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 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? -
" 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."

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Another Virgin Breakfast Show shuffle

At this rate, it'll be Simon Bates in the chair by summer. Long term future behind closed doors?

Scary rumblings from the US, where AOL is planning to put all of the Time magazine titles (which it acquired when it lied about its value to force a merger) into its 'walled garden.'

Apparently, now the key message for all AOL companies is that if AOL goes down, the whole thing comes down.

You don't have to do too many sums on the backs of ciggie packets to see what this could mean for AOL's British magazine empire, which includes, of course, NME. It'll be worth keeping an eye on the American experience.

"She does look a bit slaggy"

The TV watchdogs the ITC have harrumphed loudly over an edition of CD:UK which featured Christina and Valance.

Not together, you understand. God, no. Separately. It was too much for thirteen viewers, who complained it was inappropriate for kids' TV. The ITC didn't actually agree, but decided to issue a warning to be careful in the future.

Looks like the planned Christmas premiere of Britney's cover of Fuck Like A Beast may be scrapped.

My aim isn't true

We're delighted to see that Alison Wenham has sent an open letter to the BBC complaining about the axing of specialist music shows on BBC London (for more on the battle to save - for the five or sixth time in as many years - the local station for metropolitan types, visit, or, if you live in the rest of the country, shrug and say "I thought all the BBC stations behaved like they were local services for the capital".)

The only problem is that Alison's impassioned letter is addressed to Jenny Abramsky, who, admittedly, rejoices in the title Head of BBC Radio, but whose remit doesn't run to local Radio - I think they should try again, this time raising their concerns with Pat Loughrey, Director of Nations and Regions (i.e. Local broadcasting).

'Tis the season to be bullied

What with that vital holiday season coming up, the RIAA have decided that it's time they gave the universities a bit of a kicking.

The Chronicle of Higher Education carries an email sent from Cary Sherman to Graham Spanier, president of Pennsylvania State University. Let's see what they had to say...

Hi Graham. Wanted to send you a note to give you a heads-up that, in the next few weeks, we plan to increase notices of P2P infringement.

This sounds nice and cosy, doesn't it? Spanier is, for those who've missed this, wasting his precious time heading up some pointless committee to "allow" universities to liaise with the recording industry. The idea is to snuggle up to the RIAA in the hope that the next time they crack down on the free flow of information, there may be some scraps thrown to the academic sector so that there will be crawl holes in the legislation given to the RIAA.
As you know, the record industry has been facing steadily increasing piracy on P2P systems and other areas of the Internet.

Wasn't it booming the other day? Thank god its calmed down and is now only steadily increasing.
We've also seen a dramatic drop in CD sales this year.

Maybe you should try putting out some better CDs? Let's face it, the biggest release this Christmas is by Shania, a woman who's told Time magazine she isn't particularly arsed about making music, after all. Michael Jackson says he doesn't like pop music any more. If the people whose records you're selling don't have the heart for it, why would consumers?
As Internet piracy continues to exponentially rise with no relief in sight

Hang about - I thought it was rising steadily, not exponentially? You do realise those two things are different, don't you, Sherm?
and with the critical holiday retail season upon us, we are planning to increase the number of notices we're sending on P2P piracy.

Hang about... is piracy only a problem when its winter outside? Are you saying that its for some reason less important to "lose" sales during quieter periods? That seems rather odd. "RIAA happy to turn blind eye to filesharing during summer lull" is splendid news.
Until now, we've been somewhat circumspect in the number of notices we send and to date have sent a relatively small number of P2P-related notices compared to the large number of infringements we're finding, but we no longer feel that we can afford the luxury of ignoring infringements.

Hang about a minute... infringements you're finding - how exactly are you 'finding' these infringements? We have to say, frankly, we don't believe the RIAA is sitting in its air conditioned luxury with evidence that, say, kids at the university of south dakota are sucking whole Craig David albums out of the internet - laughing as they do so - and not doing anything. We'd suggest, actually, the reason why you've not done anything is because you haven't got anything; which is why we suspect you're sending a letter going "You have never seen the rage of a salaried lawyer from the RIAA" in the hope that universities will panic, and unplug all the computers. In short, you're trying it on, aren't you?
These notices will be sent to the ISP or organization that is responsible for the Internet protocol address from which an infringing sound recording is offered.

Scary for any university which has students dopey enough to use their student webspace to offer MP3s. Mind you, we can only think of the McDonalds Hamburger University that would have such ridiculously low-calibre students. Unless, of course, you're hacking systems?
This will certainly increase the number of P2P infringement notices that universities and colleges are receiving from the RIAA.

Really? Why certainly? This whole habit of second-guessing is getting way out of hand - it's like Iraq, isn't it? You could at least do us the honour of pretending you care whether there's any evidence or not before you act.
Just wanted to make sure you were aware of this before we started sending out the notices. If you have questions about this, please let me know. And please feel free to forward this information to anyone else in the university community.

Just wanted to use you as a conduit for our heavy-handed bullying of the American academic establishment. You might want to throw in some stuff of your own about our might sword of truth or something.
Have a great Thanksgiving holiday, and I look forward to seeing you on December 10th.

Mwah! Mwah! We'll be round then to loosen the buttplug. Until then, don't sit down - love, Cary x.

Popbitch update

Popbitch is now, apparently 'on holiday' - well, they probably need it after the board was - what was it? overwhelmed with visitors. Yes, overwhelmed, of course. That would be it.

Meanwhile, obviously less scared of legal action is the BNP, apparently, who still suggest that Dannii supports their special breed of stupid. We wonder what's happened to Dannii's threatened legal action against them?

Got the new Suede album yet?

We know you're lying, we've seen the sales figures. This link will let you get it for two quid off at a Virgin Megastore. Hurrah!

Spin magazine's band of the year

They've plumped for the Strokes, which we think is kind of interesting; we wonder if that's a compromise between The White Stripes and The Vines.

The Hives, apparently, are being given live act of the year, which seems to be the consolation prize they're picking up in all the end-of-years. In a way, I feel a bit sorry for them - if they'd gotten their asses into gear 18 months earlier, they'd have been able to look like the godfathers of the new craft rock scene; as it is, they seem to have been filed in most people's minds as slightly better dressed scenesters.

Spin thinks the best single since last Christmas is Eminem's Cleaning Out My Closet, which is arguable - surely it's merely the rap Candle In The Wind?

Denial in action

Midnight Oil have split - Peter Garrett, the bloke who sings for them, has quit. The band seem to think they're going to continue without him.

Rivers of rock Babylon

Oh, Cuomo, how could you do-o? Recording with Fred Durst? Could your career be the worst?

That was my people

Over on Freezing to Death in the Nuclear Bunker, JBR not only provides an excellent overview of the Joan Jett Letter To Rolling Stone, but also updates that it turns out it wasn't written by Joan Jett at all. Indeed, the official Joan Jett website apologises now for the "confusion" over the letter - that would be the confusion caused by saying it was a letter from someone it wasn't then, would it?

Monday, December 02, 2002

What the German papers say

Thanks to Mr. R, bsn's Munich correspondent, we've been able to get a feel for the way the Liam-teeth-story is being covered in the German press. Apparently they're reporting that the chain of events is more as follows:

- fight breaks out in Oasis party
- fight spills into an Italian group at a different table
- Italian party object to this, slightly violently
- Oasis party unites to fight Italians
- Police called; Italians flee
- Ten police cars called to try and deal with the by now feral Oasis
- Liam is alleged to have kicked a copper while he was down

Hmmm. Very different from the story on the Oasis site this morning...


Nothing on the official Dannii site mentioning her totally non-racist praise for racists, and we think it's funny that Ask Dannii says merely "there are no current answers."

Is this some kind of record?

Taylor Dayne - remember her? - has returned to active duty. For some reason, her comeback single How Many features an attention-trying twenty versions of the same song - so, not entirely unlike an Oasis album then. We're delighted to discover in passing that Dayne's real name is Leslie Wonderman.

And it shows

Interesting that Shania Twain has said in a Time interview that she never had any burning desire to be a performer, and that she still doesn't.

Because it's not like that shows in the pudgy, will-this-do live spots she's been turning in for the Up! promotion. It's kind of a special symbiotic relationship - a singer who doesn't really want to sing doing songs that didn't need to be written for an audience that doesn't really like music.

Perhaps her attitude explains her increasingly bizarre dress sense. As we said a few days back, her Letterman appearance saw her wearing an Iceland windcheater; the video for the last single had her apparently frolicking about in one of Cher's cast-offs; the sleeve for the single had her dressed up like bloody Andy Capp. Now we know she's just going through the motions, though, the plucking of anything out the dressing-up box makes sense. We should be thankful she showers before she turns up at the studio.

Popstars in reduced circumstances

Only the Ipswich Evening Star could treat a gig at the Regent as a sign that a band haven't gone well beyond their Use By date.

The darknet rocks

When our internet connection blew last week, we were just about to comment on the recent ACM Workshop on Digital Rights Management, and so we never actually got round to it in the end.

You'll have heard of it probably because its the source of the reports that Microsoft have said that Digital Rights Management can't actually work; although that isn't entirely true. The Microsoft Crew's paper [Word format] was explicitly presented outside of Microsoft's auspisces, and their point wasn't so much that DRM couldn't work, just that it couldn't work effectively.

In a shock move of people actually talking sense for once, they observed that the more layers you put in place to make your content secure, the more attractive the unprotected options seem. They point to the software dongles as an example of how this works - software companies made a hardware key, without which their software wouldn't function. Instead of leading to purchases of legal software, it had the effect of sending consumers elsewhere - pirated versions which needed no dongle; older editions; competitors products. Impregnability, they conclude, is on a par with undesirability.

They also offered a term to describe all the naughty things that people do - describing the unofficial sharing of stuff as the "darknet", which we think is a great term. It makes the rather mundane and dull process of P2P filesharing at a stroke into a groovy, sexy, vampire-strewn endeavour. We shall be using it, we have no doubt.

Other papers were presented at the conference - Korba and Kenny suggested that while DRM is a privacy nightmare - as faceless corporations keep track of every time you play Just Like A Pill - it could also hold the way to ensure privacy online as well. And someone from UC Berkely proposed a new system of measuring online audiences, which is interesting, although it starts out by suggesting that online radio services might want to pretend their audiences are lower than they really are, which suggests that while they can count audiences with their eyes shut, Staddon and Johnson have no real understanding about the economics of broadcasting at all.

Conclusions are not always right because they're based on correct observations

Strand, (some sort of consultants) report that the record companies have missed out on the ringtone bonanza, and they should really gear themselves up to be ready to cash in from 3G - the market, suggests Strand, can only grow.

Well, up to a point - but what the geniuses haven't taken into account is that as phones get smarter, users will become more devious. At the moment, if you've got a Nokia (or "Satan") phone, you've got little choice but to use the paid-for ringtone services.

But already phones are coming equipped with a USB port and the ability to import music - we suspect that by this time next year, the demand for paid-for ringtones will have peaked as people start to use their evil stolen MP3 files to alert themselves that somebody's just sent them a text. Really, it's going to be back to square one...

Happy birthday, Britney

We're as delighted as Blogcritics that Britney is twenty-one, but... how on earth could a twenty year old provide "kiddie porn fantasies?"

It's advent

We had toyed with the idea of doing a No Rock Advent thingy, but in the end we haven't as we're off on holiday before Christmas and it's possible it would never be finished.

Anyway, behind door twenty four would have been Britney being force-fed mince pies by Pink. Probably with nipple clamps on.

Luckily, popjustice aren't as slovenly as us, and intend to be at their desks right up until the bitter Only Fools and Horses special, and they've invited various people to contribute pop jokes to their advent calendar. Of course, we're plugging it because we've been asked ("You know there's only twenty four days in advent? Right, well... ") and the whole thing is on the popjustice blog. Jingle bells, jingle bells...

Talking of Christmas, No Rock and sister service Zapsmart have come together to offer a guide to the music on TV over Christmas which at the moment is All That There Is of the Christmas special. We've only had the Daily Star's TV Guide to work with - "To Be Announced" quite a fixture, especially over on BBC Choice, so we'd recommend you treat it as a beta version right now...

The 'if' may have been well-placed

In response to the story on the Oasis website, the police in Munich have rejected Oasis' claims they were victims of a unprovoked attack and accused Liam of bad violence on a policeman.

Curiously, the official Oasis line is that the youths who had attacked them had fled before the police arrived, which would raise the question of why Liam needed to be subdued if the source of his ire - the mysterious attackers - had long since run away...

Watching the Google detectives

After a flurry of searches on "David + Beckham + Popbitch" (and variations thereof), we're seeing a sudden surge in "Jeremy Clarkson Popbitch." We don't know, frankly.

In unrelated news:

"It's funny. I managed to sit through a whole episode of the new Channel 4 homo-drama, Queer as Folk, and at no point did I think, 'I'd like to try that.'"

Jeremy Clarkson in the Sunday Times, reprinted in the Guardian, 15 March. Don't worry Jeremy, none of us fancy you either.

[From BiWatch].

So it's not that, then.

Your franchise is bust

Is it right that the ten days of poke the semi-famous with a stick that was Celebrity Big Brother (not that we're not complaining about anything that brings us huge slabs of the anti-Williams Mark Owen, mind) raised less for charity than the four episodes of celeb Bargain Hunt?

Girls aloud?

Sweetgwen, no wonder Javine Hilton thinks that being voted off the girly popstars team is a "blessing in disguise", if they're calling them Girls Aloud - the boy band name (One True Voice) is bad enough, but at least it has the virtue of being a fair comment (from what we've seen, only one of them can actually sing, but Girls Aloud? It sounds like a band from Beanotown.


If the nightclub attack on Oasis was unprovoked, then our sympathy is extended, yes, even to the Gallaghers.

Googlism hints at Minogue self-hatred

If you stick Danni Minogue into googlism, it suggests, amongst other things that:
danni minogue is young
danni minogue is black
danni minogue is balanced

(You'll notice thats 'balanced' rather than 'gifted').

Put the browser on it

If Dannii's threats of legal action against the numbskulls at the BNP have reached them, they don't seem bothered, as the page where they report her comments is still up. What we find curious about this is not that they're so quick to report "Attractive Danni's" words, but their claim that other stars who've spoken out against political correctness have seen their careers go down the pan - really? Who? The only thing we can think of is that Nick Griffin hasn't yet been asked to present Have I Got News For You. We really wish they'd explain just what's so brave about Minogue picking on minority groups derided and attacked by the mainstream media, though.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Sum41 in funny video shock

Yes, it's true. The song is still lacking, but the video, whereby Sum 41 are pressured by their label to become The Sums (in effect, the Strokes in cheaper shirts) is a stroke of genius.

The Bitch done closed

Clearly, the current status of the popbitch message board is one of a site that has closed itself up rather than become "overwhelmed" -not so much too many people trying to post asa baord that has been swamped with people trying to look at it.

The whole episode has been kinda curious, though, don't you think? A few years back, tired of the excesses of the Sun, several millionaire stars clubbed together to form a group that would pounce on the paper as soon as there was a libel slipped through - it didn't take long before Elton John was maligned and the lottery-syndicate swung into action. Obviously, the humiliation of the paper didn't stop the tabs totally, but it did draw their teeth for a long while.

You have to wonder if the Michael Owen's Sister case is a similar exercise taking place in cyberspace. It's certainly curious the way the Daily Mail picked up on the tale so swiftly, and it's generated a lot of old media coverage - "we cannot say what those allegations were", as ILR put it; even giving Mark Lawson a chance to trot out the old, old lie that anyone who publishes anything on the internet is a credulous moron in the Guardian (shame on you, Lawson).

Of course, it could just be someone getting lawyer happy, but the speed and effort being taken to crush a story that was palpably bollocks in the first place is interesting.

But, David - if you're planning to use our "the editor system means that stories carried are implicitly endorsed by the website" line in court, could we have a huge refresher, please?