Something we'd missed in the stream of stuff over the last couple of weeks: Design Republic has gone out of business. A combination of tax demands, lost pitches and a client suddenly not paying a bill conspired to bring the organisation down; amongst their work they were responsible for turning Pop Will Eat Itself from a bunch of scruffy greebos into a space-age digital outfit, and found a visual style to match The Age Of Chance's grounded futurism. Ian Anderson plans to start again, though, so if you're a band and looking for a distinctive cover art image, you might want to hang around in Sheffield and hope to get lucky.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Yes, yes, last year's Pop Charts was fun. But none reached the level of this graphical presentation of The Cure's Friday I'm In Love.
The 3AM Girls might be pleased to have discovered that this years supposedly-surprising collaboration is going to be The Ting Tings and Estelle. It's the common Brit organisers trick of making the less-well-known act double up with someone a little bit more familiar, so they can have the credibility without losing too much of the ITV audience during the three minutes they're on.
But could they just tell us? Oh no. They went for a joke first:
We're sure to be Gavin' a laugh at this year's Brit Awards - especially with Gavin & Stacey funnymen Mathew Horne and James Corden hosting the annual music extravaganza.
Sometimes, you do wonder if they've got a bet on to see at what point an editor might intervene, don't you?
Having blogged yesterday about Global Radio's heavy handed attempts to smother Bad Science (having been quite happy to propagate bad science, without the capital letters).
In the interests of balance, Jeni Barnett has posted a blog entry defending her original broadcast. Or attempting to:
I am not a scientist, I would not claim to be a scientist. When tested on the contents of the MMR vaccine I told the truth. I did not have the facts to hand. Was I ill informed? Yes. As a responsible broadcaster I should have been better prepared as a parent, however, I can fight my corner. I don't know everything that goes into cigarettes but I do know they are harmful.
So... let's just work through that thought. Jeni is admitting that she didn't know what she was talking about; she admits that she was being "irresponsible" as the presenter of the programme for holding forth on a subject about which she didn't have any of the facts, but somehow justifies this because she has a child.
And then she compounds the problems by suggesting trying to create a fallacy: "I don't know what goes into cigarettes, but I know they're bad."
Eh? But surely you know that cigarettes contain carcinogens, which is why they cause cancer. You presumably know there's evidence, lots and lots of it, which links cigarettes to lung cancer. If you don't know about that evidence, you probably shouldn't be broadcasting on radio; you probably should be thinking about doing some basic GCSEs.
But even if that level of ignorance was defensible, saying "I know cigarettes are bad, I don't know how" doesn't justify broadcasting dangerous rubbish about MMR. Because MMR doesn't cause autism, so implying that it doesn't matter you don't understand the science of MMR, it's enough to know it does harm is doubly foolish - it's foolish because it simply isn't good enough to take such a weak approach to a difficult subject; it's foolish because it simply isn't true to claim that there's a danger in the triple jab. And you'd know that if you'd researched the subject. And as you admit, you hadn't.
The real question is why Global are sending legal threats to Ben Goldacre when, really, they should be calling in their presenter and asking why she thinks having procreated is some sort of excuse for taking a biased and wrong position on a programme where she should have been acting as a balanced moderator.
I would like some of my critics to try and run a three hour programme.
Eh? You can't call someone for turning up to do a show, admitting they didn't have any facts on the subject they were talking about, and still blasting out fallacious science if you haven't presented a three-hour radio programme. What's that even mean, Jeni? "It's enough having to remember to play the commercials and not crash the news - you can't expect me to know what I'm talking about."
I am interested in the debate not a witch hunt.
A debate - although not one where you're bothered to find out what you're talking about before starting it.
Should anybody from BAD SCIENCE read this I urge you to continue the debate, and if it gets too heated there is always the option of turning me off.
Well, yes, Jeni - except the problem is, anyone can turn you off. What they can't turn off is the rising level of measles cases that are being generated by ignorant commentators like you frightening parents into not getting their children inoculated. And if you're going to justify doing that, it's probably in all our interests to have your show switched off permanently. On the supply side.
In the week when Sony have put Amanda Ghost in charge at Epic, it's worth remembering that having someone with a music background at the top of a label isn't quite as new as we all thought. Only the New York Times remembered, and it perhaps says a lot about how ineffective Rick Rubin has been at Columbia that nobody responded "what about Rubin" when Ghost was talking about how this is a new model.
Certainly, to judge by the Times piece, Sony weren't going to be keen to push the parallel. Especially as it's precisely because Rubin isn't drawn from the business side of the, um, business, which might explain why his record ain't that great:
Associates of Mr. Rubin, some of whom spoke anonymously because they did not want to anger him, described the situation as one in which Mr. Rubin has steadily lost influence over the organization because his style is so different from that of the usual executive and because he is often absent from the corporate offices. The impression from these interviews is of a power game within Columbia in which Mr. Rubin refuses to participate.
Rubin himself wouldn't talk to the paper; his spokesperson did:
In an e-mail message, Heidi Ellen Robinson-Fitzgerald, his longtime publicist, referred to “misconceptions and false gossip that have been running rampant of late” in the music industry concerning Mr. Rubin.
Well, perhaps, but isn't the music business the sort of place where the "false gossip" drives the story? And if you're a wonderful success, that tends to stop the sort of vacuum developing in which misconceptions flourish.
Sony records have killed the GUN records imprint, created by BMG and Bogdan Kopec and Wolfgang Funk back in 1992. The acts signed to the label will either shift to Sony sub labels Four Music or Columbia Germany.
Of course, it's bloody London again, but possibly worth having a crappy journey on Virgin for: ABC and the BBC Concert Orchestra are playing through the whole of The Lexicon Of Love at the Royal Albert Hall on April 8th.
It's clearly true that Victoria Beckham has flown from America to Europe. It's well known that David Beckham is keen to start playing for a proper football team again. The rest of Gordon's man Richard White's report this morning is surely at best overwrought:
Posh jets in for talks on Becks’ Milan plan
VICTORIA BECKHAM jetted in from Los Angeles yesterday to be reunited with hubby DAVID to discuss his possible permanent transfer to AC Milan.
Well, yes, they'll probably talk about it. But jets in for talks? He's thinking about changing teams, not deploying troops. Visits her husband, perhaps?
Meanwhile, Gordon himself is thrilled to have the "video exclusive" of the U2 video:
BONO and the boys have chosen my website to premiere the vid for new single Get On Your Boots.
You might, of course, have also seen it elsewhere on the internet yesterday. Like on Interscope's website, for example.
Still, what Interscope don't have is a simplistic video explained in even more simplistic terms:
I had no idea what any of it means, but luckily guitarist THE EDGE was on hand to explain.
He says: "The video is based around the idea that men have fucked things up so badly, politically, economically and socially, that it's really time we handed things over to women.
"The finished video is brilliant. Alex really nailed it."
I'm not certain, but I think this might be the first video which is based on The Worm That Turned from The Two Ronnies.
But is Gordon and his team starting to get embarrassed about running "news stories" which are basically puffs for actual news stories, given to magazines by the sort of genuine celebrity who won't talk to The Sun? Today's piece on Liv Tyler, for example, merely credits the copying of chunks of text from a fashion magazine to a "staff reporter".
Friday, February 06, 2009
Will Young writes about going on Question Time for the Daily Telegraph. He's pretty honest:
There were also times when I thought I was out of my depth and I didn't really understand what they were talking about – but then I don't have a politician's level of artillery.
Honest, but also proving why he was a bad choice. If I want to hear a debate where participants "don't really understand" what's being discussed, I could tune in to Nicky Campbell's phone-in, couldn't I? Question Time is meant to be informed debate, surely?
There hasn't been a proper album from The Lightning Seeds since 1999, but the wait is almost over. Actually, I say "wait", but you don't really wait for the Seeds to release an album, do you? That's not to disparage Ian Broudie's product, but it's music that you enjoy when you hear, rather than spend your time looking forward to hearing. Which probably means they shouldn't have bothered trailing a June release quite so soon.
The EconMusic conference was graced today with its keynote speaker, Courtney Holt. Courtney is the CEO of MySpace Music, and the big question on everyone's minds was how, exactly, will MySpace make a profit on its activities?
He's "optimistic" that it will deliver revenue, which surely is a bit less gung-ho than you'd hope for if it was your business he was running. Ooh, yes, I'm sure we'll make revenue. Some day. But:
“I’m being very sober about how we’re going to get there, but my goal is to run a profitable business,” he said.
Well, yes. Since you're not rescuing orphan dolphins or trying to take underprivileged kids to Disneyland, I'd have assumed your goal would have been to make a profit. At some point.
There seems to be some sort of vague hope that, if the advertising market proves a little clunky, MySpace Music might be sitting on a goldmine of data:
Holt also said the site has a data goldmine that brands, artists and the labels all want access to: “We know whether someone has friended an artist, whether they listened to them on the band page, or their friend’s page, whether their friends are listening—and artists that engage will get access to that data.” He added that MySpace Music would share some of the data with users too, as part of efforts to streamline music search and site navigation.
Hmm. Well, yes, that information is valuable. But if I were someone who wanted to know that sort of information, I might take the view that - since I'm providing MySpace with the content it needs, MySpace might want to share the data with me in return. "Hey, build a page, put your music on it, and we'll sell you details of what tunes your fans listen to" seems to be an offer that is all-too-easy to refuse.
This all becomes more pressing against a backdrop of News International's announcement of over six billion dollars in the last quarter of 2008 and JP Morgan less than impressed with MySpace's overall prospects. It might actually turn out Rupert Murdoch is funding a cyberplayground philanthropically - albeit unwittingly.
Bah. Coldplay have appointed lawyers to deal with the 'copying songs of someone else' problem, and so Joe Satriani's lawyers won't now need to serve papers on them during the Grammys ceremony.
Still, at least CBS can be a bit more relaxed about when they cut to commercials.
More recession-fun-wrecking: Plans to open two music venues in Fort Collins, Colorado have been put on hold. Good news for the neighbours of the proposed performance centers, though: they were planning to campaign against them anyway.
Noel Gallagher expects to be swept to power sometime soon:
"There will be a groundswell of public opinion sooner or later which will carry me into office.
“And let me tell you, I'll only be there five years and it'll all end in tears - but it will be a proper, proper laugh while it's happening".
Strangely, this matches David Cameron's secret masterplan. Gallagher, of course, is not without his popular support. But like Nigel Farrage, that support might be deep, but it's not very wide and the volume of its vocalisation cannot disguise the lack of coherent thought at its heart.
Still, Noel's going to sort out transport policy:
“I’d shut down the tube for a year, like I’d just say to everybody right, its gone for a year, but when we reopen it next year its going to be the best tube system in the entire world, right."
Yes. Of course. That would work. Noel doesn't explain how or where he'd have the current annual billion tube journeys be made during the year the service is out of action, nor if he's considered the disruption that partial closures cause and tried to imagine the effect of a full... I'm sorry, why am I about to start costing the proposals?... why... need to be more hands on... proper research...
[Thanks to Michael M]
Nice little statistic buried deep inside the Christian Science Monitor:
Tim O’Brien, head of business development at Tapulous pointed to a recent track by Katy Perry, the chart-topping American pop singer. More than 250,000 users [of iPhone app game Tap Tap Revenge] loaded “Hot N Cold,” Mr. O’Brien says, and of that number, 56,000 ended up purchasing the song from iTunes.
It's a nice little extra sale, on top of the modest fee for licensing the tune. With something making a small but unexpected profit, it's probably only going to be five minutes or so before label heads start to demand larger shares of revenue and/or issuing lawsuits.
[Tip of the hat: Musically]
Oh, poor Kanye. No sooner does he get over someone hacking his account and pretending that he wants to do some three-bloke-in-a-bed porn, than someone hacks him again and posts pretending to be him, sobbing over the Sixth Form satire of the new Oasis video:
SOMETIMES I SEE VIDEOS AND IT BREAKS MY HEART THAT THERE ARE SO FEW OUTLETS FOR VIDS THESE DAYS...
Yes, there are so few outlets for videos these days. If only someone could build a machine which would allow people to watch videos on demand; or maybe even build some sort of place or site into which they could somehow display pop videos, as if they were embedded in the page. A crazy dream, huh, fake Kanye?
Ben Goldacre - scourge of bad scientists worldwide - wrote a short feature condemning LBC presenter Jeni Barnett's ignorant and dangerous spouting on vaccinations. In the interests of fairness, he included a long clip of the broadcast about which he was complaining.
For his trouble, he's been hit with legal threats from Global Radio. Goldacre generously assumes the company is merely trying to protect its revenue (unbelievably, you can buy old editions of the Barnett programme for four pounds a pop). It's more likely that LBC are embarrassed at the idea of someone pointing out that they give a platform for biased nonsense and want to shut down any discussion of the programmes that they are unable to control.
Goldacre is appealing for help from anyone who knows a bit of media law.
Dewey Martin, drummer with Buffalo Springfield, has died.
Although born in Canada, Walter Milton Dwayne Midkiff (as he was known to his parents) spent some time in the US Army before taking up a role as a jobbing drummer in Nashville. Having kept the rhythm for everyone from Patsy Cline to The Everly Brothers, it was Faron Young who gave him more permanent work. With Young, Martin moved first to Vegas, and then on to LA.
In LA he joined Sir Raleigh & The Cupons, and then churned through a number of drum stools. In April 1966, though, he signed up to the job that would define him: Drumming for Buffalo Springfield.
He remained with the group through its short, difficult existence and, upon disbandment, attempted to create a spin-off, New Buffalo Springfield. Like New Leave It To Beaver, and New Coke, the band wasn't as well-received as the original; legal objections from Stills and Young meant an enforced name-change, and then Martin was kicked out of the remnants, Blue Mountain Eagle.
For Martin, it was back to working through short-lived projects - including a couple of solo records - before, in 1971, he gave up music in favour of becoming a car mechanic. He did take up professional sticks again - briefly in the 1980s with Pink Slip, and for Buffalo Springfield Revisited in the 1990s.
Dewey Martin was 68; he was found dead in Van Nuys of unknown causes.
Had Will Young's presence on last night's Question Time not been trailed a few weeks earlier, the assumption would have been that Dunstable was so snow-bound, they'd been forced to top-up the panel with anyone who happened to be in the area and in possession of a fairly-famous face.
And had he been parachuted in to fill a snow-created gap, you'd probably praise him for doing a good, making-up-the-numbers sort-of job. Indeed, most of last night's panel - Geoff Hoon, Nigel Farrage, Theresa May - had the air of possessing a good set of snow tyres rather than something anyone would want to hear.
Let's be honest, though: Young didn't really do anything to prove those who feel that simply liking the show isn't enough to justify a position on the panel. It's nice to see someone who doesn't just churn out a prepared response to each question, but it would have been nice if Young had been able to deliver at least a few of his answers to give the impression that he'd spent some time thinking about the subject.
From the start, his inability to really grasp any of the issues beyond the surface level gave a curl to the toes. In response to the question about Carol Thatcher, he started off with a rambling anecdote about a man he had dinner with once who was homophobic. "Should I have gone to his bank and had him sacked?" he pondered, instantly failing to understand the crucial question is whether you consider being at work in the green room, in front of a dozen people, to be a public or a private space. He also tried to insist that Carol Thatcher had apologised - properly apologised - when she hadn't.
Had Young been sat in the audience offering his views, you might have thought he was doing a good job (although Dimbleby would have cut him off a lot more sharply). But he was on the panel. A strange choice, as you'd have thought that to justify an invite you'd at least have to be known for having well-thought-out opinions. Or, at the very least, by the end, you'd be known for having them. Perhaps next time they should try H from Steps.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
However amusing the idea of Coldplay being served papers by Joe Satriani's lawyers at the Grammys might be, you'd have to say it's neither the time nor the place:
The firm [King Paterno] claims that Coldplay has dodged being served, and that the Grammys are the easiest forum at which to strike while the iron is hot.
[Howard] King says, "We have warned their British lawyers that we have hired a fleet of process servers lined up to dog the band everywhere they go this weekend in the hopes of serving them."
King even promises to have camera crews roaming around with the process servers to get the whole thing on tape.
Which is good news, of course, for TMZ.
Let's hope that the paper-servers know who Chris Martin is. Fox news is clearly afraid their readers wont:
Gwyneth's Hubby: Viva La Lawsuit
Maybe Martin could avoid the papers by not standing next to Paltrow on the evening.
Given that there are mp3s - legal and illegal - all over the internet, you'd imagine that offering a way to gather and listen would be seen as a neutral thing to do. You might hope so.
But, of course, that would be to assume the RIAA companies behave like logical beasts. They don't, and now Warners are trying to get Songbeat closed down. The BVMI - which is the RIAA, but based in Germany - is hoping to get all the other majors involved.
The National Audit Office has released some not-entirely-illuminating figures about the costs of BBC Radio:
The NAO found that the "bulk" of programme costs consisted of staff remuneration.
On breakfast shows, 77 per cent of staff costs related to presenters. On drive-time programmes, the proportion was 79 per cent.
Radio 2's "Wake Up To Wogan" was found to be up to seven times more expensive than commercial rivals to make while Radio 1's "The Chris Moyles Show" was up to four times more costly.
The report also found that music programmes on Radio 2 were 54 per cent more expensive than those on Radio 1 and more than double the cost of those on Radio 3.
Given that most radio programmes don't pay out for their recorded music costs, is the NAO really expressing surprise that most of the budget for the show goes on the person who does the talking bits? Isn't this rather like finding out a bakery spends rather a lot on flour?
And, yes, you would imagine that a programme which features Wogan and a team, or Moyles and a team, might end up paying more for those names than unnamed commercial "rivals" - would anyone really, seriously, expect Radio 2 to be spending the same on their breakfast show as, say, what-used-to-be-Milton-Keynes-Horizon FM?
The independent watchdog said the BBC had found £11.7 million of efficiency savings in the three years to March 2008, more than its £11.6 million target.
But it said more needed to be done to assess the impact of such savings on output. The corporation should compare costs with commercial stations.
But why? I can see the argument for the BBC being as efficient as possible, but does it actually follow that they should be setting their budgets to meet the less-strenuous commercial output? After all, it's a safe bet that Rob DaBank's show costs a lot more than whatever it is Heart are putting out at the same time on Monday morning, but if you were going to cut the costs of Da Bank's show to match those of Heart, you'd also have to cut the interviews, the sessions, and probably a fair chunk of the time Da Bank spends putting the programme together. Comparing a BBC Radio programme's costs to an ILR one simply because they happen to be on the air at the same time is a ridiculous way of working; if the National Audit Office want to sound better than idiotic when investigating licence-fee value for money, they might want to think a little more about what you get for the money spent, rather than simply the amount spent.
That's what they said, anyway, during the revelation of their $23million profit from last year's trading:
"I have a lot of heart for the access models that are being developed in the mobile space - increasingly, there will be competition for Apple. Having said that, Apple continues to grow its business with us. This notion that somehow we need to dethrone Apple is not a notion we need to spend a lot of time on - so long as they continue to allow us to make the progress we have ... they allow us to innovate ... It's already served as a pretty good model for the industry and will continue to do so."
This sudden relaxed attitude towards Apple may well have less to do with Warner's excitement at the prospect of mobile music, and more to do with Apple's belated embrace of variable pricing. Oh, and the increasing obvious failure of Microsoft to offer any sort of viable competition.
Pitchfork spend some quality time with Bob Stanley:
Pitchfork: You have a new compilation, London Conversations. You've released quite a few comps-- Too Young to Die, Smash the System, Travel Edition, plus rarities and fan-club releases: Why another one and why now?
BS: Um, yeah, it's slightly embarrassing. For some reason we didn't think anybody would notice there's been about four before [laughs]. We've only done one officially before, which was Too Young to Die. There's been various in between because we've changed labels so many times. The reason we're doing it now is because we wanted to redo the whole catalog with a bonus disc for each album. And this is just a taster for that, I suppose. It makes sense to do one ahead of all the individual albums coming out. It just seems like a suitable time.
He's been written off by the internet before, but this time, sadly, it's for real: Lux Interior has died.
Born Erick Lee Purkhiser, popular legend has him meeting his wife and longtime collaborator Kirsty Wallace when she was hitchhiking. The pair bonded over mutual loves of art and music, and in 1973 formed The Cramps. Purkhiser's stage name came from a car advert - raising the possibility that he might have wound up being called Cup Holders.
First moving to Akron, the tyre-and-new-wave foundry of Ohio, and then, in 1975, to New York, the band established themselves as part of the engine of American Punk. Their early following was built almost exclusively around live performances - it wasn't until 1979 that they recorded an album, and even then the record didn't find its way into shops which would stock that sort of thing until the following year.
The Cramps experienced a fluid membership over the years, but Interior and Ivy always remained at the heart of their operation, nailing an act that managed to combine attention to the music with a defined aesthetic - something which many of their imitators would attempt, and fail to do. That they managed to keep The Cramps a going concern for the best part of four decades suggests either a bloody generous presiding angel, or a well-planned behind-the-scenes operation. Experience suggests it was the latter.
Interior lived with the effects of a heart condition for many years, and it was this condition which has finally claimed his life at the age of 62. He died early yesterday in New York.
One of the performances which secured their reputation as Punk Superiors was the 1978 gig at Napa State Mental Hospital - punk's Live At San Quentin. Luckily, someone had lugged an early video camera along to record the event:
[Thanks to Peter D for the news]
So, not only did Ticketmaster's magnificent system fail (in everyone bar Ticketmaster's eyes) by not allowing people to buy tickets for Springsteen's US tour.
It seems the clunky organisation not only managed to send people 'page unavailable' messages. Oh, no. it found a way to add money-grubbing insult to poor-service injury:
Countless fans reported technical malfunctions during the onsale, while others complained that Ticketmaster forwarded them to the company’s secondary ticket site, TicketsNow, even though seats were still available through Ticketmaster.
This is what happens when a company is allowed to tout its own products as well, I guess.
The New Jersey Attorney General is going to have an investigation into the mess (which might seem to be a little extreme) and Ticketmaster have apologised to Springsteen, in the face of an official anger-spike from Bruce's people:
“Last Monday, we were informed that Ticketmaster was redirecting your log-in requests for tickets at face value, to their secondary site TicketsNow, which specializes in up-selling tickets at above face value. They did this even when other seats remained available at face value. We condemn this practice,” Springsteen and his tour team said in a letter posted on Bruce’s official site. “We have asked this redirection from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow cease and desist immediately and Ticketmaster has agreed to do so in the future and has removed its unwanted material from their and our site.”
Let's just look at the apology in full:
An Open Letter of Apology to Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau and the entire Springsteen Tour Team:
While we were genuinely trying to do the right thing for fans in providing more choices when the tickets they requested from the primary on-sale were not available, we clearly missed the mark. Fans are confused and angry, which is the opposite of what we hoped to accomplish. We sincerely apologize to Bruce, his organization and, above all, his fans.
We recognize that we need to change our course. We have committed to Bruce and state publicly here that we have taken down all links for Bruce’s shows directing fans from Ticketmaster to TicketsNow. This redirection only occurred as a choice when we could not satisfy fans’ specific search request for primary ticket inventory, but to make sure there is no misunderstanding in the future, we also publicly state that we will never again link to TicketsNow in a manner that can possibly create any confusion during a high-demand on-sale. Specifically, we will not present an option to go to TicketsNow from Ticketmaster without the consent of the artist and the venue, both of whom work together to bring the joy of live entertainment to millions of fans.
If any fans inadvertently purchased tickets in the resale marketplace believing in error they were purchasing from the initial on-sale, we will refund the difference between the actual purchase price and the face price of the ticket. (Please don’t abuse this good faith gesture - we did not give brokers any preferential access to tickets.)
We are committed to helping deliver the most transparent and best live entertainment experience to fans. We will do better going forward.
Irving Azoff, CEO, Ticketmaster Entertainment
Heartfelt. Touching. Craven. One question, though, Mr. Azoff. You've apologised to Springsteen, and his tour team. How about - it's just a thought - saying sorry to the people who pay your wages? You remember the customers? How about saying sorry to them.
It probably says it all that - while belatedly trying to make ammends - even then, Azoff concludes that you can't really trust the public. "Please don't abuse this good faith gesture" indeed. From a company which has trashed the faith placed in it by Springsteen and his fans, they might want to be a little less swift to talk about their good faith.
The Saturdays turned up to do a set at some sort of corporate bash disguised as a charity event. Gordon has the details:
YOU’LL be seeing an awful lot more this year of THE SATURDAYS, who are stepping into GIRLS ALOUD territory with their stunning looks and catchy pop.
Their apt name landed them a gig at the HMV Football Extravaganza in London on Tuesday night...
Apt name? For an event on a Tuesday? What do you mean, Gordon?
... in front of a roomful of people who have dedicated their lives to Saturday afternoon football.
Oh. It's appropriate because they're called The Saturdays, and back before Gordon's boss ruined everything, football used to mainly happen on Saturday afternoons.
Tottenham manager HARRY REDKNAPP, who received a lifetime achievement award at the bash, then played a blinder at its charity auction. One of the lots was the chance to play a game with mates at White Hart Lane, with Harry managing one team and son JAMIE the other.
But Jamie sealed the deal by texting Chelsea and England captain JOHN TERRY to secure his services. Bidding ended with £32,000 in the pot for the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy charity.
It’s a pleasure to hear something other than how much Premier League players earn a week these days. Hats off to them.
Ah yes. Bidding stupid sums of money for vaguely-defined lots. That's all about the charity, and nothing about how awash with cash footballers are.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
You'd have to be made of flint to not enjoy at least some of Erasure's fine poppy moments, and those moments have been gathered into a four-disc box set. The music, yes, is exciting, but even more exciting is disc four - a DVD of BBC appearances. And, yes, there's Top Of The Pops stuff in there - but more. Oh, so much more:
01. Sometimes - Top Of The Pops
02. It Doesn't Have To Be - The Tom O'Connor Roadshow
03. Victim Of Love - Daytime Live
04. The Circus - Daytime Live
05. Ship Of Fools - Wogan
06. Chains Of Love - Top Of The Pops
07. A Little Respect - Going Live!
08. Stop! - Top Of The Pops
09. Chorus - Wogan
10. Love To Hate You - Top Of The Pops
11. Am I Right? - Top Of The Pops
12. Breath Of Life - Top Of The Pops
13. Who Needs Love (Like That) - Top Of The Pops
14. Always - Top Of The Pops
15. Run To The Sun - Top Of The Pops
16. I Love Saturday - Smash Hits Poll Winner's Party
17. Stay With Me - Pebble Mill
18. Fingers And Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day) - Pebble Mill
19. Don't Say Your Love Is Killing Me - Top Of The Pops
20. Solsbury Hill - Top Of The Pops
21. Breathe - Top Of The Pops
22. Top Of The Pops 2 Special
23. Sometimes - Tom O'Connor Roadshow
24. How Many Times? - The Late Show
25. Miracle - Later with Jools Holland
26. Because You're So Sweet - Later With Jools Holland
27. Oh L'Amour - Promotional Video
The sweetest nuggets have got to be the clips from Tom O'Connor's Roadshow. A smidge of the performance has been teased up onto the YouTube:
Ah, if only they'd included Tom's snow-covered opening title sequence, complete with the annoyed waving of hands at the engine of the broken-down Roadshow mobile...
In news which will make RIAA bosses grind their teeth with jealous frustration, South Korea is bailing out its music industry:
The Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry said it would create a Korean version of the US Billboard Charts and a K-pop award evoking the Grammys in a bid to "globalise" the country's pop music.
Oh, yes. Hold an event a bit like the Grammys. That'll get everyone's attention worldwide. Or at least locally. They can have Kelly Osbourne to present it, if they like.
The ministry will also support 35,000 noraebangs -- karaoke bars without alcohol -- across the country by providing karaoke equipment.
State-sponsored karaoke. That's got to be the way ahead, right?
Although, um, is it going to help sell music if you encourage everyone to go down the karaoke bar and sing for themselves?
You might have thought that the Classical Music charts were already pretty specialist, but apparently they're not specialist enough: The Official Charts Company is launching a spin-off, proper classical chart:
Ginny Cooper, of the BPI's classical committee, said: "Within the classical sector, there are many first class performers providing first class recordings which were not registering on the chart radar as the crossover titles were obviously higher profile and selling more.
"We felt, however, that they were just as valid and wanted to provide an outlet to enable the public to see that sales of pure classical music are still alive and well."
Although, presumably, if the sales were that alive and well then the records would be doing well in the ordinary classical charts, wouldn't they?
The test of classical-ness is apparently going to be asking Paul Gambaccinni if he'd have played it when he was a Radio 3 presenter, and only allowing in things he wouldn't approve of.
The serious aim is to keep out recordings of light music written as popular entertainment, like Lloyd-Webber's stuff...
The first published chart is topped by the Gala Ensemble with their album The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan.
... although not Gilbert and Sullivan, it seems.
The proposed merger of LiveNation and Ticketmaster into one single near-monopoly booking agency does have something going for it: with just one company, Live Nation Ticketmaster, to rail at, it's going to leave a fist free for waving at someone else.
If you live in Glasgow - or can get there - and want to spend an evening looking at Manda Rin doing her stuff on March 4th, but don't want to pay: good news. There are free tickets to be had for her and Sugar Crisis at the Mill.
There's nothing inherently wrong with inviting Pete Doherty to give a lecture, as The University Philosophical Society of Dublin has done. Providing, of course, there's a good reason for it, and it isn't just some ill-defined ramblings designed to draw attention to the society without adding much to the sum of human knowledge.
The Phil will be holding the infamous Pete Doherty to talk life, love and much more. Come for a taste of what a rock 'n roll (hopefully minus the sex and drugs) lifestyle entails and if you have any burning questions to ask, bring those too!
Although 'what's it all about, then?' might be an unwelcome intrusion.
At least Dolores O'Riordan - who is doing a session there this week - is going to sing some songs rather than just delivering an opinion-purge on an unknown subject.
That exciting, fleeing-India story about the Black Lips from last week? Luckily - mainly luckily for VBS.TV - there were TV cameras with them to capture the real story.
They're milking it a little - they've released this slightly-overwritten trailer (an "unprecedented" tour?):
And, because all this publicity is pointless if it doesn't pick up a few new fans for the band, there's a free download, too: Short Fuse.
Today, Gordon is leading off with one of those eye-catching half-arsed pieces of Photoshop:
Future vision ... How Robbie could look in The Shining
Yes, apparently Robbie Williams is going to turn into Jack Nicholson and murder his family. Hang about... Gordon, are you sure on this one?
ROBBIE WILLIAMS and girlfriend AYDA FIELD are at loggerheads over the singer’s move back to Britain.
The former TAKE THAT star has left LA behind to return to home soil in a bid to reclaim his pop crown.
No, come on: if Smart had really wanted to keep those sentences aloft by hacky cliche alone, he could have worked in "La-La Land" and "Blighty", too. But so far, it's not clear why this would turn him into a homicidal maniac. Unless, you know, it's less loggerheads, more lop-off-their-heads. Is that it, Gordon?
But the move hasn’t gone down well with American actress Ayda.
She is on the cusp of big things with her career Stateside and pals say there is no way she will move at the moment.
Isn't this closer to the plot of The Chain than The Shining, Gordon?
That would leave a lonesome Rob kicking around his vast, snow-covered Wiltshire mansion with only his new bike for company.
While it's possible that Williams might have bought a snow machine, it's probable that by the time he's here, unpacking his Project Blue Book novels, the snow will have gone.
With his eccentric antics he’ll be like JACK NICHOLSON in classic horror flick The Shining.
Let’s hope his mansion doesn’t have a maze.
Aha! So, being on your own in an empty mansion is just like being in a closed hotel with psychic staff and a family who you want to kill.
The story is nothing like The Shining at all. But it does, it must be admitted, hold an uncanny similarity to something else: a story published by the Daily Star on December 18th. Or "last year", in other words.
It's like that TV programme, Early Edition, where the bloke got the paper before anyone else. Except the complete opposite.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Kelly Clarkson has ruled out being a lesbian, even although, you know, she's constantly being propositioned by gay women:
Clarkson, the first and one of the most successful winners of TV talent show "American Idol", told AOL's pop culture news site, PopEater.com, that she was accustomed to being asked if she was secretly gay.
"Lesbians tell it to me all the time. I'm like, 'I'm glad it works for you and I wish I liked women like that because often times men are very hard for me, but I happen to like boys.'
"I could never be a lesbian. I would never want to date (someone like) myself, ever. I'm a crazy person. I need some kind of stable, quiet man," Clarkson, 26, said.
Yes, yes, she did just say "men are very hard for me" - could we all please settle down in the back row, please? Let's not pick apart Clarkson's "oh, how I wish I could be gay" statement - it would take a week and a half to even try to explore the suggestion that all women are like her, and that there are, apparently, no stable, quiet lesbians. Let's just be pleased that Kelly is able to bask in the glow of being an unobtainable figure of desire for the every gay woman.
They're not going to go as far as to say "sorry" or anything, but Ticketmaster have sort of admitted their system broke down during the sale of Bruce Springsteen's US tour tickets:
“It was an unfortunate computer glitch that happened on our side,” says Ticketmaster spokesperson Albert Lopez. “It wasn’t our finest hour. [The glitch] lasted minutes versus hours. As it was described to me it didn’t have anything to do with high demand. Ticketmaster.com’s network didn’t fail. This was for specific shows. Having said all that, that doesn’t take away from the heartache fans experienced.”
Wow. For a moment there, Lopez nearly actually came out and said that something went wrong. But he couldn't quite.
And if it did, it was only for a few minutes. That those minutes were when people were trying to buy tickets is neither here nor there, is it?
Besides, it was only specific shows. It's just a pity those happened to be the high-profile shows of one of the nation's biggest entertainers which Ticketmaster had only just put on sale, but - hey - there was no problem with selling tickets for Nickelback at the Superpages.com Center, so let's not work this up into a big story, right?
Ticketmaster's network didn't fail. Unless, you know, you want to apply a strict definition of success as "not displaying a 'closed for routine maintenance' screen when people are trying to buy tickets" to the network.
Lopez realises that nothing can take away the heartache of those people who have been waiting years to see Springsteen and might well have missed their chance due to the not-failing Ticketmaster network. Which would be why Ticketmaster won't even bother to try.
Miami's Langerado Festival is cancelled, just five days after adding Modest Mouse and Deerhunter to the line-up.
There's an explanation:
“Langerado has always put the fan experience first. Unfortunately, during these difficult economic times, and facing a first year in a new venue, it’s become apparent that we cannot execute a production that lives up to the high standards of our past events. Putting Langerado on hold was the toughest decision we have ever had to make. We are very grateful for the support of the greater-Miami community and the music community during this difficult time.”
The festival was due at the start of next month; the suspicion has to be that it won't be the last festival to drop off the radar this year.
Who knew that a one-hit-wonder like Tommy Tutone would still be generating dozens of prank calls, in hundreds of towns, nearly thirty years on?
This is their song:
And now, one of the owners of the magic 567-5309 numbers, has decided he's had enough and is selling the number on eBay. It's great, if you don't mind up to forty calls a day from people who think (a) that it's worth calling a number on a record and (b) that it's worth calling a number on a record decades after the song was released. Still, it must be nice to get calls from people who aren't carrying out a survey in your area into how many windows you'd replace if you could do so at no cost to yourself.
I've always had a soft spot for Starsailor, a band who deserve a lot better than being pegged as being "a bit like Keane". Admittedly, it's not a thing you should admit in mixed company, but there you are. If you're interested in what the new album is going to sound like, there's an mp3 hint here - Boy In Waiting. It's recorded live at the Hard Rock Cafe, which is exactly the sort of thing that would make you think they're a bit like Keane.
So, that Country Life advert certainly managed to destroy whatever was left of John Lydon's credibility. But how did it do for the butter company?
They did alright:
Dairy Crest has hailed an 85 per cent rise in its spreadables business on a leap in its butter sales thanks to John Lydon, also known as Johnny Rotten, the lead singer of the Sex Pistols.
The company said that the jump in sales volumes of its spreadables in the third quarter to December 31, 2008 was helped by its £5 million advertising campaign featuring Mr Lydon's promotion of its Country Life butter.
Brilliant news, huh? And, of course, a company that spends five million quid on an advertising campaign and does so well will be rushing to share its good fortune with farmers, right?
The company also announced cuts in prices paid to farmers on both liquid milk and cheese contracts of 1.75p per litre and 1p per litre respectively.
Money for Lydon; no money for the farmers. Not much spreading going on from the spreadales business, then.
Worrying news from Q magazine's blog - but their readers seem to think it's all a bit 'meh'.
More from No Rock on q
Can this be right? Epic have appointed a songwriter to be President of the company?
Alright, it might only be Amanda Ghost - whose credits sit on the more disappointing parts of I Am Sasha Fierce, the theme toon to Journeyman, and You're Beautiful - and President of Epic, being occupied territory, means being a puppet for the Sony organisation. But still: a musician in the boardroom. A proper musician.
Ghost has already praised the Sony overlords:
“I’m not a conventional choice as an executive in the music business, but it is testament to the new mood at Sony where content is now king and the music business is being put back in the hands of creative talent such as myself," says Ghost. "I’m here to draw on my experiences as an artist, songwriter and producer to make the new and existing artists signed to Epic as brilliant and successful as possible”.
She has run a label in the past - Universal gave her her own imprint, Plan A, for a while back in 2006. Which managed - as far as we can tell - just the one release. Almost certainly a bar which she will leap now she's at Epic.
Hip hop has become a bit of a stinking beast over the last few years. Sure, there's still a lot of innovative stuff, but at the end with the sales, it's become a bit stagnant.
Indeed, so bad is the smell that it's hit the nostrils of Puff himself:
"People have figured out the formula when they make records for radio, and DJs ain't DJs no more. DJs don't break records no more. DJs don't play album cuts. DJs play what is going to move the crowd. DJs, they don't expose you to the newness. That was the DJs' thing. Hip-hop is in a recession also."
Ah, yes. It's the DJs fault. Not, as you might have thought, that hip-hop has now been around long enough to have the same problems as rock - that it's choked up with figures who have long since lost any interest in exciting music and who hang on, churning out substandard fare that gets over-promoted because of what they did, rather than what they're doing. People like... oooh, there's a name on the tip of my tongue, but I can't quite... no... it's gone.
Tom Patti is angry-to-the-point-of-lawsuits with Puff Daddy. And, in particular, his perfume. Not just because it smells of a wetdog sleeping in a mushroom storeroom. Oh, no: Patti is suing because he says the bottle of the poorly named "Unforgivable" is ripped off one of his sculptures.
It's surprising anyone buys the perfume anyway - in the advert, Diddy intones that "life without passion is Unforgivable". Which means, presumably, that the bottle contains passionless life.
Very sad to hear of the sudden and unexpected death of Radio City presenter Phil Easton, yesterday.
Easton had joined City when it launched; he spent some time as controller at other stations before returning to the North West. For over a decade he stuck with City through branding and ownership changes and was currently working as breakfast host on City's talk station, City Talk.
He also worked as announcer for Liverpool at Anfield. He died following a heart attack yesterday morning.
Let's hope Bloc Party have secured the rights to the tricksy name Bloctober for their October UK tour - when the Colorado Rockies made it to play off a couple of years back, they didn't realise that someone had beaten them to registering Rocktober as a trademark and wound up having to shovel cash for belated rights approval.
Still, those dates:
Blackpool Empress Ballroom (October 2)
Edinburgh Picture House (3)
Inverness Iron Works (4)
Aberdeen Music Hall (6)
Dunfermline Alhambra (7)
Hull City Hall (8)
Sheffield Academy (10)
Leeds Academy (11)
Lincoln Engine Shed (12)
Stoke Victoria Hall (14)
Birmingham Academy (15)
Newport Centre (16)
Llandudno Arena (18)
Liverpool University (19)
Bristol Academy (20)
Truro Hall for Cornwall (22)
Plymouth Pavillion (23)
Brighton Centre (24)
Southend Cliffs Pavilion (26)
Cambridge Corn Exchange (27)
Nottingham Rock City (28)
Reading Rivermead (30)
Bournemouth Bic (31)
Pete Way, out of UFO, is stepping down for a short period:
"The medication he's on [for a liver problem] makes him tired and dizzy, and he feels that taking part in the recording sessions and the hectic touring schedule would be too much for him at the moment, so he'll be taking some time out from UFO until he is match-fit.
"As we all know with Pete, he won't be able to stay away from rock 'n' roll for long, so it's very likely that he'll be doing a few gigs here and there... We all wish him the very best and hope for a swift and full recovery."
The band are continuing to tour Europe with a fill-in bassist.
With the country driving into a snow bank and deciding to stay home - except for moaning representatives of small business organisations, who seemed to have no problem getting to TV studios to whine that everyone was having fun instead of turning up to be laid off - would Gordon be able to cope? Or would there just be a skeleton gossip service running for Sun readers?
Today's lead suggests the latter:
HERE’S X Factor supremo SIMON COWELL in never-seen-before holiday snaps looking like dancefloor king JOHN TRAVOLTA.
Yes, today's Bizarre is as empty as the bread counter in the corner shop, as Gordon tries to make a story out of someone who found some old photos of Simon Cowell.
Melissa Zimmelstern was on holiday in the same resort and is pictured with Simon. She found the snaps while rooting around in a box full of old holiday albums in her loft.
That noise? Oh, that's the wailing of Fiona Bruce, distraught at the loss of a chance of such a valuable artifact from the Antiques Roadshow.
Luckily, of course, there is an full overseas staff of celebrities able to keep things churning over. If nobody turns up to do anything interesting in the UK, there's always Amy Winehouse to fall back on:
Amy's off to isle of druggies
RECOVERING junkie AMY WINEHOUSE is planning a change of scenery — by moving to druggie paradise Jamaica.
No, I'm sure The Sun checked that that is the official tourism slogan the country is using right now.
God, Jamaica sounds terrible:
The Rehab singer, 25, wants to record her hugely-delayed third album on the Caribbean island where illegal drugs are known to be widely available.
The label is “fully aware” Jamaica is awash with drugs like crack cocaine and cannabis.
What a horrible sounding place - awash with drugs, you say. It's slightly odd, then, that last summer the Sun's travel column was recommending the island as a place for a jolly holiday, isn't it?
Monday, February 02, 2009
Go on... admit it, you'd been wondering before MTV asked the question:
Leona Lewis Explains Why 'Gossip Girl' Hunk Chace Crawford Stars In Her Video
Yes. Why has someone whose label is desperate to prove is more than a one-song Wanda in the US market had someone popular parachuted into appearing in her promotional video? Why, Leona, why?
"I'm a big 'Gossip Girl' fan," she told The Associated Press. "I love that show. I just love it. We get it back home [in England], but it's like one season back, so it's kind of hard to catch up, but I love it."
She just loves it. That's why. She was always talking about Gossip Girl, wasn't she? Couldn't shut up about it when she was on The X Factor. Chance Crawford's presence in the video isn't, in any way, an attempt to try and spark some interest in her new record. No no no.
Van Morrison prepares a live version of Astral Weeks. Pitchfork don't like the sleeve.
To be fair, it does look like a flier for a Mike Reid gig. But what would Pitchfork have suggested instead? (Actually, how about creating a new version of the old one?)
The attempt to try and form a union of musicians to represent their interests ran aground because of the snow. You know, we must all stand up and be counted, but... well, it's chilly out there.
The main aim of the Featured Artists Coalition is to try and force labels to share more of what we shall call the digital dividend with them, which seems a good idea. One that, you know, you might think they should have thought about when they were negotiating their last contracts.
Still, it snowed a little, so the record companies will live to fight another day.
[Thanks to Michael M]
According to TMZ, Britney is going to pull her tour if she can't come to an agreement with Kevin Federline to let the kids roam with her. The proposed workaround seems to be inviting Federline on tour, with a stipend. Although, apparently, not expecting him to turn up. But still take the money.
So, in aid of charity, Gordon Smart is about to go up Kilimanjaro. And come back down again, unfortunately, although I'm sure if enough people put in a tenner to help the kiddies, he might be persuaded to stay there.
So far, we've only had the launch but judging by how that's been milked to fill out Bizarre, we're in for blanket coverage. And quite right too - this is, after all, for charity. And nothing to do with Gordon hoping to follow the Piers Morgan career path:
On February 27, Gary [Barlow], RONAN KEATING, CHRIS MOYLES,BEN SHEPHARD,CHERYL COLE, KIMBERLEY WALSH,DENISE VAN OUTEN, FEARNE COTTON, and ALESHA DIXON will be setting off to Tanzania to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro.
If he was actually up the mountain, we'd be able to put that dodgy spacing down to altitude sickness.
It is quite an impressive line-up - at least three of those people have actual lives to put on hold to do the climb. And how nice for Cheryl Cole and Gordon to be clambering up the side of a slippery, hard, rocky thing after all the work Gordon did to try and wreck her marriage last year.
Still, everyone was nice to each other at the launch event:
But at the launch on Thursday, the team were in determined spirits to do summit worthwhile to raise a mountain of cash for an absolutely brilliant cause.
Hang about... on Thursday? Even for an event that Gordon takes part it, in takes him four bloody days to get it in the paper.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Given that the Millennium Dome is now styled as the O2 Arena, it might seem a little late to complain about the creep of sponsorship across the venue, but this does seem a step too far:
Coca-Cola has signed a sponsorship deal with O2 arena-owners AEG Europe to become “official pouring rights partner” at the London venue.
What, exactly, is a "pouring rights partner", official or otherwise?
Disheartening news from the US alternative press: the magazines owned by the Village Voice (including our beloved Denver Westword) have followed the lead of the print edition of The Onion and axed their cartoons.
It's a cost saving in the face of the recession, but Rehabilitating Mr Wiggles calculates the saving as being somewhere around five thousand dollars per title, which - set against the loss of a creative, distinctive voice - seems to be misjudged pittance.
Perhaps the peak of clever-clever titles from a band who knew how to do the tricksy wordplay:
[Part of The Silver Jews weekend]
In the blurb promoting Showbiz Zoe's Sunday Mirror story claiming that Paris Hilton in moving into Camden, the teaser says:
Paris buys a £2million pad in London's seedy Camden
Leaving aside using "London's" with a straight face, did anyone at all stop for even half a second and wonder how you could sell a two million pound property in a seedy neighbourhood?
The £2million townhouse is also within walking distance of pads owned by Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding, cool comedians Noel Fielding and Leigh Francis, and Blur’s Graham Coxon.
Oh yes. Actually, you are making the area sound a bit seedy now.
Why on earth would Dan Wooton get the first exclusive review of the new U2 album? If the idea was to try and get the softest start for the album you possibly could imagine, it's been a total success:
Magnificent will end up a No1 hit and yet another trademark U2 stadium anthem.
Wooton does come close to criticising, though:
Overall, the band have made an effort to tone down their usual big rock sound for something a little bit more bluesy.
But there are still loads of great moments — like THE EDGE’s cracking guitar.
"The album's got a blues feel to it - but don't worry, there are still some good bits."
But for me, the most upbeat (and brilliant) pop moment is the danceable I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight. Bono has decided to write in the third person for the first time on this disc, not out until March.
So on the closing ballad Cedars Of Lebanon, the frontman imagines he’s a war reporter. It’s stirring stuff and a great way to end a great comeback album.
If Bono is imagining he's a war reporter and singing from that perspective, that's the first person, isn't it?
Continuing our celebration to mark the graceful retirement of the band:
[Part of Silver Jews weekend]
The ten-most popular searchs featuring Obama:
1. Morrissey Obama
2. Dead for Obama (as in Grateful)
3. Canadians for Obama
4. Oberst Obama
5. Art Collins Obama
6. Obama RIAA
7. Jonathan Cook Obama backlash forever the sickest
8. Alice Cooper hates Obama
9. Joss Stone Barack Obama
10. Leona Obama
These were interesting releases:
Darren Hayman - Pram Town - him out of Hefner
download Pram Town
Franz Ferdinand - Tonight
Christophe Beck - Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Score
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless remastered by Kevin Shields
Whispertown 2000 - Swim
The Phantom Band - Checkmate Savage
Joe Jackson - Live At The BBC
Download Joe Jackson
Jackie Leven - The Haunted Year: Winter
Diplo - Decent Work For Decent Pay
Shinichi Osawa - The One
download The One
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