Saturday, May 25, 2013

Gordon in the morning: (2) His masters voice

Talking of The Sun, here's an interesting little bit from the related items column on the right of the showbiz pages:

Ooh, that BBC - spending twenty two million quid on a series despite people not watching it.

Except, the story isn't actually about recommissioning in the face of "a ratings slump" at all:

Fans feared it would be dumped after the first series suffered an embarrassing ratings slump, despite the efforts of stars such as Tom Jones.

But a revamp has seen the latest — the second in a two-year deal with creator John de Mol — consistently pull in more than seven million viewers.
Not that the blurb is deliberately misleading. Oh no no.

Will this do, Mr Murdoch, sir?

Gordon in the morning: In which Mr Smart attends an album playback

Beady Eye have, thrillingly, unveiled their new album to a crowd in a dingy room beneath a Soho flophouse (sorry, a "cinema beneath the posh Soho Hotel"; I forgot they only pretend to be a rock band these days.)

Gordon's written a review so gushing that when he says "Austin Powers would love this track", he's saying that like it's a good thing.

But he also appends Liam's own evaluation of the songs. Which really tells you all you need to know:

Fookin’ tune, man
You’re welcome!
Have that! Tune!
F****n’ tune!
Come on! What a tune.
Have a go on that!
Have it! Tune!
F***ing tune!
The most important thing to note is that two tracks there's no Gallagher, um, insight into because he went to the toilet. Twice. Either he's already bored to tears with the record, or his bladder's giving out and he would have said some combination of fuck, tune, and have.

Anyone surprised that he's even incoherent and lazy when talking about his own work? Anyone?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Leona Lewis: Hold the front page

Contact Music has a hell of a scoop:

I know, this changes everything, right?

At first, it seems like ContactMusic has made a terrible mistake, and confused science with whimsy:

Leona Lewis wanted to get into astronomy when she was younger.

The 28-year-old singer was ''fascinated'' by the stars, moons and planets when she was at school and always liked the idea of going into space one day.

She said: ''We had a telescope at school and I loved marking all the stars so I wanted to get into astronomy.

''I'm fascinated by the idea of going into space, but I'd be so scared I don't think I could do it.''
But it turns out the confusion between astronomy and astrology is shared by Leona:
While Leona has now accepted the fact space travel is probably just a pipe dream, she still reads books about astrology and believes she has some of the characteristics associated with her sign of the zodiac, Aries.
Yes, because flying into space isn't in any way totally different from a superstition about the planets.

It's like saying "although Leona believes she'll now never be a Michelin chef, she still reads Munch Bunch books."
She added to Stylist magazine: ''The planets definitely have an effect on our system, how we behave, our moods and emotions."
They definitely do, do they, Leona?
''I was born on April 3, which makes me an Aries baby. According to a book I read, the typical traits are that a person is juvenile, free-spirited and can be blinded by ambition.

''I definitely have some of those characteristics.''
Well, that's me looking stupid. You tell us that the planets dictate your character due to your date of birth, and then say that "some" of the characteristics you'd expect to have under those circumstances are ones that you have.

That's totally convincing.

Gordon in the morning: Liam Gallagher could have deffo written that

Here comes Liam Gallagher. I'll ask him what he thinks about recent records. What do you mean, I shouldn't? What could be the harm?

Liam, did you like Get Lucky by Daft Punk?

“I’d write that in a f***ing hour. I don’t know what the fuss is about, you know what I mean? It’s like f**k off, give me a f**king break.”
To be fair, it might sound like Liam is dismissing Daft Punk here, but given the first Beady Eye album appears to have been written in about fifteen minutes, so he might be suggesting it'd take a lot of work to construct the song.

Still, Liam, the idea of a mysterious band must entertain you, surely?
“I am not going to have people wear disguises."
“Take your f**king helmet off. Let’s see what you look like sans helmet, whatever you’re called.”
To which Daft Punk replied "well, why don't you take your helmet off? Oh, because it's your hair." Probably.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Piracy defeated

In a victory against filesharing, sites have been blocked:

Big UK net firms have begun blocking access to two sites accused of flouting copyright laws.

The blocks were imposed after the Motion Picture Association (MPA) won a court order compelling ISPs to cut off the Movie2K and Download4All websites.
Yeah, that'll work. It's not like they'll just g...
However, pro-piracy activists have set up a copy of the Movie2K website in a bid to get around the restrictions.
Damn you, pirates. Couldn't you at least let me finish my cynical 'they'll just move it somewhere else' sentence before you just move it somewhere else.

Still, it's a major victory. People will now know about Movies2K and their giving away of movies for free, right?

That is what you wanted, copyright industry, right?

Here's the Google report on search volumes for terms related to Movies2K - the solid line is based on data, the dotted line Google's expectation of what happens next; it's a relative chart so the top is 100.

As you can see, searching for movies2K had been falling over the year so far - but the intervention of the MPA has really turned that frown upside down for the pirates.

Well done, everybody. Even King Pyrrhus is thinking you've reset the bar for empty victories.

(By the way, don't you love the way the MPAA drops the second A when it goes on foreign trips?)

Gordon in the morning: It's an outrage

Something terrible happened, and Gordon is outraged:

CHRIS MARTIN and GWYNETH PALTROW walked through the door of London member’s club Mark’s separately and once inside, they didn’t pose with each other for pics.
Imagine that! They didn't try to force each other through the doorway at the same time, and then refused to dance a jig for your photographers?

The shame.

Still, Gordon looks on the bright side:
but at least they were out together.
I'm sure they'll be grateful for your concern.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Attention: Brian May out of We Will Rock You musical has something to share

Brian May has decided that Tom Jones is lowering himself.

In a post which manages to be both short and rambling, May kicks The Voice about a bit because, er, apparently listening to somebody's performance "isn't what music is about":

It brings singing down to the level of a stupid obstacle course on 'It's A Knockout'. This is not – NOT – what music is about.

When we sing, or play, for real, we are NOT screaming at the top of our lungs trying to persuade someone to notice us.
Yes, you'd never get Brian May involved in a show which encouraged people to scream in a bid to get themselves noticed.

Except, of course, for his repeated guest slots on American Idol and Australia's Got Talent. But that would be totally different, wouldn't it?

No more Plant stalk

Robert Plant got a restraining order a couple of weeks back, to stop a woman from coming within 100 yards of him. Now, he's gone back to court and had that upped to 300 yards.

I'm sure it's reassuring to Plant to have this distance, but 300 yards still doesn't seem like very much - it's less than a fifth of a mile which, with the wind in the right direction, would be enough for Plant to hear someone shouting "look over here, Robert".

The distance seems to be arbitrary and short - it's roughly the distance between Covent Garden and Leicester Square. Is there a set of rules for working out how far the safe distance should be set at?

Ellie Goulding is on the side of the kids

You see the headline "Ellie Goulding bends the rules" it's natural to be a bit cynical. What's she done? White after Labor Day?

Nope, she's been... checks again to make sure ... encouraging fans to defy The Man to form a moshpit. Is that right, American Songwriter?

“I know this venue is supposed to be seated, but I like having people near me.” With that, Ellie Goulding defied the [Nashville] Ryman Auditorium’s ushers and stage managers — the same people who’d been spending the first third of her set rushing from aisle to aisle, shooing people back into their seats — and created something that’s rarely seen at the Ryman: a mosh pit.
They admit it was a PG mosspit, but even so... it was a mosspit. And even though they were moshing to, erm, a cover of Your Song, it was still a tiny moment of Footloose-style rebellion. Well done, Ellie Goulding.

Bookmarks: Morrissey

Sat in a Zizzi about a year ago, planning a trip to see my mother-in-law in Wichita Falls, Texas, I was poking at the iPhone wailing how there's nothing to do in such a town, when, suddenly, amongst a never-ending scroll of dates of cattle shows, there popped up a Morrissey gig.

It was like discovering an announcement of Leonard Bernstein playing Goole, or Wagner in Worthing.

The gig never happened, but it does form the heart of a great post on One Week One Band about life, death, Morrissey and Latinos:

Morrissey was going to have a show in Wichita Falls, Texas on November 28, 2012.

I know this not because I have an interest in the social calendar of the Texoma area, but because of the giant Kay Yeager Coliseum sign by the highway that I could see from the hotel room where my parents and I stayed as we experienced the last days of my grandmother’s life and her funeral.

Gordon in the morning: Blue it again

How goes the Blue comeback? Given their role on ITV2's Big Reunion, and their swaggering refusal to play more than handful of the related gigs on account of being too famous, things must be sweet for them, right?

Apparently not:

BOYBAND Blue have gone bust — in the middle of a massive comeback tour.

Band members Antony Costa, Duncan James, Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe have called in administrators for their company Blueworld Ltd.
It's hard to believe an act who were 11th in Eurovision just two years ago could be struggling in this way, but Gordon has something close to an on-the-record admittance:
A band spokeswoman said: “Blue have been open about their recent financial struggles and are restructuring their business model.

“A new tour starts in October and we have already had to add new dates.”
"Restructuring their business model" I think means "hoping that they might find loose change on the floor at the end of the gigs".

It just goes to prove, once again, you can go bust underestimating the intelligence of the public.

Spiderobit: Trevor Bolder

Trevor Bolder, bassist with the Spiders From Mars and Uriah Heep, has died.

Bolder came from a musical family - his father a trumpeter; one aunt an opera singer another a music teacher. From the age of seven, he was in brass bands and, but for the intervention of the Beatles and the 1960s, would have carried his instrument into the Royal Marines Band.

Although it was The Beatles that inspired his brother and him to form a band, it was The Stones who really shaped his sound and style, acting as a gateway to blues. In a rare interview in 2003 Bolder explained how this shaped his style:

I started out from listening to a lot of the old blues players from ’30s and ’40s, listening to a lot of Sonny Boy Williamson, a lot of early blues stuff, copying it. We didn’t have a lot of blues albums in England when we were fourteen and learnt to play, but we liked it [the blues] so much that it was all we ever played. In Hull, we would go out just on Saturday with what money we had from mid-day working or whatever, and we used to buy every blues album we could find. We found all these great songs by all those people.
Bolder's first professional band was in the none-more-70s Mick Ronson outfit Ronno - he joined the band when it was still called The Rats, after their then-bassist refused to play a gig for fear of being electrocuted.

It was Ronson who would introduce Bolder to Bowie - at this point, Mick had already had one spell with Dave; when he was summoned back from Hull to London to help Bowie on a Peel Session, Bolder went with him. After that, things were Hunky Dory.

So Bolder became one of the Spiders From Mars; he stayed with Bowie until 1973 when - in his own words - Bowie just phased him out of his backing team. There would be a Spiders From Mars album without Ziggy which had some success in America, but without Bowie, and with Mick Woodmansey increasingly mired in the religion-style Scientology group, the band fell apart.

Bolder returned to Hull, and was about to form his own band when he was invited to join Uriah Heep. As their third bassist, you might have expected a tenure similar to that of a Spinal Tap drummer, but he remained with the group, more or less unbrokenly, until ill health forced him to step down last year. (There was a two year-long exile in Wishbone Ash.) He also came to write for the group.

In that 2003 interview, Trevor explained why he remained in the Heep:
The music and the friendship, the big thing. We’re all very good friends, we’ve gone through a lot of hard times together and a lot of great times, and we’re still here. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t friends with them, I wouldn’t play with them. I mean, I played with WISHBONE ASH for two years, and I never really fit in with them socially that well. I got on really well with Laurie [Wisefield] and I get on well with Andy Powell now, but I never felt like a member of that band.
Trevor Bolder died May 21st, from cancer. He was 62.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rolling Stone website passed from father to son

Here's a wacky coincidence - the person put in charge of running the Rolling Stone website, Gus Wenner, has the same surname as the man in charge, Jay Wenner. What are the odds, eh?

Now, it might be that Gus Wenner is the best-placed-person in the world to run the RS website, but given he's the bosses' son, it's hard not to smell a bit of a rat.

Gawker drips sarcasm all over the place:

Gus Wenner, 22, is an amazing media success story. Just a few years ago, he was a Brown University student playing in a band with fellow celebukid Brown student Scout Willis. Today, he's still playing in a band with Scout Willis— and also running the website of a major national magazine!
Jann confirmed the appointment to us. Gus followed the traditional route to a perch atop the media hierarchy: playing in an alt-country band in college. He's earned it.
Hey, haters, just because you didn't have the foresight to be made from the sperm in Jann Wener's testicles, how can you bitch against this hard-won appointment?

The email from Papa Smurf explained why Gus's skillset is perfect for running the key offering of a major international brand:
David Kang and I are very pleased —and I am very proud —to announce that Gus Wenner, after leading the re-launch re-design effort for our website, will now continue by heading up the overall operations of
There was a relaunch? There was a redesign?

Let's see how that worked, shall we?

Here's Rolling Stone a year ago:

And here's Rolling Stone today:

But maybe I'm being unfair - after all, front pages are front pages, right? Let's take a look at the pre-junior content pages:

And a year later, after the redesign?

Anyone prepared to undertake such a fundamental relaunch and redesign (albeit one that seems to consist mostly of dropping StumbleUpon from the social networking bar) is clearly ready for the big job.

After all, just ask Rupert Murdoch: what can go wrong with putting your untested son in charge?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Doorsobit: Ray Maznerak

The Doors official Twitter feed has just announced the death of Ray Manzarek:

There's more detail in that Twitlonger post:
Ray Manzarek, Founding Member of The Doors, Passes Away at 74

Ray Manzarek, keyboardist and founding member of The Doors, passed away today at 12:31PM PT at the RoMed Clinic in Rosenheim, Germany after a lengthy battle with bile duct cancer. He was 74. At the time of his passing, he was surrounded by his wife Dorothy Manzarek, and his brothers Rick and James Manczarek.

Manzarek is best known for his work with The Doors who formed in 1965 when Manzarek had a chance encounter on Venice Beach with poet Jim Morrison. The Doors went on to become one of the most controversial rock acts of the 1960s, selling more than 100-million albums worldwide, and receiving 19 Gold, 14 Platinum and five multi-Platinum albums in the U.S. alone. "L.A.Woman," "Break On Through to the Other Side," "The End," "Hello, I Love You," and "Light My Fire" were just some of the band's iconic and ground-breaking songs. After Morrison's death in 1971, Manzarek went on to become a best-selling author, and a Grammy-nominated recording artist in his own right. In 2002, he revitalized his touring career with Doors' guitarist and long-time collaborator, Robby Krieger.

"I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate Ray Manzarek today," said Krieger. "I'm just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him."

Manzarek is survived by his wife Dorothy, brothers Rick and James Manczarek, son Pablo Manzarek, Pablo's wife Sharmin and their three children Noah, Apollo and Camille. Funeral arrangements are pending. The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, please make a memoriam donation in Ray Manzarek's name at

I had a dream/I wanted to sleep next to celluloid

Shaking the can in the hope of attracting some coins: There's a Kickstarter team hoping to make a film about David Lowery:

Bandleader David Lowery is a temperamental and tenacious talent who has made a career out of his work as a singer, songwriter, and producer with his bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. His pursuits and professional skills have survived the challenges of the significantly changing music business as he continues to act as the driving force producing the music of his two bands. This film looks at the art and business of his pursuits and explores the complexities of his professional path while exposing the music of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker.

They're looking for fifty thousand dollars, and with forty days to go need another nine grand. It looks like it'll happen, but you might want to leap on board.

Tame Impala split

Alright, they don't - it's more a little crumble at the edge, but we're all SEO whores, aren't we?

Nick Allbrook has had enough of bassing for the band:

Hey friends, fans and followers,

We have big news. It's the end of an era. Tonight Nick play's his last gig with us. Nick Roland Paisley Adams Allbrook is hopping off the Tame Impala band wagon so that he can try and screw his head back on, and make an attempt to assimilate back into society. A task the rest of us fear we will one day have to perform....

Anyway, heir to the throne is our long time super best musical blood brother Cam Avery, ape/womaniser/former pro golfer. You may remember Cam from such bands as The Growl and POND, neither of which he actually plays bass for but uuuh that's how we roll.

Anyway anyone who saw us during the Allbrook era will know how awesome nick is, so cam has big shoes to fill, which is fortunate because Cam has big feet. big stinky feet that leave sock footprints in your house when he comes in and he's like, hey man can I sleep on youz guysez' couch?

So Nick plays his last gig at Belvoir Amphitheatre tonight, the very same place he played his first gig with us some 4 or 5 or 6 years ago, not sure on that... Lost track of time...

We're super happy for our bro Nick and wish him well in all his various fucking awesome artistic spewings and endeavours that he'll actually have time for now.. Good on ya brah.
Spending more time with society. That's the official reason, then.

Justin Bieber is a serious artist

Justin Bieber is very much the Michael Gove of pop, isn't he? Terrifically overpromoted, but without the wit to realise it.

So when things like this happen:

After performing twice at the Billboard Music Awards—once solo for his hit "Take You" and once with for "Power"—the pop singer took the stage near the end of the night to accept the first ever Milestone Award, but along with the cheers he's used to, Bieber was faced with some heavy booing.
... he has trouble processing what's going on...
Instead of heading straight to the mic, J.B. just kinda stood there a little dumbfounded, either not quite sure what to say, or just didn't care to say anything at all.
...and then just makes things worse...
After a few moments (which felt like a lifetime), Bieber finally said, "I'm 19 years old, I think I'm doing a pretty good job and basically, from my heart, I really wanna say it should really be about the music. It should be about the craft, the craft that I'm making."
...and worse:
He continued, "This is not a gimmick. I'm an artist and I should be taken seriously and all this other bull should not be spoken of. I wanna thank my manager, Scooter Braun. I wanna thank my family at home. I wanna thank my mother, my father, I wanna thank Jesus Christ. Mom, I love you so much. Dad, I love you. Little brother and sister, I love you so much. Thank you guys so much. Fans, you're incredible."
We phoned Jesus for a comment, and he told us, exclusively:

"Really? He thanked me? Oh, man. Why did he do that? Of course I love him, but that's because I painted myself into a corner 2000 years ago. If I'd known preaching tolerance would lead to me being used as a supernatural shield for a muppet who thinks he's a craftsman, I'd have worked in some get-out clauses. 'Love thy neighbour, unless he's full of it'. It's too late to change the Bible, isn't it?"

Gordon in the morning: Mistaken identity

Could there be anything worse than being mistaken for Bruno Mars?

“Some guy at the airport came up to me and went, ‘Hey, Bruno!’

“I was bit taken aback so I just went along with it and started singing Grenade.

“He was none the wiser, although he probably thought I was acting like an idiot.”
Normally, that'd be a terrible person to be mistaken for, but given this was Jamie Cullum, perhaps being mistaken for Bruno Mars might be getting off easy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ivors 2013: Winners in full

Earlier this week, I couldn't quite bring myself to type something that involved Emeli Sande, but fortified by strong coffee, I guess we should just have a look at what won this year's Ivors:

Best Contemporary Song

Written by Sam Doyle, Rupert Jarvis, Orlando Weeks, Felix White and Hugo White
Published in the UK by BMG Chrysalis

PRS for Music Most Performed Work

Next to Me
Written by Hugo Chegwin, Harry Craze, Anup Paul and Emeli Sandé
Published in the UK by Naughty Words Ltd - Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Stellar Songs Ltd - EMI Music Publishing

Best Television Soundtrack

Lucian Freud: Painted Life
Composed by John Harle
Published in the UK by Chester Music

The Ivors Inspiration Award

Marc Almond

Album Award

An Awesome Wave
Written by Thomas Green, Joe Newman, Gwilym Sainsbury and
Augustus Unger-Hamilton
Published in the UK by Kobalt Music Publishing

The Ivors Classical Music Award

Errollyn Wallen MBE

PRS for Music Award for Outstanding Achievement

Justin Hayward

Best Original Film Score

Anna Karenina
Composed by Dario Marianelli
Published in the UK by Universal Music Publishing

Best Song Musically and Lyrically

Next to Me
Written by Hugo Chegwin, Harry Craze, Anup Paul and Emeli Sandé
Published in the UK by Naughty Words Ltd - Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Stellar Songs Ltd - EMI Music Publishing

International Achievement

Gavin Rossdale

Songwriter of the Year

Calvin Harris

Outstanding Song Collection

Noel Gallagher

PRS for Music Special International Award

Randy Newman
It does confirm what we'd been dimly aware of - that you couldn't switch on the TV without bloody Next To Me being on there; I would have hoped the awards had acknowledged that it takes about three hundred hearings before you actually realise you've heard it before.

Still, a prize for Randy Newman.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Noel Gallagher: And while we're talking of One Direction

Noel Gallagher popped up at the Ivor Novello Awards this week to talk about real music:

Asked why the awards mean something to him, he said: ''There aren't any clowns like One Direction here.

''It's not about what clothes you wear or how nimble you are or who you are s****ing.

''It's about the songs. Songs last forever. You can have that lyric.''
Right Said Fred are amongst the previous winners of an Ivor.

Harry Styles hopes to cast himself as frog in popular fairy tale

Except he doesn't, of course. The story in the Daily Star Sunday is so made-up it should be illustrated with woodcuts:

A source told us: “Harry is so bored of the showbiz set and thinks it’s time to move up in the world.

“Backstage before gigs he was even trawling the internet, asking his bandmates what they thought of each girl.

“He drew up a ‘hit list’ and the only rule was they couldn’t be ­married.

“Needless to say, Pippa Middleton is on his list – at number two – but he’s aware she has a serious boyfriend.

“He also has a thing for Princess Beatrice, even though he said she’s not his ‘typical type of girl’.

“But he’s totally fascinated with Princess Eugenie. He thinks she’s got the full package of class, looks and status.”
Because, for deffo, if I was trying to pull one of the princesses I'd be using the Daily Star Sunday as a way of flagging my intentions. That's what Jane Austen would be writing about if she was alive today.

If this was true, and Harry did wind up with Eugenie, this article is going to make for awkward Christmas Dinners at Sandringham in the future.

And tricky evenings alone, come to that:
- So, Harry, am I lacking the class, the looks, or the status?

It doesn't even make sense - if Harry really was such a heel as to be worried about status, surely he'd be choosing Beatrice anyway, given that she's the closest to a Monarch as he can currently get without having to have a civil partnership?

This week just gone

The most popular Eurovision stories from across space and time:

1. Liveblog: 2006
2. Liveblog: 2007
3. Liveblog: 2009
4. 2008: Ireland send Turkey to Serbia
5. Liveblog: 2010
6. Liveblog: 2011
7. Liveblog: 2004
8. Liveblog: 2013
9. Round-up 2005
10. Liveblog: 2012

These were this week's interesting releases:

The Fall - Re-Mit

Download Re-Mit

She And Him - Volume Three

Download Volume 3

Agnetha Faltskog - A

Download A

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires Of The City

Download Modern Vampire

Primal Scream - More Light

Download More Light