Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Gag reflex

Given that much of the attention to the Tulisa sex tape was down to the massive coverage of it in Gordon's showbiz pages, now that MC Ultra has apologised in court, will the paper be feeling a little ashamed at its part in bullying the woman?


Today there's a story - apparently written by three people - about her going on holiday. And the headline?

Tulisa’s blown the lot

Sex video star has wild time in Ibiza
Blown? Do you see? Because it was a video with a blow job.

(And isn't it adding insult to injury to describe her as a "sex video star"?)

Just in case you missed the subtle joke, they repeat it almost instantly:
BIRTHDAY girl Tulisa Contostavlos has been blowing her money, candles and a lilo in Ibiza as she gets over her sex tape hell.
Yeah, it's a jape, isn't it, guys?

G4S actually rocks, you know

Adding itching powder to the main misery of G4S, the security company which has to ring up the army to help them out, was the discovery of the G4S corporate song. There was a video on YouTube, but it disappeared overnight; however, the New Statesman transcribed the lyrics:

You love your job and the people too
Making a difference is what you do
But consider all you have at stake
The time is now don't make a mistake
Because the enemy prowls, wanting to attack
But we're on the wall, we've got your back
So get out front and take the lead
And be the winner you were born to be
G4S! protecting the world
G4S! so dreams can unfurl
24/7 every night and day
A warrior stands ready so don't be afraid
G4S! secure in your world
G4S! let your dreams unfurl
We're guarding you with all our might
Keeping watch throughout the night
Now, even by the standards of Microsoft's Bruce Servicepack and The Vista Street Band, that's pretty poor stuff. Could it really be a G4S song, or was someone pulling our legs?

The disappearance from the web of the video overnight suggests that G4S are a little better at securing their own copyright than... well, apparently anything else they turn their hands to to judge by the Olympishambles.

If you feel you really must, you can - currently - hear the song on Soundcloud or buy it from

Yes, buy it.

Yes, it's a genuine song, and Jon Christopher Davis is a serious musician - by which I mean he takes himself really seriously.

So, a genuine song, done with a straight face. But... on sale? To buy? What sort of deluded company sells its own corporate song?

G4S does. And explains why:
When the marketing team at G4S Secure Solutions (USA) enlisted the services of two Texan songwriters to write a song, the team never envisioned the reaction it would receive from company employees around the world. Best known for professional, integrated manned security services and technology solutions rather than music publishing, G4S is turning a corporate marketing campaign into a global fund raising effort.

G4S is the world’s second largest private sector employer and executives at the corporation are hopeful that a large proportion of their global workforce will support the download of their new G4S song entitled “Securing Your World”. In doing so, the company hopes to raise substantial funds for charity.

Nick Buckles, Chief Executive Officer, G4S plc commented on this wonderful initiative: “The G4S song “Securing Your World” was such a hit with employees, that our management team thought it would be a great opportunity to use it to raise funds for people in need – specifically families and children. We are encouraging G4S employees worldwide to help make this charitable effort a success, and ask that they get their friends and families involved as well.”

Recording artist Jon Christopher Davis and record producer Sparky Pearson penned the words and music for “Securing Your World” to help G4S launch its new branding at the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) conference which was held in Dallas, Texas. The song was performed live at a reception attended by more than 650 customers, partners and G4S employees. Requests for the song started pouring into G4S shortly thereafter, and sparked the idea for the fund raiser.

Nick Buckles continued: “The proceeds from “Securing Your World" have the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives. This is a simple and fun way for everyone at G4S to be part of something special. I hope they all join in the effort.”
Notice anything strange there? There's talk about "raising substantial sums for charity", but it's incredibly vague about what that charity might be. Even when they get down to specifics, it's "specifically families and children", which is somewhat vague.

There's not even an indication if these specific "families and children" live in America, or if their need is urgent (beat starvation), or long term (educate a village). There's a muddy image at the top of the page:
This suggests that the company will be raising money to help the victims of stock photography.

You'll notice that none of the vague charitable images are anything like as large as the G4S logo in that.

There's a different page linked to where employees could buy the single, but that's vanished from the internet. Maybe more was explained about the nature of the charity there?

The G4S Rocks Facebook page makes no mention at all of the charity, nor does the Amazon page where money is still changing hands. the Twitter account has never tweeted.

For a supposed push to raise "substantial sums" for charity, they've not really put much effort in, have they?

If you search G4S's Corporate Social Responsiblity site for G4S rocks, there's four responses, all of which appear to be pointing to press releases:

All the links go to 404 pages, but at least from the snatch of text we can be reassured the money was going to go to "worthy" organisations. So that's alright, then.

There have been vaguer charities - George Costanza's The Human Fund, for example.

And given the shambles at London 2012, we shouldn't be surprised that G4S aren't very detail orientated.

But a company instructing its low-paid employees to buy a corporate anthem with a little bit of moral blackmail around a claim that it's for a charity of some sort? The song is more dreadful than a reading of the lyrics alone would reveal.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Newton Faulkner throws the awe away

Newton Faulkner has turned up at The Sun to do one of their sessions, and tells one of those anecdotes that is meant to be about one thing, but is really about something else entirely:

Faced with Scottish twins Craig and Charlie Reid, the notoriously chatty singer clammed up completely, as he revealed at his recent Biz Session.

He said: “I was playing at the V Festival four years ago.

“It was a weird audience – like the whole cast of Hollyoaks, Paul Rudd and Matt Lucas. There was no one there I didn’t know.

“I turned to go off and the Proclaimers – the two main guys – were standing there and saying they really enjoyed it. I couldn’t talk. I was mesmerised."
"The Two Main Guys" out the Proclaimers, eh?

This is supposed to be a little story about how humble Newt met the blokes who did Letter From America and was overcome with awe.

But it isn't, is it? It's an anecdote about how many famous people came to see him play V (the cast of Hollyoaks counting as 'famous' here), and even the Proclaimers bit is self-regarding, with its subtext of 'famous as I am, I was struck dumb by these surprisingly less-famous artists' and the little rush to reassure us that how they "really enjoyed" it.

We can only hope that all the familiar faces like the Cast Of Hollyoaks and Paul Rudd saw him humbly accepting the praise of the two main guys from The Proclaimers.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sing me to sleep: Corey Taylor conks out on stage

Let's face it - who wouldn't feel themselves slipping gently to sleep as Slipknot churned out the same songs for the billionth time? You can forgive Corey Taylor for deciding to have a quick nap instead of listening to the songs?

He says he was exhausted when he collapsed on stage in Dallas, not bored:

Taylor later addressed his health crisis in a post on, assuring fans he was just suffering from heat exhaustion and insisting he will be well enough to tackle the band's next gig.

He writes, "Hello everyone. I'm fine - just overheated in Dallas last night. Ready and waiting for Houston! Thank you to everyone for your concerns!"
Remind us, ContactMusic - what was the gig, again?
[P]art of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour
Ah, what an advert for the sponsor's project - an actual rockstar running out of energy. Still, at least they got the mayhem.

Gordon in the morning: Stacey Solomon - the sitcom

Yes, it's true - fresh from her, um, success playing herself in those Iceland commercials, Stacey Solomon is having a sitcom built around her. Gordon explains:

STACEY Solomon is having a sitcom created around her in the vein of cult US comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I suspect we're talking something closer to, say, Dani's House than the mighty Larry David's creation.

Normally, we'd assume this is heading in exactly the same direction as that terrible-sounding wrestling thing with the Kasabian connection that Smart is always trying to talk up, but there are some more interesting names than the central one attached:
Its writers, Rob Colley and Dan Gaster, are shooting a taster tape this week with Princess Productions.
Admittedly, neither have very much experience in sitcom - Colley not at all, Gaster apparently not much since Mumbai Calling limped to the end of its only series in 2008, bar a few lines for a Miranda Christmas special and a single episode of The Life Of Riley - and it does sound more like the sort of scheme they'd normally be providing knocking gags about for Mock The Week or Buzzcocks, but at least they know a gag from something else.
Impressionists Phil Cornwell and Ronni Ancona have been lined up to play the parents of X Factor star turned TV presenter Stacey, who won I’m A Celeb in 2010.
Cornwell has popped up in Dani's House, amusingly enough. But as supporting casts go, that's not a bad one to build from.

It's just the idea itself which sounds without merit.

I suspect that at the moment they're talking about "a taster tape" rather than an actual pilot means that this is a project that will vanish from the planet like a poorly-held helium balloon. After all, what network would think it has a schedule hole shaped like a sitcom with Stacey Solomon mugging at the heart of it?
A source said about the sitcom: “There’s a lot of excitement about this project. It’s not just another reality TV show, there’s a brilliant production team behind it. There’s strong interest from ITV.”

Helpfully - in the sense of "to pad out the article" - Gordon provides some background about Curb:
Curb Your Enthusiam was the brainchild of Seinfield creator Larry David – known for producing comedies “about nothing”.
Yes. Gordon wrote that line.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On the night Hank Williams Jr went to town

Hank Williams Jr's bid to simultaneously paint himself as some sort of victim and out-Nugent Ted Nugent continues with a Rolling Stone interview, in which he proves himself to be as ill-informed as he is short-of-thinking. It turns out when he went on Fox News and laid in to Obama and Boehner for having a game of golf together - the comparison he made was Hitler golfing with Netanyahu - why, he was the one with whom we should sympathise:

[Rolling Stone] How do you think Fox twisted your words around?

[Williams] Uh, number one, it's 6:30 in the morning, and you're sitting there to talk about your daddy's CD that's out. You know, come on. There, again, I think they did a great favor. If you can't make an analogy of something like that … my daughter said, "Daddy are you in trouble?' and I told her, "Let me tell you something, baby girl, if I'm in trouble, we're all in trouble." And guess what? I was right. There have been a lot of articles about, "My God, this world today, you can't say anything." Although, if you're a pretty radical left-wing democrat, you can say anything you want to – "Death to George Bush!" and start stabbing a steak with a knife like Rahm Emmanuel – which is on record, by the way. Oh yeah
So by "twisting his words around", Williams means "asking him a question in the morning". You wonder what time of day he stops appearing to be a right-wing conspiracy nut. Perhaps if it was 10am, he'd have gone with a 'like a lamb frolicking with a lion' analogy.

Oh, and the story "on the record" about Emmanuel? Never happened. There is a record of Emmanuel stabbing steaks and shouting names, but 'death to George Bush' is something of a stretch.

But is it even worth treating Williams with the sort of respect where you listen to his views as if they were informed and rational?
[RS]:Yeah, but when you talk about your Christian name …

[HWJr]:You know, we've got a President that does a call to the Koran or Mecca or whatever. That's what I meant. That's exactly what I meant. I won't be changing my name to whatever. That's exactly what I meant.
Jesus, man (no pun intended), if you're going to be the sort of numbskull who believes that Obama is a Muslim, and think that it matters anyway, at least try and give the impression you know something about Islam.

Hank Williams Junior then goes on to claim that Obama "hates America" which is proved by Obama's world tour where he went around apologising for the nation - no, me neither.

It's a nice piece by Rolling Stone - it's not even a case of giving enough rope for him to hang himself; Williams turns up with his own ready-to-go gibbet. I fear what's frightening, though, isn't the fundamentally ignorant people like Williams who have a platform; it's the large numbers of people who respect him and will assume he knows what he's talking about.

Oh, America.

Moyles not on the market

So, what now for Chris Moyles? Radio 1 Controller Ben Cooper has told MediaGuardian that he won't be released back into the wild:

"I've got an idea of a new role for him on the station. Maybe we'll surprise people again in a short time," Cooper said on Wednesday.
Given that the his motivation for shifting Moyles out of breakfast - he wouldn't admit in so many words that it was his idea, but clearly it was - is to try and bring down the average audience age as instructed by the BBC Trust, it's hard to imagine that Moyles would be given the same amount of air time as he has now. It's equally hard to think of something that would "surprise" us - unless it's a partnership with Zane Lowe?

They call me MISTER Grimshaw

When I heard that they were bringing one of the Radio One Specialist music show presenters in for breakfast, I was surprised. A little thrilled. Rob Da Bank? Annie Mac? Mike Davies?

Oh. Nick Grimshaw.

It's not quite the same as the last time they catapulted a presenter from the 10pm to Midnight slot into breakfast - Mark and Lard had been offering Tindersticks and Simon Armitage at night, while Nick Grimshaw's last late night slot offered Kelly Osbourne and one of the Scissor Sisters.

It's one of those choices which seem radical until you think about it for a half-second; Grimshaw seems much more suited to the Rice Krispies end of the day than he ever did after dark - indeed, had Moyles gone when he should have, around 2008, you could imagine Colin Murray being given the job to pretty much the same sort of response.

A safe pair of ears, a fair promotion. Greg James, though, must be wondering what happened.

Moyles packs up

Chris Moyles is finally leaving the Radio One Breakfast Show in September, or "a good five years after he should have gone."

There's two questions, of course - the first is who will take over? MediaGuardian reckons Greg James is the most likely candidate, although there's every chance the station could try Fearne Cotton in the job for an awkward nine-month period before realising it won't fly and having a panicky reshuffle.

Question two is: what now for Moyles? You've got to suspect part of the reason he's stuck in the role for so long is because there's nothing obvious for him to go on to - Radio 2 doesn't seem an obvious fit; 6Music way beyond his reach. Noel Edmonds is showing no sign of tiring of Deal Or No Deal and proper television isn't really something he excels at - that quiz thing on Channel 4 is only made bearable by playing the 'how did this get commissioned again' game.

As DLT has proven, it can be difficult for someone who fitted the perfect mould of Radio One Breakfast Show host to make that shape slide in elsewhere. Chris Moyles, like Prince Charles, is looking forward to years of not having the role for which he was bred.

Gordon in the morning: Cash in the Oasis attic

How does Noel Gallagher feel when Beady Eye play Oasis songs? He's not worried, he claims:

“Beady Eye have my permission to play my songs and they should do whatever they like.

"I say he should go around the world, do those songs and fill out the PRS (performing rights) forms.”
Hmm. I know Noel is attempting a brave face here, but does he realise it makes him sound like he's on his uppers, desperately hoping Liam might knock out a live version of Wonderwall so he can afford a can of beans for tea?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stock, Aitken & Waterlogged: Hit Factory flooded out

The rain that has been falling has washed away the Hyde Park Hit Factory minifestival, carrying away with it the prospect of Jason Donovan reuniting with Kylie Minogue and - perhaps more significantly - the chance for Sonia to remind people that she used to exist.

Having destroyed Spin, the internet steps in to save it

Spin Magazine, the American one that isn't Rolling Stone, has been sold to Buzzmedia, webhome of Stereogum and Hype Machine amongst other things.

Buzzmedia is getting the lot - the print title, the archive and the iPad edition (does an iPad edition really count as a thing in its own right?) - but isn't entirely clear that it this going to be an entry into print media:

“We believe print is important for Spin,” [Buzzmedia Chief Executive Tyler] Goldman said. “As we continue to invest in the platform, we’re going to look at defining what that role is.”
This could mean anything from 'further investment in a magazine which has just shaved 100,000 off its guaranteed circulation' to 'allowing the team to still have a printer in the office'. The smart money would be on it being closer to the latter than the former.


Chumbawamba are calling it a day after thirty years of spitting, punky, political tunes (and that strange period where they were briefly the most popular band in the world thanks to Tubthumping.) There's a full and funny explanation of why on their website, and here's a taste:

Chumbawamba was our vehicle for pointing at the naked Emperors, for telling our version of the truth; it gave us more than the joy and love of playing live, writing songs and singing together – it gave us a chance to be part of a broad coalition of activists and hectors, optimists and questioners. But eventually the rest of our lives got in the way and we couldn’t commit the time and enthusiasm that the band demanded. Couldn’t keep up with whatever responsibilities came with a band like this.

If there were ever a Chumbawamba manifesto, it would read in the inconsistent, contradictory language of the Dadaists – part strident belligerence and part foolishness. This ending is no different; it comes almost as much of a surprise to us as it may do to you. Always more clown than politician, the band trips over its outsize feet and performs its final tumble.

There have been squabbles and arguments along the way. A deal of griping, frustration, moaning, exasperation – but always alongside a huge amount of goodwill and generosity, good humour and love. What a riot it’s been, frankly. And now it’s time to clear up the mess and move on.

That’s the simple version, anyway.
There's to be some farewell dates, but then, like something foretold in a Mayan prophecy, they'll be over.

Let's remember the good times. In fact, let's remember the high-water mark, when they took on simultaneously the attempt to make "promotion" of homosexuality a thought crime and one alleged Liberal's attempts to severely reduce abortion rights (God, wouldn't Alton have loved sitting in a Cameron cabinet?):

Gordon in the morning: Barlow hugs the Lord

Given how toe-curling that Jubilee song was, can anyone be anything other than mortified by the news that celebrity tax-dodge-loopholer-exploiter Gary Barlow is teaming up again with Andrew Lloyd Webber?

The Lord explains:

"I’ve come up with the tune this time and he’s already emailed me with lyrics this morning. It hasn’t got a title yet.

“Gary’s going to be down in Majorca this summer and so will I, so we’ll get together and something will come out of it.”
It's not unusual for Brits to head to Majorca in the summer, making something unpleasant while they're down there; this one might take more than a bottle of Flash and a hosepipe to clear away.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Rounder 'bout the end

I was born in Brighton, and grew up there; when I was misspending my youth, and spending my pocket money, I'd make my way down The Lanes and go to Brighton Square. Rounder Records. It was a couple of years older than me, and something of a survivor. Until now, that is:

Hello all,
It is with huge regret and sadness that we have to announce that we are closing down. We will shut our doors at 6pm on Sunday 29th July after 46 years of being a record shop in Brighton Square.

What we have always strived to do is to stock the best range of music at the best prices for our customers – sadly that is not enough for us to stay open.

We are closing because we can't make it add up any more. We are a business that has been decimated by downloads (both legal and illegal), VAT avoidance by the big online retailers, a double dip recession, & the decline of the high street. Our lease has ended and we have nowhere to go.

We would like to give heartfelt thanks to all our customers over the years, and hope that we have managed to provide you with some special and great music throughout this time. That's why we have been here – as place to obtain, hear, find out about, discuss all types of the weird & wonderful world of music, to be a social hub for a musical city, a place where future bands are born, where record labels are started, where local bands can stock their first release, where you can get tickets for gigs, where there's something playing on the shop stereo that might be your new favourite band. Sadly, in 2012, this is just not financially viable.
The guy I sat next to at Sixth Form used to do the wall paintings promoting the new releases - I noticed the last time I was in town they still had them, although I suspect it's not Kevin who was doing them.

I loved Rounder for the range of stock they had - they were pretty good on Sarah Records stuff but also covered dance, and they had a warmth and approachability that - especially post-High Fidelty - you wouldn't normally associate with a well-stocked independent record shop. Moving to Liverpool, and graduating to Probe, was something of a culture shock.
Thanks, Rounder. You'll be missed.

Gordon in the morning: Be a little bit wiser, baby

Mel C has broken up with her partner, which need not detain us here. The headline on Stuart Pink's story should, though:

Two Become One as Mel C splits with her fella
They do realise in Gordon's team that 'two becomes one' is the precise opposite of what happens when couples split up, don't they? Or is the Sun now being produced by people who can't even understand Spice Girls lyrics?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Doctor Boyle

I know that honorary degrees are one part 'rewarding the worthy' to one part 'let's remind the wider world that our university exists', but even by the second of those standards Queen Margaret University's honorary doctorate for Susan Boyle is puzzling.

The official press release says the honour is for her work:

She will receive her honorary doctorate in recognition of significant services to culture and the creative industries.
Really? Significant services?

The university tries to suggest what these might be:
Her first album, I Dreamed a Dream, was the fastest-selling debut album of all time. With the release of two further albums she has since sold over 18 million albums worldwide, and had over 120 platinum and gold albums across 38 countries. She was the first female artist to have two number one albums simultaneously in the UK and USA twice within 12 months in the history of the charts. Only the Beatles and The Monkees have achieved the same.

She has performed for Pope Benedict XVI and Queen Elizabeth II, and performed on TV in the UK, USA, Australia, Ireland, and Japan. She has also performed live on television in China to half a billion people on China’s Got Talent. A documentary has been made about her life and the stage musical, I Dreamed a Dream, has sold out across the country to enthusiastic and appreciative audiences.
Falling back on chart statistics suggests a surprising lack of academic rigour at QMU - these may or may not be achievements in their own right, but surely the changing nature of the recorded music market and the way the rules of chart qualification have been rewritten so regularly makes any historic comparison meaningless.

And, yes, she sold a surprising number of records - many of which, I think we'd guess, lay unplayed in the middle of piles of other well-intentioned gifts. But does that really qualify as "services to the creative industries"? It's just turning up and doing your job, isn't it?

It's nice to give prizes, but she was sharing the ceremony with Colin Trevarthen, who has a somewhat different CV:
[He] worked with Roger Sperry on the neuroscience of consciousness and how complementary motives of the two cerebral hemispheres serve intelligent acting and communicating. He was a post-doctoral researcher at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard, where his influential research on infant communication or 'intersubjectivity' began with Jerome Bruner in 1966
Silly boy. He should have just learned the words to Oh What A Circus and gone on Bob Says Opportunity Knocks.

What the pop papers say: Heaton rifled

So, welcome, then, new NME editor Mike Williams. He officially put on the eyeshade on Monday 25th, so this week's edition is his first one.

It marks a complete change from Krissi Murison's reign. Her last issue was dedicated to The Stone Roses reunion, while the first edition of the Williams era, erm, was dedicated to The Stone Roses reunion.

There was a period when The Stone Roses were, arguably, the most interesting band in such parts of the world as NME had on its radar. Even then, they never got two NME covers back-to-back.

Perhaps the incoming and outgoing editor didn't talk through their plans?

Maybe the picture on the cover was just so amazing as to have blown away any other possible choice of front page.

Not really. By any measure, that's a lousy cover. Admittedly, Heaton park was a hostile place for photographers, but was this really the best photo from the night?

Obviously, it's nice to see Reni's one-man tribute to BD from Doonesbury, but... really? There wasn't one where you could say for sure it was John Squire and not a stunt double?

I'm sure it was a moment, but a cover? Really?

And the cover lines themselves, how do they stack up?

Eight pages isn't "massive" for a poster section, although given the magazine runs to just 68 pages these days, many of which are adverts for Bruce Springsteen ebooks and Uncut, it's quite a high percentage.

Liam sings the classics isn't really Oasis reborn, is it? And given that the audience consists mainly of people who haven't bought a record since the Golden Jubilee, what else was he going to do but some songs they might have heard before?

Amazing stories and pics? I suppose "amazing" in the sense that a paid-for publication has filled two pages with a cross-section of bad Instagram snaps and random tweets, but is
"great gig last night"
really an "amazing" story?

How about
"bunch of dicks, haha"

There's a slightly odd photo of some random people outside Salford Lad's Club, but mainly the feature just seems to be designed to reassure people who didn't go that staying at home was the best option. It looks like the writing team did their best to find a "character":
"I came down from Liverpool with a couple of mates; one of them is a proper drug addict. I couldn't be arsed wearing me top today. [...] I'm not arsed, really. I just wanna get fucked up! Have you got any drugs?"
Still, nice to hear Bobby Gillespie enjoying himself, eh?

Actually, that was "Crazy Dave" from Liverpool. There's a Crazy Dave at every gathering of any size. You just don't need to put him in the newspaper.

And the claim that The Stone Roses made history? It wasn't the biggest gig ever; it wasn't their comeback; it wasn't the first gig in Heaton Park. It wasn't the first comeback of a band from that era. It was a success in financial terms, and the crowd who turned up expecting to enjoy themselves went away happy. But does that stack up the NME's claim that
[A]fter all the hype, the excitement, the years of waiting, it's finally happened. And it felt a lot like history.
You'd have hoped for a little more perspective.

The swamping of the issue with Roses makes it hard to get a sense of what the Williams NME will be like - and next week, it's another treading-water issue with the T in the Park review, so we'll still be waiting.

There's still the odd hint of the sort of direction that Krissi tried to take the magazine towards like a generous feature on Haim, which doesn't even get mentioned on the cover.

And there's a considered piece about Gove's attempts to bring back CSEs and O-Levels. The political pieces the Murison returned to the magazine were the highlights of her era, but always felt a bit tacked on to the rest of the content rather than part of a radical thread running through the editorial; never more so in a magazine aimed solidly at solid, middle-aged men carrying a 'won't someone think of the 14 year-olds' bit on exams in the middle.

This, you might think, is as good a summation of the choice Williams faces in the weeks to come - slapping commercially-friendly unchallenging nod-a-long stuff on, issue after issue, or finding a stance and a battle and a voice.

Murison seemed to start with the latter approach, but by the end was reaching for the Gallagher-then-a-list-issue forumula way too often.

That could be the problem, though: in order to sell enough issues to keep going, the NME might have to lose what remains of its heart. The chase for the newsagent casual pick-up could be at the cost of the audience.

Good luck, Mike Williams. Lets hope you can make history.

This week just gone

The ten most popular No Rock pages on social networking sites so far this year have been:

1. Noel Gallagher remembers how great it was when Thatcher was in power
2. Whitney Houston: Was she really a great singer?
3. The Kerrang shortlist 2012
4. Gary Barlow was afraid the native was going to eat him
5. Bloc falls apart
6. Gordon Smart knows a lot about Robin Gibb's health
7. ViaGoGo ignore Radiohead's attempts to close down the touts
8. Susan Boyle launches album
9. Kate Moss marks down her status
10. Gordon Smart joins the relaunched News Of The World

These were interesting, and new:

Foals - Tapes

Download Tapes

Moulettes - The Bears Revenge

Download The Bears Revenge

Skinny Puppy - Live: Bootlegged, Broke & In Solvent Seas

Download Live

Niles Rodgers - Le Freak

Kraftwerk - Publikation