Tuesday, December 31, 2002


Choose a week to revisit:
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07 April 2002
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Tuesday, December 24, 2002

"I don't want to look back, I want to keep going forward. I still have something to say to people"

1952 - 2002

[Image - updated 04/12/07; by Joe Kerrigan under Creative Commons licence]

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Fifty per cent off skeleton news service

Girls Aloud win chart battle - now you can buy number ones, apparently... Pulp at an end? - are you sure? (that only works if you do it in a Jarvis style, by the way)... Teenage millionaire wants to launch TV album charts show - thereby proving him to not be the financial whizzkid everyone seems to think he is... BBC Music album of year poll currently being led by Status Quo - only you can stop the madness... Jimmy Young and The Evening Session leave airwaves for good - neither going quietly in their own ways

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Scary goth skeleton news service

Shakira gives third world kids running shoes - "Hey, we spend sixteen hours a day making these bloody things just for you to give them straight back to us?"... Noel Gallagher bans Christmas from his house as he finds it depressing - oddly, the exact same reason that Oasis are banned from our house... Port Vale send begging letter to Robbie Williams - "Please support Stoke instead", we imagine... FridayThing launches campaign for 'Real Christmas Number One' - is promoting The Cheeky Girls over Girls Aloud really striking a blow for proper music?... Results of World Service 'best song ever' announced - defintively proving which special interest group is best at fixing online votes... Billboard writers select Coldplay as best album of 2002 - encouraged to get out more, try speaking to girls in 2003

Thursday, December 19, 2002

We interrupt this period of inaction to scoff

The BPI claim one site hosted eight million downloads of the entire Linkin Park album. I really hope they're just lying and not so painfully stupid as to actually believe that.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Kylie-thin skeleton news service

Fatboy Slim plans vote on whether to hold Brighton Beach party in 2003 - calling Jeb Bush to organise a 'Yes' vote... Radiohead celebrate Christmas with a webcast - tidings of comfort, joy not expected... Moby changes hotel to avoid meeting Eminem "in interests of personal safety" - complete collapse into self-parody now complete... Yoko Ono says she won't sue McCartney over changes to songwriting credits - "If he wants to mess about with the winning John Lennon And His Beatles formula, that's his choice" simpers the proto-Courtney... Minelli and Garland tat collecting husband to sue VH1 over axed reality show, citing First Amendment right of all Americans to be held up to public Ridicule...

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Skeleton news service

Lee Roth sues Van Halen - again?... Ryan Adams to open for Rolling Stones, complete transition from prince of cool to embarrassing 'New Weller' in 2003... David wins Fame Academy and promises to return to sing at next year's final if the manager at KFC will give him the night off... BBC invite listener's comments on Mariah's new album and record company and PR rally round...

Friday, December 13, 2002

That when you bow, you leave the crowd

It's been incredibly quiet in the music world today - a couple of new stories on nme.com, nothing since ten at ananova, so we feel slightly less guilty about slipping out the door for Christmas - possibly the odd update in the next few weeks, but we'll not be back with a full service until the 30th. So, we'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone who reads this a very, merry Christmas (or whatever it is you're doing) and hope you'll join us again when we return.

Meanwhile, as part of the bothsidesnow Christmas special, there's a pull out guide to music on TV over the holidays and - yes - another list of best tracks of 2002.

What can't we face if we're together?

Nickeback goat-man Chad Kroeger has been whining because his friends couldn't get into a backstage event at the Billboard awards.

"They wouldn't let our people in because they didn't have laminates."

Right, and your point being, Chad? Look, if your people fucked up and didn't get your guestlist in in time, that's your problem, not theirs. Or maybe there's some sort of exception to the rule because you're so ugly you think security would just know someone turning up at the door saying she's your wife would have to be, as nobody else would claim that even to sneak into a party? You might not have heard, Chad, but the whole of the US is a little jumpy right now, what with the smallpox and the rap wars and the shooting of one of Run DMC and the Iraq crisis.

Maybe you should think about the security implications before you open your mouth and sound like a bullock head. Oh, and - really - don't worry about the same thing happening at next year's awards. Can you say "Stiltskin"?

The same old tricks, why should we care?

Macy Gray, Lil' Kim and Queen Latifah attempt to ride the coattails of Moulin Rouge ("team up for Chicago track").

I'll never tell

Official Glastonbury Site, yesterday: "the festival makes no assumption that it will get a license"

nme.com, today: After the meeting Michael Eavis said he was "not too bothered" by the failure to secure a licence and that he would be appealing to magistrates.

"We lost by one vote and the unfortunate thing was that the members weren't all there and it was a poorly attended meeting," he said.

"We will go to the magistrates court and appeal. The council, police and fire service have been very supportive."

"We are not too bothered and I think it's all going to be fine."

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Missy turns Solanas

Missy Elliot may have a reputation as a bit of a ball-buster. Not without reason, it seems, as she's teaming up with PETA to get animals neutered.

Now we don't encourage this sort of thing

And much as we hate Moby and his smug little attitude, we don't condone the rather odd attack on him in Boston. It's a terrible thing to happen to anyone. Especially since it results in journal entries like this. Stop being so understanding...

An open goal

Nsync unveil uncannily lifelike waxworks. The rest writes itself.

Is this how they're filling time since they got dropped?

Toploader 17


Whoever was looking for "pictures of Holly Valance and Britney Spears having lesbian sex" - what other sort of sex could they have been having? And... did you really expect to find it?


Always nice to come across a magazine for non-straights that isn't stuffed with cock, and solanasonline is certainly one of those. We mention it here because it's got a LeTigre feature in it.

I'm sorry I can't be with you, but as you can see, I really can't be arsed

Ms Dynamite backlash? Yes, if you'd like to stand here, sir, she'll be pissing on some kids' Christmas dreams in a moment.

While the record labels lecture us about probity and legality and rights and honesty

The French police are raiding Vivendi Universal's headquarters to investigate claims that the parent company of Universal and Island records knowingly published false information.

I collect, I reject

While normally we think that an iPod is the finest thing in the world, we're not sure about celebrity-autographed limited edition iPods. An extra fifty bucks just to have No Doubt's logo engraved on it? (and since engraving of anything costs USD20, that's thirty bucks for the logo.) Hint: buy an iPod, buy some stickers. Job done.

Rosen's cranky guild are stern and dead

We only got round to reading Hilary Rosen's USA Today piece this morning, and we approach it rather like Buffy at the start of the musical episode - heavily world weary and feeling like we've been here so many times before. Still, maybe this time she'll tell us something that we not only didn't know, but didn't not know because it's made up. Let's see:

The editorial above urges the recording industry to aggressively focus its energies on a legitimate online music market. That is exactly what the industry is doing, with nearly a dozen online services now up and running.

Well, no - it's not what the industry is doing. Sure, it's gotten some services going, in a limited, toe-in-the-water sort of way, and just now something a bit more solid is being hammered together. But the industry isn't focusing its energies here at all - the actions of the RIAA are still staring gimlet eyed at trashing peer to peer networks, pursuing 'theives' and threatening universities and businesses.

How much money is being spent on making adverts with stars going "it's like stealing a CD from the store" compared to the spend on actively promoting the new systems? And can't you see that a dozen separate services is compounding the problem rather than solving it - what Napster and Kazaza and the others had in their favour was universality - you looked for stuff, it was there, you downloaded, you played. You didn't have to try and remember which offshoot of the military-industrial complex the artist you wanted had been enlisted to, try and find a partner service to that label, search in the hope the download was available, sign up to a payment system, have a card validated, wait for an email, sign back in to the partner site, do the download, find out the software required to play the tune wasn't on your system, go to the software download site, download the software, install it, find it doesn't work with your system, go to Limewire, download an MP3 and play it.
Record labels together with technology companies are meeting consumers' desire to access music online. Looking back over the past year, the legitimate marketplace has grown by leaps and bounds. Four different services now offer content from every major music company, and several others provide a rich array of music and listening options. Music fans can enjoy hundreds of thousands of tracks in many different ways.

That's not meeting consumer's desires. What we want is a central place where you can download music in the format we've chosen, which our computers can handle, and our CD players and iPods and Rios work on - MP3. We don't want new formats of encoding that offer no advantage to us and constrain how we can use the music we've paid for.
But what these services do not yet have is enough customers. No business can be expected to compete against an illegal service that is offering the same product for free.

Bollocks. It's more than possible for commercial services to thrive alongside free services. ITV has managed to exist alongside the free services of the BBC; many newspaper markets have freesheets which co-exist with paid for titles. The fact your competitors are illegal should make it easier, not harder, for you to compete because you do have the ability to appeal to people's better nature. The trouble is that you're not offering the same product for free. You're offering a less useful version of the product - the reason why people aren't downloading from the official services is that they don't give people what they want. They want music they can burn to their CDs, stick onto their portables, that they can use. The RIAA position is akin to offering the news values of Metro, but expecting people to pay International Herald-Tribune subscription rates for it. It needs to be the other way round.
If the legitimate services are to have a chance to succeed in the marketplace, we must take action against those who trample the copyrights of songwriters, artists and record labels.

Hmmm. Well, possibly - let's leave aside the way record labels are quite happy to trample the rights of the artists themselves, seeing as its Christmas. Of course, if you'd got your arses into gear earlier, you wouldn't have been in this position, would you? Its not like people didn't tell you this was the way the wind was blowing. The free services are squatting in a house you left unoccupied and uncherished. Your now using the courts to try and win back an advantage you squandered.
The notion that pursuing peer-to-peer network piracy violates personal privacy is just plain wrong.

First, no one enjoys the right to commit a federal crime anonymously, and downloading or uploading copyrighted works such as software, movies or music without permission is clearly illegal.

Bollocks squared. If you're checking a person's computers to see what they've got, it's invasion of privacy. Unless you have some sort of strange stoolpigeon network, whereby someone rings the green phone in your office with a tipoff - "Ginger Teaspout is downloading Kenny Loggins from Bearshare now" - the only way you can possibly tell what's on a person's computer is by looking at it. And since nobody calls files things like "Bruce Spingsteen - Born To Run - have never bought the record.mp3", the only way you can begin to find out if a file called 'borntorun.mp3' is a downloaded naughty Bruce-steal is by looking at the contents. That seems pretty much like invasion of privacy to me.
Second, users open up their computers to the peer-to-peer networks, not copyright owners. It's like walking down the street holding up a sign and then being mad that someone has read it.

Bollocks cubed. It's actually like leaving a catflap in your front door, and then being mad that someone has snuck through it and started to rifle through your personal papers - i.e. fair enough.
And third, colleges and others can address this problem in non-invasive ways, such as using filtering systems and bandwidth-management controls.

Tesseract of bollocks. Filtering systems? Do you mean checking what people are sending from their own discs? That sounds pretty much like an invasion of privacy to me. And, more importantly, "bandwidth management controls" - are you really so blinkered to the rest of the world that you think the only thing that university computers are used for is to swap Bruce Hornsby songs? Did it ever once occur to your well-rewarded brain that there are many, many reasons why university networks might be transmitting large volumes of data over the internet? Should we really shackle academia in order to ensure that Mariah Carey doesn't lose the odd sale? "Sorry, Mrs. Kapinski, but we tried to send your CAT scan data to an expert in a University Teaching Hospital, but it bounced back. I'm sure you understand, though - your health is nowhere near as important as ensuring Now Thats What I Call Music 8 doesn't underperform."
Ironically, it's the peer-to-peer networks that actually put users' privacy at greatest risk. A recent study by Hewlett-Packard showed that typical users of a network such as Kazaa inadvertently expose personal files, including credit card information and e-mail, for millions to rummage through.

Opps. Is my face ever red now - I'd assumed all along the RIAA campaign is about trying to protect its sometimes dubiously obtained copyrights in the face of people who are sick of paying over the odds for recorded music. But it turns out that its actually only been trying to save ourselves from the nasty hackers who are "rummaging through" our hard drives stealing our credit card numbers and emails. Say, do you suppose that's how the Daily Mail got hold of those Cherie Blair emails - was she attempting to find Charlie Drake's My Boomerang Won't Come Back and let the journalists in while she was doing it?
Given the scope of the problem, we are taking measured steps to combat online piracy. These efforts are a necessary means to an important end, which is an expanding and dynamic legitimate online marketplace — a reality achieved after a year of progress and multiple new licensing agreements from the major record companies.

This would be the dynamic legitimate online market place that you said a few paragraphs ago that doesn't have customers because of the existing free alternatives, would it? Let's be fair again and assume that maybe you expected nobody would make it through this far.
Hilary Rosen is chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America. For legitimate services to thrive, violators must be stopped.

That's exactly how it ends on the USA Today website. Curious, isn't it? Do they mean people are violating Hilary? Or has that become the the full title of the RIAA?

It's not just when the policemen look younger

An orneryboy strip which will make those of us old enough to remember Kid Jensen's show smile with recognition. And fear.

Keeping it in the family

Flicking idly through PA photos, we couldn't help but notice the spooky way Cherie Blair looks like she might be the mysterious songwriting mother of the Cheeky Girls:

Nice, Nas

For once, we have a bit of sympathy for a major label. Sony, called by sohh.com to see if they could clairfy why Nas says he "looks up to Hitler" said they "weren't clear at the direction" the rapper was coming from. We're not sure if even any extra clarity at the direction would help much.

Still, doubtless the BNP will be knocking together a page thanking him for his support.

Talking of which, they've still got the page about Dannii Minogue up on their site - Dannii, what's happened to your legal action? Would you like us to pay for a courrier to get the papers round there?

The Saddest Song

Very sad to come in to the office this morning to hear the news of the death of Mary Hansen of Stereolab. Amongst the many tributes to the multi-instrumentalist - another cyclist lost on the roads - we like ChartAttack's ten reasons why Mary was cool.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Pop Papers: Supplemental - do you see what we did there?

We neglected to mention that the nme this week comes with a pull out of Melody Maker style "images of the year" - Coldplay; Kelly Osbourne; Liam; Von Bondies; Cooper Temple Clause; The Hives; The Strokes; the Datsuns; The Vines. The choice is curious - none of the really great pictures of the year (White Stripes with New York between them, for instance) and even the most photogenic band don't come across that well - how can you have a picture of Craig that doesn't make you sticky?

What the pop papers say: The pre-festive edition

The Wall Street Journal has rumbled that certain American groups are playing off the two sides of Atlantic against each other. The way they reckon it works is a bunch of good looking young Americans fly to London. Englanders, perhaps still recalling all the glorious pantyhose brought to us during the war, fall for these kids and assume they must be cult heroes. As a result, the nme annoints one or two of them The Greatest New Band Ever each week. Whereupon, the band returns home, shows off their fawning UK press coverage and the Americans - who still have a soft spot for the Beatles - decide that if the country that names its airports after hypocritic guitar players likes 'em, there must be something to them, and enthusiastically adopt them. Mind, if even the WSJ can see through the process, it can't have much more life left in it, can it? And it only seems to work for the pretty and good acts - Andrew WK still flounders round in mid-Atlantic...

Liam's fight gets the sort of coverage the tabloids would give to pictures of Cherie Blair fisting Michael Barrymore, spreading his dull brawl over pages 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The lowlights of this unedifying coverage of an unedifying event include speculation that it cost Oasis a million (although two pages later, it costs them six million); a picture of Tony Soprano (because the fight was with Italians, see?); a photomontage of Liam decked out like Gladiator - presumably because Russell Crowe is another cunt who punches people more or less at will; a photo of a dental x-ray captioned "how an x-ray of Liam's teeth might have looked" and "Could this be the end for Noel and Liam" (erm, they don't know). Presumably if he'd lost an eye, we'd have had a few extra pages of coverage...

In 'other news' (or, rather, actual news), there's that story of how the Blur single got mistaken for a bomb and blown up - since its likely to look like a bomb when it's released, police are already courdoning off the lower end of the Top 50 for a controlled explosion; the Serbs are pissed off that they have to fork out nearly a third of a month's wages to see the Rolling Stones - lets hope they don't get faced with having to fork out for the current Michelle Shocked tour; the nme "exclusively reveals" that Major Record Labels want to sign the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (next week: major governments want to arrest Osama Bin Laden - exclusive); Kelly Osbourne got the hump because the Sugababes didn't come out to talk to her at the Smash Hits parties - but Kelly, they're very busy. Maybe if you ask your daddy nicely, he'll take you to another one of their gigs; Zwan's new album is going to be called Mary Star of the Sea - Billy Corgan is just rubbish at names, isn't he?; the White Stripes are putting out a special Christmas single, but the nme is very disappointed that Jack hasn't responded to Ryan Adam's taunts from last week - maybe Jack had more important things to do; like re-order his spice rack or apply Bible Code principles to discover hidden messages in Bloomberg TV's news ticker; and the nme tells us what to expect from Jackass the Movie - puerile humour and some stupid people injuring themselves - am I right?...

Erol Alkan, trash club supremo, does the make-believe CD, including Moose's Suzanne - one of the greatest records ever made, of course. Russell Moose - what would we have let that man do to us? Even beyond the point of passing out?...

hot new band is the star spangles, who get bored and go for McDonalds instead of waiting to be interviewed...

in a nice touch, you the reader are asked to choose between two things in about a dozen categories - spit or swallow; red or black; melody maker or select - and next week you can compare your responses to your favourite stars and find out if that stalking actually does have a basis to it after all...

one of the hellacopters is called Boba Fett - not, we'd imagine, his given name...

we're also not convinced one of the soledad brothers really is called Johnny Walker - we're guessing he's just a big fan of radio 2's hookers and gin king...

we're banging our head with spoons - the nme has got a big interview with pink in which they overwhelm her by pointing out she does what Kurt did, but while selling records - and yet they give the cover to fucking chimpy boy chimp gallagher. Way to go, nme - still, at least you've spared yourself six "How dare you give the front page to Pink" letters. She claims to be "apple sauce on the inside" which we don't know means anything, but certainly opens up the chance for us to sink to a new low for pop papers and say "can we dip our pork into that, love?"...

new order - retro - "tries to make schizophrenia fashionable", 7
wit - whatever it takes - "electroclash is evolving", 7 (nb: WIT are scary looking bananarama of electroclash)
fat joe - loyalty - "a niche, but a big one", 6

sotw - jet - dirtysweet - "the rest is going to be history"
others - the white stripes - merry christma from - "it's ace"
avril lavigne - sk8r boi - "in years to come, will be alongside 'I think we're alone now' and 'mickey'

ikara colt - london ica - "defy health and safety"
brmc - leeds black canvas - "the word is 'summer'"
jackie o - manchester roundhouse - "genuine contenders"

and, finally, "it was great" wibbles some loser in the photo section "to be able to tell Liam he is the best singer in the greatest rock & roll band in the world." Yeah? Why not go out and tell six year olds they can fly, you cruel fuck.

Surely they can't be suggesting...

That the doctor struck off for filling up Winona Ryder's medicine chest was doing the same thing for Courtney Love, can they? That might be a bit risky what with Courtney threatening the Smoking Gun with legal action over another Doctor's notes.

[UPDATE: The story has been overwritten, however, the original remains at Archive.org]

Pick the RIAA's pockets

We wonder whether the RIAA will make an advert to promote the CD Minumum Advertised Price Antitrust Litigation Settlement along the model of their downloading ads?

They could have Britney Spears, tears in her eyes, comparing deliberately fixing the prices of CDs to "going into someone's house and taking money from their pocket book, their purse or even a small child's piggybank."

The sums involved might not be massive - even a Peel-esque bout of music purchase may only get you back twenty bucks, but remember - it's your legal right, and every single cent you claw back from the labels is a cent less for them to spend on sending threatening letters to Universities. Americans, the CD MAP Settlement form awaits you.

Things we didn't know

How could we be expected to know that Colin Murray, hereafter known as "the indie Adrian John", was a presenter on Channel 4's RISE?

We've never met anyone who watches the beleagured breakfast show, much less knew the name of its presentation team (is it a team? Or some woman they found presenting a second-string Beadle-type show on Sky and a couple of muppets?).

What's really funny is the way that everyone's behaving like Murray is the new presenter, rather than the bloke called in to piss on the fire while they wait for Zane Lowe to drive up in spring.

Nobody chose Animal (Fuck Like A Beast), then

The people at Music Choice asked 10,000 Britons what music they played when they shagged. Sexual Healing came first, which makes you wonder if most people are as dull and unadventurous with their lovemaking as the choice of music when they shag. Most scary of all is that the number ten choice is Chris DeBurgh doing Lady In Red. Bloody hell.

Are they sure?

According to remember the 80s, Pete Burns is going to appear on Blue Peter next year.
Pete Burns.

There were adults having nightmares after his Never Mind The Buzzcocks appearance. God alone knows what he'd do to the kids.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

You thought Atomic Kitten was scary?

Live Magazine let the cat out of the bag, so we suppose everyone knows now - having been spurned by AK, Andy McCluskey is now priming this for pop action:

Jennifer Ellison from Brookside. Presumably he's chosen a solo artist as they can't conspire against him.

Jay Leno: A Man who's seen a lot

The most scary thing about the whole Vines kicked off Leno incident is the little quote from the man, reported here:

"They were like loaded at 6 pm."

Jay Leno works in showbusiness. He's interviewed countless dozens of drug addicts, boozers, wifebeaters and auto-erotic self-flagellators. And he's tutting over a rock band being drunk in the evening? Jesus, lets hope he hasn't got Winona Ryder booked this side of the Betty Ford clinic.

(Apparently Craig Nicholls and chums had a massive fight and hit each other a bit and Leno had them escorted from the studio).

We wouldn't want to piss off her publicity machine, but

It's all very interesting that Victoria Beckham is going to be a judge on season 2 of Pop Idol, but we'd been led to believe that because the public are bored shitless of scrubbed youngsters singing covers of BeeGees tunes, Pop Idol 2 wasn't going to happen next year?

Evening Shuffle

In a slightly odd decision, Radio one have announced their choice of replacement for Steve Lamacq.

Because they want Zane Lowe to do the show, and he's not available until springtime, for a couple of months the show is going to be in the hands of Colin Murray.

Now, while we've nothing against Murray, we can't work out why Lamacq couldn't have been allowed to carry on until Lowe's XFM contract finished - after all, its not like Steve wanted to leave, and he's not even going from the station anyway. It smacks a little of botch-up to us.

Didn't we say this would happen?

Back in July we predicted that there'd be problems over Fame Academy turning artists out for Mercury at licence fee payer's expense. But oddly, the tabloids seem curiously reluctant to investigate the story.

Oh, wouldn't it be luvverly?

We normally wouldn't bother with this as apparently Heat have done it, but... About Me - MartinesPlace.com - Martine McCutcheon's official site - is just priceless.

Apart from the introduction, where a cartoon version of a much, much thinner Martine appears to be miming self-fulfilment while another Martine signs autographs (or maybe deals with angry letters from people who turned up to see her in My Fair Lady on the nights when she was 'ill'), the site is a mixture of thick ego sauce with lacings of poorly written, self-loving gush:

My nicknames originated from my Mum. Doughnut is still used often within the family group, I was a sugary sweet girl who always loved a squidgy cuddle. Mum would say I was all sweet and sugary on the outside and soft and jammy on the inside. Hence, Doughnut was born.

And we'd like to apologise to people for the mangling of the syntax there...

Like some sort of horrorshow, isn't it?

It's odd watching Whitney and Mariah race themselves down the downward spiral. Following her sniffy putdown about crack - "I don't use crack, it's cheap" - Whitney turned up for Good Morning America looking "too loose", nearly fell over and had to read her songwords off her own shoe. Lynne Perrie could probably sort her out with a job as a celeb bingo caller in Yorkshire, you know.


We always thought there was something a little bit too sniffy about Blogcritics using a ".org" domain in preference to the ".com" version, partly because it has that air of being more than a loose affiliation, and secondly because we always type .com ourselves whenever we go in. As a result, our bookmark points to blogcritics.com, which has been having a few problems of late. At first it was just had one of those "Apache was successfully installed" messages; now they're still thinking its Britney Spear's birthday. Um... why not just have a simple redirect to the .org page, guys?

A moment of clarity

I'm glad I didn't have to wait for Nancy Banks-Smith to point it out to me this time (when she said the Sally-Kevin-Decorator love triangle on Coronation Street was a homage Brief Encounter, I shot myself and sent a corsage to my wife for my having been so dense as to not realise - "I've got something in my eye", of course - very, very nice work from Corrie there).

I was coming into work this morning thinking about that Electric Six single, and the video - because it all felt so familiar. And then it struck me why - it's exactly the sort of thing that used to crop up on the Max Headroom show (nb to American readers; I'm talking about the Saturday night UK show where Max acted as a VJ rather than the peculiar US action series with the same character).

While not being directly derivative of the likes of Belouis Some or Propaganda, the whole feel of Danger High Voltage matches - sexualised in a slightly odd and kinky way - more the scent of sex rather than a Holly Vallance tits-out assault; and a sound that makes use of electrification rather than electronics.
It's a wonderful tune, mind.

Blimey, it's aged her

We can understand that having a stalker might worry you, but we're not sure that ananova was being a little cruel using this picture to illustrate the story:

I mean, Britney looks like she's just seen Joan Jett walk in carrying a jackhammer...

Monday, December 09, 2002

Every kind of people (providing they're sexy or 'compelling')

We hate to make it look as if we're obsessed with Christina Aguilera, but we've been passed what we're assured is a genuine document that was the casting call for the Beautiful day video - the horror in full is here [UPDATE: and now below], but the highlights include the demand for an actor with braces (must have own braces), a gay couple and a girl with anorexia.

We're guessing the idea is to show that all sorts of people are beautiful inside. However, 'cause it's an Aguilera video, they're not taking any chances and are insisting that they're beautiful outside, too.

UPDATE: Here's the text in full:


Christina Aguilera music video ''Beautiful''
Director: Jonas Akerlund
Interview Date(s): Tuesday-TOMORROW (11/5) and through the week !!!!
Shoot Date(s): Friday and Saturday 11/8 & 11/9 (MOST ACTORS WORK ONE DAY ONLY)
Shoot Location: LA
xxx xxxxx

This song is a ballad..the scenes that accompany Christina's performance footage will all be beautiful vignettes....all different types of COMPELLING people, in many different situations, going from feeling their own personal sadness to realizing that they, and their life, are truly "Beautiful".....These roles ALL require excellent actors.
Actors will be asked to lip synch a little bit of the song at their audition....some actors will also be asked to cry on cue. Please have them come prepared. Christina's album is already in the stores it's called "Stripped"."
Jonas Akerlund is the multi-award winning director of
Madonna's "Ray of Light" and U2 "Beautiful Day" videos and the FEATURE FILM "SPUN" ....and the list goes on!
Teenage Girl with Braces: ALL ETHNICITIES - TEENS.....She is beautiful, compelling and interesting, MUST BE A STRONG
Mom of Teen Girl: All ethnicities- 33-45...She is beautiful, compelling and interesting...must be a strong actor!! $350 +
20%/12 hour DAY
Anorexic Girl/Woman: All ethnicities 16-35.....Must be extraordinarily skinny.....must look anorexic....must be a strong actor!!! $350 + 20%/12 hour DAY
Mexican Man: 42-55....he is expressive and compelling...must be a strong actor. $350 + 20%/12 hour DAY
Hip-Edgy-Sexy STRAIGHT Couple: 18-27, male and female
ALL ETHNICITIES...don't have to be a real couple...DO HAVE
TO BE hip, edgy, sexy, beautiful, and completely comfortable passionately kissing a person of the opposite sex in the video.
Must be a strong actor!!! $350 + 20%/12 hour day
Hip-Edgy-Sexy GAY MALE Couple: 18-30, ALL
ETHNICITIES....don't have to be a real couple...DO HAVE TO
BE hip, edgy, sexy, beautiful, and completely comfortable passionately kissing a person of the SAME sex in the video.
Must be a strong actor!!! $350 + 20%/12 hour day
30-something GUY: (30's) ALL ETHNICITIES He is very handsome, hip and cool. The guy who loves to go out and have a great time on a Saturday night....but, parties a little too hard. Must be a strong actor! $350 + 20%/12 hour day
Older Woman: 50-85. She is beautiful with an incredibly interesting face. She has seen many years and many things...extremely expressive and excellent actor here is mandatory!! $350 + 20%/12 hour day
Thin Teenage Boy: 13-18...He is slightly awkward but still really adorable and kind of cool in his own way...he works out, ''pumps iron'' trying to build his physique..must be a strong actor!! $350 + 20%/12 hour day
Street-Hooker: 27-40...All ethnicities...She has fallen on hard times (duh, she's a hooker).....once very beautiful, her looks have become somewhat worn and faded....$350 + 20%/12 hour day
White Trash Shop Clerk: 40-55, Caucasian... FEMALE...not a
charicture, not comedy...think ''Gummo'' or ''Bully''...works at a truck stop.....from the ''armpit'' of Florida so to speak...$350 + 20%/12 hour day
White Trash Dad: 40-55, Caucasian, not a charicature, not comedy...must be a strong actor....from the ''armpit'' part of
Florida so to speak. $350 + 20%/12 hour day
Hip-Hop Guys: 18-25, Male, All ethnicities....They are
urban,young, hip, with total hip hop style...must be strong actors.... $350 + 20%/12 hour day
Punk Rocker: Male or Female, early 20's.....Hard core....spiked hair or something equally Punk Rock...no fakers no fauxhawks....want the ''real deal''....good actor hugely helpful!
$350 + 20%/12 hour day
Lesbian Women: 40's, all ethnicities....should appear instantly ''feminist''...I know not all feminists are Lesbian, TRULY I DO...but do you get what we're going for here? Thanks! Strong actors a must!!$350 + 20%/12 hour day
Christina Aguilera ''Stand-in'': 18-29....Looking for a very close visual match... will get her exact measurements ASAP...but, check out one of the thousands of photos of her on line if you don't know what she looks like...she's very petite!!! $200 +
20%/per 12 hour day

High Art/ Low Art gag

Guns N Roses, the Guns N Roses tribute act, have cancelled the rest of their tour. Apparently Buckethead is worried that Keith Tyson will be coming after his hat next.

Festival farrago

The official Glastonbury Festival site is very strict in saying they won't publicise the name of the website offering tickets for next year's (still only mooted) Glasto because they're "clearly trying to profit from all the hard work" (presumably Ticketmaster and the other people who sell tickets with a booking fee are public spiritedly attempting to take money out of an overheating economy.

But surely if you're trying to keep the name of the company secret, calling the images used to illustrate the story by something very close to the company's name and saying where they're based is surely an invite to Google.

What's really interesting is when you find the online ticket shop's website they're asking £175 for a fictional ticket, a figure the official Glasto people describe as exhorbitant. (We, of course, think the whole festival has become an exhorbitant price anyway).

Interestingly, the site sniffs that "the festival makes no assumption that it will get a license", which must make planning really, really difficult - surely if they're distributing information to interested traders they must work on the very basic assumption that they will get a licence? They're inviting demos, and according to the music press some artists have already been sounded out - all of this doesn't sound like the activity of a site that isn't working on the assumption of licensing, does it?

Meanwhile, today Mendip Council are holding an open meeting to canvass local people's opinions on next year's festival; that means from young people (or rather the prematurely middle-aged) who want to speak up for the weekend as well as those who seek to condemn the concept of rock music, cow muck and swearing; Thursday 12th is the decision day when the licence will come up for consideration by the licensing body.

Great investments in music history

How many millions did Island invest in Mariah Carey? They must be delighted with the response to her comeback - her long-awaited new album Charmbraclet debuts this week two places higher than Robson Green's new collection.

Trouble is, Robson's in at 54. Yup, despite her whirlwind of publicity, she's not even been able to make the top 50. Maybe if she'd been a bit more honest in her interviews and said "Yup, I went nuts" rather than peddling the line that she thought "I might as well go to the emergency room to get out of doing some TV", she might have been forgiven. But there's nothing worse than someone with a sweet life telling us how they've got it so hard, is there?

But the humiliation for the Celine-In-A-Crop-Top isn't over yet - so desperate are they to try and shift some of the copies of the album, she's being reduced to hoofing round the supermarkets like Tiffany and Kylie did when nobody knew who they were. Maybe Tiffany's other career choice - the drop and spread of a Playboy feature - now represents Mariah's only way of keeping the pill cupboard stocked in the long term?

Do you have a licence for this hoe-down, sir?

The appearance of this on ntk.net reminded us that it's been sat in our 'to be blogged' pile for a little while. You might remember a few months ago Billy Bragg and some of that lot campaigned against the law that, if more than two people sing in a bar, you need a licence. Well, his campaign has worked. The new proposal is that any live music must be licenced - way to go Billy.

Now, three points of view are represented here, but the one which we feel we must jump on is the claim that there are safety issues involved.

No, there are not. If you run a public place, you have to have the fire service come and check out that you're safe anyway. And its not like places doing live music are going to be suddenly any less dangerous because a bloke turns up with a tuba and a collection of Linda Rondstatt sheet music, is it? These places need a fire certificate; they need a licence from the royalties collection agency; if they're selling drink they'll need a licence for that, too. What is to be gained from bringing an extra layer of licensing down on them - except, perhaps, a new stream of revenue for local councils?

We (or, rather, NTK.net) name the spam bands

What saddens us is not so much that truly heroic acts like Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Elvis Costello feel the need to sign up with a corporation like digital outlook, a group that organises mass-spam-a-thons to plug products, but that they choose a company whose quality of work so obviously says "advertising message disguised - badly - as genuine recommendation" like this.

Real people don't say things like "I'll definitely be buying the album on the 15th" - jesus, people in proper commercials stopped saying stuff like that in about 1985.

The trouble is this whole area stinks - of course, it's not illegal, but its like having your mother vote for you in Porn Stunt Double Cock of the Year.

When Digital Outlook simper Positive reviews generated on almost all leading game sites/shops, do they realise they're more or less blowing the game? They admit they used guerrilla marketing (including reviews) as part of the campaign. This may be legal, but it strikes us as fraudulent, or at best just dishonest. Shabby shame on any artist using such methods.

If a tree falls over in an empty wood, and nobody is watching it on a broadband link-up in Hoxton, couldn't we just say it's Michael Owen's sister?

popbitch returns. What have we done without it, eh? [reads from piece of paper handed to him] Oh... watched Life Laundry, apparently.

Meanwhile, watching the Google search terms as they still roll in for people looking for the "truth" about the Footballer shows the dangers of closing down the 'bitch. What used to be "what is it?" type searches have now started to mutate into searches based on the rumours that are skeetering round in the real world, which suggests that really, he'd have been better off leaving something obviously false up, instead of creating a climate where it's mutated into something else entirely. For example: it seems the word "sister" has disappeared in a lot of the retelling.

Hey: Microsoft say something and all of a sudden it's a fact

There's much of interest in Robert X Cringely's response to the not-actually-Microsoft's Darknet report and conclusion that you can't stop peer to peer network fileswapping. The most interesting part is what the X stands for - Xavier? Xylophone? Surely not Xander?

His actual arguments are as puzzling, if not as absorbing. He doesn't actually appear to have read the report he's filing about, as he seems to think the team concluded that P2P will be unstoppable because it's reached a "critical mass" (actually, what they concluded was that a system which was secure would be unattractive to consumers, who'd be tempted to the dark side instead - a totally different motivation).

Anyway, it doesn't alter their vision of the future - one where movies, games and videos zing back and forth through the communications networks of the worlds.

Cringely faces this future square-on, firstly by reminding us what it is movie moguls and record labels actually do which, it turns out, is invest millions in creation of the cultural artifacts - thanks for reminding us, X, we keep forgetting its not just all about stuffing the work experience girl full of coke and rancid cock.

"How" wails Cringely "will P2P networks pay millions of dollars to make movies?" Hmmm. I've spoken to my old English teacher and we suspect this might be a rhetorical flourish. But Cringely goes ahead and answers it anyway, to s-p-e-l-l it out for the back of the class - probably none. So, he concludes, people will still go to the cinema because people like to see movies and so people won't share movies if it hurts the industry.

Excuse me while I laugh my head off. See, I don't imagine that P2P will bring the end of cinema, either, but for totally different reasons - that most people, offered the chance of the Proper Product or a pirate version, will go for the real thing. The analogy is the way that, even although you can pick up versions of the classic novels for a quid, the full-price versions still do good business, because they're just nicer to have. Furthermore, I can't really imagine anyone who would go to the trouble of buying Babe II: Pig In The City from a bloke in the pub would stop for a second and think "Hey - am I going to be harming the chance of a sequel here?"

Cringely then trips over his feet - apparently, because films are expensive to make, there's no problem, but because records and articles are cheap to make, there is. He then launches into a laboured attempt to show us what happens next by drawing on the history of oil in Kuwait. (One company offered to do the research work for its big rival who held the monopoly to extract oil in Kuwait, and then managed to spend twenty years not finding any oil.) From this, he concludes, the record and publishing companies will set up a P2P network, tell everyone it's better and they'll have to pay, only it'll be rubbish so everyone winds up using a system they control that doesn't work very well. This is useless. The analogy doesn't work anyway because there's no way the internet and P2P can be compared with tightly controlled geographic territory - so if Sony turned up and said "Hey, guys, we've set up a filesharing service for you to use, for a small fee" everyone would say "Really?" and carry on with the free service they've already got. In effect, Cringeley has completely misunderstood the sort-of-Microsoft report. They're not merely saying "there's always going to be peer to peer swapping"; the whole point is they say:

you can build secure, swift, rights-managed networks until there's no more silicon left on the beach; people will always choose the unsecured option.

Just pants

As if the BPI didn't have enough to worry about with the threat to every single musician ever caused by the internet, now they're having to worry about musical knickers, too. Apparently the tune-filled underwear threatens to leave popstars unable to eat this Christmas.

Just how evil is Saddam?

Look at this photographic evidence of the the weapons dossier...

Clearly, the Saddam regime has access to CD burners and blank media. This can only mean that (applying the RIAA's logic) not only is he trying to make nuclear bombs out of chewing gum and cow's milk, but he's almost certainly got dozens of illegal home-burned compilations of The Captain and Tennielle's greatest hits hidden in his Presidential Palaces. The Weapons Inspectors should be recalled - let's send in the Federation Against Copyright Theft

We'll be kissing her ass

Luckily, someone in Australia gives Pink her due, as we offer you Kyla's review of the festival:
um, i'm not very good at this kind of stuff, but i'll give it a go... she was only on for about 45mins. and she wasn't even the closing act! it was so annoying, because they put shaggy as the closing act, and fucking hate shaggy. but the only thing i had to throw at him was my fairy wand, so i had to restrain myself...

ANYWAY, pink was great. easily the best there. i never even liked her before, but i am very converted now. she was wearing these mid-length spike heel boots and pin-stripe 3/4 cargo pants things that hung down way below her waist so that you could see her undies, which had 'FUCK' written on the back of them. and a white spaghetti string top under a black spaghetti string top, and then a pleather jacket that she took off about half way through the performance. i don't really know any of her songs that well, so i don't know what she played except for "family portrait" (introduced it as being "time to get all depressed now"), "get this party started" (is that what it's called?), "just like a pill", and "there you go" (a song she said she did a couple of years ago when she "had pink roots and was very pissed off").

oh, and she did a cover of four non blondes' "what's going on?"... um, she was kinda funny, too. well, she certainly amused me, anyway. she kept swearing and then correcting herself, because there were kids as young as five in the crowd... she was very energetic. she jumped around a lot, and at one stage i thought she was going to do a bowie and go down on her bassist's guitar, but sadly, she just laid down and let her bassist walk over her.. during the last song, she got down off the stage and in with the crowd. but i was about a metre too far back to make any contact with her. dammit... i seriously suck at this re-telling business, but she was just ace. i loved her. i want to be pink. that's all there is about it.

natalie imbruglia was also good. but the rest of the festival was pretty poor. mostly people wearing baggy clothes and pumping out what they dare to call "r&b". selwyn basically got up on stage and went, "oh, ah. yo yo yo. say, selllll-wyyyyyn..." a lot. he was just terrible. but pink was definitely great...

We like Undercover, but

Their story about Pink getting into a scrap stinks of a publication turned down for an interview, doesn't it?

"It was nice to see her [Pink] acknowledge her creator Linda Perry by performing Linda's 4 Non Blondes hit 'What's Up' (sic).

Yes, because Pink doesn't ever mention the role that Perry played in Misundastood, does she? She barely mentions it more than once or twice an interview. Undercover describea Perry as a "modern day musical Dr Frankstein", which is curious, since it suggests that they believe that Frankenstein's monster approached the doctor and begged him to create him. Thank god they didn't discover that Linda's gay, eh? Can you imagine the insults?

Quick thanks

Richard from Popism pointed out to us that our links had gone all Ivy Tilsley on us, thereby reminding us to update the javascript. Ta, Popism.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Tom Jones as a guide for life

We're not just amused by the American preacher who dresses up as Tom Jones and uses his songs as the basis of his sermons, but also bemused - we know bits of the Bible can be quite harsh, but surely Delilah's tale of actively not turning the other cheek is taking retribution a little far. And we're curious as to how Sex Bomb would be worked into a sermon.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Normally we'd hold this back for pop papers, but...

Amanda Platell's piece on Popbitch needs to be dealt with right now, we think. For those of you who haven't been bothered by her rather tiresome existence, Platty was part of William Hague's crack team who helped him turn a Labour landslide into another Labour landslide through their rather useless Tory election campaign last time round.

Suddenly aware that she'd thrown her weight behind the biggest bunch of political weebles since Disraeli took a holiday and left his dog Footy in charge for a fortnight, she then flogged a snippy fly on the wall documentary to the telly going "Ha ha, look how rubbish the Tories are", in the vain hope we might forget that the most rubbish thing they did was hire her to do the press work for them.

Now she writes the sort of mediawatch column in the New Statesman which would embarrass a fourteen year old Livejournal writer for its lack of understanding and startling insight. Okay, we don't like her; you may have got that. Anyway, like a whale deciding to try some KFC instead of plankton, for a change she's writing about an internet issue; like that whale, she gets metaphorically stuck in the doorway and thrashes about a bit.

The cyber-gossip website Popbitch - it's proud motto 'Unfounded rumour peddled as truth' - has set the newspaper industry back years

Um... "proud motto"? actually, Amanda, that's a joke. You see? Popbitch doesn't actually pretend to be a news source, and doesn't take itself all that seriously. If you don't get that, you might be about to make yourself look a bit of a wally.
The industry has worked hard at self-regulation...

Really? By appointing a bunch of newspaper editors to pass judgement on other editors? That would account for the quality and restraint shown by the British press, then. It makes you wonder exactly how deep the shit dumped on the Diana butler would have been but for this admirable self-restraint. And have you seen The Sport, Amanda? Those pictures of Sara Cox with her tits out that the Sunday People sneaked through the bushes didn't actually exist, then?
... but the dilemma over whether to print what has now become known as the Beckham rumour, the very same that first appeared on Popbitch, has thrown the whole process badly off course

Amanda, sweetie, the rumour did appear on the messageboard at The Bitch, but not first - it actually appeared initially on a Manchester United message board. About ten seconds research would have told you that. But anyway, let's get back to the issue - surely if a newspaper is admirable and self-regulated, then there's no dilemma at all. "Do we print an obviously false story alledging misconduct by a celebrity?" I'm sorry, I can't see any dilemma there at all, even if you add "because someone said it on the internet." Every day, thousands of things are said about people on message boards all over the world, and yet somehow there's no great panic attack at editorial conferences as a result - does David Yelland really stride into Wapping and say "Lads, I've just seen on Usenet that Christina only fucks black guys and always takes it up the ass - do we run this?" Palpable nonsense. If the tabloids want to run gossip as fact, they will, but lets not shed any tears that the poor little things are worrying about self-regulation. "Curse the internet - we wouldn't be in this position if they'd never said anything. We could just get back to buying up stories from close friends of Princess Diana and the former Mrs. Barrymore and not need to worry about the pledges we signed about invasion of privacy."
The tabloids had a field day, either running the rumour - claiming it was utterly untrue - or running the story of the rumour without the details, which in many ways is worse

Well, on the later point we agree with you. We notice you - um - run the story of the rumour without the details, Amanda. Now, tell us, how is it Popbitch's fault that the tabloids are so lazy they get most of their stuff of the web these days? Have you heard the phrase "shooting the messenger", Amanda?
My phone rang constantly with people wanting to know the truth about the Beckhams.

How thrilling your life must be. Let's hope your friends don't ever get a computer with web access, or indeed half a life, that your phone may never be stilled.
One former newspaper executive shared with me his rather sinister speculations about the rumour. (I will spare you the details)

Yawn. It's not going to be forces at work in the country again, is it? While we're namedropping, my newsagent filmed a cameo for Hollyoaks this week. Don't we lead thrilling, thrilling lives, Amanda?
No newspaper would have run the story unless it had appeared on the website, so Popbitch has enabled some newspapers to get perilously close to breaking their own codes and others to succumb to their baser instincts

What on earth are you talking about? Do you realise how ridiculous you sound? "A big boy did it first, Mummy." Any newspaper that runs a story simply because it's on the internet really ought to think seriously about closing itself down; and since when did the british tabloids need the excuse of "it's on a website" to invade someone else's privacy? If the press can't contain themselves faced with a bit of nonesense on a usually unreliable website, the problem with self-regulation is shown clearly, but it's not Popbitch that's set them back years - it's the paper's editors, honey. You might as well try and blame Sara Cox for sunbathing topless, or Paul Burrell for getting arrested.
Although the laws of libel for the internet are the same as for newspapers, they are much more difficult to enforce

You don't really know this for certain, do you? In fact, as far as we can tell, it's a lot easier to enforce libel laws on the internet. You might have noticed, for example, that popbitch pulled all references to beckham - as they have earlier to leslie and clarkson - without any need for any solicitors to get themselves into a court room. References to the Beckham story disappeared as soon as they appeared. Whereas a libel, once its in a paper, sits there, unchangable in that edition.
Tracing the source of a mumour can be almost impossible...

I'm assuming, Amanda, you're aware that libel law applies to anyone repeating a libel, and so "tracing the source" isn't entirely neccesary, as you can bring action against the owner of the site where the libel is published rather than the person who posted the libel in the first place
... and, if found, there is little chance of them having the fund to fight a legal action.

Have I missed a major change in the defamation laws in this country? Is it now impossible to launch a legal action against someone on the grounds that they can't fund their defence? Or is Platell just typing words more or less at random?
Closing a website is a lot easier than closing a paper

Eh? It's not, you know. Rupert Murdoch closed Today by calling everyone in and saying "This is your last edition", didn't he? And, um, if its easy to close a website, doesn't that make it easy to enforce the laws of libel rather than "much more difficult"?
A few thousand pounds later, the culprits are up and smearing again in cyberspace with the same audience of 20 million people

A few thousand pounds? Amanda, is that how much you think it costs to establish a website? And surely the "culprits" would be, by then, under a court pledge not to repeat the libel, so they'd be in the same position as if a newspaper had reprinted a libel. (Of course, The Sun is just one paper who's abused the spirit of self-regulation to do just that - maybe running the "You're Still A Lying Trucker" story alongside the judgment of the regulators that the original "You Lying Trucker" story was Popbitch's fault too.) And to accuse - as you appear - Popbitch of running a smear campaign against David Beckham is just hysterical nonsense. As for the "audience of 20 Million", what is that figure? Where did it come from? Are you really suggesting the average website has a larger audience than Coronation Street?
We may just have witnessed the death of privacy

Let's hope there was a tabloid cameraman snuck into the hospital room to capture the moment - you know, like with Russell Harty and Gordon Kaye?
It is ironic that the website's founder, as revealed in the daily Mirror, is Neil Stevenson, editor of the Face magazine...

No, that's not ironic. Unless you're Alanis Morrisette. And "revealed" - how did the Mirror find out that deep dark secret? Reading The Face's press release when he was appointed? Looking at the news story on mediaguardian? We simply don't know.
... a publication that regularly features the stars Popbitch smears.

Again, "smears" is histrionic, and more importantly - have you read either the Face or Popbitch? Because for all the Face's taking of its eye off the ball, it doesn't feature former Spice Girls, footballers or pierced pop stars who make up Popbitch's stock-in-trade. Again, a spot of research before launching into print could help.
Talk of a celebrity boycott of the magazine comes as no surprise

And, to cap it all, after berating the press for running groundless, unsourced rumours, you end on one yourself. Hats off.

Lucky lisp

Possible last word (until the German judge says "for two years") on the Liam affair went to Paul Merton on last night's Have I Got News For You? - "It's his John Lennon obsession - he's trying to get himself shot."

btw: If Liza Tarbuck doesn't get the callback, there's no justice in the world.

Why we love Popjustice

It's not that they registered justintimberlake.co.uk and put up a picture of him kissing himself... but then they invited comments. Sweet, sweet joy.

Friday, December 06, 2002

Google, are you sure?

We here at No Rock are enthusiastic users of Google News, loving it for its sampling of top quality news sources round the globe and the way it flops all the stuff down on a search like some sort of scrapbook of the Gods. However, the discovery that one of the top-quality news services it includes is The Daily Roxette has slightly shaken our faith.

How about a role as a desperate popstar who gets her tits out to try and save a flagging career? Oh, hang on...

If you've got some time to spare, do visit the MTV report on what Christina Aguilera is planning for 2003. She's going to tour - although no dates are yet booked - "I'm working with my choreographers, putting together some really amazing things. I'm definitely going to mix it up, put some acoustic stuff in there" says the Mickey Mouse Clubber with the smack whore's wardrobe.

What does that mean? It's just babble, isn't it; she might as well have said "I'm working with my chiropractors, putting together some really yellow things. I'm definitely going to mix it up, put some liontaming in there" for all it means - it's obviously such policy made on the wing that we wonder if her record company are suggesting maybe she should look at spending much of next year retraining as a touch typist.

That would also explain why she's now muttering about spreading the Christina experience to movie work as well:

"Something edgy would be good," she said. "I like the kind of roles Angelina Jolie usually plays, like 'Girl, Interrupted.' Something with substance."

Angelina has a whacked-out background with enough issues to fill out a binder and a mind as wonky as two-legged table, which is why she can play those parts. Christina, you are a schoolie who's stolen a push-up bra and a bright red lipstick from your mother - what could you possibly bring to a role of substance? But before aspiring Hollywood scriptwriters burn their laptops for fear that their hard-wrought characters end up being simpered through by Christina, wait up - Christina might just write her own film instead.
"I have some ideas of my own..."

- why do we find that so very hard to believe? -
"...so maybe I'll get with a screenwriter to put them to paper"

Um, Christina, maybe we're being thick, but wouldn't having your own ideas mean you'd write your own things on paper? You know, like write them down yourself?

It's the end of the year...

As 2002 draws to its spectacular conclusion, it's time for various Records of the Year lists. This is probably the first Christmas when there's been a wide enough world of bloggers to offer a credible weight of opinion - I wonder if anyone is going to sit down with an exercise book and produce some sort of chart from the results of the various choices? - and amongst the first out of the blocks is vain, selfish & lazy's day-by-day Top 20. Fred's already included Tweet's Oh My in his list, which we think is in an inspired choice, and raises a great point: why are female wanking songs usually cool and sweaty, while male masturbation songs seem to be just sweats?

But no Marmalades, we notice

We don't know which newborn Australian children we feel most sorry for - Shakira, Frasier, Blade, Lexus or Noname. But surely the strangest choice for parents is to decide to name their kid after a singer who died because her shoe-laden plane crashed? I name you Aaliyah...?

Another Colour Supplement

The new Colour Supplement is online, doing the stuff that we'd do here if it wasn't nothing to do with music and thus not of concern to the main... I'm sorry, I have no idea where I was going with that. This week: Israeli acadamics miss points; an extended dialogue with a bloke with a gun; Jeffrey Archer - maligned; and vomitting kids.

After big tobacco, here comes big entertainment

Senator Kevin Murray chaired the US Senate Select Committe on the Entertainment Industry, and his report makes heavy, if fun, reading.

"There is clearly dysfunction in the relationship between artist and company"

says Kevin, pinpointing a sunny day in 1987 when the record companies stopped working with the artists, and started to work against them.

Kevin's plain wrong in places, mind - he says "artists and record companies need each other", but while a record label with no talent would have serious problems (although S manages to get along), an artist without a record company could probably do quite well in the modern market, although Murray describes direct relationships as "a fantasy." Maybe, but there's nothing to stop an artist just buying in the skills he needs to do the mediation work - pluggers can be hired and press releases faxed just as well by an artist's manager as some coke-addled twerp taking a break from posting to Popbitch.

On the whole, though, this report gives a lot of questions for the RIAA and its members to answer, and hopefully will stop them being quite so quick to clamber on the moral high ground now they've been described as being like
"a spouse [caught] moving assests to the detriment of the other."

We tried running a search on Kevin Murray on the RIAA website. It crashed.

[They'd have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for rocktober telling us.]

Dannii's solictors presumably still working on that letter

How else could we explain that despite her huffing that she'd been misquoted, the scumwipes at the BNP still have her support for their brand of festering politics proudly declared on their website. We've actually only just noticed that they manage to spell her name wrong, too.

Oh, and while we're at it

This is what Multibabel makes of the top ten compilation albums:
1. thats of the hour, that one I call dispendio 53 of music (Now... 53)
2. country II of randello (Clubland II)
3. album better Guitar that world air two (Best Air Guitar Album In the World 2)
4. The ministry of healthful directory 2003 (MoS Annual 2003)
5. During my guitar, you walk easily (While my Guitar Gently Weeps)
6. the thing more better possible of chechmate of that Darey - of Euphoria (Very best of Euphoria - Matt Darey)
7. Legend of the country (Country Legends)
8. Enormous Effect 2003 (Huge Hits 2003)
9. Years of fifty of the greater effect select (Fifty years of the greatest hit singles)
10. Main legend of years' 60 of gold (capital gold sixties legends)

Brought to book

We've always wondered why music has never yet spawned an equivalent of, say, Wisden's or The Bedside Guardian - a collection of stuff about the year that's just gone; perhaps padded with some statistics and a few pictures. There have been attempts, certainly - Virgin used to produce some sort of Rock Yearbook which was hobbled by aiming for the Christmas market, forcing it to run October to October, and editorially the product was lite. Smash Hits Yearbook first incarations do provide a sense of place, if you look back at them now, but they look through a small window and like their sire title, don't have the quality anymore. The year-end issues of the pop press provide a fairly reliable guide to albums released, but tend to strip them from the context of the year as a progression - although the Melody Maker's annual review did at least order the revisits chronologically and ran them aside headlines from the month; though not any more, of course.

The gap in the market may be plugged, a bit, by Best Music Writing. Now in its third year, this is a grab-happy collection of bits and pieces from a range of sources - including the Onion and I Love Music's message board mesh - which functions like a kind of Music 2002 Reader. It seems like it could be an answer, but still - we'd like something that added some sales pie charts and graphs. We like graphs.

Sorry to miss Jackson

That spider bite's obviously gotten worse, as Michael Jackson's not turned up in court today, says the BBC. Which is a pity, because he's giving such good value when he does appear.

His latest in court claim was to compare himself with Walt Disney, which is interesting. Through characters like the evil stepmother in Snow White, and the scenes like the death of Bambi's mother, Disney's great trick was to make children wake up screaming in the middle of the night when he thought he was just giving them what they wanted, too.

A further reason to buy Apple Macs

New Gateway PCs won't just be running Windows; it'll come with the Dixie Chicks preloaded, too.

How depressing is this?

Think of all the bands in the world. Then subtract all the shit ones. And the French ones. Now, place the remaining bands in some sort of ascending order. Are Atomic Kitten anywhere near the top? No?

Then why are they shortlisted for 'Best non-French band' at the NRJ awards?

Also, isn't there something cheesey about your official site trying to get people to vote for them on a foreign language site? Have some dignity, girls.

If the original album was 'Under Rug Swept'

...then what do you call an album of stuff that was too bad to even sweep under the carpet? Alanis suggests Feast of scraps. We'd suggest Will This Do?


In our school, a Kennedy was a bizarre move whereby someone would attempt to knee you in the chest with an almost balletic movement while shouting "Kennedy" - we think it was a result of overexposure to that ITV trailer for the docudrama about the family which consisted solely of clips of the show where people said "Kennedy."

On Radio 2, however, it's a reactionary old bag who used to be straight person to Jeremy Beadle, taken apart with deft filleting movements by TV Cream's Creamguide [You'll need to subscribe, but, really, you need to subscribe anyway]. The best bit of a long list of complaints against Sarah's presntational style (Lynda Lee Potter with a wind-up gramophone, apparently) is this:

"Sarah once played the sublime 'Never Let Her Slip Away', and every time the title was mentioned in the lyrics she interrupted the song to shout out "Split infinitive!" There has never been a more infuriating three minutes of radio broadcasting in the history of this country.

Note to Creamguide: We didn't ask permission to use this, but there's no rules about stealing things from the Internet, is there?

Be kind to her, she has to suck his cock, remember

We don't have any special beef with the concept of Lindy Carr ("peter stringfellow's girlfriend") releasing a record. After all, it's a democracy, isn't it? There's nothing to stop anyone putting a single out, and, let's face it, if the other option is letting hyper-tanned pensionable lothario Stringfellow insert his doubtless equally leathery member between your thighs, spending a couple of hours knocking out a pointless dance number must seem quite attractive.

And while we'd suggest that the fact Stringers has had to create his own record label to get the thing released and is holding the launch party as his own club suggests that it might hint that the quality isn't quite good, why shouldn't she get a bit of support from her boyfriend? She's the one who has to know the horror of knowing his face at the point of orgasm, something about which are free to remain blissfully ignorant, save for the images which stir our nightmares. But how on earth can a single which won't actually come out until January 13th already be lined up to appear on an album of Dance Anthems? Surely that's for clubbers to decide, isn't it?

Just how open can a relationship be?

A time for giving

It's Christmas, and if you're looking for a rock and roll cause to support with a small charitable donation, might we suggest the NACC, the UK charity for sufferers of Crohn's Disease.

Crohn's is the digestive system disorder which has screwed around with Beth Orton's career and has just hospitalised Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Let's hope Posh's publicist doesn't object to this one

The Guardian's rather nifty Northerner mailout includes the following, about names people give their cows:

"According to an NFU study of what farmers, including Cumbrians, call their cattle, sports, pop and film stars' names are becoming popular," reports the Mail. The study was based on a phone poll of 200 farmers (not all of them Cumbrians). Some said they liked old names such as Daisy and Marigold but trendier sons of the soil are now opting for Camilla, Kylie and Posh."

Now, of course, there's nothing new here - The Archers have had a cow called Baby Spice, after Emma Bunton, for ages. But you've just got imagine the joy Victoria Beckham must feel when she discovers that her musical career has inspired others. Dairy farmers, admittedly, but - hey - at least its someone...

Bad language in Church

We're not that fond of Charlotte Church, but clearly someone's started a game of CelebDuel, whereby the tabloids attempt to drive a celeb completely over the edge.

The Daily Record is reporting with glee that Church used the f word and stomped off rather than talking to other cast members. We reckon they'll have her at her first suicide attempt by easter.

How humiliated would you be for ten million?

Remember the cop who waved his willy at George Michael, causing the shock revelation that George was actually not straight? Remember how the poor little dear was afraid that he'd had the piss taken out of him by George afterwards?

Well, the winky-waver is back - he's been given leave to sue George for ten million USD because of "humiliation, emotional and physical distress and", um, medical treatment.

The cop's name is Marcelo Rodriguez.

Now, we would never have bothered to mention how he hung around in men's toilets for a living if he wasn't pursuing this stupid and greedy action. Indeed, his part in the slightly pathetic pursuit of gay men would have been forgotten if he didn't keep standing up in court saying "I waggled my winkle at the Whamster and ever since people have pointed at me and laughed." Maybe he should consider suing himself for turning himself into an international figure of fun.

Rock music

It's bad, mmmkay?

Merry Christmas

Mags from Aha is given a load of money - nearly two thousand US Dollars to decorate a Christmas tree. Mags tied the cash to a tree in protest at the commercialisation of Christmas. The money got stolen. All Mags seems to have done is ensure that bangle and tinsel seller's children will have a smaller turkey this year.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Korn struck dumb

Great news! Korn have had to axe the last five dates of their tour as Jonathon Davis has got a sore throat - although, to be honest, we're not sure why this should be so much of a problem - it's not like people go to Korn to hear words sung in a beautiful way, is it? It's like Les Dawson cancelling a piano-playing gig because he'd got a bad wrist.

Madster ordered to power down

Madster has been told that its got to switch off its computers. Do judges actually have the power to do that?

Stones on the drip

We thought the cost of megagigs was getting out of hand as it was, but even with the gnarled forces of the Rolling Stones dropping prices, the only way the Belgradians can afford to go and see Mick and Get Orf Mi Land Keef is by paying in installments...

[Update: 04/12/07 - Internet archive version of the original story]

Ignorance of the law

"82 percent of consumers believe that backing-up is legal" according to US survey by GartnerG2 Presumably the other 18 percent worked for record labels.

Oh god. Oh God. Oh God. Make it stop, please. Someone, someone, please stop this. Oh, Lord, please. Take my babies, take my car. Just promise this...


Robbie Williams has had All You Need Is Love - the sheet music - tattooed on his back. What a knob.

What the pop papers say: Free badges edition

Mel C is back with a new look and a new image, announces Now - and inside pictures her with a man, which is, blimey, a major new image. Apparently, she's looked at engagement rings through a window with him, and everything. Now thinks this will put the rumours about her sexuality to bed. Um... maybe bisexuality doesn't exist after all, then. Maybe it's just us...?

Sophie Ellis Bextor has got the cover of Harpers and Queen, and establishes her credentials as The Closest Thing We Have To Pink by revealing that she wanted to turn up at her PETA anti-fur shoot wearing a fake fur just to see people's faces. See, Moby - it's possible to have a sense of humour about these things?...

Maximum Rock & Roll's 'Inevitable War' edition has reached Britain, with its regular corps of correspondents being asked to give their opinion on attacking Iraq. Oddly, nobody there seems that keen. However, the title is quite happy to launch a small attack on Punk Planet, running a piece condemning it for not being honest enough to call itself "Indie Rock Planet." Fulminating with rage over the misuse of the word "punk" is fine, but aren't MR&R leaving themselve open to the same charge - after all, there's not much room for rock and roll in between its punk columns and punk distros...

Loaded (we got it for 80p, and it comes with a Snickers Cruncher, alright) can be boiled down to just one decent music observation - that Badly Drawn Boy is the Oxfam Elton John; beyond that, it's pretty much all boiling down. The 80p coupon we found in an abandoned copy of the Daily Star and, frankly, it looks like most of their articles were created in the same way these days - 'someone who left Corrie eight months ago in cheap knickers' is hardly on a par with Tracy Shaw straddling a giant marrow, is it?...

Q, the only magazine that comes out on a lunar monthly cycle (13 and not 12 issues a year) spends Christmas with a copy of the 200 Rudest Songs ever - apparently, they're so hard up for material they include Mansun's Stripper Vicar as one, which is hardly rude, is it?...

What is rude is Paul Simon's Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard - all that illegal sexual activity. "Is it gay?" asks a reader. Paul Simon, frustratingly, didn't actually have any particular act in mind when he wrote the song, or so he claims. Bah...

The main meat of Q is the 100 Greatest Albums Ever. They last ran this poll five years ago, when Radiohead won. This time round, Nirvana's Nevermind took the biscuit, which suggests the Q readership have slipped from mildly depressed to suicidal in half a decade. Somehow, people have the gall to suggest that Coldplay's Rush of Blood To The Head - which was released about thirty two seconds ago - has stood the test of time and should be in the list; the test of time being, apparently, the length of time it takes to get home and play half the album. The futilty of voting for recent albums is demonstrated in the tolling bell recording the records that were in the '97 rundown, but not in the new list - Placebo's debut and Texas' White on Blonde apparently not quite the timeless classics people seemed to insist they once were. Surprisingly, and sadly, Pulp's Different Class has had to make way for the likes of Ryan Adams and The Strereophonics...

One other thing puzzles us - Never Mind The Bollocks in the Top 10? It wasn't the first, and it isn't even all that good, so why do people keep insisting its anything more than a Model T Ford type of record - terribly, terribly dated, of historical interest but hardly a Lexus...

the nme has got free badges, remember - we're telling you, it's the sniff of going monthly. We got "your band is shit", an nme logo, and what appears to be the Jesus Jones logo. The cover has got The Streets on, so its not even going to be satisfy using the pins to poke eyes out...

news starts with a spot of promotion for nme endeavours; 'could liam be the surprise christmas number one?' No.; Oasis are being supported by (german courts permitting) the bandits, the stand, electric soft parade (presumably no grimy sub-beatles beatles were free that night?) and, oh fuck off, ocean colour scene; julian casablancas jumped into the crowd and nearly recreated the Ayatollah Khommeni's funeral as people grabbed at his by then naked butt; the Osbournes are back - in episode one, they go to have dinner with the president, which, I'm sorry, marks them out as cunts as big as Noel. The nme seems to think it's got some sort of "exclusive" about the first episode of the new series, which is funny, seeing as its already aired in the states and been seen by seven million people; "Following his success in Gorillaz, it's believed Damon [Albarn] has no wish for Blur to continue" - so, it's over, then, although that's surely on a par with "having had a comic strip in Look-In, Jarvis Cocker decided to stop doing music" or something; Jet deny they've signed a GBP1.2m deal - don't worry, petals, we didn't believe you had; Chris Martin has written more secret messages on his hand - it doesn't make you mysterious and deep, you twat, it makes you like some sort of walking Where's Wally puzzle; Outkast are to attempt to cash-in on 8mile("follow the success of Eminem's movie") with one of their own; The Coral are going to release two albums next year - probably overheard someone in their record label saying "we give 'em nine months"; P Diddy wants to run for President - well, can't be worse than the current shower; Elijah Woods from the Boring Tolkein Movie is going to have a part in a forthcoming Flaming Lips film while Marilyn Manson is going to be the devil opposite Gary Oldman in a new movie; The White Stripes have done a gig in Transylvania, which shows they're not scared of vampires. Its also unlikely that Jack is scared of Ryan Adams, who's called him "a little girl" - a curious term of abuse from a man whose record label seems determined to market him squarely to an audience of little girls. Adams continues that he was asked to be in that movie that Jack's doing, he did, and he turned them down, and besides, he'd rather be touring and he's a singer not an actor anyway and Jack White smells of poo...

April Long and Jolie Lash win a small cash prize or choice of fruit from our display for taking Escapology up to some Americans and asking them what they think: "sounds like Lenny Kravitz... they might appreciate him more on Mars... he's ripped off every living cheese artist... horrendous... his voice isn't real good... trying too hard to be liked... reminds me of a Dave Matthews spin-off." Classic. Eighty Million well spent, EMI...

the rapture pretend they're burning a CD full of Hawkwind, Jungle Brothers, Bob Dylan and Barry White...

hot new bands - the basement - most notable for having a drummer called declan macmanus, which is, of course, elvis costello's name; and the raveonettes (not, of course, ravonettes) whose singer is called Sharin Foo. Get over it, they're going to be around for a long time...

that mystery indie cock turns out to belong to pete of Kill City. Right, when you said "who's this cock?" we thought you meant the penis he was holding, not the man himself...

there's a poll form to allow you to help programme the nme carling awards, erm, vote for the nme reader's poll...

James Oldham catches up with Winona Ryder, whose last major appearance in the nme was when she turned up in the middle of the paper's lost weekend with Courtney Love. Oh, hang about. It's actually that article again. Presumably if she'd shouted through the window during a Replacements interview, they'd have had enough for an NME Originals special...

The Coral have gone to the states, and - unlike everybody else - seem to realise that the US doesn't owe them anything. Their attitude - "we'll move here for six months if we have to" - should bring tears of joy to their record label and already puts them over the likes of Robbie Williams and Charlotte Church in the likelihood of actually selling records there. (Yes, we know what we said a few paragraphs back - that was a joke...)

also in america: mike skinner. we like the streets. he met his girlfriend at a gig (the chemical brothers) and would give George Bush a book (awareness)...

reviews - albums:
system of a down - steal this album - "queen meets rage against the machine in a metal production of Godspell", 7
mariah carey - charmbraclet - "health restored by rainbows", 3
snoop dogg - paid tha cost to be da bo$$ - "incredibly sharp return", 8
faust - patchwork - 1971 - 2002 - "a good, well paced into for beginners", 8

sotw - ja rule - thug lovin - "despite whooping like a wounded seal"
plus - pink - family portrait - "dark, miserable, bleak and claustraphobic. Happy Christmas from pink"
the fall - the fall vs 2003 - "like a crocodile, only nastier, and without so many teeth"
the cheeky girls - cheeky song (touch my bum) - "cold, sloppy dog wank"

lcd - EC2 - "lipgloss is melting all over the floor"
good charlotte - highbury garage - "so deliciously fucking bad"
ms dynamite - wc2 cc club - "a star"
avril lavigne - wc2 astoria - "the onstage presence of a mic stand"

even more bemusing than why the nme is bothering to run pictures of chimps meeting Liam Gallagher ("half way through I realise - I'm having a conversation with Liam Gallagher" - boy, what a pity BBC4 wasn't there to record that meeting of minds) is whether they really are getting so few of them that they're reduced to printing a picture of two but ugly nobodies gurning as they listen to an oasis gig. Jesus. Hang about, though, one's got their eyes open. Where are those badge pins...?

But Mr. Louder, you are spoiling us

The Playlouder singles club is known throughout society for its high quality downloads of tip top tunes. But as they prepare for the first ever PlayLouder festival at the ICA, they have just gone nuts. Alec Empire, K, 80s Matchbox B Line Disaster...

Look! We've read an email!

Again, lots of good stuff in the remember the 80's mailout, which are always one part joy to six parts warning. Billy Currie of Ultravox and Jay Aston from Buck's Fizz are preparing to launch their solo careers; Nik Kerhsaw wrote a Christmas song for Gareth Gates but Gates didn't use it so he's going to record it himself; and, winningly, Katrina out of Katrina and the Waves is singing on Holly Vallance's album.

We always had a soft spot for Jay Aston - you could see in her eyes that she really wished Bucks Fizz were living some sort of rockslut dream, but she could never take them along. We were always mildly surprised that she never turned out for David Van Day's Buck Fizz, but then since David's idea of sexy was cheap ass placcy trews, maybe we're not. She should consider Rockbitch.

Cheap shot of the day

Keith Richards should be careful taking on the conservationists - before too long he might be relying on them to shore up his craggy face.

Seriously, it's as simple as this, Keef - you bought a house with a public footpath running across the land. If you're afraid that allows 'nutters' and the paparazzi to get too near you, move. It really is that easy.

Besides, as we've said before - altering a footpath isn't going to save you from 'nutters'. The bloke who went to truss up Stephen Speilberg and rape him was going to go across his land - he didn't get to the fence and say "Oh, no bridleway? I'll take my nipple clamps back home, then. Forced buggery is one thing, but if it means trespassing to anally invade someone, I'm not prepared to go there."