Saturday, November 23, 2002

We have nothing to say but:

There was a volume one?

[Update 24/11/07: The original story has disappeared, however: has a cached version of the page, and reveals it was volume two of the [Atomic] Kitten Diaries]

We've had lots of letters

Well, actually we haven't - we emailed the Official Chart people to ask if they were aware of the allegations in that book about Louis Walsh and the bootful of Westlife CDs, and if they were, what they're going to do about it. No response.

Meanwhile, no response either to our question to Liverpool City Council about how they can spend cash pulling down flyposters when they allowed the skyline to dominated by the Coca-Cola advert. Maybe we'll try the council leader directly next.

More chatty were Christina Aguilera fans. We posed the question (both here and on 'she's number one - why?' The response - such as it was - was "because she looks hot in the video", which strikes us as a bit of an odd reason to buy the single - what would the thinking be there? Keep it in the charts, keep it on The Box? Or perhaps 'if she thinks waggling works, she'll keep waggling."

Someone did suggest that it's the most popular track on the album in "all the clubs", though. May the saints preserve us from ever setting foot in a place where they have favourite CA album tracks.

We think we'll leave the newsgroup to get back to their slightly nauseous discussions about black men's penises. It seems the racist paranoid virgin is now the largest sub-group amongst her fans. She must be very proud.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Westminster City Council: Eradicating fun

We've mentioned before how Westminster City Council (official slogan 'Don't make merry rand 'ere, we'll just gerrymander') have embarked on a campaign to push joy as far beyond its boundaries as it can - the objection to the Astoria licence, the policy that attempted to kill off drug users by suggesting that providing water in clubs would be tantamount to approving of drug use.

Now, they've prosecuted pubs because people were swaying rhythmically inside them, and they didn't have a licence for dancing. Seriously. We're not making this up - they've issued written warnings to pubs because people have been seen "swaying" on the premises.

There's always an official explanation:

"Premises providing music and dancing are required as a matter of law to obtain a licence. For this reason our inspectors visit premises. We need to observe whether a premises is encouraging entertainment and encouraging people to dance. The two premises of Pitcher and Piano were advised that they were encouraging music and dancing and that they should apply for a licence, they did not."

You'll notice that there wasn't actually any threat to public safety or civil order - there was no fear that at any moment, the gentle hip-wiggling might spill over into a full on West-Side-Story-esque street party with upturned bins, cars set on fire and screeching and rapes and murders. The action was brought because it could be, not because it needed to be. Petty.

Meanwhile, Peter Stringfellow is to be prosecuted by - yes, Westminster again - because the girls in his strip club touch people and are a bit lewd. The council sent in undercover officers, who allowed themselves to be pawed (that job really must suck, musn't it) - or rather, had buttocks rubbed on their thighs.

Sweetgwen, is this really what councils should be doing with their time? Spending cash sending people off for lapdances, and then squealing because there's a bit of gentle contact? Again, the question has to be: what is the exact point of this prosecution? I mean, we think Stringfellow is a creepy, scary man, but even so - who is going to be outraged by going into a lap dance club and getting a bit more than they pay for?

The word that you heard

As if the fear of a modern day Grease 3 isn't enough to scare you, Ja Rule and Ashanti are plotting a remake of the original, in a truncated music video form. Ja's got it all worked out in his head:

"We'll start out the video with the whole transition thing — where she got on her slut outfit, she's smoking a cigarette and coughing and her girls are there. She's like, 'Well, if he wants me to be more street, that's what I gotta do.' And they cut to me and I'm in my sweater and my niggas are there, rolling the dice or whatever and they're looking at me like, 'Yo, what the fuck?' "I'm like 'I love her. If she wants me to be a little more [preppy], this is what I gotta do.' I see her in the slut outfit and I rip off my joint then I'm in all black and it's on and popping. It's gonna be hot"

Somehow, we can't believe it's going to outclass Hilda Baker and Arthur Mullard's classic remake of the You're The One That I Want video, but it's probably going to come close.

Madster still lives

The RIAA - who, let's face it, spend so much time in court these days might as well go the whole hog and rename themselves Wolfram and Hart - have trampled back into the state house to complain that Madster hasn't done as it was told, and stopped illegal music sharing. Madster say that it's not as simple as all that; the RIAA say "why don't you just unplug the servers", thereby missing totally the point that there are legal uses for file sharing.

The RIAA's attitude is, of course, that anything that could be used for illegal swappage must be removed from the system, even if that means everyone must return their PCs to the store and sit and wait to be told what to do next.

Next week, of course, a US court will deliver judgement on whether the case against Kazaa can be brought in the US of Americas when the company isn't based there. That one is going to be juicy.

And then it'll be a few dottings and crossings, and we'll be out of here

Some phrases that mean pretty much the same thing:
Closing down sale
Everything must go
Will the last one to leave please switch out the lights
That's your lot, people
Time gentlemen, please
We might as well see how that one by Liam sells, shall we?
I've always been a big fan of Hollyoaks and was delighted to be asked

Let's pretend we're the NME

Since the Daily Star used to just fill their columns with stuff filched off Popbitch, and so that presumably will be the great new dirction taken at AOL Kings Reach Tower now, we're beating them to the chase.

Actually, we've just read on Pb that The Pretenders are covering Interferon's Get Out of London, which is something we can't wait to hear. Now all we need is for Garbage to do the Mobiles' Drowning in Berlin, and we can die happy. Not pretty, but happy.

Ensuring nothing off-topic ever reaches these shores

This week's edition of the No Rock And Roll Fun - Colour Supplement asks: Is 'Today' relevant? What do you give the person who's got everything? Are guns weapons? When is it good that prison conditions are crap? Why is TLC so-called? And do you like to touch yourself?

Something to read

From Simon Reynold's site, a piece he wrote originally in 1996 to explain the UK pop press to Americans. In passing he had to explain Romo too, of course.

Now, there are points at which he's plainly wrong - especially when he claims that the Melody Maker would focus on bands at the start of their career and the NME would muscle in and start to applaud them when they were about to break. This is arrant wasp toss - there always were Maker bands and NME bands, and the Maker bands would never be touched by the NME unless they broke big - indeed, the same was true of whole scenes; so Romo never actually got beyond the Maker and the two magazines called Shoegazing by different names for so long they nearly fell over.

But the article remains a solid reminder of a time lost - even though "right now... something so revolutionary is happening that nothing will ever be the same again" (according to the liner notes with the new NME CD) there's still a feeling of consensus, consensus, consensus. And part of that is down to the loss of any sense of competitiveness in the music press - the days when there was a race to be first to get the bands into print have gone, and as such, the then-weekly nme is short of compulsion.

What do you call a pair of singing tits?

Gareth and Will. Or, alternatively... - we can't help but think of the Cheeky Girls when we watch this.

[It's SFW, but probably still not something you'd want to be seen watching]

They're kidding, right? They've got to be kidding?

The rumours that the nme had advertised the news editor's job without telling the current incumbent was one thing, but hiring one of the Daily Star's bitches (their column title, not an observation on how they work for Richard Desmond, the most hands-up proprietor since Robert Maxwell cheered us all up by tripping) surely has to be a satirical statement, doesn't it?

Of course, it's not, is it? It seems to us to be an indication that IPC is more interested in the online and text versions of the title - which have a higher tittle-tattle-to-rock-news ratio than the magazine itself, but even so it's a pretty grim day. She wrote for the Daily Express, dammit. How rock and roll.

Still, at least it's not Emma Jones.

[EDIT: I never actually mentioned her name: Mel Myers]

We know Googlism is the last refuge of the desperate blogger, but...

Brett Anderson is just too good to not share: [Via googlism, of course]
brett anderson is god
brett anderson is a vocalist and the leader of suede
brett anderson is doing heroin"
brett anderson is a wisp of a man
brett anderson is refused entry
brett anderson is anything to go by
brett anderson is a bit
brett anderson is the ultimate dandy of the '90s
brett anderson is god and suede are angels
brett anderson is the not only the president of our school he rips the slopes on his snowboard
brett anderson is a true rock star
brett anderson is taking time out from recording the band's fifth studio album
brett anderson is quite simply a star
brett anderson is promptly elected governour general
brett anderson is about to bury you alive in trash
brett anderson is an associate based in our minneapolis office
brett anderson is wrapped up in microphone cable and attempting to throw himself off
brett anderson is my
brett anderson is like when not on drugs
brett anderson is set to read some of his own poetry at this year's bristol
brett anderson is everything yank anglophobes can't stand
brett anderson is a staff writer at washington city paper
brett anderson is back in the land of the living with renewed optimism and a new album amy raphael sunday
brett anderson is one of the best kickers in the history of the simon fraser football program
brett anderson is the man who spent a year in a rambling gothic house in highgate scrambling his mind on drugs in the quest to write the words
brett anderson is currently rocking blonde hair
brett anderson is a national honor society member at dundee central high school
brett anderson is allergic to mushrooms
brett anderson is the chair for pancake day
brett anderson is in charge of pancake day
brett anderson is a 'brett anderson' as well
brett anderson is an asset both in front of and behind the camera
brett anderson is pretty hot as well
brett anderson is exploiting the gay community by daring to call himself bisexual and use queer images when 'he still has not had that gay experience'
brett anderson is offering an alternative way of seeing those categories
brett anderson is on about but
brett anderson is so cute
brett anderson is hooked on chlorine
brett anderson is trying to quash the rumour that the song is about a certain other breakfast dj
brett anderson is the one with the gift for
brett anderson is just too fey for stateside tastes
brett anderson is theatrical and melodrammatic enough to give birth to the british pop phenomenon of 1993
brett anderson is one of the rare few who mature like a very very fine chardonnay
brett anderson is in
brett anderson is “the lord of the dance”
brett anderson is talking about
brett anderson is ranked 4th in the league with jim nakis right behind ranked 5th
brett anderson is away from london to work on a new album for all of us
brett anderson is allergic bathroom tiles with pictures of fish
brett anderson is the new committee chair
brett anderson is surely one of the pop stars easiest to do an impression of
brett anderson is still a hell of a lot more fanciable than stuart murdoch
brett anderson is lead vocals
brett anderson is lead singer with teen sensation suede and the last word in flamboyant
brett anderson is a libra too
brett anderson is a mac student at the university of iowa
brett anderson is in top form as he performs "trash
brett anderson is still the crafty old queen
brett anderson is well
brett anderson is an australian
brett anderson is currently a junior at msum
brett anderson is the engine of the band
brett anderson is a los angeles
brett anderson is rock's most androgynous frontman since that ziggy stardust character
brett anderson is undoubtedly the most talented of all male pop vocalists
brett anderson is
brett anderson is a fucking genius in 1993
brett anderson is a convicted child molester in the state of ohio
brett anderson is online from sweden
brett anderson is cleaning house and has placed a number of repair manuals and parts fiche up for auction on ebay

Not that Bill Wyman: A conclusion

The attorney who attempted to stop Bill Wyman the journalist using his own name has backed down, sort of.

"We were only worried that people might read an article on music by a Bill Wyman and think that it was an inside account" seems to be the explanation for the outrageous and idiotic demand in the first place. Hmmm. But fair's fair - shouldn't Bill 'stone' Wyman's name - whenever he's doing anything involving writing - also be expected to make it clear that he's not the writer for the Atlanta Jounal-Constitution?

After all, if Rolling Stones fans are now thought to be so mentally enfeebled they can't tell the guy they read in the paper every week from the guy who had a relationship with the thirteen year old Mandy Smith when he was forty seven, isn't there a danger of the reverse happening?

Bono giving lectures?

execute 'so no change there, then' script here.

Back along the Crystal Crescent

If the Primals are doing a Greatest Hits in 2003, it bloody better have Velocity Girl on it. That's all we can say.

Long sticky pole

Apparently today's Daily Express is claiming that the Top of the Pops that goes out tonight will be the "raunchiest" ever - presumably because Christina is going to be on, and she must be sexy, she keeps telling us she is; and there's also Kylie, Sugababes and Shakira lined up as well.

Hmmm, maybe the least clothes ever, but raunchiest? We still remember the Imagination incident, you know. Besides, Coldplay are on, which negates any ounce of oomph the show may have had.

While we're talking about pop on TV - ITV2 last night had Shania Twain on Late Night with David Letterman (we suspect this must have been aired Wednesday in the States). What the hell was she wearing? She looked like she was going to finish the song, and then go back to Iceland to finish stocking the fish finger aisle. Orange bodywarmer, Shania? Eh? Is EasyJet chic the next big thing in Canada?

It did, however, draw attention from the dreadful run through of I'm Gonna Get You Good, a song so mish-mashed together its sole hope of survival is being boomed out so loud as to scare mammals in distant woods. On Letterman, live, Twain didn't appear to have the stomach to belt it out, and the backing sounded curiously as if it was being played on the old 1980's Battlestar Galactica handheld games - all clicky and whirring without any coherent tune. Shameful.

Ure going too fast

Midge Ure, pixiesque god-loving former Ultravox frontman turned up in the papers yesterday, being fined GBP500 for driving without due care and attention. We can only imagine he'd been driving with tears in his eyes.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

It's like Dallas

Former executive of the International Webcasting Association has gone on the record about the behaviour of the RIAA over the recent struggle for webcast royalty rates - we shan't bore you with the details - check The Register's article for more - but, basically, "divide and rule tactics" sums it up. Not illegal, but certainly unethical.
But remember, kids, it's all about the artists.

No, the devil DOES have all the best tunes, so give them back

We're not big fans of Christian Rock - we were frightened by Joan Osbourne when we were children - so we have to endorse the line taken by Dan Lucarini in his snappily titled Why I Left The Contemporary Christian Music Movement, albeit for different reasons.

Dan, it seems, is worried that people who think that God doesn't care what music he gets praised in - apparently, that just isn't the case.

See, playing that there rock music stimulates "worldly thinking" and "self-indulgence among musically gifted people." In other words, them there guitar solos are guaranteeing you a long spell in hell.

A mighty long way down rock and roll/ from Top of the Pops to drawing the dole

Is there any way we can stop the cruelty? Former 80's someones China Crisis have been signed up to play a gig at a JobCentre. Which is handy, we suppose.

And there may be a lesson

If American and British labels sob like jaguars when they think of the odd bloke selling dodgy CDs from a Ford Fiesta at a car boot market, imagine how they'd feel if they were Chinese. W

ell, first, of course, they'd not feel anything as they'd be living in a country where human rights are routinely abused. But faced with a 90% market of fakes, the labels have decided that they'd be better off trying to find other ways to make money instead of trying to bolt doors, etc.

Interestingly, the labels who are embracing new revenue streams are parts of the same megaliths who are trying to hold the line in the west. Surely the Chinese can't be better at dealing with the realities of capitalism than the Americans, can they?

At last: An alternative to just having Christmas Wrapping on a loop

Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst is doing a Christmas album - available only online in aid of a Nebraska Aids charity. It's got Little Drummer Boy and everything on it.

What the pop papers say, part two: The 'not exactly express' edition

So, where were we? Before we get to the main business of the week, a couple of other pieces. First, is it really fair of NewMediaGuardian to snipe at the tabloids for filling their gossip columns with bits culled from Popbitch while, um, filling their diary with bits culled from Popbitch; even if the item was about the posts relating to the possibility that Popbitch might start charging. The question is: how much should one pay to read Hufty from The Word's anonymous words of wisdom?...

Popbitchers themselves were frothing with the news that PJ and Eibb have granted an interview to Sleaze Nation to say how Popbitch is rubbish now and they don't bother posting any more, not them, no. Yes, my friends, it's a style magazine doing an article about how a message board isn't as good as it used to be. Cutting edge...

Ministry of Sound trumpet a Callaghanesque "Crisis? What Crisis?"* - apparently, the loss of 11 staff, the departure of the Music Group CEO and the termination of several side-projects isn't a sign that the dance empire is crumbling, instead they tell Music Week "it's about concentrating on our strengths." The fact that Fischerspooner is part of a scene that's selling well in Germany apparently proves that they're not a squib at all, you know. Mind you, David Hassellhoff sells well in Germany, and he's yet to replicate the success anywhere else. Also from Music Week - you know how downloads are hurting sales? Album sales up twelve per cent compared with where they were at this point last year...

So, the nme finally made it. In a horrible, horrible orange bag that smells really, really awful, the cover proper has got Dave Grohl on it. But you wouldn't know because it's all about the CD, man.

And it is a great CD - Libertines, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beatings, Von Bondies, Ikara Colt, Radio 4, BRMC, The D4... really, even if this week's issue was rubbish, it's worth getting.

And the issue isn't bad, either. Hurrah!

News: "I've got a quote for the NME - fuck off." That Robbie Williams knows how to hurt, doesn't he?; Eminem's delighted to have won awards from MTV Europe. He showed his bottom to celebrate. There's that picture of Sophie Ellis Bextor holding the innards of a fox, and P Diddy wearing a fur coat - maybe it's bulletproof or something. Although presumably wasn't for the fox. Guns and Roses say the riot which happened when they didn't play wasn't down to them. Axl was apparently fully intending to play the gig in Vancouver, despite being in a plane above LA when the doors opened. Hmmm.; Pink has said she dreams of killing the president of Nigeria, because she suspects that his "promise" that the stoning to death of Amina Lawal won't happen is just some PR blather to try and keep Miss World in the country; Liam and Noel haven't spoken to each other for six weeks - this is awful, as at least when they're talking to each other they're not talking to us; the nme Cool List take 2 compiles reader's votes - Cobain; Gallagher N; Chris Martin; Eminem; Ms Dynamite; Coxon; Yorke; Rivers "do I sniff a write-in campaign?" Cuomo; PJ Harvey and Marilyn Manson - is it any surprise that the two genuinely cool people here are women-ladies?; filling out the news pages a little more with stuff that would once have been in angst, snippets of reactions to the publications of Kurt's Diary are used to add weight to the news that a bunch of schoolkids are trying to get the book recalled and pulped; Ryan Adams wants to work with Doves...

Hot New Bands: The Go - former consorts of Jack White; My Morning Jacket - Led Zep and Muppet inspired longhairs

Interpol do ten tracks for a fake CD type thing - Ladytron, Primal Scream, Duran Duran, Nick Cave...

There's also a picture of an indie boys cock, with requests for it to be claimed...

The D4 are aiming for 100 per cent rock, but "that would involve death."...

Dave Grohl is 33, and feels he's been doing rock too long - "I've been kinda waiting for it to bottom out... I feel like I've achieved things way beyond my expectations"...

Radio 4 - the band, not the station - have something to say about Fischerspooner - "They're taking early-80's punk and electronic music and demeaning it." Big yes...

And another big yes: Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Nick says the band is "one giant, throbbing shag." Mark Beaumont describes them as having fallen together. This is right...

reviews: albums: pulp - hits - "evolution - as alan partridge would put it - not revolution", 9
jay z - the blueprint 2 - "naz gets two death threats, but that's a spent battle", 8
sum 41 - does this look infected? - "they aint no Fugazi", 7
atari teenage riot - redfine the enemy - "German students phoninh long distance from a drum n bass night", 8

singles: sotw - lcd soundsystem - give it up - "high grade rock and roll"
otjers - bjork - its in our hands - "plots her career with the steely singlemindedness of a Tory MP during conference season"
Atomic Kitten - the last goodbye - "bring back Kerry"

live - pink - brixton - "all this should stink to high heaven. it doesn't, though because although pink will stop at nothing, there's a twist - she does it all on her own terms"
the apples in stereo - london E1 - "magnified cartoon psychedlia can make you do goofy things"
sugababes - kings cross scala - "the soap opera is in danger of drowning out the funk"...

and just as its looking so good, they blow it. The letters page now has a slot for pictures of fans sent through SMS Picture Messaging. We thought they were turning into Melody Maker, but we were wrong - they seem intent on being the new Number One...

* - yes, we *know* - Larry Lamb headline rather than Sunny Jim quote. Don't bother emailing.


Shame, shame, shame on the BBC News Online team for trying to imply there's some sort of Popstars curse. Indeed, you might wonder why "someone who didn't make the last fifty of TV talent show slightly injured in car crash" is considered a news story at all, but when you see stuff like this:

"The accident involving Andrew Coleman, who failed to reach the top 50 in the TV show, comes after two other Popstars hopefuls died in separate accidents"

you have to shudder at the stupidity of it all. As the page's own caption observes - thousands and thousands of people auditioned for the show.

So that a couple died shortly afterwards is a statistical probability rather than signs of greater forces at work. Now, if Coleman's car had been rear-ended by Louis Walsh taking a bootfull of Westlife singles to landfill, then we'd have a news story on our hands.

Mixing pop and politics, he asks me what the use is

So, of course, everyone knows that the current German number one is an anti-tax anthem, prompting NYLPM to say it's "very difficult to imagine it happening here."

If only that were true, but the drummer from the Small Faces, Kenney Jones and Rober Hart from Bad Company are attempting to disprove that with a single.

It's aimed at "stealth taxes" and is directed mainly at Gordon Brown. They were interviewed on Today this morning and it was suggested to them that it wasn't a very rock and roll position to be taking. Kenney Jones' day job, of course, is running a polo club.

Talking of horses and right wingers, a couple of weeks ago the Countryside Alliance were crowing how they'd got a rapper - The President - making a record in support of their bid to prevent the senseless slaughter of animals in the name of sport. There was clearly an unspoken air of "see - there is someone who isn't related to the British Royal Family who believes in our case... and he's a black man. Only now it turns out that the President actually thinks that fox hunting reminds him of the way slaves were tracked down in the deep south, and suggests that - just as the CA hijacked the campaigns against fuel prices and rural depopulation and tried to suggest they showed support for chasing and ripping foxes up, so they took his song about freedom of choice and tried to paint it as a pro-fox hunting track:

[The President in fact says] "My grandfather was a farmer and we used to hunt rabbits and deer, but that would be for survival purposes, it wasn't sport. I don't kill animals and laugh about it. I care about the farmers, who play a role in society, but I've never said that I'm for fox hunting. I don't have anything against foxes. My message is about freedom."

There's a further twist, mind you - according to the Countryside Alliance website, if you look for the original press release that accompanied the news story"The page you are looking for has been either renamed or retired."

Now, we hate to see things retired when they're still socially useful, but luckily, the page is still in Google's wonderful cache:

"A record written and performed by US rapper 'The President' in support of the Liberty and Livelihood March will be released on Monday 21st October. 'Balance' is the official March song and will also be performed live at the Albert Hall as part of Whip Craic, a fundraising Gala in aid of the Countryside Alliance on Wednesday 16th October."

So, then, the official march song of the Land and Liberty March was by someone who objects to hunting for sport? Hey, maybe the Countryside Alliance are more broadbased than we'd been led to believe.

The most sensational... inspirational... muppetnational... this us what we call a joke, you Weezer fans

This is possibly the best thing we've come across on Blogcritics so far - a survey of the response of Weezer fans when someone posted a spoof article about the ramifications of Miss Piggy-Weezer drummer sex. It's scary mainly because we've always had Weezer pegged as one of the brighter acts in the pop firmament, and so have always asumed that their fanbase would be drawn more from the bookcase end of the classroom rather than down in the sandtray. Shows what we know, doesn't it?

Music! United! Never will be divided!

We've been delighted to come across, which is part of the RIAA attempt to convince us to stop downloading. A page full of people from the music industry giving their opinions on the hot issue of the day. Only... something's not quite right.

See, the site is meant to be all about people downloading music files and not paying for them. Yet some of the quotes clearly aren't about that at all - they refer to music piracy, or bootlegging, or unofficial releases. Which are all equally important, and some of which are actual threats to the music industry as it is; but it's like having a campaign to get people to wear seatbelts and using quotes from people talking about speeding and drink driving to support it.

It seems, as well, that the artists aren't actually talking from the heart - the constant repetition of the "you wouldn't steal a CD, it's the exact same thing" line makes this look oddly like a bunch of people being lined up by their employers to parrot their words.

Oh, and also - next time you try this, RIAA, you might want to brief your stooges more accurately - a lot of them seem to think that we should all "go into a store and buy the CD." You might want to explain to them about the legal downloads, the sales through Amazon and the one cent CD mail order offers. Oh, maybe you wouldn't, would you? Best keep them in the dark about that.

Let's choose one artist at random from the list, shall we... eeeny... meeny... mineey...

Kelly Price, R&B Singer, "Priceless": "[Piracy] threatens everything about the legitimate side of the business.

So, we're already away from the point. The subject on the card is Illegal Downloading.
From the artist perspective, they are raped because more often than not they don't make a lot of money on sales anyway, so what little they would see is largely reduced by piracy.

Let's just leave the whole issue about whether missing out on threepence from the sale of a CD is in anyway comprable to being raped, shall we, because that is such a stupid, vaccuous and insensitive claim it doesn't deserve consideration.

We do, however, approve of you managing to get an implied criticism of the system into your statement, although it doesn't seem to have occured to you that you're being wheeled up to defend a system - in the name of the artist, no less - which pays those artists a piffling amount.
It’s also a huge disrespect when those artists have emptied their soul for the whole world to hear and see, and to know that someone standing on a corner can pimp them for $5.

Let's hope Kelly never has to see those shops like MVD where their music is pimped for GBP2-99. We're a little lost here - it almost seems as if she's saying that art should trascend mere commerce, but doesn't want to in the end. There is prostitution, and there is free sex. There is no way of being paid and not being a prostitute.
I wish it was taken more seriously than it is.

More seriously? Jesus, you've already put it on a par with rape. How much more serious do you want it to be?
Artists aren’t the only ones who lose.

No, we bet your bosses are losing more.
The fans lose all of the quality and don't realize that in the eyes of the artist true fans would never support that in the name of saving a few dollars, anyway. It's not a good feeling

The fans lose all of the quality? Blimey. I know hi-fi wankers might argue that every piece of sibilance is vital to the whole, but total loss of quality? Even I'd notice that. And a nice 'how deep is your love' twist there - no true fan would do it to "save a few dollars." There speaks someone for who a few dollars is a moment or two to make. For most of us, Kelly, "a few dollars" is a whole big deal. Why not suggest to your bosses they drop the price of the records, if you're really that bothered?

Universal-ish deal

Well, Universal Music Group is committed to offering 43,000 tracks for download - only to music fans, mind. The exact when all forty-three thousand will be availble isn't clear; they're starting off with a Mariah Carey song, which suggests that they're a bit reluctant to put anything good up, and are equally cool about her career. They say stuff will be burnable to CD and "secure" portable devices - they've plumped for Liquid Audio technology which, while at least not being bloody Windows Media still isn't what people actually use. But most odd of all is the price - 99 cents per track in the US.

Let's compare that with the price of Now Thats What I Call Music volume 10 in the US - a similar proposition, we'd suggest. For twenty tracks, you pay at Amazon, USD15. In the shops, even if you don't get a place which offers a handsome discount, it's twenty bucks. Or roughly ninety-nine cents a track. And there, you get a booklet and don't have to buy your own CD to store it on. Plus, there's the whole panoply of distribution, warehousing, retail mark-up.

So, basically, then, in the US, the price is a rip-off. They claim that it satisfies "public demand" (but don't they say the public don't want to pay at all?) and the need to "compensate artists and copyright owners" (our stress) - but which artists are getting a dollar a track?

What they actually mean is that at ninety-nine cents, they'll actually be making increased profits on a system that has very little expense involved for them. They're taking a risk that the public are that stupid.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002


We know, with a sinking heart, that the bloody Bohemian Rhapsody would be in there - but how on earth can a World Top Ten have 'We Don't Talk Anymore' by Cliff Richard in it?

What the pop papers say: Part one

"I think she did a pretty good job. She researched it well" admits Louis Walsh, talking about Kathy Foley's book on his life. So, does this mean that the story lifted from it for the current Private Eye - that, during a bout of pout from the Westlife boys, he screamed "I'll show you your fucking fans", marching them out to a carpark and showing them the boot of his partner's car, full of copies of their CDs - is true, and that Westlife's bemusing run of number ones has been helped by Louis' enthusiastic purchase of their stuff?...

Moby pops up in Q's Cash For Questions segment - asked who the most unlikely people to try and licence one of his tracks are, he says "apparently the pro-fox hunting lobby tried... I don't think they would have been so keen to do that if they'd known I was an animal rights activist and a vegan." Really? Only that car manufacturer didn't mind that you were meant to be a serious environmentalist, did they? There's claims on Groupie Central that the little bald fella is "sexually transmitted disease on legs", which Moby reckons is down to a friend he'd fallen out with - "I still haven't figured out why he was so angry." Maybe you gave him the clap? Best of all, though, Moby - a man who posted a notice on his website denying he was in any way a pervert because he'd been talking on TV about porn the night before - preambled that when Badly Drawn Boy had been interviewed by Q "Damon Gough took himself so seriously, I was stunned..."

Craig Nicholls believes England can win the Ashes. Thats okay, Craig, there's some English cricketers who believe that The Vines will have a number one single...

Q has some exclusive pages from Kurt Cobain's journals. Is there anywhere that doesn't? Even Country Life has got a spread (two pages of him doodling a woman with a perm while on the telephone, a letter to the milkman asking for "three strawberry yoghurts and a pint of gold top" - never sent, we can only speculate why and a fourteen page review of a Mudhoney album)...

David Quantick and Lemmy team up to investigate how rock and roll Busted are. This is a little bit like sending Benjamin Franklin and Ernie Wise to examine the intellectual rigour of Piers Morgan's Daily Mirror, but those are the days we're living in. Busted offer their credentials - they've thrown a TV out a window. Frankly, these days that's not rock and roll at all - it's somewhat music hall. Back in the 60's, TVs represented hugely expensive items and the pinacle of technological achievement, and destroying one was quite a statement to make. In 2002, it's the equivalent of Led Zep having screwed up a copy of Titbits, or perhaps having pencilled moustaches on the pictures in the West Sussex Gazette...

It takes two thirds of a page to explain how the Q reviews "work", you know, which suggests the readership who they hadn't made up ("overstated") can't be the sharpest, although extra points for comparing Robbie William's Escapology to George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice - Volume 1. So, duff with pretentions; the album that people buy and shudder 'he's had his chance', then...

It's the end of the year, and so the first Best Albums of 2002 has appeared. Amongst q's choices are Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Idlewild, Electric Soft Parade and Pete Yorn...

Plus, it's poll time. Ian McCulloch pops up to claim a Long Time Dead Award - "I'd love to meet myself" - and Dave Gahan collects something similar for Depeche Mode, offering "we really need people like Casey Spooner in the music business" - proof, if it be needed, that heroin really does fuck you up beyond repair. Best act are Radiohead ('act' is always a funny term, suggesting they've gone head to head with Lenny Henry and Archie's Educated Chickens) and Best Album is, predictably, A Rush of Blood To The Head. Coldplay's Chris Martin talks porn - "I don't like pornography. It's not a moral objection but I don't... it's the blokes. I don't like the idea of watching men having sex." Chris Martin shies away from the paranoid bedwetting virgin tag, but he's a grown man who's never heard of Lesbian Spank Inferno...

Pink wins a prize for best video. For Get The Party Started. Which is giving the right person the wrong award, and then giving it for the wrong song anyway. "I'm glad I'm your favourite queer" she says, by video link "- we can't think what else Q stands for." I now don't feel so bad I never worked out it was a pun on Cue, which they didn't want to use in case people thought it was a snooker magazine...

PInk is also on the front of The Face. And all over the insides. Now, this is, of course, good, because it means there's lots of Pink. But it's also a bit of a pity - The Face should have been the herald of New Pink, running the "it's not just another R&B singer" stuff at least last spring, rather than clattering to catch up in the winter. Wanna know why we love her? Because when she first signed, she burned through her advance, and you know what she did? She got a job in a petrol station. LA Reid's son saw her, told his dad, and his dad went down and bawled at her. She said "Pay me what I get in my pay cheque, or I'm not quitting." Do you *really* need us to prove any more why Alecia Moore isn't just another J-Lo? Can you imagine Samantha Mumba, say, throwing a strop over not being allowed to work in a BP Select?.

Sheryl Garret's piece on Pink is good, but fundamentally flawed - she misses the vital difference between yer Pinks and your Gareths, your Dannis, your -insert name of hundred other pop stars here- "Pink always knew she'd be famous" she starts, but that's not quite right. As Garret says, when she was at school, she'd tell teachers she'd get them concert tickets and so on. Pink didn't want to be famous, she wanted to be a rock star. She didn't want to be on magazine covers, she wanted to be on Rolling Stone. She didn't want to be famous at any price - she wanted to be famous for singing...

Pink's in the nme, too. Or rather, she should be. We don't know, as the free covermount CD seems to have fucked up the distribution and it wasn't in the shop when we went this morning - kind of shooting yourself in the foot if you want to put on readers, isn't it? So, we'll pick this up when the paper arrives...

You can own Christina's stains

We'd normally be filthy and sniffy about an ebay auction where you can bid on a tshirt worn and stained by Christina Aguilera, but as it's being auctioned in aid of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, we can't really. It's generous of Christina to donate the top, although since she doesn't actually wear clothes any more it's not going to cause her many problems.

There's a lot of other stuff up for grabs as well, including a load of chances to meet Tori Amos. Worth checking out.

Man misses man biting dog

In an all-time classic of missing the story, South Africa's News24 reports the crowd gathering outside of the Berlin hotel waiting for Michael Jackson to appear. And misses the baby-dangling incident totally.

And the stories that you tell

Probably more truth in the remember the 80's news that Duran Duran are going to have a musical based on their back catalogue than the supposed "forthcoming bond theme" claim - the owners of the 007 franchise surely will have learned of the dangers of giving spent 80's stars the chance to warble over the credits of their movies with the current effort on Die Another Day.

Also in rt80s is Toyah saying she's going to stop trying to keep asylum seekers out the country long enough to appear in a wonderful spin on Pop Idol - apparently a load of 80's minor stars are going to be taken to the states to see if they can become stars all over again in an environment where their reputations don't precede them. They're also asking Fish.

The question is: why do they need to go to the US to find an audience who'd go "who?" - couldn't they just get people under 35?

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Coasting home

The baritone with the Coasters, Billy Guy, has died at the age of 66.

I hope the RIAA will make an example of him

In Shirley Manson's latest tour diary, she tells how Piers Sellars, the British astronaut, took a Garbage CD into space to play. Only it was a Russian Bootleg. Dammit, does this man not realise he's stomping down on music?


"I will be sick and tired of pink tutus by the time thanksgiving comes round."


Jolly Rogers

The Commercial Radio Association is taking its own action against pirate radio - fair enough. But we have to ask whether the claim that pirates are "endangering people's lives", which solicitor Phil Sherrell tells the Guardian.

Now, back when the emergency services were all tucked up the top of the FM waveband, there might have been a point. But surely no pirate broadcasting on FM should be anywhere near the emergency frequencies? And this bit:

"Just last month a jet coming in to land at Heathrow had instructions from ground control drowned out by a garage music pirate station.

sounds like a bit of a cod to us - what, the pilots were communicating with the ground on an RSL licence?

Do we care the singles don't sell? The what?

Popstars: the Rivals - of course, the bands will be shite. But why would anyone care when its already made GBP3.75m from text message voting?

Other music blogs are available

We've heard good things about No Matter What You Heard, and so we finally hauled our ass over there and, lo, it is good. We suspect if we wait long enough it'll make us obsolete, and we can dedicate our time to baking cookies and teasing the neighbourhood cats.

Charity news

The Electric Soft Parade are going to do a gig at Dingwalls in aide of resolution daes, a dyslexia awareness charity. They've already got support from Gomez and Belle & Sebastian, and their website has that rare thing - an interview with kevin shields

Simply years ahead

Gerry Wirtz may be our friend. He's in charge of the copyright office at Philips, and he's suggesting that they'll be taking a hard line on copy-protected CDs. There's a possibility of a massive lawsuit looming...

A mother's worries

If your daughter had been the target of a kidnap plot, and was left nervous and afraid, it really would be the kindest thing to ring up Heat and say "I think she needs to see a shrink", wouldn't it?

All part of the healing process.

[UPDATE - added 19/11/07: Just to clarify, this post was about the alleged plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham and her children, which made sense when the original link to an Ananova story was still live.]

Good news... bad news

GOOD NEWS FOR EMI! Profits up, up, up. Erm, how can that be with all that downloading going on?

BAD NEWS FOR EMI! Robbie Williams, the label's only hope, has given an interview to the Sun saying he can't be bothered to try and crack the States.

"I've got an amazing audience here and over in Asia and I don't need to
- which isn't true, of course - his contract actually states that he does need to; and if he wasn't that arsed about the US, why would EMI have had to promise to make him a star there in order to get him to re-sign with them?

What's actually going on here looks more like a wave of panic engulfing Williams, Inc. - the last few months have seen the consensus emerge that if he can't make it there, he's failed. Now they're trying like buggery to make it look as if its no big deal, which sounds as if they've realised that Cheeky Chappy From Stoke ain't gonna play in the Mid West. Can we get a builder in to help you lower those expectations, Bob?

The case is answered

Becky Bamboo goes to see Neko Case at Bimbos:
the openers were jim and jennie and the pinetops and boy howdy were they ever cool. just hard and fast bluegrass with all sorts of twang. great, great stuff. if I hadn't been broker than a former dotcom executive, I would've bought everything they had for sale.

ms. neko came out soon after (quickest turnaround at bimbos I've seen) and proceeded to hush the room. man, that voice is just so... I don't know. it's so unique and clear and powerful as heck. she was backed by only two boyfriends, jon rauhause on table (?) steel (I don't know the official name for it - morag?), slide, guitar, etc. and some other old guy with a beard on stand up bass, who played the tambourine with his left foot. they upped the reverb on the mic, which gave her recent songs a spookiness that they deserve. the highlight was 'set out running' which just blew off the roof.

'running out of fools' would've been another, except a very drunk couple decided they were going to push their way up behind me, spill their drinks on my feet, and sing very loudly, despite not knowing either the words or the tune. I was not amused. neko told us all of her christmas shopping trip to good vibrations (a female friendly sex shop) with her friend the wildlife gynocologist. there was also talk about sexual fantasies involving nuns and her ass mirror. you know, I've heard from more than one person that she's an absolute bitch in person. I try to avoid thinking about that because I find her so funny and personable on stage. I prefer my idols to stay on their pedestals.

Monday, November 18, 2002

We're not turning into smuggins, are we?

Anyone who believes that U2 are nothing more than a self-satisfied husk of ego hanging like a proud dustsheet over their mighty past won't find anything in the Edge's chat to Launch to force them to embark on a revision of that opinion:

"I think we kinda check ourselves every once in awhile, just to make sure that it's still working for us. And I think the criteria's always been the same, you know, 'Are we still making great records? Are we still relevant? Is it still working?"

Kind of like that episode of The Simpsons where they go to the motivational speaker, and Ned Flander's inner child just gives him the thumbs up. You wonder by what measure they check to see that they're still relevant, don't you? "Hey, Bono, take off the comedy horns and big amber goggles, and put down the picture of you standing next to Bush - we need to make sure we're still keeping it real..."
"You know, 'Are we, are we enjoying it, and are the people that listen to the records enjoying it?' And so far, we can answer 'yes' to all those questions."

Then we, like, stand up and give each other a round of applause and have a group hug - it's nice to be nice to one another...

Next time, T-Boz, call Kim Wilde

"He's got more money in cars than what I make in a year" claims gardener suing TLC's T-Boz, apparently unaware that her husband Mack 10 isn't the main breadwinner in the family. But fifteen thousand dollars worth of snapdragons? Blimey...

Up in the loft to dig out your old superfreak puns again

Rick James says he never dunnit, this time, anyway.

London at risk

It may come as a surprise to some to learn that garage, jazz and the cut-up -shut-up-and-dance of Coldcut aren't, in BBC London's opinion, part of the "musical heritage" or "multicultural landscape" of our capital, according to the station's excuses for pulling most of its specialist music shows.

You may think we're overblown

Sure, we might make the experts sound like paranoid nutcases, but... the Ipod as nuclear suitcase? - we can't keep up with the sense of hysterical idiocy offered by real life.

Massive assumption

Reporting the new name for the new Massive Attack album, Radio 1 News (or "the BPI's bitch") tells its readers that '100th Window' refers to the threat of internet music piracy, even although 3D's quote is

"The idea that no matter how careful you are, no matter how many security devices you have on your windows, you will leave one of them unprotected - everyone can and will know everything about you and there will be truly nowhere to hide."

But, of course, why should 3D know what the title means, it's only his band. We wonder if this application of a BPI-friendly reading could work for all album titles. With which in mind, here's this week top ten UK albums, with the titles explained by an expert RIAA elf:

1. Unbreakable - Westlife
A collection of anthems to the secure Digital Rights Management available through Windows Media

2. One Love - Blue
A subtle reminder that you pay for the CD once, you can use it once. Working title 'Don't make any copies of this, you thief' abandoned at focus-group stage

3. The Greatest Hits 1997-2002 - Elton John
The cut-off date is an ironic glance at how, if we don't crack down on the threat of the web, after 2002 there will be no music, no songs, no hits at all

4. Slicker Than Your Average - Craig David
Music internet pirates, Craig reminds us, are devious little monkeys. We must be on our guard against their slick, thieving ways

5. A New Day At Midnight - David Gray
It is midnight, it is a new day. So why should you still have the right to play tunes that you paid for yesterday?

6. The Best of 1990 - 2000 and B-sides - U2
Who knows what this title refers to? Bono is, after all, a puckish genius whose words are set to puzzle mere mortal.

7. What My Heart Wants To Say - Gareth Gates
A moving paean to the difficult position artists are put in by music downloaders. Of course, it's stealing - the same as if you walked into a bank and forced a gun in someone's face, screeching 'give me the money, you bitch', over and over, making the frightened cashier fill your bag with notes, and emptying the Children In Need collection bucket into your own pockets, like some kind of monster - but it can be hard to say that to people like you - YOU - who just don't understand how evil you're being. What Gareth's heart wants to say is that you're no better than a stinking child rapist. But it's hard for him.

8. Missundaztood - Pink
Pink's deliberate misspelling of the title apes the way Napster users attempted to laugh at the BPI by misspelling song titles in the hope that we wouldn't notice. Fools! Soon they will see our power, when we crush them like bugs.

9. Nirvana - Nirvana
The paradox of Nirvana - Nirvana. Can there be two Nirvanas simultaneously? Of course not, for Nirvana is a single entity, a single state. In the same way, a music industry cannot exist simultaneously with a file-sharing system. So, as the album calls into question the possibility of duality, so the scum who steal records make the chances of Frances Bean ever being able to afford to go to college receede into the distance. She'll probably wind up as a hooker, or something, and all because of file sharing. I hope you're happy

10. Sentimento - Andrea Bocelli
Europe? Rife with bootleg CDs, you know.

Surely some mistake

As we were poking about on the polydor site - looking to see if they'll be following the precedent set when The Corrs re-released an augmented version of Talk On Corners, and so will be giving us some money for having bought the less-good version of Sophie Ellis Bextor's Read My Lips - we came across a slight spin.

"Polydor Fact #8" suggests that the New Seeker's 'I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing' was "later" adopted by Coca-Cola. Naturally, nobody in the music industry seems to care about anything before 1998, but any fule kno that the New Seeker's song was a coke ad first, and just re-written to be more acceptable to the BBC...

Rubbish Robbie Williams tracks uploaded to the web

... the other ones are fake


TMFTML suggested that it might be a bit early for a Live Forever - a retrospective movie on Britpop, but, of course, has the advantage of being American and so avoided seeing the "I Love..." franchise eat its own butt with a nostalgia show for 1999 in the year 2001. ("Do you remember..." Of course I do, do you think I'm Audrey Bloody Roberts?).

We like the way Damon now claims that his participation in the chart war with Oasis left him feeling "stupid and very confused" - yeah, Damon, that's right - you were being ironic, weren't you?

Obviously, we've not seen the film - we don't go to London unless we absolutely have to - but it sounds like a well-meaning attempt to join up completely the wrong dots. The chart battle isn't interesting for the chart battle, but the way Justine Frischmann was treated as a lump of meat by both sides; the Damien Hirst video and the extent to which cheesecake Benny Hill-esque images really can keep their ironic detachment; the bitterness that Blur was turning on former mentor Dave Balfe and... we're sure there must be something interesting about the Oasis tune, too. The... um... words or something.

When dinosaurs attack

The joys of cease and desist letters - now crumbly old cradlesnatcher Bill Wyman is writing to people called Bill Wyman telling them to stop using their own name. And, no, this isn't made-up.

The search monster commeth

If you're really keen to see "sophie ellis bextor PETA photo", try here. The person searching for "sophie ellis"+"silk cut" - you wouldn't be trying to dig up evidence of the new face of anti-smoking campaigns enjoying a ciggie in the past, would you? "rspca advert dead kitten" and "drink driving car crash photos" - do we look like a repository for public information films? The searcher looking for "pictures of Holly Vallance twat or cunt" - we thank you for your flexibility - would chuff or minge do? And "Playboy Meg White"? Dream on, boy...

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Happy birthday. If you can call it 'happy'

Marking 50 years of singles charts, Christina Aguilera makes number one with Dirrty Skanky Ho Upskirt Will You Rub My Tits As Well Rub My Clitring.

People have gone out and bought this record.

In God's name: why? If you have bought it, please, please just take a couple of moments out of your apparently busy schedule to explain why.

Email and tell us what made you do it. Thank you.

Your music sounds black but your guitarist is white - can you fill me in?

The story about Craig David being told to dump his white friend and guitarist because it'd confuse his position in the US market looks set to join the Herbie Hancock video story as one of the standard tales of the nasty racist undertow of the music industry. Hats off to Mr D for making a stink about the 'suggestion' rather than just accepting the advice and ploughing on.

What we find odd, though, is this piece by Wilber Wilberforce (a name we're adding to a list headed by Magnus Magnusson and Edward Woodward), the bloke in charge programmes of 1xtra. At first, he seems to want to defend the instruction to David:

" In America though, the rules are different and if Craig wants to succeed over there he will have to play by them. [...] In England it might be seen as an issue of race, but as far as the Americans were concerned it's business. In fact, they probably thought they were being helpful when they suggested that Craig get rid of Fraser. They'll have said to him: "Do you realise that people will ask what kind of act you are? Are you pop? Are you urban? You need to make a decision."

Right, so it's not "race", then, it's business. So, erm, that's alright then, is it? So, presumably if a sandwich bar in Alabama decided to was going to market itself exclusively to a white audience, and as such instituted a policy whereby it wouldn't hire black staff, as that would confuse its clientèle, Mr. Wilberforce would be relaxed with that?

Or if he went for a job with a US news station and was told "sorry, we're aiming for a clearly defined market and your face doesn't fit", he'd accept that that was business rather than racism?

He then shoots himself in his foot about two or three times by trying to suggest there's the same sort of thing happening in the UK, only it's on music snobbery lines rather than race lines. Firstly, from a man who's just stated
"In the US, though, the whole system is far more refined. Be it country and western, rock, pop, or rap every act has its proper place and has to stay there"

to then complain that in the UK
"an "underground" artist always has to hit a fine balance to make sure they don't go "pop" and lose their audience, just as pop stars run the risk of losing their original audience if they try to get street cred"

makes no sense - but then, the claims that Americans can't have black and white artists in the same act makes no sense in article that then goes on to observe that in the US
"In America, though, rap artists record with big names all the time (the latest Tom Jones album has been produced by Wyclef)."

So, Wyclef can record with Tom Jones - who, fair enough, is more orange than white, but still Welsh - and still be urban, but Craig David can't have a white guitarist and be urban? Sorry, Wilber, this sounds like trying to explain away racism to me. It probably isn't the worst example of racism in the industry, and, sure, its a twist for a white guy to be the victim, but let's not try and find a way of understanding it. Let's just admit it stinks, shall we?

Here come the payola kings

We knew it was a danger, and after the Queen's Speech announced that the broadcasting legislation is going to come ahead in the current Parliament Clear Channel have admitted they want to get their sweaty little paws on Capital Radio Group. Good news for any company who wants to buy their way onto Capital, Beat, X-FM or Century, then.