Saturday, October 02, 2010

Lois Maffeo weekend: The Touch

What do you get if you take Lois, Carrie from Sleater-Kinney and Pete from Marine Research?

Pretty much this:

Another short-lived project, this was the only record from this particular supergroup.

[Part of The Lois Maffeo weekend]

Crying all the way to the cold storage room

Will the horror of this economic crisis never end? Latest victim of the crunching and austerity is The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas is shutting its doors.

It used to attract half a million visitors a year, but not so many come any more.

Actually, it's not entirely the credit crunch, and more that Liberace was of his time, and fewer people are interested:

“We really started pushing the idea of bling, and Liberace was the first person who was really doing bling,” said Jeffrey P. Koep, the chairman of the Liberace Foundation and dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. “He had the big rings. He had the look that you see the kids doing now that’s very popular.”
That's the sort of idea a grandmother would come up with - "you wear big rings, don't you, dear? Look, this man had big rings, too" - so it's not surprising it flopped.

Perhaps they should have tried going with being insanely closeted, or launching lawsuits when people simply tell the truth about you. That's quite popular these days, too. Maybe that would bring an audience.

The tumbling numbers, combined with terrible investment decisions, have brought the attraction to the last rhinestone:
Billy Vassiliadis, the head of the advertising agency that represents the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said the loss of the museum “was a shame, especially for us older folks.” But, he said, Las Vegas, like Liberace, has always been about reinventing itself.

“We have to keep refreshing Las Vegas,” he said. “Thousands of people turn 21 every day. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a Lady Gaga museum in 10 years.”
The sad thing is, he's probably not wide of the mark with that one.

Cassandra ends up having the last laugh.

Lois Maffeo weekend: Roman Holiday

Backwards in time, now, to a 1992 Lois Maffeo band, Lumihoops. They played once, and released just one track:

This was that single track, Roman Holiday. Not a tribute to the sailor-suit beclad middle-England pop act of almost the same name, thank god.

[Part of The Lois Maffeo weekend]

Darren Hayman wants your piano pictures

Do you have photos of people gathered round a piano? The Kilroy teamDarren Hayman wants to hear from you:

Here's what I want from you. I want to make a video comprised of 100s of photos of pianos. I want all of the photos to be sourced or 'found' and rarely staged. I want photos that already exist. The idea is that the piano photos would present a chronolgy, so we start with the oldest photo first onto the most modern. For that reason what I really want is your old family photos and even better photos of your grandparents and earlier.
You can find out why, and more on what he's looking for, over on his website.

Lois Maffeo weekend: I Hate The Sun

Another track from that 2008 New York gig:

[Part of the Lois Maffeo weekend]

The Daily Mail thinks Katy Perry is fat

This is a photo of Katy Perry stomping about the stage in Budapest last night. You might look at it for a long time before you see what the Daily Mail apparently sees:
California girth: Katy Perry's skin-tight silver dress clings in all the wrong places

With the material buckling around the waist, the figure-hugging design even gave the impression of a protruding belly.
Really, Daily Mail?

As one of the commenters on the Mail site pointed out, earlier this week the Mail ran a piece about a teenager whose eating disorder claimed her life.

Music industry allowing its heritage to wane

A US government study has warned that the recorded music industry might be allowing its legacy to crumble into dust, Variety reports:

The 169-page white paper, subtitled "A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age," concludes that nothing less than congressional revision of copyright law will help alleviate the many issues facing overtaxed, underfunded, technologically inadequate institutions involved in preservation work.

The major sectors of showbiz are working to preserve iconic works (Variety, Aug. 2-8) and U.S. music labels have taken steps to ensure preservation of their catalogs, but, crucially, "It is uncertain whether master recordings are being maintained or preserved when there is no prospect for their reissue or for monetary gain from their digital distribution," according to the NRPB study.
Masters of bands that labels have concluded they can no longer make money of have been junked - don't even think about what might have happened if instead of destroying them, the labels had allowed artists to take back and do what they would with them. Don't think about what the majors might have consigned to destruction.

And are we better off now, now that everything is digital? Nope:
"Current programs to systematically preserve (digital) recordings are inadequate," says the NRPB.

Funding for preservation is "decentralized and inadequate," the study says. And the problem has only grown with the steep music-industry downturn of the last decade: The study notes, for instance, that the Grammy Foundation's preservation awards totaled $441,000 in 2008 and just $150,000 in 2009.

Analog-to-digital archiving is beyond the scope of most institutions. The study takes a dim view of recordable CDs as an archival medium, noting they have "placed preservation programs at great risk."
And one of the biggest threats to preserving recordings? It's copyright law. The study suggests that if people paid attention to copyright law, virtually all attempts to preserve audio recordings would be illegal.

That does sound like a broken law. Or it does, until the sound degrades to a point.

Moe, Moe, how could you?

You have to go more-or-less to the end of this clip about Tea Party events in Georgia, but there you'll see Maureen Tucker, complaining about taxes:

Is it Moe? The Maureen Tucker from the Velvets does live just an hour's drive away in Douglas, so it's her 'local' gathering of confused patriots against government spending on things they don't agree with. What are the chances of two Maureen Tuckers being in the area?

[via Guardian Music]

Lois Maffeo weekend: Strumpet

The tracks where you get to look at a sleeve are great, but let's thrill to the visuals, shall we? This is Lois playing live:

The man is David Carswell; this was Lois' first live performance in ages. 2008 in New York.

[Part of the Lois Maffeo weekend]

Neil McCormick is actually sort-of right

Sometimes, we point and snigger at Neil McCormick, the Telegraph's friend of Bono music writer, but he's got a point this morning, listing the churning products of the Lennon Industry:

This is the latest offering from a posthumous, multi-million-dollar Lennon industry, partly fuelled by his widow's sometimes suspect desire to keep the flame burning. It has led to such dubious tributes as a TV commercial for the Citroën DS3, a Mont Blanc fountain pen retailing at $27,000, a limited edition Gibson Imagine guitar ($10,748), alongside the usual array of Lennon-branded mugs, clothing, books, calendars, prints and even an Imagine brand of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
I suspect Neil and I would disagree over the core of his argument. Neil insists this isn't what the man himself would want, or be doing, were he alive today; my suspicion is that Lennon would just be more careful than Yoko at merchandising the idea of the rock ascetic. But the headline?
John Lennon's 70th birthday: these tacky souvenirs and adverts insult his memory
I think we can agree on that.

Lois Maffeo weekend: Second Most Beautiful Girl In The World

From Courtney Love the band - Lois and Pat Maley:

[Part of the the Lois Maffeo weekend]

Ne-Yo doesn't care for your vulgar money - or your current trousers

You know what Ne-Yo hates? People who make music just to make money. Gee, those guys are the worst:

"People's reasons for making music have changed. I remember a time when people made music for the sheer joy of it. Nowadays people are just trying to make money and you can hear it. Everything sounds the same: it's shallow, hollow and thin. I take the time."
Yeah! You go, Ne-Yo - you wave your angry little fist at people who simply use their profiles as a way to fill their bank balances. They're so vulgar.

You could start with this guy:

That's a bloke called Ne-Yo who's, erm, using his music to land a plum job pushing Macy's men's trouser range.

But I'm sure you're only endorsing the trousers for the sheer joy of it. Not simply to make money.

Embed and breakfast man: Lois Maffeo

A weekend of embedded videos which will continue with sound only, I suspect, as we dip into the career of Lois Maffeo. Lois, as she was often professionally known:

That's her first sort-of solo debut, Press Play And Record, although she'd been making excellent music for years before that came out in 1992. At the start of the 1990s, she was in Courtney Love. The band, of course, the one that makes (her ex-roommate) Courtney Love the person fume and rage about who has the rights to a made-up name.

Before that, she'd arrived in Olympia and become a one-woman radio cult with a show on KAOS; it seems like you couldn't help but be well-connected in Olympia at the time and her cross-collaborations would give Pete Frame cold sweats trying to keep track of.

She writes a mean song. This is going to be a brilliant weekend, I think, even if the 'videos' are just pictures filling the hole in the screen.

Infinity Plus [download version]
Butterfly Kiss
Bet The Sky

Lois online
K Records artist page
YouTube playlist by GrrlBandGeek (which this weekend's features will be drawing heavily, but not exhaustively, upon)
Lois Maffeo's writing for The Stranger

More across the weekend
Courtney Love - 2nd Most Beautiful Girl In The World
Strumpet live
I Hate The Sun live
Roman Holiday - Lumihoops
Tentacles - The Touch
The Go Team - My Head Hurts
Cradle Robbers - Sotto Voce

Gordon in the morning: Robbie wants to say sorry to Nigel. Again. Sort of.

It's perhaps appropriate that Robbie Williams is using Bizarre to reach out to Nigel Martin-Smith.

After all, it was there, back when Victoria Newton was in charge - a phrase I'm using in its insulting sense - that The Sun had to run a grovelling apology to Martin-Smith (and make a payout) after giving Williams the space to grind his axe back in 2006. Williams, too, apologised in court.

It does make it all a little strange, then, that Smart quotes Williams saying this:

"All I want to do now is throw my arms around him and give him a hug. I want to hear sorry from him, I want to say I'm sorry."
Robbie has already said sorry; in court. And he was saying sorry for making unsubstantiated claims about Martin-Smith. So how come - despite claiming "I don't want to hold any malice towards somebody from my past because that only hurts myself" - Williams is still suggesting Nigel Martin-Smith has something to apologise for?

Friday, October 01, 2010

If loving Madonna is wrong, then lock up the whole world

Ex-fireman Robert Linhart is obsessed to the point of arrest with Madonna:

According to the BBC, retired fireman Robert Linhart was arrested on Tuesday while spray-painting messages on the pavement to the singer asking to meet her.

One read: "M, the universe brought us together in 1992 and again this year in Prague. Meet me please."
It would be puzzlingly heartwarming were it not for the massive icepick he was carrying with him in the car.

His defence appears to be "she's Madonna" - which didn't work for Robbie Williams and probably won't work here:
His lawyer, Cheryl Bader, defended his actions telling the New York Daily News: "There was no threatening conduct. My understanding is it's not a crime to adore Madonna. If it were, the court would be a lot more crowded."
Probably not very crowded; like glue-sniffing, there was a lot of it about in the 1980s but most people now view those minor infractions as one of the silly things you do before you grow up, surely?

A chance to see a senior economist on the decks

If you're in London - and chances are you're not, so, sorry - Amelia Fletcher is guest dj tonight at How Does It Feel To Be Loved? Canterbury Crescent, Brixton from 9pm.

Johnny Borrell is so kicked back

Here's something worrying - apparently Razorlight are making a new album:

Johnny [Borrell] told radio station Xfm: "Big bands get too serious about things. You get very self important and rock and roll is not worth taking too seriously."
I know we should be polite and say something encouraging like "You, Johnny? Self-important? Oh, never", but... well, yes. Yes, you're right.
"The last album was a breakup album and I'm not breaking up with anybody at the moment, thank God, so this is another party album."
Another party album? Just because you don't wear a shirt doesn't make the record a party album, Johnny.
"To me it is going back more to the spirit and the energy of 'Up All Night' or the 'Somewhere Else' kind of Razorlight, which is my favourite period of the band - it's an energetic rock 'n' roll album."
I cherish that even when he's telling us how much of a party album he's making, he still sounds serious and self-important.

Gordon in the morning: JLS apparently love getting pleasure from RIM

Curious. Given how rarely JLS string together words into actual sentences, when they talk about Blackberry's proprietary instant messaging system in this morning's Sun they sound like... well, salespeople:

Aston said: "That's the new thing, the PINs. It's just PINs everywhere. Do you remember MSN? Instant messaging? That's what it's like.

"I always revert to my BlackBerry because that's the only thing I text on. It's just easier and it's an instant message."

Oritse added: "And you know when the person's read the message, which is quite cool."
"Yes, and you can deal with Carphones 4 U to get a Blackberry Daddio on an unlimited PIN scheme for just £24-99 a month, I understand" read Squibble from a small piece of paper.

Still, would have loved to have seen the temples of News International lawyers when Gordon mentioned he was going to run a piece about mobile phone PINs this morning.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Time, perhaps, for 50 Cent to retire

50 Cent - he's such a laugh right? Three weeks ago, he tweeted this rib-tickler:

“Perez Hilton calld me douchebag so I had my homie shoot up a gay wedding. wasnt his but still made me feel better”
After some grown-ups saw it, that was taken down.

Today, though, he's at it again:
A tweet posted on his wall this morning read: "If you a man and your [sic] over 25 and you don't eat pu**y just kill your damn self. The world will be a better place. Lol"
Lol indeed, Mr. Cent. Gay men should commit suicide. What astonishing insight you have into the human condition. Let's get you into your carpet slippers and let you have a bit of a rest in a comfy armchair, shall we? We'll pull the curtains so nasty old real life doesn't intervene, shall we?

The lions will eat him: Russell Lissack

Now, as rock and roll injuries go, being bitten by a lion is quite cool. It's only slightly diminished by Russell Lissack having been in an animal sanctuary when it happened.

Still a bloody lion, though.

Embed and breakfast man: Belle And Sebastian

From last night's Jimmy Fallon:

[Buy: Write About Love]

[via The Audio Perv]

I wanna sex you down

South Korea's parliament is launching an enquiry into teenage pop bands to explore if they're too sexualised:

"The committee will ask them whether the teenagers have been compelled to wear revealing clothes and sing songs with suggestive moves and lyrics," the aide to lawmaker Ahn Hyoung-Hwan of the ruling Grand National Party told AFP.

"Some of the popular girl groups are sixth and seventh graders (aged 13-14)... we need some legal devices to protect those young performers from possible abuse."
Any suggestion that this is an excuse for South Korean parliamentarians to sit about watching teenage girls in short skirts for "research purposes" is totally wide of the mark.

Gordon in the morning: Never Mind The Buzzcocks not an easy gig for Jedward shocker

Could Jack Dee meets Jedward on Never Mind The Buzzcocks really be one step short of Abu Ghraib?

And the stand-up veteran spent the entire recording ribbing gormless John and Edward Grimes.

Producers now face a delicate editing operation to make the show suitable for broadcast amid fears Dee might be accused of bullying.
Really? It was that bad, was it?
Jedward said last night: "Jack Dee was a bit rude but we've had worse. At the end of the show he asked for a picture with us so we think he's secretly a massive fan."
So, erm, no, then.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Andy Parfitt isn't in hock to Chris Moyles

Banging on for ages about not having been paid? No, no, that's not crossing the line, says Andy Parfitt.

But he's not in hock to his celebrity presenter.

And when Moyles does step over the line?

That's not really a problem either:

He added that the number of times the DJ has been censured by the BBC or Ofcom could be "counted on the fingers of one hand, probably on two or three fingers".

"Management – ie me – are not in hock to Chris. Chris and I have a long-term relationship and he is absolutely clear where the red lines are," said Parfitt.
Given that Ofcom or the BBC getting involved at this sort of level is a pretty serious injunction, you might wonder if every presenter who got "two or three" black spots next to their name would still be indulged after a clankingly bad programme like last week's. You'd suspect not - but, hey, Andy Parfitt isn't in hock to Chris Moyles. So probably everyone gets a third or fourth or fifth or sixth chance, right?

I'm not sure why Gareth Evans was canned while Moyles is still crept around by BBC Management. (Evans posted on his own Facebook page about a minor dispute with a council, but had never mentioned it on air.)

But nobody is in hock to Chris Moyles.

BBC insist their new Top Of The Pops won't be Top Of The Pops

For reasons that we're sure are well-meaning, the BBC is trying to develop a popular, mainstream, prime-time music programme for a general audience. MediaGuardian reports:

"We are working on it," [Andy] Parfitt told a Broadcasting Press Guild breakfast today, adding that it was "absolute rot" to say there was no music on BBC TV.

"It would be great if we could get a new popular music-based programme with a new format, a new kind of offer that really worked for the audience," he said.

"The work is on to try and find a format but we are not trying to relaunch or reinvent Top of the Pops. That is kind of a red herring. Should we be looking for a programme? Of course we should and we are.

"Would it be a good thing to try and persevere and work with producers to identify a new format? Yes. That's what television does all the time. Jan Younghusband is actually leading that process and I am closely involved with that."
Maybe there is such a mythical format, a world where The Ting Tings, Susan Boyle, The Cast Of Phantom Of The Opera and Sharon Corr can co-exist happily.

But you know what? I think I switched over as soon as Susan Boyle came on.

It'd be great to have a music programme - perhaps something a bit like Inside Sport, but... well, not about Sport - on BBC One. Or maybe a performance slot which does something a bit Whistle Test-y. Develop away happily.

But it's a bit like biscuits, isn't it?

You can have a Tea Time assortment, and if there's no other biscuits around, people will tuck in. But if they like jam rings, they're going to get the hump when there's only one in the box and they have to end up with rich tea fingers instead. Especially when there's an entire channel of jam rings available elsewhere.

At Christmas, it's nice to have a tin of Tea Time. And a few people will always enjoy a bit of a mix. But give most people a choice, and they'll always plump for a packet of their favourites. This isn't an era looking for something like Top Of The Pops, even if it isn't Top Of The Pops.

Irving Azoff makes it clear LiveNation aren't putting on a big show

Hey, don't be all crying: it turns out that Barry Diller always planned to step down from LiveNation. So says, erm, still-at-LiveNation executive chairman Irving Azoff:

As usual the press reports are ridiculous. It was always Barry Diller's
intention to step down from LNE COB during first year after TM/LN
merger. I look forward to continue to work with him during his time on
the board. I thank him for the many years of dedication and loyalty to
everyone at TM.
Yes, in pretty much the same way David Miliband was always hoping to be a backbench MP, I'll bet.

Of course, Azoff needs to tell people that this was all a secret plan and not really the outcome of him and Diller falling out. Oh, but Diller has also been playing nicely as he attempts to negotiate his severance package. Sorry, confirmed the official line. Sorry, agreed that this was always the plan:
“I have always said, since the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation, that I only planned to stay as chairman through the transition and integration of the two companies. It’s been almost a year and I informed the board today that while there was no rush, the board should start the process now to appoint a new chairman.”
It was always the plan. All he wanted to do was oversee the union, and then he'd leave happily. He always said he'd do that. Always. And this was exactly how he'd planned to have his departure announced. Always.

Trent Reznor: The miniseries

Trent Reznor is - it says here - turning Year Zero into a mini-series:

"We are in [the development phase of] pre-production with HBO and BBC to do a miniseries," Reznor told the Los Angeles Times's Hero Complex blog. "It's exciting. I probably shouldn't say too much about it except that I understand that there's a thousand hurdles before anything shows up in your TV listing. It's been an interesting and very educational process and it cleared the HBO hurdle a few months ago and now we're writing drafts back and forth. So it's very much alive and incubating at the moment."
If this is a success, ELO's Out Of The Blue is thought to be next up.

LiveNation management tantrums creates opening

Barry Diller - who, in his head at least, was responsible for the megalithic monoplistish LiveNation-Ticketmaster - has walked out the company in a huff and a half:

Barry Diller, the media mogul who claimed credit for the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, said Tuesday he would resign as chairman of the merged company after a boardroom power struggle with another media giant and director, John Malone, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Diller's resignation letter was eventually accepted by the company after he had coughed up a five pound processing fee and a three quid convenience charge.

Gordon in the morning: Ain't they dolls?

They're tiny; they look a little odd; and they're totally constructed from plastic. And now JLS have dolls just like them, too.

Gordon's very excited, but dollies are, sadly, something for most of the JLS to look forward to when they get a bit older and their parents don't have to worry about choking hazards. Nobody wants to hear about a child choking to death on Ortise's hat.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Buju Banton

Global Voices gathers Jamaican (and other) reactions to Buju Banton's mistrial:

Repeating Islands reposts a mainstream media report confirming that the star's U.S. drug trial is the talk of Jamaica, “where islanders are debating his guilt or innocence on street corners, in offices, in letters to the editor and on social networking websites.” There is no doubt the singer has mobilised strong support from his fan base - there is even a website that has been set up to advocate for his freedom. Many conspiracy theories are floating around, including one claiming that Banton was set up by members of the international gay community as payback for his homophobic lyrics in past songs. (Banton signed a pledge a few years ago to desist from singing such songs again).
Ah, yes, that well-known international gay community and their dirty tricks squad.

Pete Doherty charged with possession again

More misery, and - oh - here's Pete Doherty at the centre of it:

Singer Pete Doherty has been charged with one count of possession of cocaine following an inquiry into the death of a filmmaker.

Robin Whitehead, 27, a member of the Goldsmith family who was working on a documentary on the singer, was found dead in a flat in Hackney in January.

Another man, Peter Wolfe, 42, of Bury St Edmunds, was charged with possessing and supplying cocaine.

A third man, Alan Wass, 29, of west London, was charged with possession.

All three remain on bail and are due to appear at Thames Magistrates' Court on 18 October.
Lucky that Babyshambles reunion happened just in time to help with the lawyers.

The XX: Now, this is an auction

While some people will pay a fortune for a vague promise that a celeb will follow them on Twitter, The XX know how to make a charity auction:

The xx are now making the final preparations for their final (read: last chance to see them play for a very long time!!!) tour after which they head home for some well-deserved r&r before starting work on the follow up to xx. The band have decided rather than let the lightboxes sit in storage they will put them to good use by auctioning them off with all proceeds going to one of the band’s favorite charities Amnesty International.
They come as a set and sellers won't split, which has apparently put Exene Cervenka off bidding.

MGMT sffr mdlng

MGMT's second album wasn't quite such a till-tickling success as their debut (indeed, Target seem to be denying Congratulations ever existed and are still shelving Oracular Spectacular on their shelf for introducing new acts.)

This probably explains, though doesn't excuse, why Sony are trying to tug the chain for album number three:

Andrew told the [Daily Record's showbiz column] Razz: "I definitely think our music will change in the future because Congratulations is almost two years old now.

"We have some ideas and have been talking about possible directions of where to go next.

"We are just in much more positive mental states than when we wrote Congratulations.

"We're less anxious. We've been looking at relationships with the label during the recording process and it's quite different this time.

"They'll be more involved and not give us as much freedom."
I'm not sure why the Columbia imprint would decide this is the way to go. Does anyone in an office really think "the audience didn't warm to MGMT making the record last time, so what they really need is some accountants dropping a few ideas into the pot"?

Gordon in the morning: Enough with the chart battles, now

Gordon has put on the spangly bikini and is parading round the boxing ring with a large card again this morning:

THERE hasn't been a decent chart battle since little JOE McELDERRY squared up to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE last Christmas.
Really, Gordon? Only yesterday somebody - by which I mean you - told me this:
There's gonna be a lively chart battle this week as TINIE TEMPAH and LABRINTH release singles today.
Then there was Flo Rida against Roll Deep in August; Flo Rida against The Saturdays; Professor Green taking on Eminem and Mark Ronson; Professor Green squaring up to Scouting For Girls; Rangers battling Celtic; The Wanted in a chart battle with nobody in particular and Jedward and Vanilla Ice in a battle with taste.

Oh, and Jamelia and Alesha Dixon.

This time last year, by the way, Smart was using his skills as a music forecaster to prepare us for George Michael's battle for the Christmas number one.

So, all those other chart battles that Smart has been getting excited about in the last twelve months, he's now decided weren't "decent" enough to have counted.

So what's he now setting his battle-gaze on?
New boys JLS will attempt to slay man band TAKE THAT in the album charts.
JLS? Against Take That? In the album chart? Oh, yes, that's a fight of equals. Like pitching a greyhound against a horse, and then racing them round the Grand National course.

Hang about, though, Gordon spots a potential third challenge:
November 22 is also the date for the new Now! compilation
Yes, that's true. I'm sure the detail of compilation albums being listed in a totally separate chart won't spoil that competition at all, Gordon.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wyclef Jean enters comfortable hospital bed

Given that he was supposed to be fighting a difficult presidential campaign right now, since Wyclef Jean has been hospitalised with fatigue, perhaps it's lucky he didn't make it onto the ballot after all.

Labelobit: Dick Griffey

The founder of Solar Records, Dick Griffey, has died.

Griffey had eeny-meeny-miney-moed his way into nightclub owner over medicine as a career and had quickly established an eye for talent. By the turn of the 1970s, he was booking world tours for stars of Stevie Wonder's pedigree, and it was his ear and contacts book which lead to him becoming talent booker on Soul Train.

Unencumbered by ITA-style conflict of interest worries, Soul Train spawned its own label. The imaginatively-titled Soul Train Records had some successes, most notably early Shalamar, but folded in 1977. Having helped create the label, Griffey took the leftovers and used them to found Solar (Sounds Of Los Angeles Records). Coming at the start of a mythical golden Soul-Disco age, the timing was right. Before eventually winding up as part of an EMI firesale which would see catalogue sold to Unidisc, Solar would provide a home for Shalamar, Midnight Star, Klymaxx and even the first recording featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg. It also turned out LA Reid, whose journey from musician to besuited industry paragon is a story all of its own.

Solar also counted amongst its rosta Carrie Lewis. Arguably, she was the main artist on the label; inarguably, she was the only one married to Griffey.

Dick Griffey died from complications following a multiple bypass. He was 66.

Anti-filesharing lawyers emails "published to the web"

Whoopsie-daisy. ACS:Law, one of the legal firms that has done very nicely, thank you, out of pursuing unlicensed music files appears to have published thousands of pieces of personal data on the internet. Technology Guardian reports:

The website went offline after users of the online messageboard 4Chan orchestrated a sustained attack on it, putting the site offline for much of the week. A file containing the confidential information – which includes thousands of emails to and from the company – appears to have been inadvertently published on the front page of ACS:Law's website as it recovered from an attack, security experts Symantec told the Guardian. The file has since been distributed widely across the internet.
What do ACS say?
Andrew Crossley, the lead solicitor at ACS:Law who has shouldered much of the ire from compainants, this morning told the Guardian that he had contacted the information commissioner about the distribution of this confidential information, adding: "We're aware of it and unable to comment about it for legal reasons."
What those legal reasons are aren't clear - perhaps ACS:Law have taken an injunction out on themselves to prevent them suggesting that email communications with them might end up on the internet. Although they'd be aware of it happening.

You might think that they'd pop along to have a chat with a similarly stupidly punctuated PR firm for advice on whether not saying anything at all is the best approach when many of your secrets have apparently been strewn across the internet.

Nadine Coyle: Too sexy for TV. Apparently.

The suggestion that Nadine Coyle's video was "too sexy for TV" is the absolute god's honest truth, and not merely a desperate ploy to try and get people interested in Nadine Coyle's solo career.

The Irish singer flashes the flesh as she writhes around in a tiny black dress in the promo for Insatiable, but TV viewers won't be able to see the saucy scenes after the footage "failed" a standards test.

Coyle admits producers will now attempt to re-edit the video to make it suitable for TV audiences.

In a post on her page, the singer writes, "Crunch time on the video front, apparently it has failed a test for TV. We have to go back and re-edit or you can't see it!"
Actually, that makes it sound like the video didn't pass the test for photosensitive epilepsy, doesn't it?

PaidContent get excited by freemium proponents using, erm, a freemium model

There's a 6.04am publishing time on Helienne Lindvall's piece on Doctrow and Godin for PaidContent, so let's be generous and assume she was still half-asleep when she wrote it:

A friend of mine recently tried to book Seth Godin for a music industry panel and was told by his speaker agent that he charges $150,000 to come to London from his home in New York. And, like pretty much all these “gurus”, he demands a first-class round-trip flight ticket to boot. But if they let him do it via video link from his hometown it would only cost $15,000 plus expenses, said the agent.

So what kind of valuable advice would you get for that tidy sum of money? In his interview Music Vs the Music Industry (his advice applies to just about everything, he adds) – Godin says: “This is the greatest moment in the history of music if your dream is to distribute as much music as possible to as many people as possible … If your focus is on the industry part and the limos, the advances, the lawyers, polycarbonate and vinyl, it’s horrible.”
Um... yes, and? That's what the Freemium model is, Helienne. You give away content for free where it makes sense, and charge what you can when you're able. So Seth Godin makes a lot of his stuff available for free, which builds his reputation and saves him having to chase people making infinite copies online, and means he can charge a lot for the non-replicable stuff. That's his idea.

Is "people apply their model to their business" really a scoop?

Pizza Express is delicious

I like a Pizza Express, me. They're doing a buy-one, get-one-for-a-quid offer for the next fortnight, too, and have just launched three new bruschettas in the starters range.

How can they ensure they can cope with the numbers that are liable to swamp their doors, I wonder?

Kasabian drummer Ian Matthews is set to return to his second band for a gig in the Soho branch of Pizza Express' Jazz Club.
"Warning: some dishes have risk of drummer from Kasabian playing jazz". Yes, that'd do it.

Dorian Lynskey: Won't someone think of the Bono?

A heartfelt plea in this morning's Guardian for Bono to be treated with respect. Oh, cries Dorian Lynskey:

Down with Bono-bashing
Ridiculing the U2 singer only makes it harder for any band with ideals to stick their neck out
By "bashing" what Lynskey means is "asking questions about what the self-appointed chum of the powerful says and does". This, surprisingly, turns out to be a Bad Thing To Do:
He has been ridiculed for the financial struggles of his ethical clothing line, Edun, and private equity firm, Elevation Partners, his lobbying appearance at a Conservative party conference, the carbon footprint of U2's 360° tour, and even the back injury which forced the band to cancel their slot at Glastonbury. Anyone else would have to run for office to receive such relentlessly harsh scrutiny.
Whereas Bono is simply trying to shape policy and direct governments without running for office.

Lysnkey does concede that sometimes it's valid to have a pop at the pop star:
Of course, someone with Bono's profile and clout deserves to have his feet held to the fire. His manner can be off-putting, not least in his columns for the New York Times; he underestimated (or ignored) leftwing discomfort with his realpolitik charm offensive on the Bush administration, and U2's 2006 decision to move their publishing business to the Netherlands for tax reasons was a disastrous own goal which needs to be reversed. But amid the growing chorus of cynicism, he rarely gets credit for the huge efforts he has made on issues such as debt relief and Aids prevention.
So it seems there are some "good" criticisms of Bono, which DK approves of, and others, cherry-picked, which are unfair. It seems Dorian can question Bono's tax arrangements without being cynical, but other people asking other questions? That's just so rotten.

As for the cherry-picked examples of "fair" criticism, besides the pulled back before Glastonbury, aren't these fair?

The financial misfooting of Elevation and Edun, surely, is fair to be discussed - if you're seeking investment partners, shouldn't you at least be good at investing? And given that Lynskey claims to be worrying that interrogating Bono will make it more difficult for campaigning musicians to be campaigning, what has a company investing in digital media got to do with that, exactly?

Lobbying at the Tory Party conference? It was actually 'appearing in a video played at' rather than 'an appearance', and his clunky script was crying out for a bit of a brickbat.

And the carbon footprint of a corporation whose boss is supposedly an eco-campaigner not only should be scrutinised, it must be examined. Surely Lynskey isn't really suggesting that a company should be allowed to spout any sort of guff about being green while lugging a massive pile of junk around the world? Perhaps The Guardian will now be going easy of Tesco - after all, asking questions about a corporation's carbon footprint might make it unlikely that a supermarket might make reusable bags available in the future.

The anger last week about Bono's One organisation spending thousands of dollars on press packs in the name of starving kids last week? That's unfair, it turns out:
o matter that the U2 frontman is not responsible for ONE's day-to-day decision-making, nor that ONE's own website declares that it "does not provide aid directly" but is "an advocacy and campaigning organisation", nor that the source of attack was a rightwing tabloid. On sites such as Twitter, it was whoopingly greeted as yet further proof that Bono is a blowhard, a hypocrite, a fraud.
Let's not even bother with the curious suggestion that because a story was broken by a right-wing tabloid we should pretend it doesn't exist, which is such an absurd statement it would take a thin book to pull apart - hopefully pointing out that 'not providing such awful examples of muddle-headed thinking to allow the right to take attention off inequality and focus instead on the providing of cookies to starving Manhattan journalists' will do for now - and instead ponder why it is that Bono is a figurehead, founder and face of One when things are going well, but not when the organisation does something stupid?

Lynskey worries that Bono doesn't get the credit he deserves for the work he does, but here suggests that he shouldn't take the flak when it backfires. Lynskey praises Bono for working closely on his campaigns, but then thinks he shouldn't be held responsible when things go wrong.

We didn't do this to The Rolling Stones, did we, says Dorian:
But any young band with political ideals might well compare his experience with that of a band like the Rolling Stones, who moved their business to the Netherlands but without inspiring a fraction of the ire, and take the path of least resistance.
I don't recall Mick Jagger and Keith Richards popping up all over the place telling governments how to spend the taxes they were busily trying to minimise.

The line of least resistance, surely, in 'not being a tax avoiding hypocrite' would be to not avoid tax; Lynskey seems to suggest that instead his fictional young band would choose to avoid being hypocrites. He seriously doesn't seem to consider for a moment that a young band with actual political ideals might happily pay their taxes to their home government.
Bono's activism is an ongoing experiment to see how far fame can be used to lobby for progressive causes, and to what degree a musician can act on principles rather than merely voice them.
... but, erm, if people point out that his hulking stage set for his tour makes a mockery of the environmental concern he espouses, that's somehow wrong.
If he is discredited, then so is the whole endeavour.
Um... no. No, it isn't. "If Bono isn't given a free pass - except on the bits Lysnkey disagrees with - then the whole idea that artists can express their opinions lies in tatters" is just penthouse-quality rubbish.

First, anyone who wants to hold forth on matters of the day but chooses not to lest they find themselves being called to account on their views is almost certainly a person whose views are best left unheard.

Second: Lynskey seems to think that 18 year-olds in bands think of Bono as being like them, and would see him a role model and a warning. I think it's safe to say that most young bands look from Blair to Bono, and Bono to Bush, and don't really see any musician in a sense they'd recognise.

Bono is pretty much the Lennon of his generation. The fact that people rolled about laughing at the guy in the mansion house imagining no possessions, or giving away all his stuff but somehow still having the means for a deposit on rooms in the Dakota doesn't seem to have put Bono off, does it?

Gordon in the morning: Island life

Gordon this morning runs the not altogether surprising story about Tom Jones still liking women despite - gasp - being 70:

SINGER TOM JONES is still tempted by female fans offering him sex - at 70.

The womanising Welshman admits he's "a little weak-minded" when propositioned.
Indeed he is. What's missing from this story, though, is the context in which the remarks were made. Even the Telegraph - no great fan of the BBC - manages to admit that it heard the quote on Desert Island Discs.

It's funny, the team at News International get very cross indeed when their content is lifted without any acknowledgement - as James 'there on his own merits it's just a coincidence that his surname is' Murdoch put it earlier this year:
"We need enforcement mechanisms and we need governments to play ball … There is no difference with going into a store and stealing Pringles or a handbag and taking this stuff. It's a basic condition for investment and economic growth and there should be the same level of property rights whether it's a house or a movie," he said.

"The idea that there's a new consumer class and you have to be consumer-friendly when they're stealing stuff. No. There should be the same level of sanctity as there is around property. Content is no different. They're not crazy kids. No. Punish them."
Of course, sensible people don't mind a bit of sharing and cross-quoting, providing there's an acknowledgment of the original source and it's not being passed off as your own work. But that isn't the case here - there's no concession that Gordon Smart's column is making good use of the licence fee - and, well, NI aren't sensible people. What was the official line from Wapping about websites which just print chunks of other people's journalism?
“News International makes a significant investment in journalism and we believe that it is entirely appropriate for us to ask that our rights are respected. NewsNow has acknowledged that they require our permission to use our content and, in the absence of our permission, has ceased to do so.”‬

Perhaps 79 year-old Rupert Murdoch is just "weak-minded" when quotes about sex are thrown at him.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Downloadable: Skibunny

Skibunny want to give you an mp3 in return for an email address. The track is Ooh Ah, and it works very well indeed.

The email harvesting machine they're using doesn't work quite so well, and is apparently too full to eat any more emails, but you can still get the track.

Dannii Minogue: Lessons for the Milibands

How do you cope with a sibling in a similar line of work, but who has done a bit better for themselves? Are there lessons for David in Dannii Minogue's autobiography?

Being compared to the better, more popular, talented one all the time? Water off a duck's back, it seems:

Minogue wrote: "Ever since I arrived in the UK in 1991, the media have pitted us against one another, first favouring my supposed 'cooler, darker' image over Kylie's bubblegum sweetness, then turning on me with a deluge of unflattering comparisons.

"Never mind that Dannii has had ten Top 10 records - Kylie has had 20! Never mind that Dannii's album has gone gold - Kylie's has gone platinum! Less success was no success at all as far as my critics were concerned. As much as it broke my heart at times, it never made me any less proud and supportive of my sister, and I received the same love and support from her.

"The truth is I never felt as if I was competing with my sister. Although I got very tired of the constant comparisons, it wasn't because I was jealous. I think all the Dannii-bashing headlines often hurt Kylie more than they hurt me."
You see, David? You're not competing with your sibling, and the comparisons are just pointless because - hey - remember, you've sold a few records yourself. And were the popular one once. Briefly. Just keep mentioning that, over and over again, with figures if you must, and nobody will ever come away with the impression that you're seething inside and wondering if you could get a fake grin actually botoxed onto your face for those times when you have to stress you couldn't really care less.

This week just gone

The most popular stories this month:

1. Radiohead give fan-produced DVD a free soundtrack
2. RIP: Mike Edwards
3. Jon Brookes collapses on stage
4. Chris Moyles whines that he's not getting paid for this
5. Gordon Smart runs photos of kid because he has famous parents
6. Is Steve Blacknell really the man with the child in his eyes?
7. Gordon Smart attempts link between Moors Murderers and George Michael
8. Oh, God: the JLS condom is no longer a joke
9. Two Of The Beatles Have Died released
10. Lady GaGa markets herself as a Halloween Costume

These were the new releases, a couple of weeks back:

The Charlatans - Who We Touch

Download Who We Touch

The Like - Release Me

Download Release Me

Hurts - Happiness

Download Happiness

James - The Morning After

Download The Morning After

Brian Wilson - Reimagines Gershwin

Download Reimagines Gershwin

The Jim Jones Revue - Burning Your House Down

Download Burning Down Your House

Tracy Ullman - Move Over Darling: The Complete Stiff Recordings

Download The Best Of...