For reasons that are as unclear as they are welcome, Newsnight's election special at 6.30 tonight is going to feature a live performance from The XX.
Possibly they had to be promised junior ministerships at the Treasury to secure the booking.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
For reasons that are as unclear as they are welcome, Newsnight's election special at 6.30 tonight is going to feature a live performance from The XX.
They're Nantes boys, are Pony Pony Run Run, and this is the noise they make:
[Buy last year's You Need Pony Pony Run Run]
With Cheryl Cole over trying desperately to interest the Americans, she's been hanging out with the Black Eyed Peas. Fergie made some sort of joke that she might have sex with Cole.
Gordon Smart and Ashley Cole's teammates have exploded as a result:
JOHN TERRY, DIDIER DROGBA and FRANK LAMPARD have been among those teasing the Chelsea defender with jibes like "You've turned your wife gay".
Apart from being pre-juvenile, this doesn't even make any sense at all. How does a bisexual woman saying she finds someone attractive make the object of her attention gay?
Gordon, footballers: it doesn't work like that. Gay and bisexual people don't go round firing some sort of queerectoplasm at straight people turning them gay.
It doesn't even make any sense to 'blame' Ashley - Cheryl is hanging out with the Peas because of her career, not because she used to be married to Ashley, so even if you were going to bother to make a joke, it would be "ha ha, her career has made your ex-wife attractive to bisexual women". Which wouldn't be funny. Which is exactly the same as the original remarks, but at least has a degree of accuracy.
And they have laughed that Ashley, 29 - dumped by Cheryl over his cheating - might have missed out on a threesome, telling him: "You could have been in the middle of that!"
That makes even less sense - if you assume that Ashley had turned Cheryl gay, why would he be involved in a threesome with her and Fergie? Why would someone whose sexuality you have somehow re-engineered away from heterosexuality then invite you to have sex with them?
I know footballers aren't meant to be that smart, but surely they've seen enough websites to understand this sort of thing a bit better?
Stephen Street was going to give radio listeners a treat - twenty seconds of Morrissey singing a demo track, as part of a documentary about Stephen Street:
"[I just wanted] to show that even when [Morrissey] was singing on a four-track cassette, he still sounded great," [Street] told Contact Music.
What could be sweeter than that? Morrissey must be delighted at his former producer so keen to show off what a great singer he is, right?
"On Friday afternoon [30 April], both the BBC and myself received a letter from Morrissey's solicitors threatening an immediate injunction preventing any broadcast unless the material was removed," Street said. "Apparently their client was 'horrified that the proposed material would be broadcast.'"
If Morrissey put half as much effort in when he was in the studio as he does when he's on the phone to his lawyers, we might be hearing some decent new stuff around now, instead of ruing missing out on a clip of old business.
Liam Gallagher has, it turns out, decided that he's going to have a go at being a film producer. You'll never guess what he's going to make a film about:
His first production: a big-screen biopic of the Beatles' final years.
Some people pretending to be The Beatles getting bossed around by an opinionated Mancunian? Gallagher's managing to make an autobiographical film about someone else.
The movie is going to be based on The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider's Diary of the Beatles, Their Million Dollar Apple Empire and Its Wild Rise and Fall, Richard DiLello's story of his time as Apple Record's "house hippy".
The book is a bit of a rag-bag of anecdotes, which would probably be a bit of a challenge for an experienced filmmaker to turn into a coherent narrative. You could, of course, draw on other Beatles stories to pad out the missing details, but that would turn it into a different film entirely. I'm sure Liam has a plan, though.
Or at least a bit of paper with the words "I AM LENON" on it.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Fanfarlo pop up on Carson's daily show:
[via the Audioperv]
Something beautiful and calming for a day when we're going to be living on our nerves. All is Forgiven, the new Marcella Detroit single:
Here's what she says about it:
This is the video for my new single entitled "All is Forgiven". Someone sent me the Irish prayer and I was immediately inspired by it. I wrote a melody and music for it and added my own chorus, the "All is Forgiven" part. It's about letting go, forgiving and moving on. My deep thanks to MediaJag for the wonderful job on the video.
Not available to buy just yet, but there's plenty of stuff available in the meantime.
Great news for Gordon Smart this morning - with today's hubristic Cameron-as-Poundland-Obama cover, whatever he runs this morning he can't contribute the most ridiculous thing in the paper.
Still, even if Cameron must be curling his toes at the over-enthusiastic clunking support of Lil'Murdoch's front page, he can at least take comfort from yesterday's endorsement in the paper by Simon Cowell, can't he? After all, Cowell doesn't throw his heft behind losers.
What's that, Gordon? Cowell's back in The Sun today?:
MASTER mincer Louie Spence has Got Talent - just ask Simon Cowell.
The Big Man of reality telly is such a huge fan of Louie's show Pineapple Dance Studios that he wishes it was HIS idea.
Cowell - who rarely rates much else on the box - rang producers of the cult Sky1 show to heap praise on their efforts.
David Cameron: the Pineapple Dance Studios of politics.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Fair play to Roger Waters, he's been quick to apologise after his hapless advertisers slapped an advert over the top of Elliott Smith's memorial:
“I didn’t want to disrespect Elliott Smith’s fans, and I’ve instructed [the team] to remove the wheat paste immediately. It was a random pasting in the normal course of this, and I want to make it public that we had no intent to offend or cover up something precious.”
Well done, Roger. It was an accident, you've cleared up the error and...
Oh... what did you say to the LA Times?
“It’s not like this was some pristine monument and Roger Waters is the Big Bad Wolf who covered it up.”
So, you'd almost managed to make good but then had to go and issue a defensive sneer. That's probably worse than the original accident.
Also to the point, shouldn't a multi-millionaire like Waters be paying for his advertising, rather than slapping wheatpaste posters up all over town?
Or Kele, as for his solo career he's dropped surnames. Like he's Beyonce. Or Jarvis.
Anyway, this is what he sounds like sans Bloc Party:
Lord Lloyd Webber said that given the state of the public finances, “We have to vote Tory. They do represent our only hope when times get rough.”
Yes. Readers in the North of England and Scotland will particularly remember how Thatcher kept the wine and gold flowing during the dark days of the 1980s.
The Telegraph thinks this is something to do with the BBC, because he's on a BBC programme and so, right, that's got to be something, hasn't it?
His comments were an embarrassment for the BBC, which tries to maintain impartiality between the political parties during election campaigns.
But it's not like he made the comments on Over The Rainbow, is it? And Lloyd Webber endorsing the Tories isn't much of a surprise, is it? The man's got a Thatcher tattoo on his left pec.
Over in The Sun, Simon Cowell is telling you how to vote:
"I have always hated celebrities lecturing people on politics. So forgive me."
You know what? I'm not sure I can.
But I am passionate about this country.
It's true; sometimes he thinks when he's doing America's Got Talent or American Idol how much more fun he'd be having if he was at home.
"I am equally passionate about the potential of the people who live here."
This might come as news to George Sampson.
I don't believe a General Election is the X Factor.
Choosing how you vote should not be a snap verdict based on a few minutes of television. We are not talent show judges picking pretty-sounding contestants now.
Didn't Cowell appear on Newsnight a few weeks back suggesting that there should be an X Factor style contest to determine political solutions?
Cowell claims he isn't telling anyone how to vote - watch as he shows no favour to any party:
Cowell describes Labour's Gordon Brown as a "sincere man" but says the PM is "tired".
He warns of the dangers of a hung parliament and casts doubts on the Lib Dems and Nick Clegg, saying: "I worry about a lot of his policies."
And of Tory leader David Cameron, he says: "I like him, I trust him. He has substance and the stomach to navigate us through difficult times."
It turns out though, that he's telling the truth - this isn't Cowell telling people how to vote. He's actually acting as a puppet for his richer-but-less-famous-mate:
The masses of red tape, regulation and political correctness have tied us all up in knots.
On this I agree with Sir Philip Green - one of Britain's most successful businessmen, who runs the clothing chain Arcadia, including Top Shop, Miss Selfridge, Burton and Dorothy Perkins.
Green - sorry, Cowell - wants government to just make businesspeople richer:
It's the government's job to encourage entrepreneurialism and investment. Most importantly, it's the government's duty to inspire confidence.
It should give hope to the younger generation to build on our wonderful heritage. It should inspire us to get out there and create and invent.
And then it should get right out of the way.
In other words, the government should tell banks what to do - lend lots of cash - but not tell any other business what to do.
Right now it takes twice as long to start a business in the UK as it does in the USA.
What does that mean? The British 'open' sign is so heavy it takes two people to turn it round in a shop window? If this is true, couldn't Cowell at least have explained it - do you have to save up twice as long? Are business start-up people generally twice as far into their working lives in the UK than they are in the US? Or - like his vaguely worded bollocks about knife crime - is Cowell simply making shit up?
It's important, because he's very precise on his next point:
I was recently told that around 40,000 new regulations have been introduced since 1998 - that's 14 every working day.
Yes, perhaps - but not all 40,000 apply to everybody. It's like counting diversions applied to the road network as a whole and concluding you'll never make it to the end of your street.
Personally I think the worst result is a hung parliament. It ends in months of stupid arguments and then a dull compromise, which means nothing will ever get achieved.
Cowell was fourteen the last time there was a balanced parliament in the UK, and it's amazing that he has such a clear memory of what it might mean. To be honest, it's only really Cameron who's pushing this lie - but you'd have thought that managing to balance a party with a few token minorities and some batting-wild extremists for four years would have made him look forward to the simpler task of brokering power in a coalition. Isn't he just saying he's incapable of compromising?
Still, if Cowell's backing Cameron, it'll be because he's got good, solid reasons for it, right?
I have met David on two occasions. I liked him immediately. I trust him and he was very quick to commit to helping with a serious funding deficit for a children's hospice charity I am involved with.
I have always trusted my gut instinct - and this was a guy who I thought would do the right things for this country.
Oh, do I feel stupid? A month of watching the news and reading the papers, and all I needed to do was wait for a gurgle from Cowell's bowels.
Cowell, you see, loves this country:
I am passionate about this country and I am equally passionate about the potential of the people who live here.
My proudest achievement has been the success of the shows and artists I have been involved with, because they were made in Britain.
Yes. American Idol. America's Got Talent. American Inventor. Those brilliant shows, made here, in Britain.
I have seen that the American Dream is a reality - and I would love to feel the British Dream is also a reality.
The American Dream? Where anyone can come to America with nothing and make it big? If anything good has come out of Cowell's late intervention, it's his endorsement of mass immigration as a means to build a better nation.
Seriously, though: if your voting decision is influenced in any way by Simon Cowell, do us all a favour. Stay at home tomorrow.
Great news for people who enjoy dollies and JLS - or "less discerning children" - there are plans for JLS dolls to be in the shops by Christmas.
Gordon is excited:
GIRLS, you'll all soon be able to get your hands on the JLS boys.
The lads will be up for grabs as a range of Action Man-style dolls. Class.
A trio of small plastic figure with a fixed grin and limited range of movements that rely on the whims of children before they can do anything? And now they're having dolls based on them?
The manufacturers have high hopes:
A [Vivid Imagination] spokesman said: "We worked with TAKE THAT 17 years ago and generated sales of more than 200,000 dolls in one year.
"It very much looks like JLS will dwarf that number."
I'm a bit disappointed he didn't say "JLS will make that number look like a scale model", but perhaps he was too busy crossing his fingers and making silent deals with god that they've not made a terrible mistake.
Meanwhile, the Sugababes have got someone to make the Worst Desi Remix Ever of About A Girl and so have done a photoshoot wearing saris. That's a wee bit clunky, but perhaps Gordon can help lift the picture beyond a cliche:
SUGABABES aim to curry favour with their fans by spicing the act up with an Indian-style makeover.
Elsewhere, Gordon gets to write a piece about the election, which you might have heard about in the grown-up news. Admittedly, it's just an incoherent piece about Noel Gallagher's incoherent views, but it's still election coverage:
The fanatical Man City supporter said: "Me and the missus were talking about it because we've got to vote this week.
"She was going, 'Who are you voting for?' and I said, 'I'm not voting for anyone'.
"I'm just going to take my voting card and I'm going to put in massive letters 'Tevez is God' and throw it in the polling station. I'm voting Tevez."
He's quite the wit, isn't he?
Although this is slim pickings, The Sun seizes on it to try and shove it into James Murdoch's preordained narrative. So Gordon takes a weak gag, and tries to work it up into something that might actually have political importance:
EX-OASIS star Noel Gallagher is ditching Labour for the Blues
Noel was seen as a key figure in the Nineties Britpop scene, which New Labour tried to cash in on.
I think it's fairly safe to say that Creation-Oasis and Blair-Labour enjoyed something of a mutual circle jerk, isn't it? Although I'm not sure New Labour ever "cashed in" on Britpop, unless I missed Prescott flogging Menswear albums out the back of van. If Gordon means "tried to use to promote their agenda", that might be fair. But then, so did the press, didn't they? In fact, you could argue that lifting an interview with Noel Gallagher from an FA website to have a weak slap at Gordon Brown's campaign is pretty much a working example of "attempting to cash-in on Britpop".
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
There are people who - should you just murmur that Susan Boyle is alright for a sideshow - will leap upon you and suggest your standards are somewhere between those of a man who would poke a leper with a stick, and a drunk who urinates on frightened kittens.
Even those, even the Ma Boyle Right Or Wrong types are going to have to admit this smacks of an ill-conceived idea:
"Her management know that she's a huge success around the globe and if she were to work with one of the big stars of the rap world they know they'd probably have an instant hit on their hands if it was done correctly," the insider continued.
That's Digital Spy quoting the Mirror.
SuBo and P Diddy. Like it's a good idea.
"Susan's open to anything right now and is looking forward to seeing what comes out of her more urban recording and writing sessions. They have songs lined up for Susan and they are a real departure from her first album."
Translates as: frankly, people only really wanted a souvenir, and we're stumped as to what to do with her now. So anything is being lobbed at the wall, and even if it doesn't stick, we're hoping the sticky, mucky mess that slides down to the skirting board will at least let us sell a million or two more before we dump her back in real life.
[Thanks to Michael M]
The drafting in of Shakira to do the Official World Cup anthem this year hasn't exactly gone down well in South Africa:
"It's horrible," local fan Lindi Munonde said. "I'm not standing for it. I mean what is our president doing about it?"
Yes. Something must be done.
South Africans are understandably upset that - having proved they could build an infrastructure to support the event, and decided to use the football as a way of proving themselves as good as any other country - someone decided they were incapable of knocking out a cheery, cheesy ditty:
"I love it that South Africans are just coming together as South Africans and saying, 'We've got our own people and it's an African World Cup. It's ours,"' 702 Talk Radio presenter Jenny Cryws-Williams said. "We are going to put on a fantastic World Cup. Why don't we have South Africans doing it for us?"
If that's upsetting, the last line of the report will shatter hearts:
Toronto rapper K'Naan's "Waving Flag" has been adopted as Coke's officially licensed anthem for the World Cup.
The World Cup has an officially-licensed Coke anthem? What exactly does that mean, besides anyone who thinks about it feeling a little queasy?
Churning out another non-story from N-Dubz this morning, Gordon reveals Dappy still has more money than sense. Although in Dappy's case, that would just be "any money at all":
[T]he N-DUBZ star is shelling out about £1,000 a month on a personal hairdresser to take care of his dodgy barnet.
Does this mean other people have impersonal hairdressers? But isn't all hairdressing personal by its very nature? Or does Dappy get something beyond "planned your holidays, sir?"
A source said: "Dappy is very image conscious since the band have hit the bigtime."
He can't be that image conscious, otherwise he'd never go out the house.
Having failed to do anything about peer-to-peer filesharing, the music industry's attempts to close down online filesites has had a huge setback after a German appeal court has rejected calls from the copyright farmers for Rapidshare to monitor its users:
Covering the case, NewTeeVee says, “The court also brought up an interesting point: German copyright allows users to make copies of movies and music files for their own use, as well as to share them with a limited number of close acquaintances. Automated filters would make it impossible for users to save a legal backup copy of a movie on RapidShare's servers.”
The RIAA does have a fall-back plan, though, which is to employ Mr I. Hulk to smash all computers in an angry rage.
Monday, May 03, 2010
For twelve months or so, HMV has been posting some positive-sounding figures showing growth in its high street sales. And management were happy to suggest that opening cinemas upstairs, and changing the lighting, and inviting kids in to play computer games and so on were the reason.
Cynics wondered if rising sales weren't merely because Woolworths and Zavvi had closed and WH Smiths had quietly dropped what remains of their record department.
Now the effect of all the competition going has starting to recede into the past, we can start to see who was right.
Clue - it's not the management:
The group, which operates 400 HMV stores and some 300 Waterstone's book stores, said like-for-like sales across the group were down more than 10% in the first four months of the year. However, HMV's outlets in Britain and Ireland performed far worse. Like-for-like sales in those outlets were down 13.2%.
Waterstones, you'll remember, is still enjoying a fillip from the closure of Borders.
Still, it's not like HMV don't have a plan:
Sales of music, DVDs and computer games have gone into reverse at high street chain HMV and the retailer is hoping that big forthcoming releases such as the movie Avatar and a new Amy Winehouse album to stop the rot.
You're waiting for a new Amy Winehouse album to save you? That's a bit like Labour keeping its fingers crossed that the Ghost Of John Smith is going to turn up to swing the marginals on Thursday morning.
Apart from anything, it's not like Avatar DVDs aren't available everywhere, is it? I can just about see that you might think "I need a Fiery Furnaces CD, I wonder if HMV has it?", but Avatar DVDs are actually being stapled into people's faces when they go to Tesco for the weekly shop. Nobody is going to make a special journey for them. You can't rely on someone else's loss leader to be your USP.
Having tried being a games shop, a youth club, a booking office and a cinema, there's another creaky sounding attempt at reinvention:
[HMV] today announced a venture into the cut-throat world of fashion, or what it called "entertainment-inspired clothing".
Don't they already flog tshirts with band logos on?
At long last, we stagger to the finish line on what was supposed to only be the Easter special feature. I think I'll park the plan to do the illustrated Hot Topic for now.
Still, Andre Previn - or, in English 'Andrew before the wine' - needs to be formally greeted before we can forget we ever did this and never mention it again. He was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra - the LSO, so hello to them too - for eleven years. He's won four Oscars, five wives and ten Grammys. And yet... this is what he's best known for:
Sixty years of conducting, numerous film soundtracks, a second string as a touring jazz musician, and yet his obituaries will inevitably recall his time as a Morecambe & Wise stooge; the highbrow Des O'Connor.
Mind you, perhaps he given he spent a big chunk of the 80s fronting a rotten series of adverts for Ferguson televisions - complete with his signature on them. He signed an advert. "Sure, I might be getting paid to talk up these products, but look: I've signed it, so you surely can trust me. It's the same signature I'm using to endorse this cheque I've just been given."
Still, he was a great conductor:
Goodbye, illustrated Hello.
More from No Rock on youtube
I tend to be a bit critical of Gordon Smart, but I'm delighted to report that this morning's Bizarre column is actually cut-out-and-keep useful. He reveals how to deal with a nasty infestation of Stereophonics:
STEREOPHONICS stormed off stage when frontman KELLY JONES was struck in the face by a FLIP-FLOP flung from the audience.
The singer muttered "Thank you" before exiting with his Welsh bandmates during the gig in Singapore.
If you don't have a flip-flop to hand, a sandal would do the job as well.
Seriously, you shouldn't throw things at the faces of people up on stage, no matter how much their faces might have been designed as a target to receive stray flip-flops. Not even The Stereophonics deserve to be hit with a barrage of objects. Having said that, nobody deserves to be hit by the sound of The Stereophonics playing live, but they don't seem able to help themselves.
Sunday, May 02, 2010
At the end of March, I got an email from a promotional company which included a Seasick Steve track "approved to post", which I duly did. After all, who doesn't love Seasick Steve, eh?
A few days later, when I logged in to, I dunno, post a long thing about Billy Corkhill or something, there was a cheery message from Google telling me that somebody had issued a DCMA takedown, claiming that the track had breached their copyright.
Funny thing is, I wasn't even hosting the track, all I'd posted was a link to the song. Which was on the record company's own server.
Frankly, being slapped with a DCMA notice for a song which was being promoted to music bloggers as safe to post was irritating enough - I have no respect for the copyright laws, but I try to abide by them - but getting a smack from Google for merely linking to a file that had been made public by, presumably, the very same label who had published the file online was grating.
The same email had, it's worth mentioning, a link to a full download of the album, with a request not to share that. If I had been trying to rip off the labels, wouldn't I have posted that?
I wrote to the promo guy who originally sent the link, and to be fair, he apologised swiftly and said he'd talk to Rykodisc about it. That, though, was the last I heard from anyone.
I know Rykodisc are part of Warners, and perhaps you shouldn't expect any better from a fake indie. But I did think they were better than that. Disappointing.
Set against the scale of misery inflicted on people by the mess of copyright law, it's not a big deal. There is a wider point, though: if Warners are effectively accusing themselves of breaking copyright law, how can they ever be trusted when they issue lawsuits and threats?
Jeffrey Archer was the self-appointed "World's Greatest Storyteller", and certainly told some massive whoppers in court. But he's served his time, so let's not let the fact the former chairman of the Conservative Party is a convicted perjurer detain us overlong. Let's not keep harping on about how one of the senior figures in the Tory party was so convinced he was untouchable, he went into a witness box and lied and lied and lied. It's all in the past, so let's no go on about it. Let's not run through again how William Hague - the man who might be our foreign secretary - described him as a man of "outstanding integrity". All in the past.
Let's just remember Archer as he was, shall we?
But, of course, simply being a chat show whore doesn't quite tie Jeffrey Archer to pop culture firmly enough for our purposes. (Although given some of the tenuous links we've been making in this feature, it might have done for a couple of them.)
Instead, let's remember the time Archer tried to reinvent himself as Bob Geldof, organising a concert in aid of the Kurds. At the time, the Kurds were being persecuted by Saddam Hussein, and there was a lot of support for a big, international, charity fundraiser. Madonna, MC Hammer, The Gypsy Kings - there were lots of big names involved.
Here's some MTV's coverage:
Raising money for a good cause - what could be wrong with that, eh? And there was a load of money, too: Archer appeared shortly after waving a cheque for £57million - the bulk of which had been "pledged" by foreign governments.
Funny thing, though: the Kurds never got to see anything like fifty million quid:
Former Conservative Party vice chairman Lady Nicholson has said she will lodge an official complaint with Scotland Yard and the Serious Fraud Squad.
Baroness Nicholson, who left the Tory party to join the Liberal Democrats in 1995, says "practically nothing" of the £57m Archer said he collected had reached the Kurdish people.
The Red Cross employed KPMG to find out what had happened to all the money. KPMG made it clear they didn't believe that any of the cash had gone astray. More puzzling, they couldn't seem to turn up any evidence of most of the money ever being there in the first place. About thrity million quid seems to have just been a figment of Archer's imagination.
The world's greatest story teller, indeed.
[Part of the Illustrated Hello]
The most-read stories from Mays gone by:
1. Beth Ditto strips off for the NME
2. Hendrix estate more upset that people are making money from "sex tape" than the breach of privacy
3. Howard Donald's ex excited by comeback
4. Right Said Fred queerbashed in Moscow
5. Liveblog: Eurovision 2009
6. Avril Lavigne stresses it only looks like you can see her tits...
7. ... on her 'Hell, yeah, I'm hot' Blender cover
8. NME relaunches with, erm, Coldplay front page
9. RIP Rod Poole
10. Victoria Beckham fakes it with a dildo for 'reality' show
These were this week's interesting releases:
The Fall - Your Future, Our Clutter
Download Your Future, Our Clutter
The Futureheads - The Chaos
Download The Chaos
65DaysOfStatic - We Were Exploding Anyway
Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo
Download Avi Buffalo
Dreadzone - Eye On The Horizon
Download Eye On The Horizon
The Vernons Girls - We Love The Vernons Girls
Slowdive - The Slowdive Anthology
Download Slowdive stuff
More from No Rock on this week just gone