Saturday, June 01, 2013

Star Wars: You weren't expecting that, eh? Eh? Eh?

Apparently, there's going to be some surprise casting for the disappointing third Star Wars trilogy:

"Almost every actress in Hollywood wants a role in the new movies but we are keen to cast people who are unexpected."
This, a source, talking to The Sun, supposedly, quoted in the NME.

Did I say surprise casting? I meant stunt casting:
"Florence is being considered for a major part that would turn her into an A-list actress overnight."
The idea that dumping a fairly successful pop singer in a large movie role is "unexpected" is almost sweet.

Just a point, though: being handed a large role in a big Disney film doesn't actually make you an actress. It could just make you over-promoted.

I genuinely don't know if Welch has the acting talent to carry such a role; if she has, it'd be nice to think she got it because of that talent, rather than because someone at Disney wanted to cast "surprises".

Lou Reed: New liver

Some ageing rock stars make the trip to Cleveland to pick up a Lifetime Achievement award at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. Lou Reed went there to get his lifetime extended.

He's had one of his Laurie Anderson's livers transplanted into him.

(That's a hell of an anniversary gift from wife to husband, isn't it?)

But why Cleveland?

Anderson said he had opted to have the operation in Cleveland rather than New York because the city's hospitals were too "dysfunctional".
That's not really 'why Cleveland', though, is it?
She said she was "awestruck" by the operation: "You send out two planes – one for the donor, one for the recipient – at the same time. You bring the donor in live, you take him off life support. It's a technological feat.

"I was completely awestruck. I find certain things about technology truly, deeply inspiring."
Only "certain things", though, you'll note. Don't take that as an endorsement of Windows 8, Microsoft.

Anderson says Reed is already "doing things", though apparently this means 'tai-chi' and not 'half a bottle of Grey Goose before breakfast'.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Bookmarks: Napster, iTunes and beyond

In the Wisconsin Law Review, Mike Masnick explains why the war on Napster didn't only fail to stop piracy, but also put the brakes on innovative new companies working in online music. In short: Had the RIAA been less keen to kill Napster, perhaps Apple wouldn't have ended up stealing their business:

This should have been obvious from the fact that people would flock to these new services, yet failed to show up to the record labels’ own attempts to innovate or provide something new. However, as soon as any service showed any kind of promise, even if “licensed,” the labels would seek to kill the golden goose by claiming that the rates were unfair, and the innovators were making money unfairly off the backs of the copyright holders (by which they meant the labels, not the musicians, of course).

Take, for example, the brief heyday of music video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band. For a year or two, the recording industry fell head over heels in love with these games, because people were playing them quite a bit, and they were (briefly) willing to pay a slight premium to get access to music from well-known bands and musicians. Rather than build on that, the industry did two things: it focused all of its attention on those kinds of games, absolutely flooding the market and making people get sick of the game genre, and demanded much higher royalties.

The viewpoint seemed to be that there could be almost no benefits for the innovators. Nearly all of the benefits had to accrue to the labels, or it would be seen as a problem. In fact, the one exception that got through was iTunes, and that was quickly seen as a “problem” by the labels, even as it was dragging them, kicking and screaming, into the marketplace for digital music. The view is one of an extreme zero-sum world, where if someone else is benefiting, it must mean that the labels were losing out. They didn’t even hide this view of the world. Doug Morris, then head of Universal Music (now head of Sony Music) explained to a Wired reporter that investing in new innovations that weren’t paying money upfront meant that “someone, somewhere is taking advantage of you.” As laid out in the article, Morris was uninterested in technology, and didn’t even know how to hire a competent technology person, so his focus was on making sure everyone paid up immediately. Anyone making money in the music world without first paying a massive cut were dubbed “thieves.”

Gordon in the morning: Grimshaw's not having it

Apparently there's something controversial about Nick Grimshaw flicking through his show's playlist and deciding who should and shouldn't play Glastonbury:

The Radio 1 DJ said: “I don’t think One Direction should play Glastonbury.
"I think if they’re pop stars but incredible artists then they should play there. I don’t think One Direction’s music is historically the kind of stuff that’s supported at Glastonbury."
Okay, it's an interesting concept - Glastonbury can only ever play the type of music it has played in the past, which would imply Marc Bolan should be the only act allowed to headline.

But it's hardly an astonishing claim, is it? Frankly, if Grimshaw had been calling for One Direction to be added to the Pyramid stage, that would have been noteworthy.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gordon in the morning: Not making it up

Victoria Beckham doesn't want to lead by example, Gordon has read somewhere:

VICTORIA Beckham has revealed she does not put on lipstick in front of daughter Harper — in case she copies her.

The ex-Posh Spice, 39, said her glam ban is one of her rules for bringing up her family correctly.

Victoria said: “I can’t put on make-up when Harper’s around, because she would join me immediately. She is a tomboy towards her brothers.”
I know what you're thinking - what the hell is "a tomboy towards her brothers" mean?

But let's focus here. Victoria doesn't put make-up on when Harper is around. Which is actually really good parenting, not forcing a child to accept that women should be wearing make-up.

Except... doesn't the way that Beckham's photo is often and repeatedly shown everywhere kind of make this a little odd?

It's not just that Harper will see photos of her mum with slap on everywhere, but because she never sees Victoria put it on, she's going to become convinced that its something that happens whenever Posh leaves the house. Isn't that going to be a bit discombobulating?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Adam Levine hates America

So on Tuesday night, on the American version of The Voice, Adam Levine was puzzled by the ridiculous choices made by the phone vote.

"I hate this country" he joshed, in an eye-rolling way. You know, like the way you might tell someone you love that you hate them if they eat the last Quorn cocktail sausage, or they score a day off you don't get. "I hate you" you say, but you don't mean it.

Everyone knows that, right?

Nothing to see, right?

Sorry, what's that Fox News contributor Todd Starnes?

I was watching “The Voice” last night, NBC’s singing competition and I could not believe the words coming out of my flat screen television.
Todd, you'll note, just slips in that he has a flat screen television. He's no hick, with a big old clunky cathode ray tube. That's because he's a success. In America, when you're a success, your TV gets flat. If you don't like that, get the hell out of America.
It happened near the end of the two-hour episode just after country music crooner Amber Carrington had been saved from elimination by television viewers.

Coach Adam Levine was upset because two of his singers were in the bottom three – and that’s when he muttered something under his breath.

“I hate this country,” he said – apparently unaware his microphone was hot.

“I hate this country.”
To be fair to Todd Starnes, it must have been tricky for him watching the Mainstream Media for two hours; obviously something was going to have to give.

Of course, under those circumstances, Levine setting fire to the flag, pissing on a soldier, and then actually suggesting that apple pie and motherhood were over-rated was going to set Todd off.

And given that none of that happened, Todd had to cling to what he could get.

So, Levine, apparently unaware that his audience were nuts, said something that could possibly be wilfully misinterpreted as being anti-patriotic. But you'd need a prism for that to work.

Have you got a prism, Todd?
Levine, the Maroon 5 frontman, is a passionate supporter of President Obama.

During the 2012 presidential election he warned the nation in a tweet: “Dear America, if you don’t re-elect @barackobama, I’m gonna lose my sh*t.”

And after Obama won re-election, Levine tweeted: “That’s what happens when you f*ck with Sesame Street.”
Ah, he supported Obama last year. So, obviously, prone to being anti-American sharing that support with just half of all Americans who could be arsed to go out and vote. That's practically communism.

But, Todd, you've surely seen Adam trying to explain patiently that it was the sort of humorous remark that people say all the time?
As you might imagine the “country” didn’t take kindly to Levine’s nationally televised hissy fit. So Levine decided to use Twitter to clarify his remarks.

He was all a big joke, he explained. Oh yeah – it was a real chuckle fest.
You know that not always everything that's said in jest is going to be a guffaw party, don't you, Todd? Like when Fox claims it's fair and balanced, that sort of joke isn't one that people laugh their heads off at, right?

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Gennaro Castaldo is the story

For years now, we've delighted in the work of Gennaro Castaldo, as he clambered onto the Official Opinionator of HMV and shared the fading retail network's viewpoints.

But no more, for Castaldo's 27 year-run with HMV is coming to an end.

The good news, though, is that Castaldo isn't falling silent.

Oh, no. He's now joined the RIAA's UK client group, the BPI:

Gennaro Castaldo said, “I'm really looking forward to this exciting new challenge - working with Geoff and his team, Tony Wadsworth and, of course, the BPI members to communicate the exciting developments taking place in our industry during this dynamic time of change.

"I can't leave HMV without saying what a privilege it's been for me to have worked there and particularly with so many wonderful colleagues and associates past and present, who I will always think of with great affection. I will look to bring the same passion and commitment to my new role and build on the strong foundation of media engagement that is already in place."
Well, it's tricky days for the BPI. But you can't argue that during the last couple of days, HMV hasn't been in the papers. Gennaro is the man for the job.

Bassobit: Marshall Lytle

Marshall Lytle, Bill Haley's bassist, has died.

Lytle wasn't Haley's original bassist; he wasn't even a bassist when Haley recruited him - although Bill chucked in a thirty minute lesson in how to play.

He left The Comets after a row about pay, forming a new act, The Jodimars; on the advice of an agent he changed his name to Tommy Page to avoid being associated with Haley at all. The split was acrimonious and deep - the Comets had to wait a quarter of a century to follow Bill Haley into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

The Jodimars landed a residency in Las Vegas - a first for a rock band - but never quite hit; eventually Page would make the bulk of his living from real estate.

The original Comets reunited in 1987; they started to spin a career out being wry about being older:

In 2003, Lytle predicted that he'd "rock till he dropped"; although he officially retired in 2009, he did keep playing.

Marshall Lytle died from lung cancer May 25th; he was 79.

Gordon in the morning: Father of the year

When even Gordon Smart is raising an eyebrow at your awards, you're in trouble:

MARVIN HUMES has only been a dad for five minutes – but he’s still made the shortlist for Celebrity Dad of the Year 2013.
Yes, Marvin Humes' contribution to fatherhood so far has lasted seven days - which means he's made the shortlist for 'not instantly putting the child into a lion enclosure', presumably?

It gets worse for the organisers, as Smart then mocks the names on the shortlist and the event itself:
The JLS singer is up against a number of dads who definitely won’t be going up to accept the nonsense gong if they win a public vote – including footballers WAYNE ROONEY, FRANK LAMPARD, DAVID BECKHAM and GARETH BALE.
Interesting that it's a "nonsense gong" this year, as Gordon was happy enough last year when Gary Barlow won:
GARY BARLOW really is top of the pops – after being named Celebrity Dad Of The Year.

The X Factor judge collected the prize ahead of the birth of his fourth child.

He pipped reigning champ Peter Andre to the title – sponsored by Premier Inn – in a public vote.

The Take That singer said winning the award felt “amazing” and added: “I’ve been waiting for it for a long time.”
Even worked in the sponsor's name. Perhaps they changed the judging criteria in the last twelve months.

Or maybe they forgot to invite someone to the party this year?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gordon in the morning: Confused

There's some tired 'oh, Kym Lomas is out with a young man - tee hee, it's her son' knockabout this morning:

But the strapping young man on her arm was in fact her SON, David.

Hard to believe he’s the same youngster pictured below visiting Disneyland Paris with his mum back in 2001.
Really? It's twelve years ago, and you're struggling to believe that an 18 year old looks different from how he did when he was six?
But with 36-year-old Kym looking as good as she does, it’s no wonder there was a bit of confusion...
And confusion there was. The Sun doesn't even seem certain what Kym's name is...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Stop what you're doing and re-arrange your November

Low are playing a date in Liverpool Anglican cathedral on November 18th.


First night: David Bowie - Five Years

On Saturday, BBC Two did what feels like the sixteenth or seventeenth Bowie night. You can still watch the cornerstone documentary, Five Years, on iPlayer, unless you're reading this in the future, or overseas, or on a print-out.

But what did people think?

Tim Footman at Cultural Snow liked it:

Although the basic narrative will be familiar to many, some of the freshly unearthed archive footage is a real shock to the senses, looping as it does in and out of the stuff that gets trotted out for every 70s nostalgia fest (Starman on TOTP, bits of Cracked Actor and so on). Moreover, the fresh interviews prove that there’s nothing inherently wrong with that much-derided format, the talking heads doc, provided the heads are judiciously chosen and given sensible questions to answer. Indeed, so rich were the pickings from people who worked with Bowie in some of his most productive periods (with Visconti *and* Eno *and* Fripp you’re spoiling us) that – completely irrationally and unfairly – I felt cheated by the very few omissions; why, for example, did we hear the recollections of guitarist Carlos Alomar and drummer Dennis Davis but not bassist George Murray? Were Angie Bowie or Iggy Pop washing their hair?
Actually, given Angie Bowie's track-record as an unreliable witness - claiming, variously, to have invented Bowie, bisexuality and possibly the concept of music - keeping her out the way was probably a wise move.

In The Guardian, Sam Woolaston concedes the programme was "better than most music documentaries", which he puts down to the subject, rather than the approach. But not before he has some fun at the programme's expense:
No, don't stop, more! Of Queen Bitch, Suffragette City, Fame, Golden Years, Young Americans, Ashes to Ashes, even Let's Dance. They're all rudely interrupted though. By Rick Wakeman, saying: "I got a call from Dave, he called me directly." A direct call, eh Rick?
Ha ha. Yes, that does sound stupid, except... it was worth noting, surely? Wakeman wasn't opening his eyes wide at the concept of a person-to-person call, more at the idea that Bowie spoke to him, rather than the more traditional 'have-your-people-call-his-people' route; that Bowie knew who we wanted, and went directly to him. Worth mentioning, surely?

Which Sam actually, sort-of acknowledges:
And Rick Wakeman's unpicking of Life on Mars is fascinating, because it's Life on Mars and it's Rick Wakeman (plus I'd show off a bit if Dave had phoned me, directly or otherwise).
Well, sort of.

For Michael Deacon in The Telegraph, it all comes down to class:
There was a bonus pleasure in being reminded that not only did Bowie have an incongruous speaking voice, but so did his early Seventies bandmates. Wafting around on stage: gold-bloused glamourpusses. Open their mouths: bricklayers from Hull.

The Scotsman's Aidan Smith spotted a brighter star than Bowie in amongst the contributors:
Five Years’ funniest contributor? Actually, that was Robert Fripp. If you know me as a prog-rock fan, you probably think it tediously predictable that I’d nominate someone from King Crimson, but, really, Fripp was hilarious. Did he think he was on Jackanory? Slightly alarmingly, did he think Jackanory was a forum for rude anecdotes (too rude to repeat here)?
Incidentally, after saving his readers from a fit of the vapours by repeating Fripp's anecdotes, Smith then details the upsetting plot of a crime programme where a kid was traumatised by seeing his mother, a sex-worker, murdered.

It makes you think, doesn't it, Helen Nianias over in Fabulous magazine's Tellyboxing column. What was it that made Bowie such a legend?:
Is he a the biggest genius of our time, or just a shrewd businessman? It’s a tricky line to tread. However, the opening shot of Bowie himself is breathtaking. But not because of what he’s wearing or saying or doing. As he descends a flight of hotel steps...
Yes? see just how strikingly tall and thin he really was in his ’70s heyday.
David Bowie. He was tall.

Maybe someone should be pitching a show in which people measure pop stars and plot them on some sort of a graph?

Gordon in the morning: Tax it like Rupert

Gordon raises a curious eyebrow at Keira Knightley's tax arrangements this morning:

FOR an actress famous for playing posh girls, KEIRA KNIGHTLEY lives a pretty frugal life.
Accounts just released show that despite being one of the highest-earning actresses in the world, the star paid herself just £30,000 last year.

That’s a long way from her total earnings.

Keira’s firm Kck Boo Ltd banked £1.5million through her films and commercial deals with fashion firms.

And the details show she has cut down on spending outside of her salary, too.
A source said: “Keira took home £20,000 in dividends from the company in 2012 and a salary of £11,000.'
Ah, yes. We should all take a close look at the extraordinary lengths Knightley's gone to avoid paying her fair share of tax - although, of course, she's not the only one.

Perhaps tomorrow Gordon might like to raise his curious eyebrow at this chart:

But maybe it's different when it's the boss, eh?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Omarion sued by fans who say his security forced them into car park fight

Oh, Omarion. With all the miserable news this week, we'd have been hoping for an update from Omarion to reassure us all that he's alright, but instead, we're going to have to focus on him being sued by his own fans.

Last September, Omarion did a gig in New York where part of the advertising, apparently, included a promise of tight security.

That seems to be "tight" in the sense of "somewhat mean", as when trouble started, security just pushed everyone out into the car park. Even Brunel Jordonne and Kenson Sainvilus, who once ejected, were (they say) beaten up badly.

Adding literal insult to literal injury, security only stepped in to spray mace into Kenson's eyes as he tried to escape the beating.

Not unreasonably, they're blaming Omarion. And, being America, that means lawyers.

This week just gone

The most-read May 2013 stories:

1. Eurovision 2013 liveblog
2. Steve Brookstein has something to say about sexual politics
3. Ivors 2013 winners
4. Liam Gallagher fights a tramp
5. Robbie Williams struggles with being too old for Radio One
6. Venue Cymru forces gig-goers to answer pop quiz to gain entry
7. Brown Bird needs some help
8. Chrome plug-in unlocks Spotify security
9. Carrie Underwood slowly working through the footballing week
10. ContactMusic suddenly notice something odd about Daft Punk

These were this week's interesting releases:

Scout Niblett - It's Up To Emma

Download It's Up To Emma

Handsome Family - Wilderness

Download Wilderness

Jessica Pratt - Jessica Pratt

Download Jessica Pratt

The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know

Download No One Can Ever Know

Visage - Hearts And Knives

Download Hearts And Knives

Zaz - Recto Verso

Download Je Veux