Saturday, November 15, 2008


Less than a month after Coldplay bragged to Zane Lowe about how they were going to play Knebworth, Chris Martin has admitted that, actually, they haven't been able to book the Country House. Even Liam and Noel managed that. Even Robbie Williams managed that.

Elton John shares his views on Proposition 8

Elton John seems to be a little confused by the question of Proposition 8, which he seems to think is somehow about him. Apparently gays "only have themselves to blame":

"I don't want to be married," he says. "David and I are not married. Let's get that right. We have a civil partnership. What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off. It's the word marriage."

The 61-year-old pop star believes that same-sex couples should be happy with a civil partnership as it gives them the same legal rights and protection as straight couples. "I'm very happy with a civil partnership," he adds. "If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership."

Yes, of course you don't want to be married, do you Elton? Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and his recording engineer, and not to be entered into lightly.

Now, if Elton doesn't want to get married to David Furnish, great. Nobody should force him to. But just because that's right for him doesn't mean he should support a nasty attempt to stop gay people for whom a civil partnership isn't the statement they choose to make.

And, to be blunt, John is deluded if the thinks the homophobes who funded Proposition 8 were doing so simply because they object to the idea of gay people being 'married'. The Mormon Church, whose members lavishly funded the campaign to withdraw rights from gay people [Google Doc] in California, are pretty clear that homosexuality is immoral:
The Church has a single, undeviating standard of sexual morality: intimate relations are proper only between a husband and a wife united in the bonds of matrimony.

Is Elton really so stupid he thinks that a group so committed to pouring cash into removing marriage rights simply because it's the word they object to? Does he really think that a group who are so busily organising themselves, driven by a belief that they should be arbiters of sexual morality for world, are going to meet each other at Temple and say "so long as they only have a civil partnership when they shag each other, that'll be alright"?

Elton John has always seemed a little selfish, and a little self-obsessed, but to not fight for a right simply because you yourself are happy without it is a step beyond. John didn't really do that much to help with the struggle for gay equality; you would have thought the least he could do was try and be a bit more careful with the gifts others bled for.

Something to listen to: WMFU's Archive

WFMU are about to launch a massive archive of free music, drawn from the stuff they've recorded over the years. Right now, though, they're offering a bunch of stuff drawn from the Bay Area [San Francisco, not Cardigan] which means lots of free stuff from Negativland, Bob Ostertag, TITS and - inevitably - many, many more.

Gordon in the morning: The Lewis carol

Gordon Smart wasn't sure Leona Lewis was going to take:

When she visited Bizarre HQ after winning The X Factor I wondered if she had enough about her to become a global superstar.

There's a but though. What is it that has convinced Smart that she's actually got staying power?
But, as these pictures prove, the East London girl has blossomed into a sexy diva.

Yes, she's bought a couple of push-up bras and all of a sudden, Gordon is smitten.

Manics mate makes a holy show of himself

Remember Patrick Jones, brother of Nicky Wire and former Manics collaborator? He was worried you wouldn't, as it turns out, so has taken to trying to promote his new book Darkness is Where the Stars Are by sending copies to extremist Christian, Right-Wing and Muslim groups with a nudge that, ooh, he'd love to know what they thought of the poems that attack their deep-rooted beliefs.

Some think he was hoping to provide a common enemy that would see the likes of Combat 18, strident Muslims and Christian Voice uniting in the face of their common enemy, realising they have more in common than that which divides them, kissing each other and then rushing off to have a gay wedding in any place where they've not campaigned it out of existence.

Others think that Jones might have been working with a Far East betting syndicate, creating a market in bets on which bunch would react first. This seems unlikely, though: Combat 18 would have had to have found someone to read them to them which would have slowed down their riposte.

If it was some sort of gamble, those who got the tickets with Christian Voice on have won. Even they, though, seemed to spot they were being played:

Stephen Green, of Christian Voice, said he believed Mr Jones had deliberately "whipped up" feelings about the book.

"We got this stuff on e-mail from Patrick Jones and another e-mail from someone else telling us about his book signing," he said.

"His e-mails contained some of his prose and there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that he wanted to cause a frenzy."

It's perhaps not surprising that Christian Voice - an organisation whose understanding of the last couple of thousand years of culture is that it's some sort unspoken threat to their families - can't tell the difference between 'prose' and 'poetry in pretty much the same way they can't tell the difference between 'a different opinion' and 'an insult to their beliefs'.

However, even though they spotted that Jones was just trying to whip up some controversy to help stretch the promotional budget for his book, they just couldn't help themselves:
[A] campaign by activists Christian Voice [...] called the book "obscene and blasphemous".

It called on the chain to remove copies from stores, which Waterstone's refused to do.

However, Waterstones did cancel the planned launch event for the poems. Jones was delighted. Sorry, did I say delighted? No, no. Outraged:
He insisted he did not want to create any protests, but rather to spark a debate about the issues in his poems, which include religion and domestic violence against men.

"I sent a few poems to many different organisations on 2 November and I said 'Please find a few poems. I would appreciate your feedback'," he said.

"I was hoping that maybe they would come out and have a debate. That's within my rights to do that.

"Even if they had come out to protest, that doesn't mean Waterstone's should give up [on the launch]. That's freedom of expression.

"My book didn't set out to be provocative at all. I had support from people when I went to a book reading in Cwmaman last night. I'm really proud of my book."

You'll note that Jones, for a poet, is slightly loose with his language. Waterstones are not removing the right to freedom of expression from the perpetually-wounded groups; all it is choosing to do is not provide a focus for a firestorm which Jones has provoked.

The really strange this is: Jones claims all he was trying to do was provoke a debate - not, in itself, a bad thing. And yet at first, he denied that he'd sent the emails out. Maybe he'd forgotten about this debate he was desperate to get going.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kele not drawing line, moving on

Kele out of Bloc Party not sounding entirely like he's put the unpleasantness with advertising's comedy character John Lydon behind him, then:

"I have only one thing to say about that man – John Lydon is the devil in my eyes," he told The Sun.

Speaking about the fight, he said: "I really wanted to, like, whip his face off. I was lucky I had lots of people around me who were calming me down.

"I didn't really think about what was happening at the time. I'm not really someone who's very good at backing down from fights. I'm just pleased there are witnesses."

While he's understandably got the hump - and without defending what Lydon's fawners and friends said - Okereke's decision to abandon the moral high ground to detail just how much bad hurting he thinks "the devil" deserved doesn't really do him any favours, either. The response to buffons to Lydon is to that which they fear the most: turn your back and forget him.

Guns N Roses leaker to remain out of jail

The not-at-all-heavy-handed arrest of Kevin Coghill, the first (although almost certainly not the last) person to allegedly to share Chinese Democracy over the internet looks like to be resolved without anyone going to prison. Coghill's brief is predicting a deal will lead to probation, although community service trying to remove traces of Axl Rose from the internet would surely have been more apt?

Gary Glitter: Another brick out the wall

You might have thought that government MPs would have more than enough proper child protection issues to occupy their time without creating work for themselves campaigning against a brick, but apparently Bob Wareing from West Derby has made getting Gary Glitter's memorial brick removed from the Cavern Club a priority.

It's not clear what this is going to achieve, exactly, but Bob seems to think he's performed a public service:

"I didn't think he was a good role model and I wouldn't myself have wanted to put his name up.

"I understand the club wanting to put across the history of the Cavern Club and really not leaving anything out. But on the other hand this is a special case."

Nobody, as far as I can ascertain, asked Bob Wareing to put Gary Glitter's name up anywhere.

The trouble with this, though, is it's a little subjective, isn't it? The argument for putting the brick there - it's a record of everyone who played at the Cavern, without any attempt to vouch for either their quality as artists or as people. Once you take it down, insisting that it's a "special case", and start to introduce a character test, it all becomes a little murky. For example, Glitter's brick is being replaced by one with Pete Wylie's name on it. Pete is a lovely man, but got mixed up in something nasty a few years back when his former girlfriend called the police on him. Does Bob Wareing want to adjudicate on if that should debar him from having a brick in his name?

Closest to the Beatles' own bricks, there's one for the Rolling Stones. But surely the "special case" of Bill Wyman's relationship with the underage Mandy Smith would mean that brick has to come out, too?

Come to that, Paul McCartney was convicted of drug possession by a Japanese court, wasn't he? Doesn't leaving that 'Paul' brick up there somehow condone scoffing at local drug laws? Should we fetch a chisel and pop that one out, too?

It is not to suggest that Glitter's behaviour is acceptable to leave his name in a historical role-call; it's not as if he played the Cavern after his fall from grace, and Bob Wareing would presumably not feel comfortable if anyone went into the library on William Brown Street and removed any reference in back numbers of the Echo to the Glitter date. It doesn't help the victims, and it's unlikely to spare the misery of a single child in the future. The suspicion is that this is little more than a spot of easy news coverage for Wareing. I really thought he was better than that.

"Radio 2, come up and get me"

Life imitates throwaway lines: In order to plug the gap caused by Jonathan Ross being re-educated, Danny Baker is joining Radio 2. For a month, but perhaps someone might spot that it might make sense for him to be there permanently.

He's being paired with Zoe Ball - if we've learned one thing from Brand and Ross's adventures, it's that you don't need to worry, providing you have two presenters on a programme. This actually sounds quite promising; Baker works well with a partner and Zoe's best work comes when she's talking with, rather than to. It almost makes you hope that the Mail On Sunday gets Ross suspended for another six months.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: S Club 1

While Jo O'Meara is being bottled off, Rachel Stevens is being voted in, doing quite nicely on Strictly Come Dancing considering. The Daily Mail seems to think this might be some sort of character fault, although to judge by the long, catty, knocking piece this morning, we're suspecting that she's turned down an interview with them.

Still, the Mail is an enquiring mind, and wants to know why - despite all the sexy pictures of Stevens with which it illustrates its piece - why her career stalled. Who can explain such things?

HMV's head of talking, Gennaro Castaldo of course. Gennaro, why did Rachel Stevens fail?

'Her music career started incredibly strongly, but then she started to branch out into different areas and that was a mistake,' says HMV's Gennaro Castaldo. 'She spread her profile out too thinly, instead of focusing on making her music career a success.'

Yes, that non-speaking thirty seconds in Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo II really saw her taking her eye off the ball from putting out a record every six months.

Other people might think that Stevens was aware that her musical career was probably going to be a limited run at best, and tried to actually find something else to do. But not Gennaro - he knows she could have been the British Madonna had she not wasted her time doing that spectacles advert...

Gordon in the morning: Rapid comebacks

It's worth keeping an eye on Gordon Smart's Bizarre column to be first with the news, you know. Alongside a piece that hints that Blur might get back together - something that hasn't been the subject of a million pieces of coverage in the last week all over the net - is a report that Ultravox are reuniting. Which was announced over a week ago. I can only presume it's taken so long to make it to Smart's column as it has taken a while for the completion of the diligent fact-checking for which Gordon is known.

Still, Gordo does have a decent story about Girls Aloud being set-up to perform as part of the Pet Shop Boys coronation as 'band to satisfy ITV's regular audience by reminding them of their kids' youth' in next year's Brits:

The PET SHOP BOYS, to be honoured with an Outstanding Contribution gong, want them to help perform What Have I Done To Deserve This?

Wouldn’t West End Girls Aloud be more appropriate?

It's been apparent from Gordon's writing that his sense of humour might not function like normal people's, but does he really not see why picking up a lifetime achievement award by playing What Have I Done To Deserve This is witty enough on its own?

S Club 7 comeback starts, ends in disaster

Did you know S Club 7 are back? Well, not quite back: it's only three of them and they're just hobbling round doing "a medley of their hits" for drunken students.

Amongst the line-up is Jo O'Meara who either came across as a bully during her spell on Celebrity Big Brother, or else was the victim of cruel editing, depending on if you have a sense of judgement or not.

Drunken students. Faded stars desperately dancing for coins. A person who somehow thought she was the victim when she was outed as being happy to sit around yukking while a person got battered by racist bullying. It's a set-up for disaster, isn't it?

Yes, so it turns out: Jo got hit by a bottle and wound up with a two-inch gash in her head, the set at Tokyo in Bradford was cut short. Even shorter, actually:

Bradley, 27, yelled at the 900-strong crowd: “It takes just one idiot to ruin everybody’s night.

“If you are going to throw a glass, throw it at had to spoil it.”

Police are, according to The Sun, "investigating" to see if the attack was connected to O'Meara's Celebrity Big Brother appearance, although it's not clear why: after all, it's as unacceptable to throw stuff at people as Jo's behaviour on the TV show was. Even if the person who lobbed the bottle did it because they were angry about her part in the goading of Shilpa Shetty it doesn't excuse it, does it?

It's far more likely that the problem is down to a disjunction between what the band think they were doing - playing old hits to fans - and what they actually were doing, which was playing a set at a boozy student night with free entry. It's hard to understand why the club would have booked a turn who have been hovering between target and joke-butt for years, let all-comers in, and then give them drinks in glass containers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Get Up again

It might seem like only the other day that The Get Up Kids called it day - in fact, they've not done anything since 2005. It might still be a little too soon to get over-excited by their reunion. But it's worth getting a little excited, certainly.

MP3: Happy birthday, Leaether Strip

Twenty years ago today, Leaether Strip formed. To celebrate, they're giving you - yes, you - a gift, in the shape of a free mp3 track: a shiny new into-the-third decade mix of Cast Away. Happy birthday, everyone.

Manda Rin-ettes

Manda Rin having a rehearsal crack at Be My Baby, recorded last week in Glasgow:

Old Faces

Rod Stewart. Ron Wood. Um, the rest of The Faces. Are they about to reform? (Yes, yes they are.)

In fact, they're going to rehearse together on Monday, and if they can persuade Ticketmaster to set a price that will justify tearing themselves away from the hearths ("if they can remember the songs") then we could see a futile reunion. Full. A full reunion.

A closer look at Comes With Music

So, there's been some to-and-fro over the claims made for Nokia's Comes With Music: the initial claim that you could download "as much music" - "unlimited", even - and keep it forever seemed to good to be true. Was it?

The Nokia Comes With Music website insists it's not. In answer to rhetorical question "how much music can I download" it's unequivocal:

You can download as much music as you want during your service term

Well, my apologies, Nokia - I thought you were going to put a limit on... hang about a moment... on the Carphone Warehouse site, they're also offering Comes With Music phones, with Unlimited downloads - only theirs has a tiny asterisk next to it. Because terms and conditions apply:
*subject to personal non-commercial and reasonable use. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions may result in termination of the service.

That there is a limit isn't a problem. It's fair enough, Nokia aren't a charity and you wouldn't expect them to allow you to take everything in one scoop. The problem is, though, there's no indication what Nokia might consider a "reasonable" level of downloading to be: 120 songs? 1000? half a million?
Your licence to download Comes With Music Content is limited to your personal non-commercial and reasonable use. If our analysis of your use of the Service suggests abusive or excessive downloading, Nokia may contact you and ask you to moderate your usage. If you fail to comply with such a request, Nokia reserves the right to restrict or terminate your use of the Service.

Blimey - it's not just the possibility that Nokia might conclude you're downloading too many tracks, it could just think you're being abusive. But if you buy a phone on an advertising promise that you can download as much as you like, how can it be abusive if that much turns out to be more than Nokia would like?

Regardless of where the limit sits, it's simply a lie to say that a service is unlimited when it is actually limited, however reasonable that limit might be. And without making it clear in advance what that level of cut-off might be, how on earth are you supposed to make a judgement call about the value of the service?

Still, at least once you download those songs, they're yours to keep forever, right?

The Nokia website is encouraging:
What happens to my music when the Comes With Music Service expires?
You can keep all the tracks you have downloaded and listen to them...

That sounds promising...
... on your registered PC

Ah, and there would be the sting. Once again, though, we have to go to the Carphone Warehouse to have the limitations explained in a bit more detail:
Registration of Authorised Devices. You may register one personal computer ("PC") and one Comes With Music Device concurrently to the Service.

Yes, just one computer. And the only mobile device you can use is your phone. So if you'd like to, say, listen to the music you've supposedly paid for in your car, you better make sure that you're able to hook your phone up to your stereo. Use a waterproof player for when you're on the beach or swimming? Tough. Got a PC in the living room and the bedroom? Or a PC and a laptop? Sorry.

The unlimited download starts to look more limited in the other sense of the word, too.

But can you move your stuff from computer to computer?
In the event you purchase a new compatible Nokia mobile device or a compatible PC or in the event of technical failure of your registered Comes With Music Device or PC you may restore the Comes With Music Content you have downloaded and/or change your registered Authorised Devices according to the following rules:

a) Restoration of Comes With Music Content
PC: During the Service Period and for a period of two years after the end of the Service Period ("Restoration Period") you may change the registered PC once every three months and re-download the content files and/or the digital keys needed to play the Comes With Music Content you had previously downloaded and/or transfer the Comes With Music Content you had previously downloaded to your new registered PC from your Comes With Music Device.

Comes With Music Device: If you upgrade your Comes With Music Device to another compatible Nokia device during the Restoration Period, you may change the registered Comes With Music Device once every three months which will allow you to transfer the Comes With Music Content you have downloaded from your PC to the new registered device and/or re-download the content files and/or the digital keys needed to play the Comes With Music Content you had previously downloaded. Please note that you are not able to change your registered Comes With Music Device during the Service Period.
Please note that during the Restoration Period you are able to change either the registered PC or Comes With Music Device once every three months, but not both of them during that period of time. Once you have changed your registered PC or Comes With Music Device, your rights to use the Comes With Music Content on the previous PC and Comes With Music Device shall expire and continued access to suchcontent on the previous PC or Comes With Music Device does not form part of the Service and may no longer be possible.

So, then, the tracks are yours to keep - but not to do as you choose with; and only for the two years after you leave the service, not forever. Oh, and only if you don't change your PC or phone more than every three months. And if you do change your phone, you're not even able to change your PC. And after two years is up? You can't even shift at all then.

So, Nokia Comes With Music does, indeed, come with some music - and, effectively, it takes its music away with it when the handset fails. It's impossible to say if it's a good deal or not financially, as there's no indication of just what you're getting. It is clear, though, that CWM doesn't offer any way of building a digital music collection. It's probably a nice add on if you're getting that phone anyway, but it's no way to buy music.

Vanilla Ice: His DJ revolves it, don't you know?

Having been a figure of everyone else's fun for a decade or so, you might almost find it in your heart to forgive Vanilla Ice for trying to make a few quid off his reputation for himself.

But, oh dear: Not like this, Van Winkle, not like this:

Now Ice is taking us back, with a new album called Vanilla Ice is Back! Hip Hop Classics containing 4 new versions of the song that made the world sing as well as 10 covers of classic 90’s hits from House of Pain’s “Jump Around” to Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”.

Yes, that's the PR puff for his new album. And, yes, you read that correctly: it's got four versions of Ice Ice Baby - at least four versions more than strictly essential - and that's merely the injury to the insult of him having a crack at Fight The Power.

Fight The Power.

He's promoting the... well, shall we call it a collection to be kind? He's promoting the collection with a series of appearances in bars; presumably the hope is that people will be too drunk to notice.

Jakarta off? No, she cancelled of her own accord

Rhianna has pulled her planned Jakarta gig over fears that she might be a target for terrorists seeking an easy reprisal for the Bali bomber executions:

"They said Indonesia's security is not supportive," event promoter Troy Waroka told the local press. "The concert will be postponed until January or February."

Oh, yes. Just give it five or six weeks. These desperate, callous terrorists who would happily murder innocents in their hundreds in November to atone for the execution of their brothers are sure to be over it by the New Year, aren't they?

Drumobit: Mitch Mitchell

An era of rock history has drawn to a close with the death of Mitch Mitchell, last of the founder members of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

London born, shortly after the end of the Second World War, Mitchell made an early entrance to showbusiness as a child actor. Fortunately, a passion for jazz led him astray and by the 1960s, he was drumming for a number of rock groups. He missed out on joining The Who after failing at an audition, but in the end that worked out alright for both The Who and Mitchell, as it left him free to take up a job the George Fame's backing band, The Blue Flames. Then, after they split, within a week he landed the job beating stuff behind Jimi Hendrix. Some sniffy critics will point out that, as a self-taught drummer, he often had trouble keeping up momentum during his solos - but surprisingly, this didn't seem to hold the Experience back any.

What did do for the band was the death of its focal figure, Hendrix, in 1970; this led to a glum period of jobbing drumming for Mitchell - including a spell working with Ramatam and Hinkley’s Heroes. It hadn't helped that the Experience's manager, Michael Jeffery, had arranged a contract which had left Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding treated as freelance staff in their own band. With his earnings taking a dive, Mitchell was sometimes reduced to flogging memorabilia to make ends meet.

After a couple of decades of side-projects, tribute acts and disappointments, Mitchell entered semi-retirement at the start of the century. Shortly before his death he had been tempted to return to the drum stool for a US "Experience Hendrix" tour. He was found dead in his hotel in Portland early yesterday morning. He was 61; his death is believed to have been due to 'natural causes'.

[Thanks to Karl & Michael for the tips]

American tragedies

Following the apparent suicide of Paula Goodspeed - one of those deemed not to be an American Idol and who has spent much of the past few months turning up unannounced at Paula Abdul's house - The Insider invited Carrie Underwood and Diana DeGarmo to comment. Underwood, wisely, knew she had nothing to say and made the equivalent of low dove coos, but DeGarmo seized the story with both hands:

"To hear that something like that has happened makes you very scared as a celebrity of some sort, because we all [like to get all dressed up for events like the CMAs] -- it's all glitz and glamour -- but it's things like that that people don't normally get to know; it's also a double side of celebrity stardom. I think that's just a terrible, terrible tragedy and I feel for the person that was out in front of her home, for her family, and especially for Paula, because she's a lovely person and I can only imagine what she's going through."

Yes, it's Paula who is the real victim here, not the person who was dragged through the ringer by the show of which Abdul is a part and wound up so damaged she ended up committing suicide. Let's just hope Paula is okay, shall we?

DeGarmo hasn't finished, though, because she also had the luck to have been on the cycle of American Idol which featured Jennifer Hudson. Another smashing chance to emote emptily:
"She's definitely in my thoughts and prayers like she always is, but even more so. Her mother was a wonderful, wonderful person, and I wouldn't even know where to begin if something like that happened to me."

She's in my prayers. I mean, obviously, I'm always praying for her, it's just now that I'm praying so, so much harder for her. Round the clock. And thinking? Oh, if I'm not praying for Jennifer, I'm thinking about her. Apart from the times my thoughts are with Paula Abdul.

Sometimes, there is a lot to be said for the gentle coo.

Trick Trick rejects the pink pound

The one saving grace about chumpheaded homophobe Trick Trick's nasty little rant is that most of the world will be comfortable in never having heard of him:

"I'ma go on the record right now with this. Homosexuals are probably not gonna like this album."

It's a safe bet. And not just homosexuals. Fire fighters, cat enthusiasts, people who own bicycles, sous chefs - anyone, in fact, who has the ability to hear it and any degree of discernment is going to not like it.

However, Trick Trick is not actually being aware of the pisspoor nature of his shoddy work; he's just doing some lazy queerbashing:
: "I don’t want your faggot money any goddamn way. I don’t like it [homosexuality]. Carry that shit somewhere else."

The 'carry that shit somewhere else' was actually a shouted instruction to his poop butler, who was moving one of the many festering buckets of human crap that Trick Trick has around his house. Apparently Trick uses them as inspiration for his work. Surely you saw that episode of MTV Cribs?

Trick, though, hasn't finished:
"It's just that every time that you turn on the TV, that sissy shit is on, and they act like it's fucking okay," he said. "The world is changing for the worst when shit like that happens. And I address that issue. I address it hard as hell.

It's not clear why Trick Trick sees homosexuality every time he switches on television, but I'm pretty certain that it must mean somehow probably needs to show him how to use his remote to change the channel on his TV from GayDate Channel.

Still, I'm sure we all feel a pang of sympathy for Trick, watching gay television and getting hard as hell as he addresses it. So hard he bursts out angrily all over, landing himself in his current sticky mess. Trick is now expecting to get a heavy licking in the papers from gay rights activists - and not just in in the press. Trick Trick will be waiting to get licked all over the place by gay men. That, though, will only make him harder.

Gordon in the morning: Kanye believe it?

Ah, the loss of innocence: faced with Kanye West's suggestions that he and Britney Spears only won MTV awards because they agreed to schlep over to the ceremonies, Gordon Smart suddenly has his 'it's a small man behind a curtain' moment:

Hollywood actor Jared’s dismal band 30SECONDS TO MARS picked up the Rock Out and Video Star awards in Liverpool.

He was conveniently also co-hosting the show with KATY PERRY.

And, yes, the I Kissed A Girl star walked away with a gong too — for best New Act.

Still, he's handling the loss of innocence well, and Rebekah Wade is thinking Smart might be old enough that she won't have to dress up as Santa to leave the News International Christmas Bonus at the end of his bed this year.

Gordon doesn't point out that it's a bit rich for Kanye to complain that they give him an award for turning up when a couple of years ago he moaned that he wouldn't turn up any more as he kept going to MTV prizegivings and leaving empty-handed.

Meanwhile, tomorrow night's Children In Need concert is going to see some sort of Sugababe-Morrison mash-up. Keisha Buchanan has fears over her duet:
"He approached me specifically as he said he really liked my voice. I was shocked. I know I can sing but its weird coming from someone like that. I'm worried I'll make him look bad."

Come on, Keisha, you'd have to really stink to make things James Morrison seem worse than he actually is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ticketmaster "drop" "convenience" charges

Ticketmaster are thinking about dropping the convenience charge by flogging tickets where the price you see is the price you pay.

Obviously, they're going to achieve this aim by making the prices knock up to absorb the fee rather than, you know, abolishing them altogether. And, Sean Moriarty seems to be suggesting it's going to make them money:

The new all-in pricing model, however, does not lower the price of a ticket - the face values of tickets throughout the popular Eagles tour are all about the same - but it does potentially open up a new revenue stream for Ticketmaster, according to Moriarty. Currently, Ticketmaster does not typically earn fees for tickets sold at a venue's box office, but with all-in pricing, there will be one standard price for a ticket "across all channels, including the box office, which will create new revenue streams for artists and Ticketmaster," he said.

I might be a little bit dense, but how does charging a price for tickets without mark-ups create "a new revenue stream"? Isn't selling tickets already a revenue stream? Unless they mean that they'll be expecting to get a kickback from the box offices that they're not seeing now... oh. Right. They are, aren't they?
"We've been advocating for some time that the industry make the fan-friendly move to no-fee or all-in pricing, eliminating add-on fees," Moriarty told a group of financial analysts and investors. "The reaction of fans has been overwhelmingly positive."

Is it really "fan-friendly" to effectively levy a hidden charge that doesn't currently exist on box office sales by wrapping it into a single fee? Or is that simply, ooh, greedy and evil?

Bush might be re-shaped

There is, reports Gavin Rossdale a "quite high" chance of Bush reforming. He bases his prediction on a mixture of science and astrology, focusing especially on how often he now gets referred to as "Gwen Stefani's husband" and the level of interest in the concept of "Gwen Stefani's husband's solo career".

Now make your phoney one-on-one connection with your fans even phonier

Thanks to Hypebot for bringing ArtistData to our attention. This is a service which allows bands - by which, of course, we mean whatever intern the label has charged with going online pretending to be the band - to automate their social networking posts.

Yes, yes, I can see the appeal - why go and change tour dates in ten different places when you can get a machine to do it for you? - but the side-effect is to remove the 'social' from the 'networking'. Surely what made MySpace a big attraction for music fans in the first place was the chance that you could go on line and write 'OMG I LURRRVE YOU LIL KELLY!!!1!!!!' and know there was a chance that Lil'Kelly (or at least one of his proxies) might see the post.

It's slightly less thrilling when you know that the closest anyone associated with artist ever gets to their MySpace is giving its password to a robot, isn't it?

So, then, the internet has come along and, for the first time since recorded music started, it's possible for the artist and audience to be intimate, regular contact, and ArtistData have come along to try and save the artist from this nasty threat.

And is the outsourcing of contact such a sweet deal for the artist anyway? The company promises 'Post once, publish everywhere' but offers neither Bebo nor Facebook as part of the 2.0 realm in which it operates. So you'll still need your interns, cutting and pasting, cutting and pasting.

What's most fascinating is the last line of ArtistData's pitch:

With all the time you saved go do something more useful and move your career forward.

Because, of course, there's no way interacting with the people who buy your records and come to your gigs could possibly be considered career development, could it?

You're never alone with The Jam

Hey, don't think that Paul Weller can't still stick it to the man, right: he's gotten The Cliffs Pavilion in Southend landed with a sort-of serious warning after lighting up on stage (not often 'Weller', 'light' and 'on-stage' appear together, is it?). The council are livid.

Well, not exactly livid:

"We think the law was breached so we have issued a warning," Steve Ramm, of Southend Borough Council, said.

"We considered the matter but under the terms of our enforcement policy, we have issued the warning to Southend Theatres Limited at this stage.

"If a similar occurrence were to take place in future, we would be likely to take further action."

That 'further action' could very well include, ooh, further warnings under the terms of the enforcement policy. Surely we can expect a song about this on the next Weller solo record?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not quite so many other music blogs are available

Top-flight US music writer-stuffed website Juke has been juiced. You might not have heard of it; that's because it never quite got out the starting gates. CBSi had somehow ended up owning the service, and appear to have decided it was better off closing it down before it did anything.

Oh yes, Twitter, of course

After six months of not apparently having done anything, Radio One suddenly re-embraces Twitter.

Seed's appeal falls on stony ground

Kev Seed won't be returning to Radio City; the company has rejected his appeal against his suspension.

In other atonement for sins at Bauer, Tim Shaw no longer works at Kerrang after fixing it for a mate to win a pre-recorded competition:

Shaw, who has since moved to Absolute Radio, admitted that he had fixed the competition but told the station's owners, Bauer, that he believed he was "doing the right thing by rewarding a loyal and deserving listener", who he knew suffered from a chronic and debilitating illness and was a fan of the Rolling Stones.

Wow. While it's nice to help someone with a nasty illness, if that was what Shaw wanted to do, wouldn't it have made more sense to just give him the prize rather than invent a fixed competition? What if other loyal and deserving listeners who loved the Stones and had chronic illnesses had tried to enter?

Tim Shaw is now working for Absolute Radio - what used to be Virgin - so at least he's somewhere where there are no listeners to harm.

We7 goes free

We7's free, streaming ad-supported service has launched, bringing cost-free-ish music to a UK audience.

Is this an iTunes killer?

Nope. As most tracks display a prominent 'Buy from iTunes' button.

Currently, the British public are using the system to stream that X Factor song the most, which seems like getting a fabulous toy and deciding to play with scat instead.

Guns N Roses comp: I wonder if Gordon will enter?

Guns N Roses are barking up the interest in their new album by running a competition with a special prize:

Guns N' Roses are offering fans the chance to hear their new album Chinese Democracy before anyone else.

Apart from, you know, the people who already have copied off the internet. Apart from them. But you'll always have the knowledge that you're the first person to legitimately hear the record, not counting the band, their entourage, the label, the marketing team, the chaps at Best Buy who okayed the exclusive deal, and anyone who happened to be around during mastering. Apart from them.

What do you have to do?
To hear the long-awaited album, fans have to show off their top skills in an air guitar competition.

Those wishing to enter should upload their "craziest, most inappropriate air guitar" performance to the band's YouTube channel.

Isn't all public air guitar inappropriate? Isn't this only a step away from asking people to send webcam footage of their best masturbation technique to the band (you can have that one for free, Akon)?

IMVU offers virtual music for real money

IMVU, that clunky-looking avatar thing that are like Second Life without the credulous press coverage, is introducing streaming music and mp3 downloads to its world. Which you can pay for, with virtual money, which you can buy with real money:

In a call last week, IMVU CEO Cary Rosenzweig told me that the music store instantly became one of the site’s most popular features. He believes it’s the next step after what he calls Music 1.0, in which music is simply bought and downloaded off the Internet. This, he thinks, is part of the Music 2.0 era, where songs are enjoyed together, in a shared online experience, be it on social networks like MySpace, or in virtual worlds.

Imagine that - playing music in a social environment. Thank god computers will allow us to do that. If only we could do it in the real world.

In effect, though, this is just another mp3 store - albeit one where you get to turn yourself into a vaguely punky-looking woman in a short skirt before you buy the songs, and have to transfer your money you could spend anywhere into some sort of virtual truck ticket. It's clear that it might make IMVU a more interesting place to be for those already there; it's unlikely to attract anyone seeking an online music experience to IMVU on its own, though.

More Paramore

Paramore aren't just pretty faces, you know. Or three pretty faces and the other bloke. Oh, no: they're a proper band, and they're working hard on their next record. Josh Farro has been talking about the process:

''We have anywhere from eight to 10 musical ideas. They’re all pretty much just music; I think Hayley’s got some lyrics somewhere and bits of melody that she sings along to whenever we’re sound-checking a song. For the most part, it’s really early on.''

As many as ten ideas, but certainly not fewer than eight. That's almost enough ideas for an album. More or less. Don't run away with the idea that the band are flapping about without a clue what to do now, oh no:
'I think there’s gonna be more of a dynamic on this record than the last one, the last one was pretty straightforward the whole time. We wanna try and expand and try different genres of music in a way that still keeps it Paramore. It’ll be a tricky one, but I think we’ve got some really cool songs, like we’ve got an acoustic song that Taylor and I wrote and it doesn’t sound anything like Paramore, but I think that’s kinda good.'

Aha. A record with more of a dynamic on. That's great news - who wants a record with less of a dynamic? If I had one major criticism of Paramore, it was the low-level of dynamics on the album. But thank God - praise the very toes of the Lord himself - that they're adding on these increased dynamic levels while still making sound like Paramore, and simultaneously not sounding like Paramore at all.

Gordon in the morning: He reads Facebook so you don't have to

How is Gordon keeping up with the latest developments in Amy Winehouse's confused and sad world?

Erm, by reading Facebook:

AMY WINEHOUSE has lost it with husband BLAKE FIELDER-CIVIL after learning he contacted “other woman” SOPHIE SCHANDORFF before getting in touch with her after leaving jail.

As I revealed on Saturday, model Sophie used her Facebook page to say she was “celebrating the return of her sailor”.

Isn't copying something off Facebook rather less than a revelation, what with, by definition, that information having already been published? You know, I can copy the news that Gordon has a puppy called Lord Fletcher ("what a character") off his Bebo page, but that hardly makes me Woodward. Or Bernstein.

Nice to see The Sun running prison shower rape gags, though:
Funny that — his soap-on-a-rope mates in prison are probably missing their little sailor too . . .

Thank god Rupert Murdoch is providing clean, family entertainment, offering an alternative to that sexcually-obsessed muck Brand and Ross churn out on the BBC, right?

More 'exclusive first listens' for Gordon today, as Coldplay give the world's softest critic a chance to lick them clean. They've made a new ep, and - you might not believe this - Gordon believes it's brilliant:
Their new Prospekt’s March EP, which I’m the only journalist on the planet to have heard, is their most wildly eclectic offering to date.

Thumping hip-hop jams, thundering metal workouts, Indian tablas and colliery brass bands all jostle for space on their brilliant, bold and, at times, bonkers eight-tracker.

Oh, Gordon, if only you had more than two thumbs to have permanently up when given these exclusives.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Franz Ferdinand not going all Damon Albarn on us

Talking to Drowned In Sound, Nick McCarthy distances Franz Ferdinand from tales that they've gone all Eno collaboration on us and slapped an approximation of an "African" sound on us:

I'm not actually sure where the African thing came from. The album's not like that, anyway! I think it was because we played an African Express gig in Liverpool and someone got the idea from that that we'd be doing a load of African music. There's a couple of songs, one for sure, that's got an Afro-Carribean, 6/8 feel to it... we've listened to a lot of African music and taken some things from it, but it's not an African record. We're from Glasgow, you know?

Well, yes, but on the other hand Lily Allen's hardly from Kingston Town, is she? Doesn't stop her from trying to sound like UB40...

Waves round the Bandstand

From the splendid Bandstand Busking site, which invites bands to a bandstand in order to... well, busk, this is The Wave Pictures:

You can see three more tracks from the session over at

X Factor: It's your votes that are ruining it

James P emails with news from Saturday nights on ITV:

Thought you might like this, even though it's not technically a music story; X Factor judge Cheryl Cole is furious to discover that viewers don't always vote on singing ability. After losing one of her acts on Saturday for the first time, the singer berated "sympathy voters" and complained "They're not voting on talent, that's for definite". This is presumably a reference to various contestants who have made no secret of their deceased spouses, children who they're 'doing it for' etc, and have survived each elimination so far.

Oddly, despite her outrage at the situation, she then goes on to admit that she's part of the problem; "Do you know what, I've sat at home and done it myself - voted for people I like, people I've felt sorry for on the evening," she continued. "That's just how this show goes". A large penny then drops, not unlike the sort of penny which could've dropped into a nightclub toilet's 'Tips' plate a few years ago to avoid a lot of unseemly business, when Cole has a sudden realisation: "I think it might have been a bit tactical if I'm totally honest with you". Apparently distracted, she then didn't add "Hang on... Statue of Liberty... That planet was Earth! Now I get it."

I can almost see the thinking behind bringing in a judge that viewers can relate to, someone who's watched the programme themselves in the past. However, is it me, or does it take blinkers the size of 'Golf Sale' signs for someone not to notice that maybe X Factor is not so much a Butlins talent show, more an episode of Esther Rantzen's short-lived series 'Hearts of Gold' with a peripheral music round?

It's not like that on Deal Or No Deal, though - there, as soon as a contestant starts to mention the dead uncle, or the grandkiddy with an inside-out face that they just want to send to Disneyland, you know they're going to wind up going home with seventeen quid and a sympathetic hug from Noel. If only the X Factor could be so steely.

We are the world: 2008 World Music Awards

Back when all it did was fill a slot between two ITN Night Network news bulletins, the World Music Awards were just a little silly. Now, though, with barely a week passing between launches of yet-more-tenuous music prizes, they're starting to look like the elder statesmen of the awards worlds. Obviously not a Bevan or a Kennedy, but a Ramsay MacDonald, perhaps.

In theory.

They're still just as weak and pointless in practice, though. With all the world to choose from, the winners were:

Best rock band: Coldplay
Best selling act: Coldplay
Best female pop: Leona Lewis
Best male pop: Kid Rock
Best female pop/rock: Amy Winehouse
Best male pop/rock: Kid Rock
Best R&B: Alicia Keys
Best hip-hop: Lil Wayne

This lot almost reads like a form being completed by someone who merely wants to enter a prize draw and writing down the first names they've thought of. What has Winehouse done this year to make her the best female in any field? In the last twelve months? Exactly?

And Kid Rock? You know, it's possible to enjoy a puppet show without having to tell the glove puppet it's the Larry Olivier of its generation.

The haunting air of 'can you name a band' hangs over the diamond award, which is given each year to, oh, anyone who'll turn up. This year it went to Ringo Starr, for being in The Beatles. Ringo! Even the MTV European Awards managed to persuade McCartney to turn up. What was plan B if Ringo wouldn't show? Pete Best or Bill Wyman?

Dude, you're not getting a Dell

Dell had been rumouring plans to launch a new mp3 player device - an iPod killer, naturally - but it's quietly dropping the idea. So, less an iPod killer, more an mp3 device which saw market conditions, and dug out its pearl-handled revolver.

Ofcom plans to save DAB by law

Today's Radio At The Edge conference saw Ofcom's Peter Davies floating a thought up the mast to see how many sinking rats saluted: perhaps Parliament should make some laws to make DAB work?

The idea would be legislation allowing Ofcom to change the ways that digital radio licences are handed out, enabling the rules to be relaxed and new entrants brought in to... you know... somehow make it all... work. Or perhaps just forcing people to listen by law. So that, in 2012, TV adverts will encourage children to report parents to the authorities if they don't listen to a regulation forty-seven minutes of Dr Fox a day.

Commercial radio, though, seems less than keen on pushing on with DAB, having poured in some money already and having seen very low returns. Especially at a time when the companies are happily, Circuit City like, finding ways to cut back their core services without caring much about quality. It's hard to see what new laws could really do.

The DAB problem is thrown into sharper relief when you compare the US and UK services.

DAB enthusiasts in the UK suggest that what is needed is a radio 'Freeview' moment. But Freeview succeeded by bringing a free service to a previous pay-platform, and expanded the quality and number of channels on offer. DAB is already free-to-air, and (at least initially) offered a wider range of stations; it seems unlikely that having a radio version of E4 was going to make much of a difference.

In the US, DAB is being sold as HD Radio - again, using a TV metaphor, hoping that traction will be found by promising higher quality sound. But DAB - as audiophiles will drone on at you at great length - is no guarantor of audio fidelity.

Trying to sell radio as if it was TV won't work. The BBC's suite of stations does offer something new, but it's not unique to DAB. You could, perhaps, increase the hours of listening to DAB radios by switching 6Music and Radio 7's streams off satellite and the web - but that would make you less popular than Russell Brand at Andrew Sachs' family gatherings.

Ladytron in a bottle

There we were, mid-scoff at the idea that Christina Aguilera was looking forward on her new record when we spotted this:

[T]he singer is planning a new album she describes as “futuristic,” with collaborations with the forward-looking Sia, Goldfrapp and Ladytron.

Ladytron? Working with Aguilera? One or other of them is going to walk away from that with a totally re-graded reputation.

Meanwhile, though, Aguilera is pulling together a Greatest Hits collection. And struggling to explain why calling herself a bitch is, you know, somehow a feminist statement:
“I’m running a business,” she says, “and sometimes being the boss of your own empire and creation, you have to be assertive. Being a female, that comes with being labeled a ‘bitch’ and given titles that men wouldn’t receive. But if that’s what I’m going to be called by being assertive and knowing who I am and what I want out of life, so be it. I wear that label proudly.”

And so it's some sort of positive thing to call yourself and not merely pandering to a male market who sees the very idea of a woman being successful as somehow unnatural. Or, indeed, making people think that it's okay to call someone a bitch.

Still, it's nice to see Aguilera admit that she's effectively running a small business rather than pretending she's an artist in any way.

How businesses fail

Consumerist has an interesting chart depicting Circuit City's fall from grace - on the day the remaining stores in the US chain files for protective bankruptcy. The first major mistake? Sacking 3,400 staff to replace them with cheaper replacements. When will companies learn that people who earn a little more usually do so for a reason, and while you can cut a few bucks off the wage bill, you're going to lose more by the drop in customer service.

Warners wants it all

Edgar Bronfman, the man who is - let's say - in charge of Warners Music Group, has announced that in future they'll only be interested in signing 360 degree deals with artists.

You can see why this might be appealing to Warners - after all, their core business, the one in which they have expertise, isn't doing as well nowadays. But where would be the value for an artist, when looking for a 360 degree deal, in signing with a company whose expertise lays in the bit that isn't doing as well nowadays?

True, through some of the last month's merger of management company Front Line and Ticketmaster, Warner is now represented on the board of an organisation which offers concert promotion and career management. But Ticketmaster is looking to sign up 360 deals itself - would you stable your horse with someone whose mate also does training if you could just place him with a trainer who runs his own stable as well?

Capital of Culture update: The year's highlight approaches

The Standards Board for England inquiry into the tussle between Liverpool City Council's Warren Bradley and Mike Storey, and Jason Harborow of the Culture Company has been completed. The central figures have been delivered a draft of the findings; oddly, the Standards Board thinks they should get a chance to comment on them before the people who have paid their wages do. Still, not long now before we should all find out what really happened, or an official approximation thereof.

Barat makes solo return

Dirty Pretty Things pretty much done - save for one last fleeting farewell gig - Carl Barat is preparing his solo career. First business? support for Glasvegas in Hollywood.

Is it just me, but with a gig on Santa Monica Boulevard and that shades-on Buzzcocks appearance, haven't Glasvegas managed to catapult themselves to the 'slightly disappointing' status that it took years and years of diminishing self-awareness for Primal Scream to achieve?

Madonna eventually offers guidance on Proposition 8

Madonna has muttered something about how terrible it is that Proposition 8 - the Mormon-funded ban on gay marriage in California - has passed. Rather than the applause she was expecting, the reaction has been a little cool. Not least, people are wondering why she waited to say anything until after the election, rather than adding her weight to the 'No' campaign before the elections. Like, for example, when she played in San Francisco last Sunday.

E!'s Marc Malkin asked her representatives why she didn't say anything before:

Asked about Madonna's noninvolvement with Prop 8, her rep emailed me, "The one thing I do not have to do is defend Madonna's very very heartfelt and extensive commitment financially, verbally and numerous other ways to gay rights in the course of her career."

Which actually doesn't really answer the question, does it? "She gave some verbal support to the gays in the past so didn't really need to even say anything about it this time"? Seriously?

Glitter shocker

More confusion stirred up by Gary Glitter, as The Sun and the Telegraph fly into a panic at the suggestion that children doing GCSE music might listen to Leader Of The Gang.

The sense of absurdity isn't entirely helped by a usually-sensible charity getting involved:

Dr Michele Elliot, director of children's charity Kidscape, has insisted that the papers be re-issued.

She said: "AQA need to get Glitter off there. It sends totally the wrong message to paedophiles' victims."

You might, Michele, want to think twice before calling for anyone to get Glitter off. If Elliott explains exactly why considering the structure of a piece of music sends any sort of message to "paedophiles' victims", the Telegraph doesn't find space for that explanation; nor does Elliot explain if she believes that all existing copies of Glitter's work should be destroyed, nor if anyone convicted of any sexual offence should be prevented from working in any field at all in future. But I'm sure she would have thought these issues through and isn't just throwing her charity's good name behind a silly kneejerk moral panic.

Heroobit: Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba has died in Italy, apparently after being taken ill on stage.

Born in South Africa in 1932, Makeba was a powerful voice against apartheid - to the extent that her citizenship was revoked in 1960, forcing her to live in exile for three decades.

Musically, her journey took her from supporting vocals in her cousin's Cuban Brothers group, through the all-woman Skylarks, to a powerful solo career launched with a role in the musical King Kong. But it was an appearance in Come Back Africa which shaped her life - she sang two songs in the anti-apartheid movie and appeared in Venice when the film was shown at the festival. It was from this trip that she would not return for 31 years - she was saved by a US visa organised by Harry Belafonte.

Although - along with most African music - it's often thought that she was 'discovered' during her work with Paul Simon when he was being the Damon Albarn of the 1980s, she had an American chart hit as early as 1967 with Pata Pata. Her status in America, though, took a knock in 1968 when she married Stokely Carmichael. Although keen to offer her a safe haven from her racist government at home, some Americans weren't happy for her to become connected so publicly to their own civil rights movement. Her records were dropped from the radio, promoters declining to offer her slots on stage.

By now, though, other African nations were coming to her aid - Guinea was the first to offer her a diplomatic passport, but others would follow (Castro also gave her the status of a Cuban diplomat). Eventually, she would settle in Belgium where she stayed until 1990. That year, Mandela's government welcomed her back to her native South Africa as a hero.

Makeba continued to work until 2005, when she announced an intention to withdraw from music. Her farewell gig had been supposed to be in Wurzburg in 2006, but she was tempted back on stage for this year's Brighton Festival. She had been peforming once again - at an event in support of Roberto Saviano and against organised crime - when she was taken ill.

Miriam Makeba was 76; her publicist told the South African station Talk Radio 702 that she had been suffering from bad arthritis for some time but did not know the cause of her death.

Gordon in the morning: Strained relations

Even in the happiest of families, there are stresses and strains as everyone tries to rub along together. Perhaps Gordon's understanding of how difficult things are between The Sun and its Sunday sister News of the World that makes him understanding about the difficulty in Peaches Geldof's marriage. Or maybe it's just the joy in kicking down the splashy exclusive from yesterday's News Of The World:

PEACHES GELDOF and MAX DRUMMEY are battling to save their marriage at a secret location in America, The Sun can reveal.

A pal - presumably a different "a pal" from the "a pal" who spoke to the NOTW - tells how the pair, yes, have their difficulties but are fighting, fighting, fighting to at least make it to the 100 day mark.

Meanwhile, Simon Rothstein gets his paws on pictures of Jenny Frost modeling Playboy knickers:
JENNY FROST poses in two more sexy outfits from Playboy’s new lingerie line.

But there’s bad news lads – this is the furthest she’ll go for HUGH HEFNER

There is something curious about Frost's decision to promote Playboy while not embracing Playboy, something that Rothstein hints at, as much as he can in the cookie-cutter 'look - bras' world of Gordon's pages:
The ex-ATOMIC KITTEN star said: “Some of those Playboy magazine shots are beautiful, but I will be keeping my Bunny Bra firmly on!”

It's a pity that the paper doesn't take this further - there's a fascinating question of if flogging a brand which relies on softcore porn while considering that to be somehow beneath you is an entirely comfortable position to be in, and if all you're doing is providing a thin cover of respectability for a business that is really about exploiting women, but Rothstein doesn't seem to have the stomach for it. Pity. They could have run it on page three.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

For those of you who don't like the tabloid coverage...

Here's a small gift for you if you enjoy No Rock but are one of the commenters who mention - often - that you don't think we should do the stuff about the tabloids:

a webfeed that delivers all No Rock posts, but without the 3AM Girls or Gordon Smart posts.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Sean O'Hagan talks to Scott Walker in the Observer:

In person, Scott Walker does not look like a living legend. His clothes are casual - faded jeans, denim jacket, trainers - and his manner diffident but charming. Throughout the interview, he sits perched, thin and bird-like, on the edge of a huge, floral-patterned sofa as if, at any moment, he might take flight. He looks much younger than his 65 years but his eyes, when I catch a glimpse of them beneath that pulled-down baseball cap, have a flickering intensity that speaks of deep unease. It is hard to imagine that he was ever a heart-throb who induced mass hysteria. For a moment, though, back in the mid-Sixties, the Walker Brothers, who weren't brothers at all, were known as 'America's Beatles'.

'Oh, it was amazing at first,' he says, smiling, 'but a little goes a long way. I was not cut out for that world. I love pop music, but I didn't have the temperament for fame.'

EMI splits into three

There's a certain degree of logic in the plans for no-not-failing EMI splitting its business into three. It'll now have a division for its catalogue, a division for music services and a division for new music. It's not immediately clear where the splits are - music services, presumably, is going to use catalogue to provide these services; what point does a new Coldplay album become a catalogue album? The main reasoning would seem to be it'd make it simpler to spin off any bits - like making new records - which cost more than they bring in, should the need arise.

Still, Terra Firma is committed to trying to make the thing work:

[Recorded Music chief executive] Leoni-Sceti said: "EMI is absolutely not bankrupt, far from it. EMI has never been in such a financially sound situation. Terra Firma is a solid financial owner and is committed to this company … and committed to putting in more equity if it is required."

Well, in a market like the one we're now in, it's not like it's hard to raise money to throw about in a desperate fashion, is it?

Torrent's business head falls off

Ashwin Navin, who has attempted for ages to find a way to make money from BitTorrent, is throwing in the towel and quitting as BitTorrent Inc's President. Navin is planning on setting up something in partnership with one of the YouTube guys. We'd check which one, but by the time we'd done the search, the company will have failed.

Peaches: It's on again

BBC News Online is reporting denials of today's News of the World story that Peaches Geldof is divorcing her husband, Thingy McThing of the Chester Cheetos.

Mind you, BBC News Online also describes Geldof as a "dj and television presenter", so I'm not sure I'd accept their word on this one.

Another 'you're pirating yourself' case

This isn't, sadly, the first time this has happened: Luke Fishbeck out of Lucky Dragons has had his website frozen - and his online store shuttered - because, erm, he was giving away his own music under a Creative Commons licence. He's appealing for assistance through his Facebook page:

"had my website shut down for copyright violation for sharing stuff i made myself under creative commons... lawyer friends help?"

It's not just vexing; with his legitimate store closed, it's costing Luke real money - and, you could argue, running the heavy-handed ISP up a potential claim for loss.

The host in question appears to be, judging by a quick whois look-up.

[Thanks to Alex B for the tip]

Darkness at 3AM: Bono and Macca bend space, time

This came from yesterday's 3AM:

Paul McCartney took bezzie mate Bono on a Magical Mystery Tour of his old Liverpool haunts before they both flew into town for the awards.

Leaving aside that Macca has gone to Liverpool so infrequently in the past three decades it'd be like getting a tour of London from Boudaceia, how exactly did McCartney give Bono a tour before they went to the city?

Shiny new band: Bad Flirt

Actually, not that new: Jasamine White-Gluz was working under the name in 2002; the band has been going since 2004 and they released a debut record in 2005. We've got the phrase 'shouty shoe-pop' noted down here and how could a blog that took its name from Sleater-Kinney not love a band like this?

This is the video for Hiroshima, Mon Frere - named after the episode of The Wonder Years where Wayne mucked about with Paul and Kevin's science project and, hey, I guess we all learned something that day, right? It's off the album Virgin Talk:

Rav is dead; long live... erm, XS

A historic day, then, as Rav Singh finally limps away from the News Of The World, being replaced by - oh, lord - Celeb XS with Dan Wootton. No, they really have called it Celeb XS, like some sort of teen-aimed deodorant.

Dan, of course, can't help marking this historic occasion with a welcoming blog entry:

Hi, and thanks for coming to check out Celeb XS.. I hope you like it!

Every day I'll be updating this blog with the best celebrity stories from all over the world. If it happens, it'll be here!

So make sure you bookmark this page and come back every day for a bundle of exclusive showbiz stories.

It's not clear how many constitutes a "bundle", nor what level of story is considered so important as to be published straight away rather than waiting for Sunday's paper - something less earth-shattering than 'Peaches to divorce', presumably.

You might have thought that in 2008, rather than suggesting 'bookmarking' you might make an RSS feed available, but apparently not. Indeed, Dan is still getting to grips with concepts of links:
On the top left there are links to some of my favourite sites on the net. Go check them out - they're brilliant too!

Included is Sky Showbiz, Gordon Smart, Perez Hilton and Popbitch - so, a surprising collection of websites, there. Do you suppose Dan was really thinking 'hey, I'll tell them about the TMZ site - that'll blow their minds'?
And up on the top right are you can click to watch my latest Celeb XS Uncut video - with some hilarious stuff from Amy, Becks and Jordan!

Does anyone else find the word 'hilarious' - when self-applied - to be a warning on a par with a person wearing a hat with a whirring propeller on the top?

Dan Woot! Woot! Wootton also includes a feature called "Carcrash", where people are being encouraged to send in sneaky shots of famous people. I imagine he's chosen the name for the section as a tribute to Princess Diana.

Peaches bruised

I'm not sure the News Of The World can quite claim an exclusive that Peaches Geldof is divorcing - isn't that like claiming an exclusive on 'water runs downhill' or something?

So, then, who got 96 days in the sweepstake?

The Screws turns at this difficult time to "a pal" to provide some comfort and support:

A pal of Peaches, 19, told us: "She realised it was all a mistake - and her dad Sir Bob is delighted."

That's exactly what a friend would say - "her dad Sir Bob" - for don't we all not only explain who relatives might be, but also give them (erroneously) their title? Still, we're betting her Dad, Sir Bob, must be thrilled at the costs and horrors of a very public ill-conceived marriage and a tatty old divorce. Thrilled beyond belief.

These weeks just gone

We've been on holiday for the last couple of weeks - this is what people have been reading while we've been away:

1. R Kelly's troubling habit of videoing himself having sex
2. McFly's troubling habit of getting naked
3. Beth 'remember her' Ditto's naked NME cover
4. Joe The Plumber appoints a PR firm
5. Lily Allen swaps her clothes
6. Robbie Williams loves Keira Knightley
7. Von Sudenfed and Mark E Smith video
8. RIP: Shakir Stewart
9. Manda Rin caught in Brand-Ross-Sachs crossfire
10. MP3: School Of Seven Bells

These were some of the releases from the time we were away:

The Shop Assistants - Will Anything Happen?

The Long Blondes - Singles

Okkervil River - The Stand Ins

Will Oldham & Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Is It The Sea?

Loreena McKennitt - A Midwinter's Night Dream

Thompson Twins - A Product Of.../Set

Various - Jon Savage Presents....

Danielle Dax - Dark Adapted Eye

Lotus Eaters - Silentspace

Pink - Funhouse

Bloc Party - Intimacy

Los Campesinos - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

Chairlift - Does You Inspire You?

Steinski - What Does It All Mean?

Various - BBC Radiophonic Workshop: A Retrospective

School Of Seven Bells - Alpinism