.
Of course, Oxegen had outsourced cleaning to a third party, but still, you'd expect there to be some sort of corporate shame; perhaps a sense of apology?
The cleaners sleep like the Holy family; Oxegen's promoters behave like Pilate.
[UPDATE: company boss says conditions 'better than Glastonbury']
Lou, you're going to be a father. That's great, isn't it? Isn't it...?
[Part of A Weekend In New York]
We know what the 3AM Girls are getting at. You know what they're getting at. They know what they're getting at. So why persist with the laboured heavy hints?
But we never knew she had such a weak one...
How else can we explain the singer's mysterious toilet habit?
During a three-hour stint at the launch of her new club night in north London, Wino went to the ladies... 14 times!
That works out at one visit every 12 minutes and 40 seconds.
The singer took her time too, staying in the bathroom for at least nine minutes at a time.
Does the Mirror really have lawyers who think that this is any legally safer than printing the words "was Amy doing drugs in the toilets or what" in full?
T in the Park is making noises in Scotland this weekend, and the great headline debate which hung over Glastonbury has turned up there, too. To be more precise, the 'Rage Against The Machine? In 2008? Playing a large beer commercial? Seriously?' question, which organiser Geoff Ellis has attempted to answer:
We did wonder if this was a back-handed complement - perhaps Ellis was suggesting that the band had already compromised itself into being a Sony BMG t-shirt marketing scheme painted as political activists; we suspect, though, he meant it.
It's not entirely news that Lemmy has got a bunch of Nazi stuff, or, indeed, for him to be photographed dressed up in Nazi outfits.
Unfortunately, he's been using a photo of himself tricked out like a Nazi to promote a gig in Germany this weekend. Which - in a country which is quite sensitive about these things - is actually illegal.
The Guardian has dug out some thoughts Lemmy has shared about his love of the former Master Race:
Ah. That's alright then.
We're sure the Latvian people will be delighted that you're ensuring their part in the Second World War gets the full attention it deserves, Lemmy.
The echo of Bryan Ferry's "not that I'm a Nazi but, ooh, did you see their building work" is, we're almost certain, unintentional.
There's not a great deal thought going on anywhere here, to be honest:
Some of your best dates were black, were they, Lemmy? It's interesting to see him treat racism as if it might be a choice - like deciding to try country music or sample a sushi bar. "I might have a go at racism today, then."
German prosecutors are investigating if Lemmy should be prosecuted, but it's unlikely he will be: it'd be like prosecuting a cat for looking a bit like Hitler.
[Thanks to James M for the link]
Last night's Money Programme - with Myleene Klass stepping into Valerie Singleton's shoes - looked at the business of making money out of music festivals; a timely programme just as the industry moves on from its old "taking candy from a baby" business model.
Open2.net has got a bunch of unseen interviews from the programme, including Melvin Benn talking about a time when he failed (not The Phoenix, funnily enough):
It must be really dispiriting for Sting to know that his fans' devotion is such that they won't take a twenty minute tube journey to see him.
There's also some early anecdotes from research into the motivation for people to go and spend time at festivals, which throws the fuss about Jay-Z as a headliner into some interesting relief:
This would suggest that Eavis would be better off worrying about the downcard and throw any old bod onto the top of the bill. Oh, hang about: Kings Of Leon. He already has, hasn't he?
The programme itself is on the iPlayer until next Friday teatime.
The perfume burned his eyes
Holding tightly to her thighs
And something flickered for a minute
And then vanished, and was gone
Possibly - and I'm happy to be corrected on this - the only rock song to use the word "lithesome" in its lyric. The use of Romeo and Juliette as names for the song's star-crossed lovers is, of course, somewhat hackneyed, but that's exactly the point - what better way to title a song about the ever-repeating story of love, and loss, and faltering connections than with the biggest cliche of them all?
[Part of Weekend In New York]
Gordon is thrilled this morning, as you can, if you have the inclination and a high quality zoom, spot the outline of Pixie Geldof's nipples:
The cheeky but cheerful madam must have got dressed in a hurry and forgot to put on a bra.
There's nothing at all creepy about a man running pictures of a girl who isn't yet 18 so that people can look at her nipples. Nothing creepy at all.
But it might explain why Ron Wood is getting such a gentle ride on the Bizarre pages.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Twenty years ago - between May and October 1988 - Lou Reed was tucked away in studio B of Media Sound, recording New York. The songs would eventually be released early the following year on Sire records in, as Lou observed on the sleeve notes, pretty much the order they were recorded.
Coming at a time when it was almost illegal to not bow down before the Velvet Underground - who would have gone a blind date without wearing a Velvets banana tshirt and expected to cop off in the late 80s? - it was a refreshing surprise for Reed to turn out an album that didn't sound like contemporary (in the sense of not sounding like his greatest work). It even pulled off the trick of memorialising Andy Warhol in terms that suggested that, actually, he might have wasted his talents in the pursuit of the popular.
In Halloween Parade, there was an AIDS song - this was 1980s New York, after all - which sits alongside Loudon Wainwright's Sometimes I Forget in capturing not loss, but the confusion of emptiness that follows. The need to put "AIDS" in brackets after the song title on the lyric sheet perhaps shows how Reed can underestimate his audience, as does the instruction that you listen to the album in order, like a book, on the back of the sleeve. But for all his grumpy cussedness - this is Lou Reed, after all - the album is an outpouring of love. Love that has been tried; love that is disgusted with what its heart's desire has had done to it, allowed itself to become. But love, nevertheless.
I can remember the first time I heard any of it - in a Halls of Residence room, on a Sunday afternoon, listening to Turn It Up on BBC Radio Lancashire. Fenny introduced a track - this one, I'm pretty sure - by reading a slice of lyrics from the song. My ears pricked up: This is good. What is this? Then he just finished with "I am Lou Reed" before cueing the track.
Could it be?
The purchase was more or less essential from that moment.
One of the great albums of the 80s. One of the great albums by a legend not coasting on being a legend. And, sort-of-two-decades on from the mid-point of the making of the record, this weekend No Rock celebrates some of the tracks through the majesty of YouTube.
It's funny listening to it now how a lot of the names which were only vaguely familiar to a English teenager have become more fixed in my consciousness. Rudy Giuliani, for example, has had a profile much, much higher since that decade; Jesse Jackson wasn't exactly unknown in the UK but you wouldn't have got much money on him still causing upset in American Presidential elections in 2008.
I think I was only half sure what a TV whore might be, come to that - I knew what it sounded like, but couldn't be certain it wouldn't turn out to be something else entirely in the US.
On the other hand, I was certain what Moron Downey Junior was; at the time, his show was a regular subject of columns in British media supplements. But he vanished almost as soon as he earned his Lou Reed namecheck, helped along his route to obscurity by a false claim about being attacked by Nazis; an attack he'd staged in a bid to try and keep his shock-yak show on its syndicated stations. He's dead now - as is Kurt Waldheim and the specific Pontiff of Good Evening Mr Waldheim.
So, then: This isn't the sound of New York, but it is the sound of Lou Reed's New York. And it isn't in the order of recording, either.
This is where I started: On the Dirty Blvd.
New York on Wikipedia
New York to buy
New York on Last FM
Rolling Stone review
More tracks over the weekend
Romeo Had Juliette
Beginning Of A Great Adventure
There Is No Time
This is pleasing news, too - if you've got your iCal open, you might want to plug in the European tour dates from Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin:
Sep 10 - Brighton, United Kingdom
Sep 11 - London, United Kingdom
Sep 12 - North Dorset, United Kingdom
End of the Road Festival (w/ Mercury Rev, The Mountain Goats)
Sep 13 - Leeds, United Kingdom
Sep 14 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Sep 15 - Belfast, Ireland
Sep 16 - Dublin, Ireland
Sep 17 - Coventry, United Kingdom
Sep 19 - Paris, France
La Maroquinerie (w/ Constantines)
Sep 20 - Kaiserslautern, Germany
Sep 22 - Munich, Germany
Sep 23 - Vienna, Austria
Sep 29 - Stuttgart, Germany
Oct 1 - Cologne, Germany
Oct 2 - Groningen, Netherlands
Oct 4 - Berlin, Germany
Oct 5 - Dresden, Germany
Oct 7 - Hamburg, Germany
Oct 9 - Oslo, Norway
Oct 10 - Stockholm, Sweden
Oct 11 - Malmo, Sweden
If you're from London, or in London, or just know where London is, some good news: The Hold Steady are playing a free set in HMV on Monday, at 6pm, to mark the release of Stay Positive.
Here's good news: Manda Rin has got a date on her kitchen calendar for her debut solo album. My DNA is out on This Is Fake DIY records on September 8th. And she'll be playing The Fly in London on that night to mark the occasion.
Who wants to buy a ticket in our 'how many articles marking this release will use the phrase "unsigned band to play Top of the Pops"' sweepstake?
Martin Belam is embarking on a new series over on Currybetdotnet, attempting to fill the gaps left by pre-digital music's inexplicable failure to count most played tracks:
I really wish there was an XML file that detailed my listening habits from 'the year dot'.
And what a complex set of data it would be.
The way that I have assembled what we now call 'playlists', and the way I have organised my music listening has radically changed in my lifetime. This is not only due to me growing up and becoming more aware as a consumer, but also due to the different formats and different types of metadata that have been associated with music in the thirty-plus years that I have had an interest in it.
There had been quite a bit of excitement at the idea that John Lydon had been due to guest-edit the Daily Star today (a role which would be less about deciding between credit-cruch and environment and choosing which photo of Sylvia from Big Brother should be used, of course). Turns out, though, that his guest-editing duties extend only to the Playlist page.
And he's not edited so much as just written some things about what a visionary he was.
Like this bit:
I ALWAYS wanted the music business institution to fall apart – and now it is. Gloriously.
My advice to young musicians is: You can do it for yourself, you really can.
The Sex Pistols, of course, were signed to record labels and never did it themselves; Public Image Limited did their duty for Warners, Elektra and Virgin. Since when did Lydon press up his own seven inch singles and flog them round the streets?
Despite the shaping of his career break by Malcolm McClaren, Lydon warms to his theme of being your own man:
Part of the reason why the Pistols never had a record label led campaign was because they were being marketed to, not by labels. Even so, you have to wonder what that big signing outside Buckingham Palace was, and the Jubilee boat trip up the Thames if the idea wasn't to promote records.
More amusingly is the way that Lydon positions 'writing some stuff for the Daily Star' as if it is one of those honours, like a laureateship or an ITV 'An Audience With' programmes which are granted to our culture's elder statesfolk, rather than, erm, part of a promotional blitz to try and push a Sex Pistols DVD.
Hey, The Man - if that's really your name - why do you keep hassling Pete Wentz?
Oh, it turns out that it's because he draws attention to himself:
"My assistant got pulled over and they decided to make us roll down all the windows and we asked if we could drive to the studio and go behind a gated area because there's no law to stop the paparazzi from taking pictures as close as they want."
Really, Wentz? You think that driving around in a big car that, effectively, has the words "I'm probably up to no good" painted all over it.
It's amusing to see that Wenzt feels he's being "profiled" - we're sure the Muslims who get pulled over for extra security screening at the TSA will share your pain, Pete. It's not being profiled. It's being thought of as acting suspiciously because you're doing something which looks suspicious.
What a pity nobody thought to record the reaction of the cops when Wentz asked if they could drive somewhere else to investigate what he was up to. "Why, yes, sir, since we think you might be indulging in criminal or possibly even terrorist activities, we'll be more than happy to allow you to drive off on the promise that we can rendezvous elsewhere..."
It's a splendid view of where Wentz holds himself that he believes he should be allowed special treatment on account of the possibility of photographers behaving in a way that he admits isn't breaking any laws. "If you're not going to change the law, I must be given extra rights to compensate." Does anyone else think he might find himself getting pulled over a lot more frequently in the future?
We're at a loss to understand why Gordon is so excited about a photo of Boy George with a bit of a belly, so much so he put it in the newspaper.
A 47 year-old man is not as slim as he was when he was 22? I'm surprised Newsnight isn't organising some sort of debate.
Perhaps it was just Gordon felt his jokes were so great, it was worth the effort of running them:
No, not that then.
Elsewhere, with journalists covering the supposed Ron Wood making a fool of himself story - he's fallen for a teenager and off the wagon - Gordon is left to deliver a think piece about it:
He is famous for his boozing and when he hits the bottle, it isn’t in half measures.
The last time Ron was back on his favourite tipple, vodka — and lots of it — he ended up under a table in a posh restaurant biting KATE MOSS' ankles.
Ha ha! Alcoholism is funny, isn't it?
Gordon remembers that he's meant to be being responsible:
Gordon's attitude to heavy drinking is bemusing. Is heavy drinking sad? Then why do you give a prize for heavy drinking, Gordon? Can you simultaneously celebrate and berate people for drinking too much?
If he doesn’t, he can forget the planned Faces comeback and winning his family back.
It's not clear here if Gordon is suggesting he might not sober up, or realise his mistake. Because not patching things up with his wife would threaten the family, but not the reunion, surely?
It's an indication of how bloody slowly these things move that we're probably going to see Sony complete a purchase of Betrtelsman's half of Sony BMG before the EU finally decides if the merger was legal or not. The European Court of Justice has rejected the Court Of First Instance's decision that the European Commission had been wrong to allow the merger in the first place. Yes, we know, it's a bit like those long stretches of Star Wars movies where they go on and on about intergalactic taxation. The crux is that the Lower Court only heard two of the five objections to the merger that had been raised by Impala, an indie producer trade group.
The lower court has now been directed to think again about what it's done:
It should be noted that the higher court hasn't based its decision on the rights or wrongs of two major labels merging - this is purely procedural.
God alone knows what will happen if Sony is forced to demerge its wholly-owned subsidiary some point down the line. That would be more like the Spiderman reset.
You can never be sure if it's just bravado or not, but early indications from Pilton is that the ticket registration system will remain in place for next year, reports Kerrang:
This was designed to beat the touts and stop the fans being fleeced - and has worked.
Well, to be fair, it did - by putting so many barriers in the way of purchasing a ticket, it drove down demand to a point where tickets were left unsold on the eve of the festival, thereby removing any need to use a tout.
The procedure didn't stop tickets turning up on eBay - it just tanked the value of the tickets being sold there.
The other point that might lead Glastonbury to reconsider is that everyone knows they had to abandon the registration system for the last thousands of tickets - which is surely going to discourage people from bothering with the sign-up hoops in 2009? Why go to all the bother when they'll just remove the barriers closer to the weekend?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Bon Jovi, out of The Bon Jovis, discovered that tickets to the forthcoming free gig in Central Park were changing hands on eBay, like common shoes or unwanted kidneys. Someone talking with the authoritative voice of the band blogged about their disappointment:
The strange twist, though? the post disappeared from the site as quickly as it appeared. Did BJ suddenly remember he loved ticket scalpers after all?
Look, you stand near Amy Winehouse, you're at risk of being hit. Or punched. Or slapped.
Latest victim? Erm... the bloke being paid to stop other people slapping her.
Bands you'd forgotten existed reuniting, part 37,893: At The Gates have got back together, but this is but a pilot fish for something bigger.
This autumn? Carcass are back.
Pretty much what YouTube was invented for, we suspect, as Scotland's bright young things travel to the BBC in Birmingham to play sweet indie guitar pop for pensioners in the studio and truants around the nation. Aztec Camera, doing Walk Out To Winter, on Pebble Mill At One:
[Via I'm Not Always So Stupid, where there's also Oblivious]
It's not clear if the Department of Homeland Security has yet devised a scale to reflect the current desperation level in an artist's career, but if so, we're guessing that they're currently trying to find something more red than the deepest crimson for the Madonna and Britney backdrop tour video thingy.
Gordon, of course, laps it all up:
“Britney and Madonna are unwrapped like mummies, to appear together almost naked apart from tiny leather bondage pants and knee-high boots.
“They then dance closely together, pressing their hands and bodies together.
“There will be big rows over whether it is sexy, shocking or both.”
The possibility - that it's neither, and sounds like someone who has not only run out of ideas but has also lost the telephone number of anyone she might have once known who might have a new idea - doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone. Madonna pawing Britney again? Who would get excited by that?
... apart from...
... Gordon, of course.
Meanwhile, Gordon - in common with everyone else in the entire world - runs the photos of Michael Jackson being pushed about in a wheelchair. Smart and US editor Emily Smith continue to reflect the Sun's sensitivity on disability - the page is titled "Michael Jackson is reduced to using a wheelchair." "Reduced to", eh?
Last.FM has started to pay artists directly for music listened to through its website.
Good news, huh?
Perhaps. But not everyone is thrilled. Merlin, one of the independent label umbrella groups, has issued a grumpy statement:
· “As you will be aware, we have for the last few months been negotiating with Last.fm regarding a non exclusive blanket licence and a settlement agreement on behalf of Merlin members. Unfortunately, these negotiations have stalled
- in particular due to Last.fm’s unwillingness to properly address its illegal infringing activity.
· “Several provisions of the licence terms and conditions of the Program appear ambiguous and open to legal interpretation. We note that this would tend to lead to uncertainty as to the “true” meaning of the licence. The licence points
out that if you are unsure about any of it “YOU ARE ADVISED TO OBTAIN INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE” - we would endorse that view.”
So, erm, Merlin is suggesting that if you're a label, you should, um, do exactly as Last.FM suggests you do. We'd love to see Merlin point to a legal document that isn't "open to legal interpretation", by the way.
Merlin attempts to bring major-style cartel power to the indie sector; by suggesting that you spurn jam today in the hope of jam yesterday, it's certainly showing an RIAA-like attitude to the digital market.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Calvin Harris - stung, or something, by the NME giving him good reviews and then suggesting he might not be all that good after all - applied for a role on the paper:
"Like 'Well, this is bad, but at least it's not as bad as that lanky cretin Calvin Harris and his shitty music'. That's not a direct quote, but you get the idea."
After seeing an ad for staff writers, Calvin decided to apply. "When I got home after a few shandies, I decided to try to even out the balance of opinion on my music," he said.
Calvin was delighted to get a reply from news editor Paul Stokes. It read: "Thank you for your application. We're processing the applications but due to festival commitments there may be a delay. We hope to be in touch in due course."
We're a little puzzled - if he got a good review for the album, but sometimes is used as a synonym for bad, doesn't that mean the balance of opinion is pretty even already? Wouldn't Calvin working for the NME skew it in the opposite direction?
After all, NME history is littered with people whose bands get softer treatment because they're popping in to the offices for the day job. Fabulous, anybody? Campag Velocet?
Now, you and I would spot that the email which Harris has been waving suggesting that he's in with a chance is little more than a standard 'we have seen an email from you, keep treading water' flip-off. It would have been nice if the NME had said so, but instead, they're trying to pretend they were continuing the joke:
"If it was real, I thought it would be funny to keep Calvin in the running for the job." he said. "He didn't submit the ideas we asked for so he might want to send in ideas for news stories.
"But if he's successful, he won't be allowed to review his own records."
Ha ha! Yes, we knew it was him all along so we were stringing him along! Ha! Ha ha ha!
An eye-catching piece of spurious research reveals that music critics are totally valueless, more or less:
E-commerce firm Avail Intelligence conducted this latest Trust Index research which showed 40 per cent of respondents preferred information sources such as the iTunes Music Store and the iLike Facebook application.
The opinion of family and like minded mates came in at the top though with 41% of the vote.
This sort of misses the point, though: theatres don't rely on every potential customer reading the Daily Telegraph's review of a new play, but that doesn't mean that the review doesn't play a role in shaping the public response to the play.
I'd imagine most journalists would be delighted that as much as 20% of the audience explicitly listen to their opinions in the first place, before the effect of word-of-mouth and background buzz plays its part.
So, what we have is a piece that says "hardly anybody buys music on the direct recommendation of a critic", which isn't news - hardly anybody reads music criticism in the first place, judging by the total circulation of the various music magazines and their online figures. And if people's tastes were shaped by reviews, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion would be selling perfume over a counter somewhere in the Americas. Probably Campag Velocet branded toilet water, at that.
And what was the company that brought us these results again? Avail Intelligence, huh? A copmpany whose business is effectively harvesting word-of-mouth and person-to-person recommendations. So, no vested interest there then, at all.
But then, don't take my word for it. I'm a critic.
Mobile phone music figures are disappointing two, possibly three, industries at once with the announcement of how tiny a portion of the total download market they hold is:
There's a lot of humming and hawing and heads being scratched with industrial-sized consultant nails trying to figure out this surprising conundrum. Yes, yes, we know that the answer - people aren't that keen on the subscription model and want to use the tracks they already own on their PC on their phone, and aren't so dumb as to buy the same file twice - is as obvious as a punchline on My Family, but this is the music industry we're talking about.
James Blunt is hopping mad. He'd been due to play a gig on Lykavittos Hill, in Athens. A few short hours before the first, the authorities stepped in to ban the events on public safety grounds.
Trouble is, both Nick Cave and Mark Knopfler had been allowed to play. And a letter saying that it was okay had disappeared.
James is very angry indeed:
A conspiracy of whom? Music lovers?
There's a vague hint that because Blunt was in the army, there might be some Balkan-related sleight of hand going on, but really, we suspect it comes down to an old-fashioned filing error. Surely, if any corruption was involved, it would be more likely trying to persuade someone to take an interest in putting Blunt on the top of a hill than from stopping him marching up there?
Sandie Shaw has delivered the sort of eye-rolling, withering put-down of John Lydon that he desperately wishes he was able to dish out to others:
"When given his award he insulted and swore at everyone present. While this may have gone down well during the punk era, it is out of step with these pragmatic times.
"Some things just don't age well."
There's the wider question, of course, of why he turned up to pick up the prize anyway - after all, didn't he refuse to accept the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame gong because it was putting him in a museum? Then again, if you want the attention, there's no press coverage in sending a sarky note to the Mojo organisers in quite the same way.
The over-touchy Elton John is sending solicitor's letters to The Guardian, because he was unamused by a humorous piece in the Weekend Magazine. The Independent reruns the offending passage:
The Indie reckons that "sources close to the singer" found this "unpleasant", bristling at the idea that such an event could be spoken of in such terms.
Mind you, if Elton was really that upset by the suggestion that this was the super-rich burning through cash in the name of charity, he might want to take a look gushing press release issued by sponsors Chopard:
The Chopard Co-President chose for the occasion a stunning High Jewellery necklace of her own creation consisting of a large sapphire set in a pave diamond collar. [...]
A true lover of white diamonds, Elizabeth Hurley picked a unique fancy shaped diamond Tiara totalling an impressive 192.2ct. She set off this one of a kind piece with diamond drop line earrings and a diamond cuff bracelet. [...]
Upon arrival guests followed an enchanting Chopard walkway through a tree-lined avenue where they were surrounded by hundreds of carats of diamonds dramatically displayed en route to the Italian Terrace and gardens where a truly magical evening began. [...]
he “Woodside Beach Club” also boasted its own “muscle beach” of bodybuilders pumping iron, a courtyard of incredible Chopard ice sculptures, a surfside hippy camp, a customised VW campervan-come-psychedelic DJ booth, and a lavish bar serving four exotic Grey Goose martinis created by David Furnish especially for the occasion. Dinner was served in a spectacular marquee featuring an aquarium bar and an incredible sunset backdrop which gradually developed in real-time throughout the evening on a 40 Metre wide panoramic screen before eventually progressing into a stunning star-lit night. Guests dined amidst lavender and sand filled storm candles and enjoyed a lavish menu of:
Oscietra caviar, camomile tea smoked fish and duck egg tart with avocado and parsley purees
Stone black bass with a warm salad of new potatoes, raw artichokes, fava beans shaved shallots, red and yellow tomatoes, liliput capers and pea veloute
“Californian Gold Rush” chocolate blackout cake with smooth milk chocolate mousse masked in rich dark chocolate, wrapped in gold leaf with golden nugetts and malted milk cream quarters...
Both The Guardian and the press release represent very rich people enjoying a lavish event with the balance going to charity; the Guardian seems to have got a solicitors letter not on the detail, but for failing to fawn.
Terror At Zero Feet meets Spiceworld: The Movie, as Victoria Beckham's plane sucks a bird into the engines at take-off. It's the sort of light non-story which Gordon actually does quite well:
Thus, the drama is not about the pilot reacting quickly to a potential threat, but Victoria refusing to get off the plane until she's done her make-up.
Surely, though, it's too late - everyone now knows she gets into the free pjs in first class. And they let this woman judge Project Runway.
Meanwhile, the increasing number of people allegedly slapped by Amy Winehouse means there's every chance that the bloke who claims he was hit by her in a pub may be telling the truth, or perhaps just judged that there's every chance that he'll be believed.
In the interests of balance to the story, Gordon runs an unsourced quote from a pal:
And yet there's no name to verify that statement, presumably because it's possible someone is explaining the plausible reason for a reaction that might never have happened.
Elsewhere, Smart runs what he claims are
Unlike many couples, they seem to have taken their photos from the other side of the beach with a very long lens.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The organisers of the Zoo8 festival have issued an apology:
He told the BBC: "Our biggest problem was one of miscalculation over cash flow. This required us to make the pragmatic decision to cancel a few acts.
"Obviously, none of this was ideal or planned - and not the quality of experience that we had aimed to deliver - and for that we unreservedly apologise to all those affected by the situation."
Blanche added: "We want to stress that this was our first festival and that we have dealt with all problems directly and will continue to do so in preparation for next year."
Next year? Next year? If the 2008 cash flow was based more on hope, then we wonder what the 2009 one is going to be based upon...
New EMI Music chief executive Elio Leoni-Sceti is profiled in today's Guardian; James M emails with this succinct summary:
1. That he views Norah Jones & Coldplay as "eclectic" acts, remembering, also, to mention the Beatles, still EMI's main cash cow, or
2.Stressing the importance of "branding" & then remarking that emotion is more important than flogging merchandise in the music business.
Someone the other day suggested that Kanye West was going to some sort of anger management class or other.
Kanye has fired up his blog to protest:
For a man who doesn't need anger management lessons, he's a bit touchy, isn't he?
We're not quite sure why having a blog would prevent people from telling made-up stories about you - look:
Kanye West has a blog, and his bed is made of cheese, with mozzarella pillows.
This is similar, of course, to the day when Bing Crosby refused to talk to the Record Mirror because he'd just bought his own printing set "and a quire and a half of white legal paper".
... so, at least Kanye understands that blogging isn't quite the same thing as being a publisher.
Surely this can't be true of UK festivals too - can it? a nurse in Colorado claims that Grand Rapids' festival leaves behind much more than churned mud and empty cider cans:
Scott says on average the health clinic sees between 25 and 30 pregnancies a month. She says five weeks after the festival that number jumps to almost 80 a month.
At long last, then, there's the answer to stopping unwanted pregnancies: just hide the country musicians' guitars.
Shudder To Think have already done a one-off reunion date; now, here comes the tour. Or a re-reunion, actually, as they got back together ten years ago as well.
Craig Werden explains why:
- which is almost heartbreakingly sweet, and sounds genuinely heartfelt.
Those young 'uns would be probably too wee to remember video tape as well, so here's a special treat: a decaying video tape of a 1993 Toronto appearance by the band:
Bjork - who seems to have terrible problems with her voice - has pulled this week's Helsinki gig. This is the same throat ailment which persuaded her to avoid Sheffield. Or at least she's trying to make that look plausible.
Quite wonderfully, Mark Ronson inadvertently picks a headline for his 'bad review' blog entry which could come from Half Man half Biscuit's song:
And, of course, he only reads the gig guide any way.
Ronson then runs an email which he claims is from whoever reviewed his Glasto set in the paper denying they actually wrote the review as they were "sitting on a bus" at the time - we're nowhere near our copy of this week's paper at the moment but the 'disguised' identity of the emailer is going to be fairly easy to crack, as Ronson must know. It's wrong of the NME to assign a review to someone else's byline, but it's certainly not fair of Ronson to effectively out a writer criticising their employer by publishing a private email.
Especially as Ronson has no idea what went into the review:
And is there to be a petulant gesture at the end?
Aww, so one of the writers doesn't like you and you throw your toys onto eBay. Ronson might want to think about growing a thicker skin - or at least sticking to the sort of shallow group who'll give you a thumbs-up whatever they actually think.
[UPDATE: The review sits under a group of "Next year's headliners" with the byline of New Music editor Alex Miller.]
As James points out in the comments on the Shakira piece, LiveNation have also signed a 360 deal with Nickelback.
Which is enough excuse to mention the hilarious - but not in the way they think - sofa store advert currently churning out on ITV right now, which isn't even a parody of the Rock Star video; it just is the Rock Star video - people miming to Chad Kroeger's vocals, albeit this time with sofas behind them. The idea being, you see, you don't have to be a rock star to buy a sofa at this sofa store. (On this occasion, I'm not being cussed by not mentioning the company - I really can't tell remember what company it is, which probably is best for them.)
You wonder why Kroeger - a man who apparently made £34million from touring in 06/07 - happily allowed the advert to be made, almost as much as the company who chose to make the advert. It's like seeing the word "misbegotten" mimed out for you by the 2006 Charades World Championship winner. Are they that hard up for a few quid?
Duffy has, for some reason, felt the need to clarify that she's not Tom Jones' daughter, as some Americans have apparently started thinking there's a connection.
(In other words, hearing she's Welsh, they've assumed she's related to the only other Welsh person they can think of.)
Oddly, Duffy has yet to react in any way to the equally fallacious belief that she's in some way a spiritual heir of Dusty Springfield.
Interesting post over on Ripten, where Chad Lakkis was surprised to discover his audio malfunctioning on his Dell laptop - only to discover that Dell had disabled the "stereo mix function", apparently at the behest of the RIAA.
Even more surpisingly: although this was a functionality Dell disabled lest it fall into the wrong hands, some of their customers were told they could have it restored for $99.
So: Dell breaks your laptop because it's too powerful for anyone to have the audio function working, but will then charge you to return it to the sort of usable state you'd expect to have had it when you bought it. Presumably they pocket the hundred dollar bill, look round shiftily and say 'I ain't been 'ere, right...'
There is also a free fix, it should be said, available through the Dell website; a "Dell Community Ambassador" posted a link in the comments section of the Ripten piece. A direct link. To an .exe file. Who wouldn't click that, eh?
Victor Willis, who was the policeman in the Village People (and also "the one who wasn't) has put his tour on hold as his vocal cords are suffering from nodules:
That would be police hoarsness, then.
It's all Led Zeppelin's fault, isn't it? We're now staring a Faces reunion in the, erm, face.
And, yes, it's a full one - which means a new album, with new songs.
Does Gordon believe that Madonna is going to get divorced or not? Surely, what with his position as the the Prime Minister of Showbiz, we should expect him to at least know what he believes - but one minute he's running denials of divorce, the next copying the details of the Alex Rodriguez denupitalising from the New York Post as some sort of evidence to the contrary.
It's fine if you don't have a clue, Gordon, but at least be honest about it.
Instead, we get lumbered with Smart trying to sound like he understands baseball and kabbalah:
Madonna, 49, said in a statement: “I know Alex Rodriguez through Guy Oseary, who manages both of us.
“I am not romantically involved in any way with Alex Rodriguez. I have nothing to do with the state of his marriage or what spiritual path he may choose to study.”
And, to be fair to Madonna, she wasn't named in court papers - her name has been floated by one of the soon-to-be-Mrs-Rod's lawyers:
Mr Lilly said A-Rod was smitten with Madonna, but added: “The correct analysis is a relationship.
“Some people categorise an affair as sexual infidelity. We’re not claiming that – it’s an affair of the heart.”
So Madonna not named in divorce proceedings and accused of not having sex with a man not her husband. Hold the, um... well, Bizarre page.
If trying to unpick a baseball kabbalahic divorce is tricky for Gordon, his team are also having to struggle with science, as well, with the claims that Amy Winehouse is using tanning tables to an extent that "pals" are worried. Pete Samson is left to deal with the... well, lets call it a story to be kind, shall we?:
And the problem with that, Pete?
Let's just look at that again, shall we?
Yes, it's bad for you and, yes, nobody should fall asleep on a sunbed. But given her lifestyle, this risk from "the same type of harmful radiation found in sunlight" seems an odd thing to be worrying about right now. Even if it's true.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Or, this time, some stuff to look at: Passive Agressive Notes collates the top five notes in record stores. Including the one seen in the door of a shuttered Fopp.
The second slightly-less-high-profile 360 degree tours-and-records deal for LiveNation: Shakira has thrown her lot in with them for the next ten years.
Noel Sayre, the violinist with The Black Swans and Pretty Mighty Mighty has died in a swimming accident.
The 37 year-old also had an impressive classical cv, having played with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, but it was in the folkier end of indie where he really made his presence felt. Pretty Mighty Mighty toured extensively during the early 90s; in 1994, he and Jerry DeCicca formed The Black Swans, debuting just as the year ended, as DeCicca remembers:
We were always more Heckle & Jeckle and Penn & Teller than Simon & Garfunkel, as we shared an idea about music as art, posing as entertainment, that we explored over hundreds of gigs and several recordings. Musically, I always stood in Noel’s shadow and Noel always felt he was my shadow. We spoke in code, a short-hand, that sometimes alienated others and sometimes amused them. We were kindred spirits in many way and couldn’t be more different in others. He was quiet and articulate, rowdy and beyond shy, hyper intelligent and incredibly dense.
A memorial service has been organised for July 12th.
Who would dare suggest that Madonna has started to hit the bottom of barrel for ideas? Not us, that's for sure, as she films a bit of video featuring Britney Spears to plug some of the creative gaps in the forthcoming world tour. Maybe she might go real crazy and pretend to be a lesbian with her or something - can you imagine?
So, at the end of the countdown, at the end of the Zane Lowe show, it boils down to this:
That's Mercury, the new single from Bloc Party. Official video and everything.
Another festival disaster: Zoo8 seems to have been something of a nightmare with half the bands not showing, and the venue (a zoo, of course) having to dig deep into their own pockets to see that Ash would play when the promoters didn't look able to guarantee the payment.
Which means, in effect, that the penguins and tigers of Port Lympne were subsidising a music festival.
Even with Ash secured, no-shows and overflows left fans less-than-thrilled:
Julia Bray, whose daughter was at the event, wrote on a Facebook page: "Hours of queuing, campsite dreadful, bands didn't show up or moved stages, staff very rude or unhelpful."
Another fan, Rachel Collings, wrote: "Badly organised, badly informed. Worst fest ever!"
Hey - Woodstock II would take issue with that.
Funnily enough, though - presumably following the Eavis playbook - those charged with overseeing the event report a wonderful time had by all:
"This being the first Zoo8 at the park, there were bound to be some problems but they were all resolved quickly and efficiently, mainly by our own staff who stepped in to sort things out.
"According to St John Ambulance, Health and Safety, the licensing office, environmental health and the police, they were all happy."
Then again, none of those fine organisations would be expected to factor in the non-appearance of Dizzee Rascal, Athlete, The Rascals or Wiley.
Last week, Peter Andre and Jordan won a payment from the News of the World after the paper ran stories sourced from their former nanny Rebecca Gauld which were untrue.
Today, Ofcom has upheld a complaint from Rebecca Gauld that Peter and Jordan's Katie and Peter: The Baby Diaries, on ITV2, unfairly invaded her privacy - in ways which included broadcasting a piece of paper with Gauld's phone number visible upon it.
And round, and round, and round, we dance...
Hot on the heels of the corrupt quiz phone-in, this week Ofcom has ruled on another breach of its code, this time by Jason Donovan.
Yes, Jason Donovan, who told listeners to 37 radio stations during his networked programme that:
Before even considering the political message, surely it's worth taking a moment to see, once again, the idiocy of networking local radio programmes. Apart from listeners to the London stations - and maybe some bordering the M25 - who else tunes in to their local service to hear an Australian talking about an election they can't vote in?
Ofcom have let the network off with a stiff telling off - James Whale, canned from TalkSport for exactly the same offence, might view that as a somewhat slight consequence.
What's puzzling us, though, is surely this sort of thing falls under the Representation of the People Act as well? Is Jason doubly lucky that he's not heard from the police on this one?
And why does it seem only Boris supporters feel the need to hijack the airwaves for unofficial party election messages?
Zapfest, planned for Oxford this coming weekend, has been cancelled:
It's a little odd to cancel with just some vague words about 'things we can't tell you about' - shouldn't they have at least made up a beautiful lie about gravity being broken in Oxford that weekend?
Radiohead, eh? Giving their albums away for nothing? You wouldn't catch Noel Gallagher doing that:
“I didn’t spend a year in the most expensive studio in England, with the most expensive producer in America, and the most expensive graphic designer in London to then give it away. Fuck that.”
You'll note he sees the input into his album as an expensive producer, an expensive studio and an expensive designer, rather than, say, the best musicians or months and months of careful crafting of music and diligent rehearsing.
You might also note that he views creativity as something that can be measured by price rather than quality.
And, given that he has more money than he could possibly have a clue how to spend, why does he need to squeeze every red cent from those who have supported him in a retrograde march down the blind alley he has chosen?
What, exactly, is your "bag", Mr. Noel? Bag... bag... bag...
The lukewarm headline line-up at this year's Glastonbury is now partly explained: they'd nearly landed a Blur reunion, an event which would have pushed any of the top-card names down the league ladder a slot.
Alex James say so:
"I was looking forward to showing off to [his wife] Claire and the kids, but I suppose the important thing was to have been asked, and listening to all that screaming I felt pleased about how things had turned out.”
This, we suspect, explains the Kings Of Leon if nothing else.
Are Alice Cooper and the Mighty Boosh writing a musical together?
The NME says yes, they might be:
And then Cooper delivers a "yes, that would be fun, wouldn't it?" style non-committal quote, which seems to be enough to convince everyone it's going to happen. Although who will be underwriting the costs isn't, exactly, clear.
Mind you, we'd love to see John Barrowman and Andrew Lloyd Webber judging the castings on Saturday night TV.
And where might they have got this idea? Stories like NME.com's "Bloc Party to release new music tomorrow?", by any chance?
Our eye was caught by the 3AM headline on a story about Adele:
Really? Isn't that the total opposite of what Adele has always said?
Well, yes. It's actually the total opposite of what Adele was saying in the quote underneath:
Still, even if you won't sell out, the Mirror will helpfully twist it sound like you have.
For reasons we can't quite fathom - and we've tried, believe me - Fox is preparing a variety show hosted by The Osbournes.
Yes, the whole gang is on board:
[Fox's Mike] Darnell said he had been trying to find a way to revive the variety format for several years. He even developed a U.S. version of "Saturday Night Takeaway."
"But I always veered away from it because it was missing something, which turned out to be the right front people," he said. "I realized that with the right hosts, you can make it work."
We're guessing that Darnell somehow missed Sharon's chat shows on both sides of the Atlantic and what happened when Team Osbourne attempted to present the Brits; either that, or his faith in Ozzy being the sort of "right host" that can "make it work" is so touching as to veer into the downright religious.
It all smacks a little of that segment on the Simpsons' pilot show where the family turn up in dungarees doing a song-and-dance show, with a replacement Lisa. Or a cruel parody of Hear'Say It's Saturday.
Interesting photos of Mr Winehouse doing heroin in Pentonville on Gordon's pages this morning. Ironic that, as David Blakey prepares his report on drugs in UK prisons, Amy's Blakey proves his point.
The wider question, though, is where Gordon is getting his photos from - are they coming from a prisoner with a mobile phone? Is Gordon paying for these snaps? And what would a prisoner be doing with a mobile phone in the first place? If the pictures aren't from a prisoner, then they'd have to be from staff. Either way, Smart is encouraging rule-breaking himself by running the photos - and, since there's no real public interest in seeing photos of Blake Fielder-Civil on his prison toilet - it's not clear why he thinks we should be encouraging people to be running round inside prisons with mobiles.
More at his level, there's an alarming photo of Smart looming out of a frame with Lionel Blair, illustrating a story suggesting that Smart couldn't actually think of a reason for printing it:
Really? The story is that Blair turned up for a wedding at the Dorchester while the Kaisers and Oasis were being drunk. Not clear that means he "didn't have a clue", unless it's now incumbent upon us all to know the whereabouts of Gallagher and Wilson at all times.
Yes, for some reason, Gordon felt the need to "frogmarch" a man into an event he'd been invited to. It doesn't strike us that Lionel is the one lacking a clue.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
In an age when the only reason bands don't reunite is either because they're all dead, or haven't yet split up, let's salute Abba for staying down:
"We would like people to remember us as we were, young, exuberant and full of ambition," Ulvaeus told the newspaper.
Of course, there's always the Lydon option, of pretending to still be young, exuberant and full of ambition.
Bloc Party are counting backwards on their website, heading back to 11am tomorrow morning.
Could it be a surprise performance? A cunning announcement? Or has Kele just found a great way to remember a dental appointment?
More from No Rock on bloc party
ContactMusic pick up on Jay-Z's meeting with Gordon Smart - or, probably, Smart brought it to their attention - but, oh, at a cost:
Showbiz reporter? Are the not aware that Gordon Smart isn't some tuppenny ha'penny reporter, but an editor and the Prime Minister of Showbiz, actually. Where's the respect?
An email from James Page, which deserves to be shared in full:
Sadly, this is not a genius bit of nostalgia scheduling, repeating old episodes of a classic show in its original timeslot, like 'Vault TV' did with The Chart Show. Oh no. Mike Read has actually come back and remade 'Mike Read's Pop Quiz'. And it's genuinely jaw-dropping TV.
Gone are the celebrity guests like Meatloaf and One Of Kane Gang. Gone are the big sets and funky production techniques. In comes a quaint little pub quiz with two teams of ordinary people (complete with comedy pub-quiz team-names), staged in an all-purpose studio which looks like how I imagine those karaoke booths which let you record your own CD, only with the sound quality of a dictaphone. Read himself sits in front of a small flat-screen TV which displays a Powerpoint demonstration of each question, and both teams of three perch behind tiny desks just about big enough for one. Awkward witty banter abounds.
Really, you have to see it to believe it. Please set yourself a reminder to watch next Saturday's episode. You will not be disappointed (by which I mean you *will* be disappointed, but won't be disappointed by failing to be disappointed). It's so completely strange to see a once-huge TV show brought back in such Tesco-Value style. It's startlingly reminiscent of the time Alan Partridge tried to recreate his chat-show in the travel tavern.
Sadly the set isn't constructed by Read himself from assorted chocolate products.
Presumably they'd use the old Mike Read Pop Quiz board game, only he was made promises about storage that he was let down by...
Talking of Pop Quiz - and bless you, James, for giving us an excuse to bring this to the table - OddBob0 has posted this to YouTube: footage of him playing, well, Mike Read's Pop Quiz - the ZX Spectrum version [Possibly more fun to listen to with the sound off, to be honest]:
We're trying to work out who the faces you can choose for your team are - Marilyn, certainly; is that Hank Marvin or Pete Waterman with the glasses?
Daisy Spam - daughter of Pearl from Powder and im out of Supergrass - is plotting to record a song with her boyfriend Mark Ronson, which comes as something of a surprise. Wasn't modeling meant to be the job you went into precisely because you didn't have the skills to do something creative?
Still, I suppose it's lucky she's dating a producer. If she was going out with a biologist, she'd probably get it into her head to create her own range of viruses.
The Sunday 'Yes, it is still going, actually' People splashes an eye-catching headline:
Girls Aloud star's shock decision
But it's as hollow as a Tennant regeneration - she's going solo as in, erm, going away on holiday.
Sunday People readers would feel cheated, were they not Sunday People readers and presumably having low expectations in the first place.
You can't keep a failed marriage going once it's broken, and, as Rav Singh knows only too well, it's equally true that you can't keep a failed marriage story going once it's broken elsewhere.
So, after weeks of banging away at Madonna break-up tales, he's reluctantly moving on - Find <Madonna> - replace <Mariah Carey>.
Although this bit is unique:
He could perhaps try dating a woman called Maria and see if they can turn the final 'H' into a kitten or something?
Over the last month, these people have been the most-searched for by users hoping to find naked photos:
1. Lily Allen
3. Avril Lavigne
4. Heather Mills
5. Beth Ditto
6. Nelly Furtardo
7. James Blunt
8. Lauren Laverne
9. Wayne Rooney (really)
10. Brody Dalle
At the far end, there's just been one search each for Kate Jackson, The Datsuns and Kirstie Allsopp.
These were new releases and such:
My Bloody Valentine - Box Set
Dirty Pretty Things - Romance At Short Notice
Tuung - This Is Tuung
The Ascent Of Everest - How Lonely Sits The City
Tricky - Knowle West Boy
Seth Lakeman - Poor Man's Heaven
David Bowie - Live In Santa Monica 72
Toyah - Good Morning Universe
Paul Heaton - Mermaids And Slaves
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit My father liked to watch the wrestling, my mother liked to wrestle...
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