Karaoke feud in Liverpool ends in blood-spattered street sword fight.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
CNN reports on how they've come up with a way to make creaky old bands reuniting even worse: you stick a couple on a package tour, and then make them record a new song. Together:
It started with classic rockers REO Speedwagon and Styx, with their "Can't Stop Rockin' " tour and single of the same name.
Now Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire are getting on the bandwagon.
Yes, Chicago, Earth, Wind And Fire are going to mark their combined tour with a combined single.
It is, though, in a good cause, as it's designed to encourage people to bring food to the gigs to help local food banks, in effect, turning the gigs into horn-heavy harvest festivals. Which makes it hard to be too grumpy about it - there's more than enough to cavil over in that it takes this sort of thing to block the holes in the American welfare state before making it down to wondering how the hell you merge Chicago with EWF.
Bizarre is leading this morning with the news that Amy Winehouse has canceled a gig.
Yes. They held the front page for that.
A pal said: "She is drinking like a lunatic and there was no way she'd be ready to perform.
"She still has too many demons to fight. It is such a shame."
One of those close pals who see their close friend struggling, and sniff "she's like a loony. What a shame."
Meanwhile, Amir Khan has taken the hump at some imagined slight from Michael Jackson. In one of the increasingly implausible excuses for the cancellation of Jackson gigs, someone suggested it was "other shows" at the O2 interfering with rehearsals. Khan has decided this was a jibe at his boxing plans, and reacted with the splendid overreaction you'd expect from someone who punches people for a living:
“Tell Michael if he wants to come to my trainer Freddie Roach’s gym I’ll show him what it takes to prepare and rehearse properly.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Michael Jackson but I was annoyed to read his comments.
“I’m annoyed he used my fight as the reason for letting down fans. Now it’s up to me to light up the O2.”
To celebrate this attempt to flog some tickets to the boxing, Gordon has had his Photoshop team do their best to, erm, mock up Khan beating a punchbag with Jackson's face on it.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Everett True on the demise of Plan B:
I’m getting choked up. Obviously, I’ve been aware of the imminent demise of Plan B for some time – but it’s one thing just sharing that knowledge among a few likeminded souls, and another having it made public.
I mean, Jesus, we didn’t do so bad, did we? Built ourselves into a national magazine from scratch with no outside funding, and lasted four-and-a-half years. Folk are already talking about this as one more nail into the coffin of the print media, but actually I think the advent of web 2.0 had little to do with Plan B’s demise. Sure, it’s related to the way the music industry is mutating. Sure, it’s related to the global recession, localised – but Plan B was too much a niche title for web 2.0 to have that much of an effect.
I don't think there's a person alive, or indeed who has died in the last ten years, who would have expected Michael Jackson to turn up for all the booked London dates. But did anyone think they'd be falling apart quite so soon?
The first dates have, as you'll know if you weren't in the air all day yesterday, been "pushed back". But it's not because Jackson's sick or anything. Oh no, no no. No. No no:
AEG Live president Randy Phillips said the rescheduling had "absolutely nothing" to do with the star's health.
He added: "I would trade my body for his tomorrow. He's in fantastic shape."
I wouldn't go round saying stuff like that, Randy. Not only does it make you look and sound ridiculous, but I suspect Jackson might have a team of surgeons who have been waiting for just that sort of offer...
The official line is that the gigs have been pushed back due to "technical difficulties". The first night will now take place five days late, while some other July dates will not happen. Sorry, that should be "not happen until March 2010".
Bugger. You leave the country for 24 hours, and your favourite music magazine closes. Plan B is shuttering:
Sadly, yes - we were preparing a nice statement to go on here for you all after telling all our contributors and contacts, but sadly the gossip machine has beat us to it. I'm sorry you've found out via hearsay.
We've come to the decision to close Plan B Magazine after the June issue after a lot of deliberation. The current economic climate, combined with the situation of the music industry - to which, whether we like it or not, the fortunes of a commercial monthly music mag are inextricably linked - has made it ever harder for us to continue producing the magazine the way we want to. To keep going, we'd need to make cuts in staff, content, size, frequency, print quality - and we're not prepared to do that. We're still above water, we're making some beautiful magazines, and we are quitting while we're ahead.
[The Plan B] forum has been a hugely important part of the magazine. At present, we'd like to keep it going as long as there's a will to do so, as the site will be continuing for a while. We are hoping to archive all our back issues as PDFs, and will be continuing to sell back issues for a limited period of time.
Subscribers will be refunded in due course - Richard and I will be in touch about that once the June issue has been sent out to you.
If you are a contributor and were not notified about this by email, our apologies. We tried to contact everyone today, but our mailing list messages do end up in junk mailboxes sometimes.
I'm you all have questions about this. If we can answer them, we will try to do so.
Well-written, loving indie magazines sadly tend to have a lifespan somewhere between butter in a microwave oven and incredibly curious kitten in a threshing machine testing zone, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing when it happens. Thanks to everyone at Plan B for some glorious, glorious hours spent with their fine product, and for introductions to some smashing bands.
Presumably so Bob Shennan is able to sleep soundly at nights, Jonathan Ross' Radio 2 programme is going to be pre-recorded in the future.
Well, the programme will be recorded in the past, obviously, but this will be happening in the future. Or from now on:
However, from tomorrow's broadcast, his Radio 2 show will move to being pre-recorded "as live" each week on Fridays, giving the BBC the chance to edit out any gaffes or questionable content.
If the programme is edited, then it's not exactly "as live", is it?
The BBC News story is interesting:
[The Radio 2 spokesperson] did not confirm whether listeners will be told the show had been pre-recorded when it is aired.
Really? Because it's not like BBC Radio has even got into difficulties sticking out a programme without letting on it has been taped, is it?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The poor-but-predictable showing of The Pick Of Destiny has presuaded Jack Black that he's better off doing other people's stuff:
"It was a body blow, mainly because we had so much fun making it. I got a lot out of the writing. I was psyched to write more screenplays, but that kind of killed my writing career."
Perhaps he should have tried writing a comedy instead.
Is Amy Winehouse's St Lucia break really doing her any good?
from the Mail online
The leading story in the showbusy world this morning, according to the online version of Bizarre, is that, erm, Kate Moss has done some modeling.
Yes, since you ask, that is what she does for a living and not, you'd consider, so much of a surprise. Saskia Quirke is given the task of trying to make 'person does job for which they're paid' into something noteworthy:
SMOULDERING KATE MOSS is back to being super-glam again — after some rough words about her recent appearances.
Super-glam, huh? Who is she modeling? Versace? Gucci?
She wore outfits, including a £130 see-through top, that she designed for Topshop.
Oh. Superglam in a Top Shop sense, then.
Still, at least you can see her nipples in one picture, eh, Saskia?
And there’s no doubt which image is breast.
Breast - do you get it? Do you? It's quite subtle.
Oddly, though, while in this piece, Bizarre is pointing and yelling "look, you can see her tits and everything", Gordon suddenly comes over all coy when talking about Dizzee Rascal and hios ways of saving money:
He tells me: “I’m quite an outgoing person, but I much prefer staying in, playing PlayStation and getting... ”
Er, let’s just say at this point he explained that he likes getting intimate with da ladies.
Do you mean fucking, Gordon? Given that you run photo after photo of women showing their nix and nips, why do you suddenly get all shy when you have to actually talk about sex?
Isn't there a name for someone who is sneakily obsessed with breasts and butts, but turns bright red and can't look you in the eye when talk about people actually having sex?
Oh, yeah: it's "pubescent", isn't it?
It's not entirely clear why Dizzee is sharing his money saving tips with us in the first place, but it does give Gordon's Photoshop Intern the chance to lazily stick Rascal's head on The Sun's Captain Crunch character. That's the retread of the News Of The World's Captain Cash, bemusingly named after the Sou'westered breakfast cereal hero. Although, to be honest, I'm not sure very many women would be thrilled to know you're staying in having sex with them because you're too cheap to spring for a trip to the pictures.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
After some well-received guest slots on the channel over the last few months, Cerys Matthews has been signed up as maternity leave cover on 6Music. Nemone's off to have a baby, and - apparently by law - the lunchtime show must have a female presenter just as surely as none of the other daytime slots may:
Bob Shennan, Radio 2 and 6 Music controller, said: "Cerys' amazing passion for music delivered in a charmingly engaging way is a welcome addition to 6 Music and will provide the perfect lunchtime cover whilst Nemone is away."
It's funny: "charmingly engaging" doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement of her on-air style, although a lot of daytime on 6Music could do with a massive injection of charm. And engagement.
Ash, Billboard crows, dedicate energies foolishly. Gonna have interesting journeys, launching multiple new output, pursuing quite rigorous stunt. They'll upload various xylophoneless yodels... oh, bollocks... zebras or something.
Without sounding like the Radio Times definitials: Ash are going to release a single every fortnight, with the titles of tracks following strict alphabetical order. It's like The Wedding Present's Hit Parade, only even grander and slightly madder in scale. I think it was the Melody Maker that described half the fun of the Hit Parade was because it was like watching a drunk staggering back from the bar with a tray full of drinks, and wondering if he'd complete the journey without disaster.
Siouxsie is unhappy with the way women are treated by what's left of the music industry:
Speaking at the launch of her live DVD, Finale, the iconic singer told 6 Music: "There are some strong female performers but the industry's pre-occupation with the packaging of how a woman looks has gone completely the other way, back to almost the 60s, early 70s.
"I like a bit of eye candy like anyone but to have it solely about the eye candy and have it fall into a category so rigidly as well is wrong."
Whenever they make a programme about Women In Rock, Sioux always pops up, shortly before Kate Bush and Annie Lennox; very few of the programmes bother to mention that despite all this trail-blazing decades ago, it's apparently still considered so unusual for a woman to be a (mainstream) rock star that it's considered worthy of a concept for a television or radio show.
But, hey, there's always Susan Boyle, right?
6Music also says this:
Siouxsie, who came to fame in 1976 in the infamous Sex Pistols interview with Bill Grundy before becoming a star with The Banshees, also criticised the way music is sold.
Did her appearance being leered over on Today really make her famous? I was too young and, besides, we got Southern not Thames, but I've always had the understanding that once TV companies felt bold enough to start running footage of the infamous appearance a few years after it happened, the idea that Siouxsie was in the background was considered noteworthy.
If this is the sort of chapter that got cut from Juliana Hatfield's memoir, you surely have to read the stuff that made it?
On the night that Carl and Evan’s mom came over, we had a bunch of boxes of shrink-wrapped Nicely, Nicely albums stacked up in the condo pad. Gary, who happened to be there at the condo pad that night, and who happened to be what some people might characterize as “radically progressive” politically, and very knowledgeable, seemed very interested in Carl.
Gary asked Carl where he was from.
Carl said that he lived in Washington, D.C.
Then Gary asked Carl what he did for a living.
Carl said that he was a journalist at the Washington Post.
Gary smiled and then it dawned on all of the rest of us simultaneously that this man, who had looked vaguely familiar, was CARL BERNSTEIN. Of Woodward and Bernstein. Evan’s mom’s friend was one of the two Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate break-in story which helped to bring about Richard Nixon’s resignation. The two guys who, literally, wrote the book about the scandal (All The President’s Men), and who were played by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in the movie.
We all tried to stay cool and restrain ourselves from yelling out, “Holy Shit! You’re Carl Bernstein!” or “Oh my God!” and jumping up and down and hyperventilating but it was difficult because this man was a really important historical figure — kind of an American hero, who’d helped bring a dirty president down. And he was standing in our kitchen shooting the shit with us dirtbag indie rocker kids.
Before he left, Mr. Bernstein bought two copies of Nicely, Nicely (eight bucks each). We wanted to give them to him as a gift but he insisted, graciously, on paying. He removed the shrink wrap and had all of us Blake Babies sign both albums. He gave one to his son and left with the other one under his arm.
[An unpublished chapter from When I Grow Up by Juliana Hatfield]
What does Gordon Smart - or Someone Still Loves You Guy Ritchie, to give him his pen name - have this morning? Over-excited praise for Ritchie's new film:
It Sher looks good
Sherlock Holmes, you see. Sher looks.
So, has Gordon had a sneak peak of the film? Got a glimpse of the rushes? Been to the set?
GUY RITCHIE’s new Sherlock Holmes movie looks better and better every time snaps of it cross my path.
Oh. You've seen a handful of stills. Hey, it might look a bit slavish to lavish praise on a film based on a couple of artfully posed shots, but it's not like Gordon's staking his reputation having only seen the storyboards, is it?
Guy told me last year he was going back to the detective’s dark roots.
Did you know Sherlock was a bare-knuckle fighter with a taste for dodgy substances in the original tales?
Seriously? You're asking us that seriously, Gordon?
What's coming tomorrow, Gordon: "you might not know, but in the original story Hamlet was actually a member of a royal family?" "It's a little-known fact, but if you check the first books, Poirot wasn't French at all; he was Belgian"?
But let's not assume that Gordon is out of his comfort zone here; he's also got another film story this morning as he cooks up a falling out between Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson on the set of Iron Man 2:
While Scarlett has been donning sexy catsuits and carrying guns for the scenes shot so far, Gwyneth has mainly had to settle for prim business suits.
But she has been assured she will get her moment to come out all guns blazing in the flick’s action-packed finale.
She's "been assured" of that. Because, presumably, she was quite unable to read the end of the script in which she'd be doing that, then?
Monday, May 18, 2009
Shazam - that handy little thing which lets your phone tell you what you're listening to - is getting sued, along with several companies which use their technology:
Shazam is named along with Samsung, Apple, Amazon.com, Napster, Motorola, Gracenote, Verizon Wireless, LG Electronics, AT&T Mobility, and Pantech Wireless in a suit filed Tuesday over U.S. Patent No. 6,941,275, which was issued to Remi Swierczek/Tune Hunter in September 2005. The suit accuses Shazam's music discovery and identification service of violating the patent and the other companies of benefiting directly from Shazam's alleged infringement.
Tune Hunter's patent covers "a music identification/purchasing system, specifically to a method for marking the time and the name of the radio station in portable device such as a key holder, watch, cellular phone, beeper or the like which will allow the user to learn via internet or regular telephone the name of the song, artist and/or music company by matching the stored data with broadcast archive."
How did they get a patent for that when, erm, Shazam has been running since about 2002?
Not outside of by-election disasters has coming in a lowly fifth been met with such applause and delight. Fifth place in Eurovision? That's brilliant, that is:
"Jade performed brilliantly, as I knew she would. I am delighted with her fifth place finish. After so many years of disappointing results the UK can finally hold its head up high," said [Lloyd-Webber]
Hang on a moment. Fifth? Not disappointing? Maybe I missed something back when the heats were taking place to pick a singer to do the song, but I don't quite recall the aim being "to at least be in the top ten somewhere" or that "we're choosing a singer who can ensure that Britain would at least make it on to the podium if two other entrants scored more points but got disqualified." Were we really all rooting to be fifth-best?
Shouldn't the response be "well, we had a crack" or "it's the taking part that counts"? Given that the build-up kept stressing how, with Milord Phantom on the case, this represented the very peak of our competitive-musical fitness, isn't fifth actually pretty crap? At least if Scooch crash and burn, you can shrug and say "well, it was Scooch, what do you expect?". But wasn't this meant to be our dream team, our Manchester United, our Eggheads, our Botham's Ashes first XI? And we still came in fifth.
Mind you, at least we weren't robbed like Turkey were. Theirs was actually good.
The Enemy turn up to play some songs for Gordon Smart and - lord help us - John Gaunt this morning, and set their hats at tumbling their idols:
Tom & Co will be supporting OASIS this summer, but hope to take over as our No1 band before long.
That sentence implies that Oasis are our number one band, but let's let it pass, shall we?
The Enemy are set to play with the GALLAGHERS in front of 90,000 people at Wembley, their determination means they won’t be truly happy until they are headlining there themselves.
Tom said: “I don’t think NOEL needs to do it any more. He’s doing it for the love of it. That’s the dream.
“That’s when you can say you’ve made it.”
Is Noel doing it for love? Aren't he and his brother more like a married couple who have long gone past passion, through love and beyond comfort; now they're barely even going through the motions.
They even took the news that Bob Dylan had pipped them to No1 spot in the album chart early this month with good humour.
Tom said: “I was disappointed for about two minutes then it occurred to me it was Bob.
“You have worse days than coming second to him.”
Oh yes. A bloke who hadn't had a number one album since sweets came off the ration. There's no shame in being the first band in decades to be kept off the top spot by him.
While Gordon is nodding quietly along to The Enemy, he's left it to Caroline Iggulden to pick up the Jackson story. She trots through the usual cancer story stuff - brave, waving at fans, more bravery. The story has everything, except for the denial of the whole story by the Jackson camp. Which might be something a Sun reader should at least be made aware of, don't you think?
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Dan Wootton was claiming in today's News Of The World that the Kaiser Chiefs have been dropped.
The Kaiser Chiefs have reassured their fans that it isn't the case, and once both of them were happy, they got in touch with the NME:
However, a spokesman for the band told NME.COM there is "no contractual change to report".
"The band has two records left to run on an existing contract," he said. "Kaiser Chiefs will take their first break in six years at the end of the summer. As with many successful artists, the band is considering creative options to improve the way their music reaches people ahead of their forth album."
To be fair, Wootton never quite claimed they'd been dropped, just merely that band and label were going their separate ways, and the PR statement sounds slightly woolly. Come to that, was the stress on "many" or "successful" in that second sentence?
George Lamb has broken the 6Music messageboards. Or ten people talking about him have:
Bob Shennan; Controller of BBC Radio 2 and 6 music has an announcement about the future of the board which i'm posting here.
"I'm sorry but today we've had to suspend the 6 Music "Feedback" topic on the 6 Music message boards.
It has become apparent that the topic, especially the thread devoted to the George Lamb show, needs full time dedicated hosting (as per BBC guidance here: www.bbc.co.uk/guidel... ).
We had hoped that the board could continue to stay open whilst we sought to find an appropriate host which is why Jane has been hosting on a part time basis for the last 6 weeks.
Unfortunately this has not proved possible. Regulars to the board will know that it is a highly volatile forum and tensions often run particularly high. This is especially so around the George Lamb thread, moderation decisions and discussions relating to BBC staff.
Dealing responsibly with the activity provoked by a board where 10 regular users have been responsible for nearly 7000 posts concerning one programme just isn't the best use of BBC resources at the moment. This is regrettable given that we have also received articulate and welcome feedback about the station on these forums from many users. Thank you for that.
However, the board's posts will all be archived and still available to view and the topics devoted to Marc Riley, Bruce Dickinson, and Gideon Coe will continue to remain open.
I also want to reiterate that this is a temporary suspension of the board and that once we have found an appropriate host we will look again at how best to develop constructive dialogue about the future of the network.
Controller, BBC Radio 2 & 6 Music
Could this be, in any way, connected with the piece in the recent Private Eye:
Last week the BBC confirmed that Barry Lally, one of morning show presenter George Lamb's on-air sidekicks, had been repeatedly posting messages of praise for Lamb and his show on the station's messageboard while posing as an ordinary listener behind the nickname "U-Bend".
Lamb - a presenter so actively disliked that 4,961 radio fans have signed a petition to "Get Lamb Out" of the station, while his own on-air appeals to listeners to commit to "Keep Lamb On" resulted in only 2,186 signatures - was doggedly championed by U-Bend. When asked by other messageboard users, "U-Bend" flatly denied he had ever appeared on the show.
Although posing as a member of the public is a strict no-no under BBC editorial guidelines, at least it now makes it a little clearer where they're finding all these people who love the George Lamb show. They're coming from the George Lamb show.
You might wonder if Bob Shennan has closed down the right part of his empire.
Yesterday, you know, I might have been a bit hard on dear old Tesco. Perhaps it isn't fair to compare their attitude to the new Manics album cover on the shelves with their website's gorily-written game puffs.
So, to be fair, I popped in to Tescos. Yes, we have a Tesco store near us - unusual in the UK, I know.
You'll recall that this is the image which Tesco have refused to display on their shelves:
And the reason, given by their spokesperson, is that it is "inappropriate" and "we are a family retailer and we feel that it is the right thing to do."
It's touching to know that Tesco operate a family-friendly only shelving policy for their stores, isn't it? This, you have to conclude, is appropriate for your kids:
A child with a birthmark? Horrifying. But a dismembered head and manacles dripping blood? What could be a nicer post-kindergarten treat?
Why, children would be upset by the Manics album - sure, it's a birthmark, but it looks like blood. That's really unhealthy for the nippers.
Now, an actual head, with what's clearly blood, that's fine. It's not so confusing, is it? You know where you are with proper bloody heads.
Why would you bother hiring clowns or balloon animal makers for your next child's birthday party, when Tesco is offering all this family-friendly material?
After all, it's never too early to learn the correct order of doing things - certainly, by the age of six, my Dad made sure I was knew why you had to bind before you tortured, and only then killed.
Now, I know what you're saying: Some of these grisly DVDs are on shelves as high as three feet off floor level, and surely Tesco must take care to see that the place where the smallest children are are a bit less gory, right? And indeed they do:
Down on the bottom shelf level, it's just scary faces, half-naked porn stars and blow job gags. Tesco is always aware of avoiding inappropriate items for its family customers.
And, yes, I'm still being unfair. This is, after all, the horror section of the entertainment part of the store, and Tesco make every effort to keep children out of wandering into the blood-and-blowjob part of the shop by, erm, having a small sign saying "Horror" right above the DVD rack.
It's different elsewhere in the shop, right?
Ah, yes. Nestling next to kid-tastic animated Bee Movie fun, a bloody sickle - and at pocket money prices, too.
Still, be reassured, parents: At least your kids won't have nightmares about a child with a birthmark. Even if they had seen the Manics sleeve, by the time they'd walked through the gore-and-torture strewn shelves of their local Tesco store, they won't be able to sleep in the first place.
Photos taken in Tesco Extra, Kingston, Milton Keynes, afternoon of Saturday 16th May
If you have tax-exempt tears, prepare to shed them for Bono as Dan Wootton breaks the news that the band have run out of steam:
NOT such a beautiful day for seasoned rockers U2 - their latest single has become the lads' biggest flop in TWO DECADES . . . it didn't even make the Top 40!
Despite being the standout track on their new album, Magnificent had a chart performance that was anything but (sorry BONO).
It only managed to limp in to No 42 thanks to its paltry 5,157 copies being sold and downloaded.
He's apologised to Bono? Really?
Still, nobody is really surprised by the world not being interested in U2 singles in 2009, are they?
Well... except Dan, of course. What was it he was predicting back in February?
Magnificent will end up a No1 hit and yet another trademark U2 stadium anthem.
Perhaps Bono should apologise to Dan.
The ten most-read Eurovision related stories since 2007 have been:
1. Liveblog: Eurovision 2007
2. Ireland select Turkey for entry; gets roasted
3. Liveblog: Eurovision 2006
4. Doomed tunes: UK shortlist, 2008
5. Liveblog: Eurovision 2004
6. Liveblog: Eurovision 2003
7. Head of Eurovision begs Wogan to shut up for five bloody minutes
8. Austria quits Eurovision 2009
9. Liveblog: Eurovision 50th anniversary special
10. Justin Hawkins: Scooch had secret singers
And don't forget the 2009 Eurovision liveblog
Back in the real world, these were this week's interesting releases:
Graham Coxon - The Spinning Top
download The Spinning Top
The Church - Untitled #23
Download The Church back catalogue
Leona Naess - Thirteens
Belinda Carlisle - Heaven On Earth special edition
download Heaven On Earth
Nadja - When I See The Sun Always Shines On TV
download When I See The Sun...
Saturday Night Fry: The full series
The Mozipedia: The Encylopedia Of Morrissey And The Smiths
More from No Rock on this week just gone