Then, the Guardian lists the ten best uniforms in music. Or nine best, and this:
Three-quarter length jump suits (see below) with signature tartan trim, sir? Pop-perfect mix of Scotland's '74 World Cup squad and Kubrick's Droogs.
Also in need of some help: Dennis Yost, singer with 60s US hit act Classics IV. Yost suffered serious injuries last summer when he fell down concrete stairs and hit his head; with mounting debts and nursing home bills, some of his contemporaries visited Cincinnati to take part in a benefit gig at the weekend.
Various Moody Blues, Three Dog Night, the Bay City Rollers and others pitched up to help pitch in; indeed, the bill swelled so much that the gig lasted twelve hours. Yost was guest of honour at the event; although not well enough to be interviewed, he managed to tap his feet along with the music. And down the odd beer.
You've got to hand it to Arista - they've been sitting on top of a massive pile of cash - perhaps running into the millions - that the Bay City Rollers say belongs to them. Arista [part of Sony-BMG] doesn't deny that it has only made one payment to the band in 25 years. But - of course - the money was only resting in its account:
You've got to love Bay City Roller Les McKeown - having been acquitted of drug dealing charges last week, he now reckons he's going to sue for loss of earnings during the nine months it took the case to come to trial.
We're not sure who he intends to sue - the CPS? The police? The judge? - nor, indeed, what business it is he's lost while he's been up in court. Surely not many gigs get cancelled because the singer is suspected of using cocaine, otherwise there'd be very few gigs played in the UK.
Les McKeown has admitted smashing his car while twice the legal limit for driving - thirty years after being convicted of reckless driving in an incident which caused a woman's death.
When stopped by police he claimed he had not been driving the car and had just returned from a meeting with Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.
So he was so pissed he seems to have not realised that the person who'd seen him crash his car and try to flag down a cab to escape had, erm, seen him crash his car rather than be meeting with Ronnie Wood. His defence claimed McKeown had "effectively panicked" - although it wasn't very effective, judging by his shit alibi. Sentencing takes place on May 12th.
In other 'musicians driving like fuckwits' news, Mindy McCready has been pulled over:
According to the police incident report, Nashville's finest pulled McCready over around 3 a.m. for a standard speeding violation after clocking her at 58 in a 40 mph zone. Corporal Candace Mowry said the arresting officer initiated a field sobriety test after smelling alcohol in the car; McCready performed poorly on the test and refused a Breathalyzer.
It's not known if she refused the brethalyzer with the words "no thanks, officer, I've got a Bacardi and coke here already." McCready admits she was speeding, but denies that she was pissed and also says that charges that she was driving on a suspended licence are also wide of the mark. She's been released on bail, but she must be worried that a guilty verdict here will lead to her sentence for possession of oxycontin being toughened up.
DOING IT FOR THE KIDS: For understandable reasons, considering the shitty behaviour of some of the people he used to work with, Les McKeown has a deep commitment to helping abused kids. Now, he's re-recording his meisterwork, Bay City Rollers' Give A Little Love in aid of KidsCharities UK. He's also pulling together a 70s themed tsunami benefit, featuring the remnants of Mud, Sweet and T-Rex in whatever form those bands now walk the earth.
LULU BETTER THAN THE SKIDS - OFFICIAL: So, the results of that Best Scottish Band ever poll are in, and Belle and Sebastian have proved once again just how many email accounts their fans have, romping home. Further down the list, we're surprised to find Big Country pulling a pretty impressive 13th, which makes them more popular than Franz Ferdinand (presumably the good people of the northern Kingdom were taking a 'wait and see' approach with them. Even Spare Snare will be surprised to be on the list, we suspect:
1 Belle & Sebastian
4 Wet Wet Wet
5 Sensational Alex Harvey Band
6 Simple Minds
7 Teenage Fanclub
8 Bay City Rollers
9 Primal Scream
10 The Proclaimers
12 Mull Historical Society
13 Big Country
14 Snow Patrol
15 Franz Ferdinand
17 Deacon Blue
19 Jesus and Mary Chain
22 Trash Can Sinatras
23 Del Amitri
24 Orange Juice
26 Beta Band
27 Biffy Clyro
28 Altered Images
29 Aztec Camera
30 Eddi Reader
31 Goodbye Mr Mackenzie
32 Fire Engines
34 Arab Strap
37 The Pastels
40 Blue Nile
41 Boards of Canada
43 Incredible String Band
44 Cocteau Twins
45 Dogs Die in Hot Cars
46 Spare Snare
47 Average White Band
SHANG-A-LANG: Les McKeown has suddenly decided to pipe up about what a beast Bay City Rollers manager Tam Paton was, in a bid to flog copies of his new book ("to set the record straight"). "Paton tried it on with me, but I wouldn't enter his sordid world" he claims. "I have no time for people who fiddle with kids. I just don’t understand that stuff. I understand most things, but that one is beyond me."
WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Seven hours early edition
As the issue with Beyonce (a-list sexy) is removed, the new Elle replaces it. Britney in little black pants. And the Britney haters aren't happy. Apparently this is derivative, see? "Christina was photographed in her knickers with her arms crossed over her breasts" wails an email list, apparently in the happy ignorance that, just maybe, it was Chris who came up with this pose, either.
It's a quick voyage around the UK this week, as Sound Nation and Product come our way. Sound Nation is Welsh and free; despite enormous levels of funding (lottery, Edinburgh council, the arts council) the Scottish Product is a paid-for title. Obviously, the difference can be seen in layout and paper quality, but it does make you wonder what Sound Nation could do if it had half as much support from the public purse.
It is a magazine with a lot of ideas - very gossipy, a fruit-cake chunk of practical advice and a healthy interest in the industry as well as the music itself. It also has a wordsearch, which you don't get enough in the pop papers these days. And an interview with Guto Pryce of the Super Fury Animals - "Phantom Power isn't about doom and gloom - it’s about the way those thigns seep into your everyday life. Musically, though, it's probably our happiest album." You can probably still get them to send you a copy (of the magazine, not the album - www.soundnation.net )
While SN is hugely patriotic and supportive of its local scene, Product isn't quite so much. Ironically, there's a piece on Radio in Scotland which complains about the lack of homegrown, alternative music shows, and yet the edition it appears in, the Music Issue, has given the cover to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Yes, they're a fine looking band, but there isn't even an interview with them inside, and with all that funding sloshing around, there must be more than a few local acts wondering why they couldn't practice what they want the local radio to do, and support a local artist.
The YYY piece itself is a bit weak, too - to try and cover the fact that their cover stars won't talk to them, they, erm, interview The Black Keys instead. Not surprisingly, the Keys are a bit bitter at being given a platform, only to discover that they're there to discuss Karen O instead of their own music. Victoria Segal calls Karen O "the anti-Blondie" into the bargain, which doesn't make a great deal of sense (it's supposed to mean that when Karen dances around with duct tape on her tits, it's because she's in charge, whereas when Debbie Harry poses in a pair of white shorts - with, ahem, her arms crossed over her breasts - she's being manipulated by men). Even if you agree with it, does this mean the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are the anti-Debbie Harry, or has the sloppy Dad's error of confusing the singer with the band been replicated in the hot hot heat of the moment?
Michael Faber considers whether lyrics can be treated as poetry - "we tend to be convinced that the first half-decent lyricist we stumble across is a poetic genius. Are we always wrong?" he frets, giving a quick nod to the usual types (Nick Cave) and asserting that Patti Smith and Janis Joplin are polar opposites (obviously something about Product which makes the writers look for matching oppositions everywhere). In the end, he decides that, yes, it's okay to treat lyrics as poetry. Providing it's Chuck D.
In an experiment, visual artists are encouraged to produce responses to musical stimuli. Beagley and Ramsey suggest the Bee Gee's staying alive is two men with combover wigs holding onto naked plastic men with scary cocks. (Actually, everyone knows that it is actually Tim Brooke Taylor wearing pants with a carrot on the front).
Hannah McGill turns in a splendid review of Barney Hoskyn's The Sound and The Fury, a forty-year trawl through rock journalism. She takes issue not so much with the book itself, but the belief at its heart that pop now is nothing - "a snack between meals" - churned out for kids who know nothing of its past and just want some quick kicks. "Thrill crazed teens with no respect and no sense of history aren't the enemy of pop music. They're it's source and its target audience." Splendid. This single review makes the magazine worth its existence, and you hope that the writers of the other chin-strokey pieces in it read and carry the lesson with them for the next music issue.
Oh, and there's a wonderful free Chemikal Underground CD with Arab Strap and a Cha Cha Cohen video on it, too. And a Bay City Rollers piece.
Why, it's pondered, do the Bay City Rollers lack any sense of charm when viewed with the distance of years? It’s concluded that its because their failings were lumpen rather stylish; they didn't even manage to make themselves seem sinister like the Stones did. But who - really - cares about the Rolling Stones these days?
Keith Richards is on the front of the NME.
We wonder when the last time Keith Richards was on the cover of the NME was? We're guessing not for these last twenty years - or "as long as we've been reading it", we realise with a sinking heart. This, people, is the 'Rock Decadance' issue (or 'summer filler', which wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have autumn filler, spring filler and winter filler too).
News is lead off with The Strokes playing Casablanca - Julian looking like a man with some teenage skin, it has to be said as part of a festival. "The Strokes blew everyone else away" said a Strokes fan, unsurprisingly. There's a pull-out poster section comprising lots of Strokes pictures, which is fine if you like that sort of thing.
The coverage of the Robbie shows try to make it something we should be interested in (The Darkness did play, after all) but this means they have to give space to Kelly Osbourne. "Not everyone's here to see me" admitted Kelly, which is half right, except for the mistaken impression it gives that maybe some people had gone these because the squealing haircut from the Doritos advert was on stage. The nme review seems to be strangely brown-nosing too - it doesn't actually say "Give us an interview and an extra 10,000 copies" but it points out what a stinking hypocrite Williams is before saying "but he admits it, so we don't seem to mind" as if that makes it any better. Alex Needham also seems to think that the Americans might have trouble with Williams' cultural references - "like karaoke" - which suggests that Needham has never seen the episode of the Simpsons where Homer thinks he's going to die and Bart and Lisa sing Shaft. Or the Sesame Street Karaoke Video. Or Disney Karaoke. Or... Having made our point, we'll move on.
Jack White admits "I can't do anything creative" - although only because of his bad finger. Apparently the way its broken has meant the healing process is moving bones apart rather than knitting them back together, and so he's having metal screws put inside his hand. Ewww.
NME attempts to leap onto the Popbitch otter bandwagon by establishing a forest to be a haven for wildlife. They want you - the reader - to pay for it. (Yes, yes, we know, but times must be hard at AOL Time Warner if they want the readership to underwrite the cost of their promotional work).
Pete Libertine has started a new band. They're called, um, The Libertines. It has to be, apparently, because he's got the name etched on his arm so that's that, then. The paper asks him if he's taking hard drugs and - after wittering on for a long time - he points out that he's not taking heroin there and then. He's not very well, is he?
Turbonegro do the CD: Ozzy Osbourne, David Crosby, Dennis Wilson and Fleetwood Mac. Hmmm. Well, they are shock rockers, and you'd have to agree that's a bit of a shock.
"We hear you're mates with Interpol" kicks off the Stills piece - to their eternal boredom. "We don't want to be known as Interpol's mates..." which is a bit ungrateful. The 'pol are, after all, the band with the press connections in the UK.
Keef confirms he once stayed awake for nine days, that he felled a stage invader to save Charlie's drum kit and offers to take on Liam Gallagher. For that last one, he should be honoured. There's a full colour picture of him now inside, by the way, so don't open it in public when there are kids round.
More survivors: Janes Addiction - Dave Navarro started to do heroin because, erm, Hendrix did it. And if Jimi leapt under a bus, young man...? Oh, and Perry Farrell buys cheese on the black market.
There isn't even a real hook to hang the page about rock weddings on - Dave Grohl might get married, Bobby Gillespie might be thinking about it - and there isn't anything you don't know already. And they miss out the splendid Sean Penn - Madonna nuptials, too.
dashboard confessional - a mark, a mission, a brand, a scar - "Chris has finally accepted finishing first", 8
chris korda - the man of the future - "monumentally crass", 6
the hiss - panic movement - "brace yourself for the big bad noise", 8
the bumblebeez - white printz - "doesn't go anywhere. that's not important", 8
ride - waves - "BBC sessions from the shoegazing charlatans", 4
spearmint - my missing days - "saint Etienne-ish", 7
sotw - razorlight - rock n roll lies - "testes-trembling Television tribute"
kings of leon - mollys chambers - "enterprising"
lollapalooza 2003 - "might not be what it once was, what Janes say is timeless"
secret machines - London Camden barfly - "as much intergalactic rock magic as possible without six feet of hair"
and finally, some supposed Libertines fan writes to NMEmail to suggest that, since he's been charged with cat burgling, the decision of his erstwhile friends to tour without him has been vindicated. Not for a moment the thought that maybe the being kicked out of his own band has made him worse, not better, of course.
Eurovision, 2003. From Latvia. No Rock used hard liquor and a biro to get right the way through. Unsurprisingly, we completely disagreed with everyone else. These are our notes, more or less, turning into some sort of review:
Iceland - Big flares, big eyes, big flower in her hair and white trousers. "Just open your heart to me" she sings. It's all a bit over-ambitious - the string arrangement isn't lush enough; her vocals can't cope with ranges; her lungs can't make the length of word needed. The backing singers cling together out of fear.
Austria - His backing musicians are cardboard cut outs with cat and cow heads stuck on top. He's a character, you see - wearing a beret and singing a song that is the sort of oompah nonesense that fills much of Saturday night TV light entertainment shows in Austria and Southern Germany, only with a heavy metal chorus.
Ireland - This year's attempt to avoid winning the contest entering a Pop Idol type with a green guitar and - in lieu of a song - the repeated contention that "we've got the world tonight." Later, viewers in the UK will vote this the best thing - showing how polluted Simon Cowell has made our collective judgement.
Turkey - Belly Dancing and J-Lo impersonation - together at last. The wannabe J-Lo is dressed as if she's just had to parachute onto stage. "You make me want to uh-ah" she says. The feeling is mutal for No Rock; but the rest of europe seems to want to, as this is the eventual winner.
Malta - She starts sitting at the piano deliverign a song which sounds like the theme tune to a second string Australian soap. But just when you're reaching for the "Victoria Wood" reference, she's stood up. More white trousers, and apparently Mandy Dingle is one of her backing singers.
Bosnia & Herzegovina - As Terry Wogan points out, this is Sex Bomb delivered not by Tom Jones but by a bunch who hope black will turn out to be as slimming as everyone claims. They swap to English halfway through - "is it true I was the fool who would die for you?" - but its passionately delivered. In the same way as the chef's special in a Harvester would be.
Portugal - Blimey, it's Shakira. Only she's singing a Celine Dion song.
Croatia - Steps under Communism, then. Bright eyed boys and girls (three pairs of lilac trousers and one bikini from Ethel Austin) sing and dance to a song that might be about love and joy, but inescapably sounds like an update on tractor production in the Balkans.
Cyprus - Enrique Ingleisias, only with a much tighter budget. Fewer shimmering dances, spending the savings on a lyricist would have been a plan.
Germany - A short, red-haired woman who looks and sounds like "only" sonia from Fresh Fields sings a positive song about how a fight in the disco can be averted because everyone should be friends. The lyrics were clearly spewed out by a teenager on their first tab of E, but the tune is the best thing so far. It's the first song that sounds how a eurovision winner is supposed to sound.
Russia - shorn of Trevor Horn's production, they're very shrill and rather mechanical - in fact, this sounds exactly like the sort of Euro entry the east would offer before the collapse of communism. After all the rumours and threats and teases, the performance is limited to the pair of them wandering round stage and a little bit of hand holding - all rather sweet and chaste. There's absolutely no chemistry between them at all, and if they're really lovers, they need to get in touch with Relate quickly. If we hadn't known who they were, we'd have been reduced to making cheap cracks about the poor state of post-soviet hairdressing.
Spain - More white trousers, but coming straight after Tatu gives her a boost because here's a girl who realises that a song, to be sexy, has to be sung in a sexy way; not merely dressed up with the impression that it's sexy because the singer has mumbled in interviews about being a lesbian. A spot of spanish guitars gives just enough taste of national identity to keep the purists happy. Not great, but about thirty times better than Tatu.
Israel - The backing singers start out dressed like Tatu, which may be an amusing in-joke or just a lazy coincidence. That they then have their clothes ripped off (a la Bucks Fizz) makes me think it was knowing all along. The singer clearly loves himself so much no mere voting is required for him to get the affection he needs.
Netherlands - A dutch cruise ship is missing its star turn tonight. But not much.
UK - She looks and sounds nervousd, as if she's suddenly realised that offering up something that sounds like a Rick Astley b-side (off the second CD) isn't going to cut it. He still looks like a farm hand's son who's found a talking pig. The moment where he yells out "c'mon Latvia" is the precise moment where the UK is doomed to a shaming nul points.
Ukraine - A dancer in turquoise pirroutes and contorts while a singer who really wanted to be doing opera tries to come to terms with the demands of this 'pop music'. "Hast la vista, baby, baby bye-bey" he sings, like The Terminantor at a Bay City Rollers Gig. It reflects badly on all of us, I think.
Greece - It's Shakira again. Only this time her breasts are struggling to break from the confines of her pleather dress. The song is another ballad with an awful lot of ice, like David Arquette's coke.
Norway - He looks ever so slightly Osmond, and his song is a little Peter Skellern. It's pleasant, and we'd give him a bed for the night.
France - The dress is cheap, but she's actually quite sexy in a not obvious way. Or maybe I'm getting tired. The song sounds fully formed, too, unlike most of the things tonight which come across like they're first drafts. France knows: cheese, wine, singers, songs - some things improve with maturity. This would have been our winner. It ends quite near the bottom. Shows what we know.
Poland - A peace song in Polish, Russian and German - throw in Klingon and Esperanto and you'd have all the languages of romance there. Sung by Rob Newman with red hair, and Jo S Club.
Latvia - The hosts offer two clean cut young men in white suits and a girl with that body glitter that everyone was wearing in last year's contest. They sing about saying hello from mars. Although they go down well with the gay viewers, their efforts go largely unrewarded.
Belguim - A whole mess of folk music, like Kershaw playing three CDs at once. Over a dance beat. Despite the accordian, they manage to pull it off. This is about the only track No Rock and the Great European Public seem to agree on.
Estonia - It's called 80's Coming Back. And they're not joking - here's Billy Joel to prove it.
Romania - The dancers hold up the things those floor cleaning machines use to scrub, for some reason. The singer has a red suit, a powerful voice and some music looking desperately for a John Hughes movie to soundtrack.
Sweden - It appears to be the bloke from Norway again, this time in an Abba-stye arrangement. Thank god Britain don't keep entering Cliff Richard over and over again.
Slovenia - Dressed as a bridesmaid, the Slovene sings a song called Na Na Na. It's not good, but it's as good an ending as we're going to get.
[UPDATED 2013: To fit more recent No Rock & Roll Fun template]