Saturday, January 04, 2003

RIAA misses point. Again.

So, let's just get the gist of this report that the RIAA wants Europe to change its laws on copyright in music recordings into line with the US laws (here, recordings become public domain after 50 years; in the States, after 95).

First, it's an bunch of American companies who pay no tax in Europe trying to dictate policy to us.

Second, their reasoning is that the copyright period should be extended "because more profitable materials" are coming into the copyright-free domain - ah, so why not simply extend copyright to everything that someone could make a profit on?

Third, the CDs can't legally be sold in the US anyway so, rather than fuck about with our legal rights, why doesn't Rosen and co pay a bit more attention to simply ensuring the ridiculous and punitive American law is applied at home?

Or how about we cut a deal - maybe we should consider eroding our own freedom to make fair use of musical recordings from the 1950 in line with the US rules, if the multinational labels drop prices of CDs here in Europe in line with the much, much cheaper prices in the States?

In the end, she got it not in the bedroom, or the hall, but on Highway 377

Meri Wilson, perpetual Trivial Pursuit Question ("Telephone Man, 1976 - can we have cheese now?") died just before New Year in a car crash.

In other car-crash related news, Girls Aloud tour manager John McMahon died in a Christmas Day smash in Stafford.

Whistling in the dark: In at number three

Hats off to Dr Fox for being brave and doing a good fist of univeiling "a new chart show" as the Sunday chart rundown enters an era more exciting than any battle for the Christmas Number One.

The old ILR chart - previously known as The Network Chart, the Nescafe Chart and the Pepsi Chart - has had the relaunch forced on it by Pepsi's decision to end its sponsorship, resulting in an exciting new name - "Hit 40 UK" (sort of suggests they've not even been able to pull an Autoshield type sponsor out of the woodwork, but Fox is buoyant. "We've already got 900,000 more listeners than Radio 1, and maybe we can lift that figure up to the magic million."

Well, yes, maybe. Only you're not going to be helped by the decision of EMAP to drop the chart from its stations (City, Picadilly, Aire, etc, etc), are you? True, the Network chart has pulled in a couple of extra stations - Fosseway Radio! Dune FM! - and the slightly popular Galaxy Radio "network" (one north east station and a manchester operation) may help a bit, but since EMAP has created a market-confusing third chart, The Smash Hits Chart, to go out in the same slot, it's probably unlikely that many people will bother to retune.

The Smash Hits chart is being pushed by its production team as The first ever interactive countdown, which is bollocks anyway - all charts are interactive, supposedly, as you buy a record, the sale counts - but is also bollocks specifically, because what about Radio One's Most Wanted from a few years back?.

Presenting, of course, is Mr. Radio One Puffa Jacket himself, Mark Goodier. Someone cleverer than I pointed out that this means the man who sits in for Uncle Ken Bruce on Radio 2 will now be presenting the chart rundown on the 'ow my gums' Kiss 100 in London; it also suggests why Radio One were keen for Goodier to leave their chart rundown a lot earlier than had been originally planned.

His exit from the only chart that counts on licence fee funding has left the door open for Radio One to bring in a totally fresh talent, former Travel Monkey Wes Butters, who'll be joining the formidable One FM in a hail of lame margarine-themed puns later this month.

But they don't like to talk about it. Very much.

Oh, yes, we could be cynical about the reports that Coldplay are going to tithe and donate ten percent of their earnings to charity, but we're actually quite impressed.

And it does now mean there is a difference between the ranks of Travis, Starsailor and the 'Play, in that at least when you buy one of Coldplay's dirges some of the cash will find its way to good causes. Some of it will still go on Gwyneth Paltrow's drycleaning - incredibly persistent, the Martin spunk, apparently - and a huge amount will still go to their record label - but some of it will do some good.

Of course, even better would be leaving A Rush Of Blood To The Head in your local V-Shop and give half the selling price direct to a charity of your choice.

Talking of bands actually doing something, the equally sometimes risible Tom Morello has earned another slice of our grudging respect for bringing the stupid new rules in LA which would force soup runs for the homeless to work to the same standards as restaurants - we'd imagine the No Smoking rules to be of the highest priority - although the pretense that "ooh, at any moment we could be arrested for doing this" did detract somewhat.

Friday, January 03, 2003

Saloon bar heroes

While we were off discovering the difference between proper Egg Nog and the evil stomach bile that comes with pictures of soldiers on the side, John Peel unveiled the Festive Fifty for the year. Thanks (that's as in "We've borrowed this in a deft cut and paste") to the Peel YahooGroup, here's this year's chart in full:

1 Saloon Girls are the New Boys
2 Cinerama Quick Before It Melts
3 Miss Black America Talk Hard
4 Nina Nastasia Ugly Face
5 Antihero Rolling Stones T-shirt
6 M.A.S.S. Hey Gravity
7 Laura Cantrell Too Late for Tonight
8 Pinhole So Over You
9 Marc Smith vs Safe 'n' Sound Identify the Beat
10 Ballboy All the Records on the Radio are Shite
11 Miss Black America Miss Black America
12 Yeah Yeah Yeahs Bangs
13 Cinerama Careless
14 Half Man Half Biscuit The Light at the End of the Tunnel
(is the Light of an Oncoming Train)
15 The White Stripes Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
16 Low In The Drugs
17 Asa-Chang & Junray Hana
18 Low Canada
19 Coin Op Democracies
20 Belle & Sebastian You Don't Send Me
21 The Datsuns In Love
22 The Fall Susan vs Youth Club
23 Jeffrey Lewis Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song
24 Ballboy Where Do the Nights of Sleep Go To
When They Do Not Come To Me?
25 Cornershop Staging the Plaguing of the Raised Platform
26 Saloon Have You Seen The Light?
27 The White Stripes Fell In Love With A Girl
28 The Cranebuilders Your Song
29 The Delgados Mr Bluesky
30 Bearsuit Drinkink
31 Ladytron Seventeen
32 Boom Bip and Dose One Mannequin Hand Trapdoor Reminder
33 The Von Bondies It Came From Japan
34 Wire 99.9
35 mclusky Alan is a Cowboy Killer
36 Low That's How You Sing Amazing Grace
37 Antihero You Got Nothing
38 Half Man Half Biscuit Breaking News
39 Cinerama Catgirl Tights
40 mclusky To Hell With Good Intentions
41 Burning Love Jumpsuit Cheerleader
42 Interpol Obstacle 1
43 Melys So Good
44 The Delgados Coming in from the Cold
45 Miss Black America Infinite Chinese Box
46 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster Celebrate Your Mother
47 The D4 Get Loose
48 Müm Green Grass of Tunnel
49 The Aphrodisiacs This is a Campaign
50 The Dawn Parade The Hole in my Heart

As ever, the winner is slightly controversial, although this year its more of a tactical voting scam rather than the full-on Jeb Bush riggage that has happened in the past (Fat Tulips, are you still in the corner looking ashamed?). It seems that, afraid of the split vote that has consistently prevented The Fall and various David Gedge projects from taking their positions at the top of the tree in previous years, Saloon asked their fans that, if they wanted to cast a vote for them, to vote for Girls Are The New Boys. It seems to have worked for them, but we're not entirely sure it's ethical. Luckily, we hear Kissinger's free again to investigate.

"I'm hoping for a six pack. Or at least a double pack"

Gareth Gates has made a resolution to 'get big' to attract more gay fans in a desperate bid to shore up his falling audience ("attract more older fans", although the bit about shoring up the audience stands).

Well, that accounts for why they're desperate to punch someone

We have to say, based on the ten-most heard tracks on US radio last year, we're starting to understand just why the nation seems to be a pent-up ball of fury. If we'd have been most likely to get this lot of cack blaring at us when we got in a taxi or walked into a coffee shop, we reckon we'd be desperate to work out our frustrations by dropping missiles on people or something, too. Although maybe the HQ of Clear Channel rather than one of Saddam's palaces might be a better bet. That chart in full:

1. Nickelback - How You Remind Me
2. Puddle of Mudd - Blurry
3. Linkin Park - In the End
4. Jimmy Eat World - The Middle
5. The Calling - Wherever You Will Go
6. Vanessa Carlton - A Thousand Miles
7. Avril Lavigne - Complicated
8. Ashanti - Foolish
9. Nelly - Dilemma
10. Nelly - Hot in Herre

Talking of Nelly, if his little brother gets weekend home leave, does Nells take the plaster off?

Diana slosh

While not wanting to make light of drunk drivers, the whole Diana Ross tale still manages to sound like a great piece of comic theatre - mainly because of the sobriety tests imposed by the US police.

(What's with the whole writing down the alphabet thing anyway? Is the assumption that being pissed and dyslexic are the same thing?)

Driving the wrong way down the street with a more-than-double the level of blood alcohol and then claiming you were trying to rent a video and "got lost" is an early entry for the understatement of the year, we think.

A long march into a pure morning

Let's just leave aside a moment whether Suede playing China and giving support to a regime that routinely censors its press and imprisons its critics (when it doesn't drive tanks over them) is a desirable thing from a band we thought were a little bit better than that, and let's ask: is it a good thing for Suede?

Not many Western acts get to play in what we're sure their label is thinking of as "potentially the world's biggest market", but the ones who have haven't really thrived after.

Wham were the first, and they split almost as soon as they'd picked up the pictures of George and Andy at the Great Wall.

Jean Michel Jarre may not have harmed his career by visiting the place, but when did you last hear someone say "I wonder when Jean Michel will have some new material available"?

And lets not forget the most recent Western band to tramp down Beijing's streets - Space. Remember them?

On this basis, we give Suede 'til July before they split.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

This, on the other hand, is hard

The Vines beat each other up so badly their managers send them home to bed and rip up their passports.

Not So Solid

We may have mistaken the So Solids for a bunch a toughs, it turns out, since put one of them in court and they cry like babies.

Christ almighty

Watching BBC1's The Number One party, it appears that apart from Cliff, the Beatles and Elvis, nobody has hit the top of the UK charts more often than Westlife. Sure, bland, inoffensive mush has its place, but really... And the lord only knows what "selling" all those records has done to the suspension of their managers' cars.

Happy new year

And, we're back. Hope everyone had a great holiday period and that everyone lifted a glass to the memory of Joe.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002


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