Saturday, August 29, 2009

Peter Andre: what exactly was your job description?

I'll be honest, I'd thought that Peter Andre was clearly tagged as "former minor singer" as far as a career goes, but it turns out that's rather outdated of me:

[Talking to the Edinburgh TV festival] he said he had no misgivings about subjecting his marriage to the media spotlight. "I couldn't regret it – it's your job, and there'll be bits of your job you don't like."

Being filmed married to Jordan was your job? What the hell did you have written on your passport under 'occupation', exactly?

Ant And Dec blame other people for Susan Boyle

Ant And Dec have popped up at the Edinburgh TV Festival to defend the way Britain's Got Talent gave Susan Boyle a breakdown:

"What would you then do, start censoring people because they won't be able to handle the fame and attention as well as you think they should?" McPartlin told the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival today.

"You can't stop people coming on the show … just because they don't handle it in the way we expect them to. It doesn't mean it's wrong.

"Susan Boyle performed three times on the show. The show didn't camp paparazzi outside her house, the show didn't put it in the newspapers. I personally believe that every care was taken with Susan Boyle and they looked after her very well indeed."

So, somehow, there's no reason for Simon Cowell and his chums to feel in any way responsible for putting the woman into a position where she had the paparazzi outside her house and was in every newspaper?

Do Ant (left) and Dec (right) really think that we're so ignorant that we'll believe that, left to them, and Cowell, and ITV, there'd be nothing in the papers about BGT; that when the TV programme gets in the news they feel that it's a violation of their performers rather than massive acres of free publicity for their show? That the network and the production doesn't rely on it being in all the papers? That there's a team of PR people whose job is to get the show into all the papers?

That's probably the greatest insult to our nation's collective intelligence since, ooh, ITV tried to tell us we shouldn't blame Ant And Dec for the fleecing of phonevoters as their "producer" credits didn't really mean they'd know what was going on.

The view from someone else's yacht: Mandelson defends new filesharing hunt

Is that the sound of deckshoes I hear approaching? Why, yes, it's Peter Mandelson writing about the new proposals for treating filesharers illegally in today's Times. Even the headline is flawed:

Taking something for nothing is wrong . . .
. . . that’s why we must stop illegal file sharing and give the creative industries a breathing space

Taking something for nothing is wrong? Really? Harvesting blackberries at a roadside is wrong, is it? Helping yourself to apples from a bowl which says "help yourself" is wrong, is it? Having a lovely, lovely evening on a creative industry executive's yacht and not dipping your hand in your pocket is wrong, is it, Mandelson? Taking large payments from Bernie Ecclestone for nothing in return would have been wrong?

It used to the Tories who we worried would try and find a way of charging for the air that we breathe, enraged that it come for free. It looks like it still is; they're just sat on the other benches.

But, my Lord, we're running ahead of ourselves. Do explain your argument:
It was said this week by a former colleague of mine (anonymously, of course) that I do not “get the internet”. While I am still something of a novice when it comes to streaming and downloads, I have been around long enough to know that piracy is wrong.

To be fair to Peter, he's not the only person who gets this so wrong, and thinks that he's taking part in a battle against "pirates" rather than being used to try and artificially inflate the price of audio and video files online. The schoolteacher tone more than demonstrates that, no, he really doesn't get the internet, or basic economics, at all.

It's that lack of understanding of economics - that where supply is unlimited and production costs near to zero, there's no business in charging for that product however much we might wish there was - that is perhaps worrying. It'd be worrying in any grown-up, but in a senior member of a government, it's a bit like discovering that your pilot is suffering from glued-shut eyes.

Of course, Mandelson didn't get where he is today by being so dull, so it's more than possible he's just pretending that what he's proposing is nothing to do with stopping pirates and everything to do with trying to artificially inflate prices. He wouldn't say that in public, though, would he?
That is why my department decided to consider strengthening proposals to tackle illegal file sharing and downloading.

But if - by your own admission - you don't really understand what you're talking about when you say "downloading", how can you hope to regulate wisely and fairly? It's like putting someone who lives in a shack with no electricity in charge of Ofcom - how can you make subtle decisions if you don't have experience of the market you're regulating? It's no wonder you'd fall back on nursery half-witticisms like "pirates are bad" if you're an amateur in the field in which you're dabbling.

And if the file-sharing of which you speak is illegal, then why not use the laws that make it illegal to stop it? You'd not stand up and announce self-satisified proposals to outlaw illegal murdering, as you know it would make you look like a bit of a tit, right?
The thinking behind this is clear and has nothing to do with dinners in Corfu.

This is Mandelson's only reference to his recent jolly with Geffen and Speilberg - as I've observed before, if his department was really considering these proposals before he took their largess, he is guilty of a terrible error of judgement and should be considering his third ignominious resignation.
The Government decided to reopen the issue of suspending internet connections as a sanction of last resort against the most egregious offenders for two simple reasons.

Geffen's most excellent port and Speilberg's delicious cheeseboard?
First, taking something for nothing, without permission, and with no compensation for the person who created and owns it, is wrong.

Well, he's clarified the headline, at least. That "and" is fascinating - not "or". Mandelson is actually suggesting that if someone is happy for you to help themselves to their apples, it's wrong.

It sounds, though, like a fair point. If you can shake the image of that time Faith was in Buffy's body mouthing "you can't do that... it's wrong... I'm gonna kick your ass", you might find yourself nodding and saying "well, that's inarguable."

But equally, charging for something that is in abundance is impossible. It's like dropping a ten pound note on the street - yes, morally, the finder should seek out the lawful owner and return the ten pound note. But nobody does, and - frankly - you wouldn't expect someone who slips the tenner in his pocket to then be banned from walking down the street for three years as a result.

Mandelson doesn't get the internet. He doesn't get the philosophical difference between the song, and the file. It would be wrong, certainly, to force Noel Gallagher to record an album at gun point and not reward him for that. But is sharing an mp3 really the same as that? If it is, would sitting outside a window listening to someone play guitar also stealing if you don't pay them for their time?

This is not a conversation about things, it's a conversation about ideas. It's abstract, and trying to slap on the simple morality of what would happen in a shop doesn't work. The trouble is that if you attempt to discuss this, the copyright industry just barks that you're trying to rationalize wrong-doing, rather than offering an answer to the questions.

Mandelson has a second point, though:
Second, our creative businesses drive much of our economy. They provide not only tax revenues and jobs but also ensure that Britain punches above its weight on the global cultural stage. We are a creative people and we do these things well. These businesses will get no favours from government, but we should create a regulatory environment where they can operate without having to deal with illegal competition.

Britain "punching above its weight on the global cultural stage" means, I think, that we're still the number one supplier of evil villains to Hollywood movies, and The Rolling Stones still jaunt around every so often raising money which, erm, doesn't supply tax revenues as they organise their affairs to avoid that happening as far as they possibly can.

It's funny that they're not getting any favours from government, though, while one part of the government is ripping out a large chunk of the Digital Britain report and rewriting it in terms that could have been dictated by the creative industries. You wonder what a favour would look like.

It is true, though, that creative industries do raise a lot of money and keep people in jobs. The asbestos and tobacco industries also threw a lot of cash into the pot - as did the children-up-chimney industry. Do we calibrate our rules according to how much cash there is to throw around from an industry these days?

And is simply protecting a small number of large, mostly-foreign based corporations really the best way to ensure we have a healthy number of people making things? Isn't it at least as possible that locking most of the inventiveness into exploiting things already made is the best way to spark the imaginations of the next generation?

Mandelson then rambles on for a bit about how it would lovely if ISPs and copyright holders could work together to create ways of fleecing the public - sorry, exploiting the copyright:
It’s that which will effect the sea change that we are looking for.

Well, no, Peter. iTunes has managed to scramble out and turn a profit without the need for anyone to throw people off the internet first; the suggestion that the non-winnable battle against piracy must be won at all costs before there's room for a market is just ridiculous.
To those who have raised their voices about the proposed changes this week, let me say that I hear their concerns. I have read their blogs and can live with the abuse (I’ve had worse).

Of course you have - you're a devious, dishonest politician who does favours for his mates. Of course you've had worse abuse.
I made clear to the content industry that we would consider legislation that includes temporary account suspension only if it was seen as the sanction of last resort.

That doesn't really make it right, does it? "We'll only shoot the prisoners if all else fails" isn't exactly a stance against capital punishment.
It would only follow a well-established series of warnings and clear evidence that they were taking action to defend their own rights. This will not turn your ISP into Big Brother. The process is driven by rights holders reporting activity on public file-sharing websites rather than service providers monitoring individuals’ internet traffic.

Mandelson, you'll notice, is not worried at all about the idea of a private company snooping on people's online activities, just so long as it isn't the ISPs.
I want to know more from digital rights groups and consumers about other steps that should be taken to protect people who may feel that they are at risk of being accused without good cause.

That's big of you. Perhaps you should have spoken to them before issuing a press release? Or does the EFF not have a yacht?
This could perhaps be because of legitimate file sharing, or because of others hijacking their connection. Having a fair, fast and effective appeals process will obviously be essential.

No, Peter. What would be essential would be for there to be a proper, due process - not the rushed job you're supporting with an equally rushed appeals panel. You're talking about cutting people off from their banks, their education, their jobs. You need to be bloody sure you're right before doing that - and right in the eyes of the law, not some chap from EMI.
We are fast approaching the tenth anniversary of the trial in which, the site that enabled the first real boom in file sharing, was shut down after legal action by record labels. This legal action was hugely expensive, time-consuming and ultimately did little for consumers. Why? Because it failed to encourage rights holders to develop new business models and did nothing to seek to change consumer behaviour. A decade on, we have another opportunity, and for some in the content industries, perhaps the last.

Pete doesn't get the internet. He doesn't see that Napster did an awful lot for consumers - there wouldn't have been any impulse to take music online, into an environment where it can't be controlled, and the unit cost has shrunk, without Napster. The trial, he's right, was long and expensive. And closing Napster did nothing for consumers. But it wasn't consumers who had the problem with Napster in the first place. It worked well for us.

Mandelson's final flourish, though, sounds like it comes from a different article:
The age of flogging a CD in HMV for £20 is well and truly over. Ask me what I think will finish off piracy as a real threat to our creators and creative businesses and the answer is obvious — it is the market.

Provide customers with a good quality, cheap, safe and efficient experience, and they will ditch illegal downloading. If the threat of temporary account suspension and its implementation in a small number of cases helps to build a market to make this happen, then I believe it is worth our serious consideration.

... well, apart from that last sentence. But you almost want to grab him by the lapels and say "yes, my noble Lord... if you build a better mousetrap, people won't waste their time hanging out by the skirting board with hammers. Even though they could do that for free, they'll gladly pay you a fair price for that ease and simplicity."

What has driven the labels to come to their sometimes grudging agreements with Apple and YouTube and others is the sort of activity that Mandelson is targeting. The inspiration is the disruption and the disruption is the inspiration. Why, then, Mandy, why are you trying to build a system in which the creative industries don't need to be creative, and can use draconian measures to try and protect a market of selling back catalogue at inflated markets through the same old system?

DJobit: DJ AM

Adam Goldstein, who worked under the name DJ AM, has died of an apparent overdose.

Goldstein survived the plane crash that killed four others last September.

He had just made a series for MTV celebrating "eleven years sober" and helping others with addiction problems:

"Something I have always done since the beginning of my sobriety is work with other addicts in recovery. So when the question came up [from MTV]: 'Hey, we should work something out.' It's like, 'What do you like to do?' And other than DJ, that's kind of what I've always done.

"Part of me feels like, 'Who am I?' I'm a DJ. This is my one chance. I owe it as a human who's sober to say something to them. So that's my job. That's what I'm there for."

Goldstein's first go at fame was as a member of Crazy Town; he managed to quit the band before they made wonder of their one hit. He then worked behind the turntables to add a sheen of modernity to Papa Roach and Madonna; his collaborations with Travis Barker led to his presence on the lear jet which crashed last year.

Goldstein was co-owner of a nightclub and appeared regularly on the sort of programmes MTV and VH1 make these days. He was 36.

Griffin done... going north

With the Oasis era coming to an end, what better time for Zoe Griffin to suddenly declare Manchester 'cool'?

It would seem that if you want to celeb spot then forget going to London, Manchester is the new place to go!

It's only taken, what, twenty years for news of The Happy Mondays to filter through to Zoe Griffin's newsbucket. That almost qualifies as breaking news round those parts.
Manchester was the place to be with Corrie Stars and page three models watching a charity concert at Salford’s Lowry Theatre by Blazin Squad and X Factor star Andy Abrahams.

Whoever thought you'd see actors who work on a series set and made in Manchester actually in Manchester? Or, indeed, Blazin' Squad at a Blazin' Squad gig? (If Blazin Squad actually counts as "celeb" spotting in 2009.)

Later today, I'm expecting Zoe to discover that you might spot The Kings Of Leon in Leeds.

Twittergem: Mrs Stephen Fry

From @mrsstephenfry:

BREAKING NEWS: 'I needed something fresher than Oasis' announces Noel Gallagher, ahead of his tour with Michael Jackson

Oasis "split": It's all in the timing

You have to wonder if there might just be a God, and that he or she might have been a Melody Maker reader. The death of Michael Jackson coming just as the NME team had arrived en masse at Glastonbury followed by the latest Oasis split coming on the first day of the Reading Festival. Not the best of times for a big music story to be happening.

Gordon in the morning: Remember I told you

Given Gordon's ability to run a dozen stories that are wrong to every one that's sort-of right, it's perhaps unsurprising he's enjoying having been kind-of right earlier this week on the Oasis story.

Of course, if you read today's piece, you'd come away with the impression that Smart had written a piece predicting the actual moment that Liam would smash Noel's guitar rather than a hedging, cagey "could this be the end" type piece.

Still, he's making bold predictions now:

In ten years' time, if the money is right and Liam finally calms down from his permanent rage then maybe, just maybe, they will play again.

I hope they do. But it is going to take a long time for this one to blow over.

Still, you'll be wondering - especially in light of his boss James Murdoch insisting that The Sun and it's "independent" journalism is worth paying money for - who, exactly, on Gordon's team alerted him to the end of the current phase of Oasis? Let's see the News Corporation investment at work:
Scots singer AMY MACDONALD, who was at the French gig, said on Twitter: "Oasis cancelled again with one minute to stage time!!! Liam smashed Noel's guitar, huuuge fight"

Ah. So when James Murdoch was in Edinburgh railing at the BBC for telling people what's happening in the world without expecting people to pay, he should also be calling for the future Cameron government to dismantle Amy MacDonald for doing the same thing, should he?

Still, that independent journalism would have kicked in once Gordon was aware of the story, right? Gordon would have been sending someone out to get coverage of what was going on, rather than merely hitting F5 on his keyboard, over and over?
The man who first signed the band, ALAN McGEE, then chipped in on Facebook.

He said: "Just got phoned by somebody at Rock en Seine that Oasis have just split up an hour ago and manager or tour manager made the announcement to 50,000 fans. Madness are now playing 2 sets as they played already at festival. f*** knows..."

God, James Murdoch really has a point, doesn't he? If the BBC crush the likes of The Sun's online service, how ever will we get the chance to pay Gordon Smart for cutting and pasting from free news services online?

Oasis: Probably not such a glorious new morning

Oh, we'd love to spend the next three days as part of a massive tea party, celebrating and clapping and cheering. But given that this about the nineteenth time one or other of The Gallaghers has gone home early crying, I'm not so sure we should take Noel's statement as a definitive end of Oasis:

"It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight.

"People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer."

"Apologies to all the people who bought tickets for the shows in Paris, Konstanz and Milan."

In related news, Reg, the guy who does building work on Gallagher's mansion, issued a statement:
"It's with some sadness and great alarm to tell you that I'm going to be responsible for Oasis getting back together in a month or so.

Noel will write and say what he likes, but I simply will be presenting him with a bill for shoring up the crumbling wall of the conservatory and repointing the brickwork on the southern side and tell him that unless he goes on working with Liam in order to pay me, I'm not even going to make a start on sorting the roof out.

Apologies to all the people who had hoped that was it."

In even more related news, Liam Gallagher was heard to issue a statement, yelling from a hotel bedroom:
"Noel? Noel? Where are you? It's dark and the lady says that I can't have any more beer as someone's closed down our bill... Noel? Noel? ... Noel?"

It's all fun and games enjoying the latest round of Oasis in-fighting, but let's not be too gleeful. There will be people worried about their futures in light of the axing of these gigs.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Set against the scale of things...

The discovery of dope in Michael Jackson's bedroom hardly comes a shock compared to the stream of heavy-drug-stories that are being dripped out of the investigation to his death, does it? It's a bit like releasing that Norman Bates had unpaid Avon bills as well.

Gordon in the morning: Oh, mother

The trouble with Gordon's apparent decision to allow Simon Cowell to write huge chunks of the Sun's gossip pages to promote JLS is, as we've seen, JLS simply aren't interesting enough to support a constant stream of stories.

Today, for instance, it's yet another reworking of the "they like to party" angle, as it's claimed their mothers are angry. And the overheated coverage is now starting to collapse in on itself:

THE lads from JLS have told me that they've been in hot water with their mums - for appearing in this column too many times.

Presumably their mothers buy the Sun to read about celebrities, rather than people who lost a talent show months and months ago.
I've been reporting on enthusiastic pair ASTON MERRYGOLD and MARVINHUMES almost every day because of to their partying lifestyles.

Yes, who can forget "man buys a burger", for example?
I'm loving their lust for life.

Ah, yes. I'm surprised there isn't a Duke Of Edinburgh badge in 'getting yourself photographed by your management in order to keep a weak profile in a newspaper column with apparently nothing else to write about'.
JLS managed to put away five treasure chests of booze, six bottles of vodka and five bottles of champagne.

Not, of course, that The Sun thinks binge drinking is a good thing.

Still, I wouldn't want you to give the impression that Smart is so desperate to fill his columns these days that he'll give space to any reality TV show flop who can muster the merest scrap of name recognition. Look here, for example:
PRESTON'S Biz Session marked a career first - the former ORDINARY BOYS star's debut performance WITHOUT his bandmates.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bookmarks: Some things to read on the internet - Filesharing

Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo looks at Jammie Thomas' fine for filesharing, and lists some cheaper pastimes she could have tried:

• Burn someone's house while playing The Doors: Another $375,000

Madonna in surprising "in the right" story

It's not often we find ourselves siding with Madonna against a bunch of people who are booing her, but you have to give her credit for facing down her Bucharest audience by calling for an end to anti-Roma discrimination and violence.

You might give her a bit more credit if she'd have responded when the crowd booed her comments, but at least she made her point.

Chris Brown: The sort of thug only a mother could love

I know, I know, it's hard for mothers to see the faults in their kids - after all, admitting fault in them is tacitly to concede the flaws in your own parenting skills.

But you'd think Joyce Hawkins, mother of Chris Brown, might have found something to criticise in her son, right? Not a bit of it:

"I just want to say from the bottom of my heart thank you for your continued support. I'm sorry I wasn't allowed to speak to anyone as this case was on going. I can now say this has been the most painful moment in my entire life, but knowing that you were still standing by Chris' side in his time of need made this a little easier for us. Because of all your prayers God brought him through. I just want to say God has never failed me and never will. All moms and dads please stand by your children and pray for their goodness each and everyday."

"I made a promise... I would never be ashamed of him no matter where I am or who I talk to. You see this whole thing isn't about Chris, it's about God. He wants to show all of you the goodness of him through Chris. Chris will be addressing all of his fans very soon. We love you so much and so does God."

Now, standing by your kid - that's admirable and brave. But unless you're realistic - and share your disappointment in their behaviour - how is the child ever going to learn right from wrong?

And prelates of all denominations might like to intervene at all this praising God; the obvious question being 'what sort of God intervenes to get a soft sentence and a stage-managed orchestrated sob-session on Larry King for a bloke who hits women, but couldn't be arsed to intercede to stop Chris Brown from smashing Rihanna's face in in the first place?'

Mind you, this message from his Mom appears on Brown's website. Given his record for hitting women, perhaps she felt she had no choice.

Griffin done: JLS

The weak attempts to try and make JLS seem interesting continue. Consisting of "they drink alcohol" and "they drive cars", the pitch seems to be to try and cast them in the way that a 15 year-old might talk about a boyfriend in the upper sixth. Clearly, Gordon Smart is on board, but who else would fall for such a proposition?

Hello, Zoe Griffin. How are you?

I ran into the boys at last nights MOBO nominations awards launch and they were yet again showing us all how to have a good time.

They didn’t even look hungover from the previous nights antics (Alexandra Burke’s birthday).

The boys have been flashing their new found cash so much recently it seems there management have told them to curve their spending!

But this wont stop the younger singers, they’ve managed to get [a booze company] tequila to give them a £3000 bottle of tequila each!

Looks like we’re still going to seeing a lot of JLS on the party scene.

Can we just take the repeated need for "sic" as read there? And instead just wonder if Zoe has paused to consider why, when she's the one giving the Tequila company the free plug, it's the gameshow New Edition who get the free booze?

Mobos announce shortlist. Pretend to look interested.

The annual MOBO awards - or the annual procession of self-defeat as it's also known - are just thirty four days away. The website has a countdown clock, which might give the impression of a world waiting, breath held; or put you in mind of the little calendar they print on the side of bicarb of soda boxes for keeping the fridge cool.

You might imagine that the excitement around N-Dubz getting three - or is it four - nominations would be the most useful way of calibrating your response to the shortlists, but there's something even more damning: Mr Hudson, (Hank Kingsley to Kanye West's Larry Sanders in a show without an Artie) is in the running for Best UK Act.

Although it's possible that the Mr Hudson listed in the nominations is actually the butler to the Bellamy family. It would only be slightly less plausible.

That actually not very shortlist in full:

Best UK Act

Alesha Dixon


Beverley Knight


Dizzee Rascal

DJ Ironik


Mr Hudson


Tinchy Stryder

Best UK Newcomer

Alexandra Burke

Jade Ewen


Laura Izibor

Master Shortie

Best R&B/Soul Act

Beverley Knight



Keri Hilson


Best Hip Hop Act


Dizzee Rascal



Kanye West

Best Video

Bonkers - Dizzee Rascal

Boy Does Nothing - Alesha Dixon

Diamond Rings - Chipmunk ft Emeli Sande

Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) - Beyonce

Supernova - Mr Hudson ft Kanye West

Best International Act







Kanye West

Keri Hilson

Lady Gaga

Mariah Carey

Best Song

Beat Again - JLS

Diamond Rings - Chipmunk ft Emeli Sande

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes - K.I.G. Family

Number One - Tinchy Stryder ft N-Dubz

Strong Again - N-Dubz

Best Album

808s and Heartbreaks - Kanye West

Catch 22 - Tinchy Stryder

Catch Me If You Can - Bashy

I Am... Sasha Fierce - Beyonce

Uncle B - N-Dubz

Best Reggae


Sean Paul


Tarrus Riley

Vybz Kartel

Best Jazz Act

Diana Krall

Herbie Hancock

Madeleine Peyroux

Melody Gardot

Yolanda Brown

Best African Act

Amadou and Mariam

Baaba Maal


Femi Kuti





Oumou Sangare

Salif Kelta

Best Gospel Act

Desire to Worship God

Kiki Sheard

Mary Mary

New Direction


It's unbelievable that Lemar even now is getting a nomination - does he lend them the microphones for the finals or something; it's depressing how much the Mobos newcomers category implies that Black British talent is best defined by Simon Cowell's whims and the ITV1 audience.

Black Eyed Peas: A plausible reason for turning to Islam

The government of Malaysia has issued a ruling barring Muslims from attending a Kuala Lumpur gig this September.

They're worried that the sponsors - Guinness - don't sit well with the rules of the religion. It's unclear if there will be any punishment for people simply pretending to be Muslim as an easy way to get out of going to the gig.

Gordon in the morning: Not a Lott to add

How are the attempts to get people to head off to the newsagent to buy a proper, paper product going over at Bizarre? Today they make a good effort, only it's FHM they're promoting.

Or rather not promoting, as they run a couple of shots from the hugely uncomfortable Pixie Lott photoshoot from this month's magazine, which couldn't look any more awkward and intrusive if the pictures had got into the paper after someone stole her boyfriend's cameraphone.

Marcus Barnes takes responsibility for turning "here are some pictures that are in a different company's magazine" into the sort of showbiz coverage that the Murdochs think they can charge for:

The chart-topping blonde, 18, shows off her perfect pins while posing in tiny shorts and a skimpy top in a long-awaited spread for lads' mag FHM.

Ah, yes. There's the value added - they've not just printed FHM's pictures, Marcus has described them as well. They have colleges which teach this sort of thing.

There's also one of the most horrible usability fudges I've seen on a professional website for a while:
For a chance to win an exclusive chance to accompany the sexy Mama Do singer all the way to Germany for her European album launch party - click on the top Related Story to the right of this article.

... and then say "Pixielott" three times, backwards. Perhaps the idea is that finding the link is the competition, like a clunky HTML version of Masquerade. Or maybe nobody left at The Sun knows how to make a link without their CMS doing it for them.

Gordon, meanwhile, is left to concentrate on the big story: George Sampson being evicted after playing show tunes too loud, too often.
Still, it shouldn't worry a high-roller like George, right? He's got options.
While his mum Lesley searches for a house for them, she and George are holed up in an Ibis hotel in town.

Oh. Oh, dear.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Apparently, they've banned flags from Reading and Leeds this year, and Melvin Benn had suggested they introduce the ban at Glastonbury as well.

Glastonbury have decided to allow the carrying of flags to continue. Maybe even to make the flags mandatory.

There's a debate, you know. There must be:

See the new issue of NME, out today (August 26), for more on the flags at festivals debate.

It's almost pointless to continue writing this piece, for without a doubt everyone is now rushing to their newsagents to get a copy of NME to read the "debate" (= "it was a bit of fun at first but now everyone's doing it and, frankly, it's got out of hand, but if you come down to it, there are far more pressing questions about ticket prices, oversupply of festivals, security and the environment that makes focusing a debate on if someone should carry a stick with a sheet attached to it seem almost as if the NME is ducking an issue where the festivals might get some proper criticism to focus on a minor annoyance.)

Gordon in the morning 2: A little more on Megan Fox

Just further to Gordon's big scoop this morning, about Megan Fox being Catwoman: The Times' Blockbuster Buzz pours cold water on the idea. And then puts it in the fridge. And floats it off to Antarctica.

Festival axed: Beachdown goes down

Brighton's Beachdown Festival has been pulled.

Organisers have statemented:

“It is with immense personal regret that the Directors of Beachdown Festival have been advised that they must announce that due to slower than forecast ticket-sales and lack of support at a critical time from our bank and certain suppliers that despite being so so close to being able to deliver Beachdown Festival we are unable to do so.

“Very simply we were unable to meet the demands that the current economic climate put against us and at the eleventh hour despite having most of the infrastructure in place we have been forced to cancel the event.

“We wish to say at this time how desperately sorry we are to all those who have bought tickets or were participating in the event and to say that we all here are personally shattered expecially [sic] after eleven months of battling against the recession to try and put this event on and coming so close.

“We also wish to advise everyone that we explored every possible avenue to finance the event including re-mortgaging our houses to combat the unwillingness of banks to support us.

“We will do everything in our power to give the best information that we can via the web-site and via email but we ask that people understand that we will also be inundated with enquiries but we will endeavour to communicate to everyone as best we can.

“We ask all ticket-holders to get information from the outlet that you purchased the ticket from in the first instance and once again we will do everything we can to get as much information as we can to everyone as quickly as we can.”

Beachdown, which was due to feature Grace Jones and the Super Furry Animals was due to have taken place at Devils Dyke.

Poppa Zune flees Microsoft

Chris Stephenson, who has handled what's grandly being called "the global marketing" for Zune, has quit Microsoft for a role marketing at Universal Records.

Global marketing the Zune? That would be signing off the Canadian ads as well as the American ones, given that there's been no rush to increase the losses by launching the device overseas.

Interesting that someone is quitting a digital music service to join a record label. Either that's a tribute to the future of Universal, or just possibly an indication that there's not much future for the Zune division in its present form.

The Early Bell: Andy shares first demo

Tucked into Andy Bell's online biography is something midway between a rarity and a historical curiosity: some of the demo he made when he was in Dinger.

This isn't, to be clear, a time when Bell was earning a crust as the Colorado Rockies mascot.

Instead, it was Bell's pre-Erasure outfit, produced by Elkie Brooks' ex Pete Gage.

More historical interest than anything, but interesting nevertheless.

[via Side-Line]

Gordon in the morning: What's new, pussycat?

For some reason, nobody at The Sun has deemed Gordon's story about Megan Fox playing Catwoman worthy of putting behind a "buy the paper" pay fence.

And I have a strong feline she is the purrfect choice for the part - and thanks to a spot of computer wizardry here's how she might look.

Even with cat puns (of the sort being made even while the Egyptians were first domesticating kittens) and somebody photoshopping a pair of rubber ears on Megan Fox?
Slipping into the famous PVC catsuit always looked like a tricky business to me.

This would be more a impressive observation, were it not slap bang under a picture of Halle Berry as Catwoman not wearing a PVC catsuit. Or a catsuit at all. Or PVC.

Elsewhere, Smart runs yet another non-story about JLS:
JLS have been given an official warning by their management company to curb their big spending.

This is accompanied by photo of one of them ordering some food at a McDonalds drive-through. Which, naturally, is the sort of place where the paparazzi usually hang out, and not somewhere a band's management would have to send their own photographer to. In the new pay-per-Smart future, when you read this sort of advertorial, I'm guessing you'll get cashback.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Simon Cowell calls the cops

Are we really to believe that 'hackers' are 'hacking' into Simon Cowell's computers?

Simon Cowell is mad that "Don't Let Me Down", a duet song between his artist Leona Lewis and Justin Timberlake, has been leaked. The unfinished track reportedly is worked on by Justin's production team The Y's and seriously considered as the lead single from Leona's upcoming second studio album.

Prior to the leak of Leona's track, several unmastered materials, this time belonging to Alexandra Burke, have also been stolen from Simon's recording company Syco's computers.

The IFPI and the police, apparently, are being involved, although given that this has supposedly happened before, you might think the questions should be directed at Cowell and his sloppy security. But at least the idea that Cowell is incapable of protecting his assets is less annoying than the thought he might be using the police to play a role in promoting a Leona Lewis single.

UK Music: "We don't want to get our hands dirty"

Music Week's coverage of Mandelson's yacht rules includes an unnamed UK Music spokesperson. In the middle of the clapping and giggling, there's this:

More than that, [the] trigger mechanisms [that had originally been proposed by Digital Britian] would have required our members to take legal action against individuals – a move the UK music industry has consistently resisted.

Yes, consistently resisted the idea that, erm, the copyright industry should pay to police its own copyright. Given that these businesses mainly exist to exploit intellectual property, isn't refusing to pay the cost of protecting the property a bit like a builder wanting somebody else to pay for his hod and cement mixer?

[Thanks to Peter D for the link]

Twittergem: Liam Gallagher

Thanks both to James P (via email) and Ben Frost (in the comments) for pointing out the especially delicious about today's Sun coverage of the "end" of Oasis: Liam Gallagher had tweeted about Smart's claims yesterday:

Finally reports in smartarses column about Oasis last british gig ever. The kids talking out his arse ,I mean rkids, bware of darkness.LG

If you did go out to buy The Sun today, you might want to seek a refund.

Embed and breakfast man: Fanfarlo

Always nice to hear of a new track from Fanfarlo; all the more so when it's supported by a none-more-Paul-Daniels clip of escapology.

Next week: Florence And The Machine invite Hans Moretti to promote their records.

Downloadable: Simon Joyner

Not the one off the US cop show.

If you listened to Peel much during the, ooh, last decade or so of his career, you'll at the very least have heard the name of Simon Joyner - indeed, you might even have heard the show where Peel played a Joyner record all the way through.

If you haven't heard of Joyner, and wondered if there's a good place to start with his burned-heart Americana, there's some good news for you: Joyner has put together what we could call a Greatest Hits, or a best of, but what we'll settle on as a sampler.

The collection is Out into the Snow, and is already pre-orderable from the Team Love website. Although confusingly at three different prices.

If you want to get to know him without investing up front, try these downloads: Roll On and title track Out In The Snow. Don't worry, they're legal; Feargal won't be peering through your window.

Feargal Sharkey calls for calm

In the light of the sudden and clumsy Geffen Yacht proposals for punishing unlicensed filesharers, Feargal Sharkey popped up on the BBC Five O'Clock News Hour to counsel for calm.

These proposals, he stressed, were just for discussion, not actual rules. It's just proposals. Nobody was saying anyone should be banned permanently from the internet for breaking the rules.

Why was Sharkey suddenly popping up to do the Treasury's job for them? Obviously, he has a point: Nobody is saying anyone should be banned from the net for good. But that's a bit of a faux defence. What is being proposed is temporary exclusion from the internet; Sharkey is trying to make things sound reasonable by stressing that there's no proposal for something worse.

It's like someone proposing amputation for theft, and a government spokesperson trying to make the ideas sound reasonable by saying "let's make it clear, nobody is talking about executions."

For UK music, treating these ideas as if they're actually quite light proposals makes sense - if you pitch this as part of a discussion (but wasn't there already a discussion taking place?) rather than rule making, people might be a bit more relaxed about the ideas; Sharkey makes soft noises about how the idea of temporary exclusion is only intended as a last resort - but how can you be sure that's how the rules would be used when they're in place? (At least until the ECHR strikes the rules down as unlawful, at massive expense to us all.)

Dr Roxanne Shante - sponsored, unwillingly, by Warners

UPDATE: The only problem with this story is that it turns out to be completely untrue

The story behind Roxanne Shante's PhD tells you a lot in one sitting about what those major labels are like.

Back when she was 14, Warners signed her up to a contract which promised - somewhat unwisely on Warner's part - to fund her education for life. You can see the cogs turning as that was drafted: A young black rapper from the projects - how much would that cost us anyway? Besides, we'll probably never have to honour the clause...

Trouble is, for Warners, that Shante was as sharp as her rapping, and went on to do a PhD. The quarter of a million dollar bill was posted to Warners and... surprise! They tried to weasel out of it:

"They kept stumbling over their words, and they didn't have an exact reason why they were telling me no," Shante said.

Eventually, Warners were faced with a choice between looking like a bunch of shysters who made wild promises to a fourteen year-old girl to get her to sign a contract, or finding the money from somewhere. They wound up doing both.
Shante found an arm-twisting ally in Marguerita Grecco, the dean at Marymount Manhattan College. Shante showed her the contract, and the dean let her attend classes for free while pursuing the money.

"I told Dean Grecco that either I'm going to go here or go to the streets, so I need your help," Shante recalls. "She said, 'We're going to make them pay for this.'"

Grecco submitted and resubmitted the bills to the label, which finally agreed to honor the contract when Shante threatened to go public with the story.

Still, Warners must have eventually figured that paying a couple of hundred thousand dollars to keep this sort of story out of the public prints was money well... oh, hang on a moment...

Is Mandy on the yacht? Government issues file-sharing proposals

The new, stricter proposed rules for filesharing that were dictated to Peter Mandelson during his time on Geffen's yacht - sorry, I mean "totally coincidentally being drafted while Mandelson just happened to be hanging out with Geffen and Spielberg"; I think must be something wrong with my keyboard - have been published today.

The reason for throwing away the more carefully-considered approach developed in the Digital Britain report is being given as "Steven Spielberg asked us to, while passing the port to Lord Mandelson".

Sorry, that should read:

previous plans would take too long to implement "given the pressure put on the creative industries by piracy".

Ah, so in other words: instead of a measured approach, let's just hit people with bottles.
"We've been listening carefully to responses to the consultation this far, and it's become clear there are widespread concerns that the plans as they stand could delay action, impacting unfairly upon rights holders," said Treasury minister Stephen Timms, who is responsible for implementation of Digital Britain.

"... so we've decided to pass all the unfairness on to the public, instead."
Under the tougher proposals, internet service providers would be obliged to block access to download sites, throttle broadband connections or even temporarily cut off access for repeat offenders.

Communications regulator Ofcom would report regularly to the business secretary, Lord Mandelson, providing evidence of whether such action is required against illegal filesharers.

Ah, blocking access to "download sites". Thereby making their legitimate uses fail, while simply encouraging unlicensed filesharers to migrate to another download service.

And surely even Timms understands that you can't throw people off the internet. Especially not at the whim of EMI. You can make a law which removes people's ability to participate in society, and it's childish and wasteful of this government to pretend you can. And offensive that they think they should.

Maybe Timms hasn't read the Digital Britain report, but one of the key themes is removing digital exclusion. How can it be that one part of government is trying to get everyone hooked up, while another part is running round trying to pull people off.

Broadband throttling is a bit of a hoot in its own right - the way Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown governments have allowed the communications industry to limp along in the UK, it's unlikely that many people even have an internet connection good enough to notice if their connection got throttled. Or perhaps they've just introduced throttling for all?
Welcoming the move, the chief executive of music industry trade body the BPI, Geoff Taylor, said that digital piracy posed "a real threat to the UK's creative industries". "Today is a step forward that should help the legal digital market to grow for consumers," he said.

Geoff, bless him, can't really explain why blocking access to Rapidshare would "help the legal market grow", because he knows in his heart that there's precious little linkage between reducing unlicensed filesharing (even if such a thing were possible) and persuading people to pay seven quid for the Dolly Rockers album.

Indeed, for the RIAA and the BPI, the war on piracy has long since borne any real connection to the industry the bodies purport to represent, and has instead become a religious crusade. If they want to continue to pour the millions their member companies have borrowed from the banks into a black hole, that's fine. But should an elected government really be enabling their fantasies to go further?

Darkness at 3AM: Yay! Girl power!

To be fair to the 3AMies, Girl Power was never a consistently explained philosophy, so it can be quite hard to pin down what, exactly, the phrase meant.

But I'm quite sure:

Geri Halliwell shows off she's still got girl power as she jokes with her bloke in white bikini

... that this wasn't it.

Gordon in the morning: The clanging of the paywall

The idea, you'll recall, is for people to start paying for The Sun's insights and scoops. Just as soon as they've worked out how.

Meanwhile, the only way to ensure that people pay for tabloid stuff is to keep it in the newspaper. And by "ensure people pay", I mean "force people to borrow a copy off the bloke work".

So a couple of weeks back, the News Of The World didn't put its famous photo of Michael Jackson's death bed online, instead instructing people to pop out and buy a copy of the paper.

Clearly, team Sun has been waiting for a similar massive scoop that would persuade the ublic to switch off their computers and troop down to the newsagents, to stand reading the paper in the shop.

Today, they have something:

Yes, there seems to be some certainty at Wapping that people will pay good, hard cash for Gordon's view of what the future might hold for Oasis. You won't find that online.

(Except for when Gordon published his view of what the future might hold for Oasis yesterday.)

I can see that the paper might believe that there's money to be made out of making it harder to get to the celebrity scoops, but do they really think that Smart's speculations are so acute and valued that people will go out of their way to read them?

Elsewhere - and for free - Gordon has a "isn't Matt Bellamy nuts?" piece:

The frontman researched conspiracy theories for new album The Resistance - and then started believing them.

He ended up thinking the UK could run out of food within a fortnight so went into survivalist mode.

Matt drove to his local food store and bought all 50 tins of beans. Then he went to a DIY store to get an axe.

The rocker said: "I read somewhere a seven-day blockade and the UK would run out of oil.

"Another seven days and we'd run out of food. That's why I bought the beans. The axe would chop firewood."

The obvious questions - where did he see a fourteen-day blockade coming from, where was he going to be getting the firewood from and wouldn't it have been better to have bought firewood, how long does he think he would last with fifty tins of beans, and is it really wise to have an open fire if you're diet is consisting entirely of the musical fruit - are ignored, as Gordon shares his insight into such behaviour:
It all sounds wacky races to me.

Just to reiterate that point, there's a crosshead:

Now, you might be wondering why this scintillating insight is being given away free. But it turns out that the whole piece is based on something Smart read in Q. You could pick up a copy when you're in the shops reading Gordon's piece.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Commercial radio blames BBC for all its ills

The Radio Centre, the body which speaks up for independent radio in the UK, is moaning on about Radio 2 again. "It's popular, and that's soooooo unfair":

The Radio Centre, the industry trade body for commercial radio, said Radio 2 was "prioritising popularity not public purposes" by shunning older listeners and failing to provide sufficient news and current affairs coverage.

Being lectured on providing insufficient news coverage from the ILR stations should alarm Radio 2 - after all, if anybody knows about falling short on keeping an audience informed, it'd be British commercial radio.

The Radio Centre suggests Radio 2 is refusing to stick to its remit. Again, the commercial radio operators of the UK know what they're talking about when it comes to a radio station saying it'll do one thing, and then doing something else.
"Over the last decade, Radio 2 has shifted its programming policies – nobody has intervened and this has been disastrous for commercial radio's heartland audiences and for the plurality and diversity of the UK's fragile radio ecology," said the Radio Centre chief executive, Andrew Harrison.

Let's just take as read the implication here that a commercial radio station has a right to an audience, and that, somehow, by attracting a large number of licence fee payers to Radio 2, the BBC is not satisfying licence fee holders, and instead just look at Harrison.

Let's stare at him, as he stands in an sector of radio which has dropped numerous shows; thrown away decades-old, well-loved local brands in favour of one-size-doesn't-quite-fit-all central brands; persuaded the Radio Authority and then Ofcom to allow stations to dump the more onerous demands of their licences; pre-records chunks of programming and centralises others. Surrounded by this destruction, Harrison is blaming Radio 2 for ruining its audiences.
The Radio Centre made the comments in its submission to the BBC Trust in response to its ongoing review of Radio 2 and BBC 6Music.

Research had also found an emphasis on new music and new presenters on Radio 2 with a particular appeal to younger listeners, with programmes of appeal to older listeners "marginalised in the schedule", the commercial radio body said.

"Had this kind of format change occurred in the commercial sector, Ofcom would have taken action so it is welcome that the BBC Trust is reviewing the output of Radio 2," added Harrison.

Yes, Ofcom would have taken action. It would have tutted for a bit, and then probably varied the terms of the service's licence.

Given that Harrison is so convinced there's an older audience who are not being served by Radio 2, you might think the obvious thing would be for commercial radio to take care of this lucrative, growing gap in the market. Instead, from a quick listen to most of the 'how much spaghetti can you put down your trousers' output of the leading local stations, commercial radio is far more interested in going in the opposite direction.
The Radio Centre said Radio 2 was also failing to provide the news and current affairs programming required in its licence.

"Only if items such as newspaper reviews, a discussion about snoring, a Monopoly championship and discussions about teleshopping were categorised as 'news and current affairs' did the station achieve its 16-hour target," said Harrison.

Why wouldn't a review of the newspapers be current affairs programming? Does Harrison really think that the network should be dumping large chunks of the Today programme onto Radio 2? Does he struggle with the idea that, given lovers of hard news are catered for by 4, and softer news by Five Live, Radio 2 might have to find different approaches and subjects for its distinct audience? Does Harrison really think that sixty year olds are tuning in to Radio 2 looking for coverage of the German general election?

He's also eyeing up the budgets, too:
"There is no apparent reason why 6Music should cost almost five times more than Planet Rock to run, why Radio 2 should cost more than six times more than 6Music to run, or why the typical cost of a Radio 2 programme should be 54% higher than a similar show on Radio 1," said Harrison.

No reason why 6Music should cost five times more than Planet Rock, eh? Depsite, erm, Planet Rock basically putting on tapes overnight, and for a couple of hours during the day. And making their few presenters do longer shifts. Oh, and 6Music having a couple of live sessions every day, and Planet Rock's website having lower production values. And Planet Rock featuring no dedicated music news programming. Or actual news, come to that. I dare say 6Music could exist on the same budget as Planet Rock; it would probably sound as low-budget, then, too.

And if Harrison really doesn't see why Radio 2 costs a lot more than 6Music, you'd have to wonder if he's chosen the right business to be in. Seriously, Andrew, you don't see why a network that puts on Friday Night Is Music Night, commissions drama and current affairs (perhaps about Monopoly, but even so) and comedy, and has a slew of smaller, bespoke specialist programmes costs more to make? Do you go into restaurants and demand to know why the steak costs more than the soup?

He hasn't stopped yet, though:
"We think the BBC urgently needs to rebalance its portfolio of popular music radio. You've now got Radio 1 targeting 15- to 29-year-olds, 1Xtra targeting 15-to 24-year-olds, 6Music with more than 80% of its listening hours coming from 15-44s and Radio 2 becoming increasingly younger. That could be construed as an obsession with youth."

You do realise, Andrew, that 1Xtra and Radio 1 aren't chasing the same audience at all - perhaps you've just become blinkered by years in commercial radio as to seeing demographic age strata as the only way to differentiate an audience, you might have spotted the difference.

And is Radio 2 really so youth-obsessed? Sure, Jeremy Vine likes The Fall, but Mark E Smith is in his fifties; and do you really think that Ken Bruce and Sarah Kennedy are pitching their programmes at university students? Even the wail that Radio 2 plays a lot of "new" music is bemusing - what age, Andrew, do you stop wanting to hear something you've never heard before? I was going to suggest that would be a rhetorical question, but come to think of it, the median age of Magic listeners would probably give you an answer.

Gordon in the morning: Something to celebrate

If you wish you had something to celebrate like the way cricket fans are celebrating, you could try Gordon's pages this morning:

No more UK Oasis gigs after band pull out of fest

Wow. Gordon is close to Oasis - or, rather, hangs around them a lot and often gets a mate to take a picture of him almost in focusing distance of Noel - so he really must know something to carry such a final headline. What do you know, Gordon?
IF you were one of the lucky punters at V Fest in Stafford on Saturday, you can now claim the honour of seeing the last ever OASIS gig on British soil.

Did the management tell you this? Was it something you overheard Noel saying?
The Manc legends pulled out of their headline slot at Chelmsford's V last night because frontman LIAM has been struck down with viral laryngitis.

Yes, yes, but why is it the end? Did Kasabian text you to tell you they've moved up place up the 'laddish live' league ladder?
The lads still have a few European tour dates left to play, but...

There's a but?
unless someone offers them silly money to take the stage once more in Britain then I can't see them performing together again.

Ah... so Gordon's big, eyecatching story is something that he's guessing?

Smart doesn't even bother to make up a source or a pal, but just mentions that Noel and Liam don't get on. A dangerous state of affairs for a band, albeit one that they've managed to scrape by under for over a decade.

Were you a betting man, you might consider that Gordon had intended to flood this space with guff about what a brilliant time he had backstage hanging out with Oasis and had to scrabble about to fill the space with something, anything.
Stars tell us what they think about Oasis pulling out of gig:

Anything at all, it turns out.
Actor STEPHEN GRAHAM said: "It's bad form. I can't believe it. I'm only at V to see them. I don't believe Liam lost his voice. It must've kicked off."

Yes you do; he was the bloke who was involved in that dodgy tobacco-selling scam with Steve McDonald.

But it's not just rising actors who Gordon canvassed. He, erm, even listened to the radio:
JAMES MORRISON told Absolute Radio: "Everyone's gonna be gutted. It's a shame, definitely, it'll be a big gap."

But is everyone going to be gutted? Gordon, Ben Bradlee would demand a second source to stack this one up.
HARRY POTTER star RUPERT GRINT said: "I'm gutted. I was looking forward to Oasis. It was going to be the highlight of my weekend."

Okay, everyone was gutted.

Still, even with Oasis sending the filling-in-a-page-of-newspaper industry into turmoil, Gordon had other work to do at Essex. Yes, even travelling out of the M25 doesn't spare him from his need to push JLS at us like they're mouldering fish and we're very, very hungry sealions:
PULLING machines JLS didn't play at V but still made their mark with the ladies there.

MARVIN HUMES has been bombarding PIXIE LOTT with flirty texts and the singer blushed when I quizzed her about it.

I don't know which members of Gordon's family Simon Cowell is holding, but

Sunday, August 23, 2009

No Essex Oasis

Oasis have pulled out of their headline V Festival date this evening. Apparently Liam has got laryngitis, and it's not merely the fear of bumping into Zoe Griffin which is keeping them away.

Griffin done... the V festival again

Zoe Griffin hails the genius of Lily Allen:

Leggy Lily Allen brilliantly combines old stuff (LDN) with new (22) at V Festival.

Brilliant! Wherever did she get the idea for playing some of the old stuff everyone likes with some of the new stuff nobody's as keen on, eh? Let's hope Allen is smart enough to patent that brilliant idea. But she will be because she's brilliant, isn't she? Brilliant.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet: Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo share some of their favourite bands with the New York Times:

MR. KAPLAN You know, it’s funny. Georgia made this list, and it got me thinking about all the people on it. One thing that I was thinking about My Bloody Valentine was that they’re so legendarily difficult; they’re the band that bankrupted Creation Records. But they never took any, as far as I could tell, great pleasure out of — that wasn’t their motivation. They were just listening to the music in their head, trying to make it. It seems like they were doing what made sense to them, and the fact that it didn’t make sense economically or decibelwise, it was almost like: “Oh it doesn’t? I thought it would.”

Rock sick list: Slipk-not well

Slipknot fans were left wailing "it's sooooo unfair" (so, no change there, then) as last night's gig was pulled. Blabbermouth explains:

SLIPKNOT was forced to cancel its headlining appearance last night (Saturday, August 22) at Seattle radio station KISW 99.9 FM's Pain in the Grass 2009 event in Auburn, Washington as drummer Joey Jordison had to be taken to the hospital for health reasons.

Taken to hospital for health reasons, you say? That would make the most sense. If you're taken to hospital for being on fire reasons, they usually send you elsewhere. And it's rubbish being taken to hospital for reasons relating to the need to renegotiate your deal on a unit trust.

Can you imagine turning up at hospital as one of Slipknot?
- Can you help me? I'm sick
- I know you are, sir, I've seen the cover art for your records

Griffin done... the V festival

Zoe Griffin has gone to the V Festival - happily, she doesn't bother to mention which of the two locations she's at. And it's a triumph for her journalistic and organisational skills:

I caught an intimate gig by Melbourne rockers Jet in the Absolute Radio VIP area almost by accident - but I loved the Are You Going to Be My Girl group.

The Absolute Radio VIP area is the only place in the festival to catch live music, but I have to confess I only discovered that when I had tried all the free stuff in the other VIP area.

I suspect she means "it's the only place" in the sense of "daaahling, it's the only place one would go", but there is a real possibility that she's spent so long hanging round the free bar she hasn't noticed that there are a load of other stages with bands playing on them.

Still, nice to see that she views these events as a chance to freeload as much as humanely possible.
Jet played an acoustic set to a chilled out crowd including Girls Aloud’s Kimberly Walsh (as the Absolute radio area is the place to go when you don’t want people to hassle you). Wish I’d found the space earlier as there were hammocks to chill in!

It must be nice that Zoe has found a place where she won't be hassled, isn't it?

And how delightful for the suckers who paid the £130 to get in to discover that the best sets are being played in a roped-off area they can't get to. Perhaps next year they could print a note on each ticket showing what proportion of the price is going towards funding the likes of Griffin's jollies.

[UPDATE: To be fair to Zoe, there turns out to be a stream of posts of badly-taken pictures of her with people who were famous-ish in the past, and she does reveal she's at Essex in those.]

Katona winds down the death clock

Last week, the News Of The World helped make Kerry Katona's miserable life a bit more miserable. This week, it's seeing if it can't do something about the 'life' part of the miserable life, splashing a headline:

Kerry: I'll Die Young

It's not clear yet if the headline is a premonition, or if it's part of the deal she's willing to make in order to get another series of her MTV programme.

This week just gone

The ten most-executed Madonna searches bringing visitors to No Rock:

1. "Dan Wootton" Madonna
2. Madonna
3. Madonna sucks
4. James Morrison Madonna
5. Madonna Glastonbury
6. Madonna snatch
7. Madonna booty
8. Madonna divorce
9. Madonna circumcision
10. Madonna Jesus

These records were being put out, and were worth considering:

Another Sunny Day - London Weekend re-release

download London Weekend, however incongruous and wrong that might sound for a Sarah Records album

The XX - XX

download XX

Loudon Wainwright III - High, Wide & Handsome

download High, Wide & Handsome

Theoretical Girl - Divided

download Divided

Simian Mobile Disco - Temporary Pleasure

download Temporary Pleasure

Richard Fontaine - We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River

download We Used To Think...

Squarepusher - Solo Electric Bass

download Solo Electric Bass

Laura Vane And The Vipertones - Laura Vane And The Vipertones

download Laura Vane & The Vipertones

Sharpie 12 pack coloured permanent markers