Wednesday, May 07, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Blood and bruises edition
"I want to have sex with a man" is the frankly unsurprising claim from Robbie Williams on the front of Heat - we'd have assumed that was up there with Elton John saying "I think I ought to buy some flowers" or a toddler requesting a glass of water. But let's maintain the fiction that Robbie doesn't know the love of a good man, and ask: if you're so rich, why don't you go to an escort agency instead of a listings magazine?

Bust have got an issue dedicated to treating age with respect - you might wonder why they support this laudable aim by having a special edition rather than just routinely featuring older women in the magazine on a regular basis. Chrisse Hynde pops up; so does Yoko Ono - which shows that age doesn't always bring wisdom with it.

Talking of getting on, the Appleton sisters are on the cover of InStyle and it looks as if the strain of dating the two Liams (and struggling to keep afloat a career that is about as buoyant as a cross channel pedalo) is really taking its toll. Indeed, putting them on the cover of InStyle is akin to giving the front to Shirley Williams.

The Independent on Sunday travels to Tennessee to catch up with Cerys Matthews as she readies her first solo album for release. She seems sober, happy and well, happy for company but suspicious of published interviews. Whether a life of less booze and happiness makes for great art, we'll have to wait and see.

There's only one thing worse than Julie Burchill being deliberately contrary to show us how clever she is, and that's when she thinks she's being contrary but isn't. In this week's Guardian Weekend, she turns to Madonna and makes herself look a bit of a knob by condemning the slavering review-fools applauding Madonna's new album, apparently blissfully unaware that not even Guy Ritchie would have been able to write about a record which rhymes "Mini Cooper" and "Super-dooper" without snickering up his arm. Next week: Julie knows it'll upset the liberal bedwetters, but she really doesn't think SARS is a good idea.

Is X-Ray always going to come with a free CD? This month's is rather good - Placebo XFM session track, Alpinestars, Smog. Oh, yes. The Dandy Warhols are on the cover. Inside: Nina Persson of the Cardigans doesn't like the underground as it fucks up her sense of direction, Maya, aka Donna F, grew up on a diet of REM and XTC; Dave Gahan believes you'd be better off putting your faith in Chris Martin than in a politican - personally, I'd rather see Chris Martin trying to solve the crisis in the NHS than making records, so maybe it's not a bad idea. We could also get Angela Eagle and her sister to be the new Cheeky Girls; Pink Grease suggest men wear crotchless jeans with no pants; Lauren Laverne says the coolest people she knows are all over thirty - as, indeed, we are; Bill Callahan from Smog loves boxing - he says because it's "two people and their fists", we reckon its sweaty guys in white shorts; Courtney Taylor, of the Dandys says he cut his hair because he was scared of people having the same haircut as him - for some reason he's chosen a new style that will scare the tall one out of fischerspooner and Nick Rhodes as a riposte; Electric 6 got an extra member to make their name accurate and describe Gay Bar as "a collision between the lesbian boom and Pulp Fiction" (that's girlies touching themselves while their eyes create Uma Thurman shaped blobs, isn't it?); the 80's Matchbox B-Line Disaster seem bemused that most of their fans are older than them - jesus, guys, the level of drugs you appear to be doing, it's only horny-handed survivors who can cope with liking you

3D explains the child porn stuff: it seems he'd paid three bucks to gain access to a porn site whose parent company also ran kiddie porn sites. When they got busted, all the customers of the parent company were pulled in, regardless of whether they'd stuck to harmless pictures of half-starving prostitutes peeing on each other or actually downloaded kiddie's winkles. If this is true - and we've no reason to doubt it - there's a lot of questions to be raised as a result that deserves better airing than half way down a review of a British music magazine. Like: Is the famous Operation Ore list really a list of people who've ever paid to look at porn, ever, from companies that also sold kiddie porn? Because if that's the basis for the police smashing down people's doors and lives - that they had dealings with a company that also sold bad stuff - that's incredibly shabby and scandalous.

X-ray's album of the month is the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Fever To tell; Blur's Think Tank is shrugged at - "between the so-so, low-fi dub doodles there are moments where ... Blur sound like frontrunners"

Q also has a CD (we should point out, to be fair, so does Bang - although in that most harsh of judgements, most of the copies have had the CD pinched but nobody's bothered to take the magazine), and it's also got Placebo on it, but it's just an album track. The cover, however, has got Meg and Jack, and they're covered in blood. Actually, it's red paint that's obviously meant to look like blood, so instead of being all scary like they've run amock in an American High school, it looks like fingerpainting's got out of hand in the Tumble Tots. Genuinely scary photos, however, are Mick Hucknall lookign like Marlon Brando - except, of course, Brando made Streetcar Named Desire and Hucknall made Fairground - and Dave Gahan now. If ever you wanted to stop kids from taking drugs, just show them how sexy Dave's ended up, To make matters worse, he's pissing on a fan's letter, and the very end of his peepee is poking into shot. My fourteen year old self is hoping that I've forgotten my 'giving Dave Gahan a blow job' ambition.

Kelly Rowland is interviewed. Does she have broad music tastes that will surprise us? "I love Nirvana's old record with the baby on the cover in the water - that is my favourite record to this day." Do any readers have favourite records they don't actually know the name of but can describe the cover as if their PR had given them a tensecond flashcard demonstration in the style of Giles training a potential who speaks no English?

More suprising - because more credible - is the discovery that Tony Benenett enjoys playing darts. And freely admits to hoovering up coke during the seventies on the grounds that Kennedy had been shot. Which, we calculate, means that Bush being president would allow us to get away with shooting all the drugs into the world into our eyeball. While being fellated by our - yours and my - mothers.

Craig David talks at length about training shoes. How much they cost; how cool certain sorts are. Craig, you might claim in song to have spent weeks and weeks shagging girls, but a man who cares about the colour of the trim on reeboks doesn't seem like a man who's touched many girls on the bottom to us.

Talking of people lying about having shagged girls, here's tatu. Q's battle-scarred photographer describes them as "cunts" and has such a tough time trying to photograph the women that he takes up smoking again. They have nothing to say, they're nasty - not as in Dre nastiness, just plain unpleasant to be around - and the few words they do manage are either put there by their manager or their Press Officer. A former MTV presenter on hard times. Imagine, for a moment, if you stripped out the Russian-ness: what we've got is Suzanne and Kym from Hearsay pretending to be three years younger and a lot closer than they really are, being fed saucy lines by Simon Fuller, and having their day-to-day cares seen to by Lisa I'Anson. Only with less good grace. Jesus, have we sunk this low?

Q's main review is that Madonna album - "this is an album about being Madonna." Which is nothing new, but now Madonna is just about being Madonna. Nothing left to say.

"I feel I embody a lot of ideas that are out of fashion. A lot of women don't go for thoughtful, compassionate and kind" reckons Jack White. Thats right, Jack, and men don't have any interest in tit size. He also believes that "the morals of kids are dying - parents don't care if kids swear at them" - which, surely, is more a sign that parenting skills are dying rather than kid's morals.

Maybe the White Stripes will save us all - they're certainly around a lot right now - the cover of Interview; even on the cover of The Big Issue. For the homeless mag, it's the interview from the Australian Big Issue, in which the excuse that whole pretending to be brother and sister thing as " abit of a joke that got out of hand..." Jack's scared of dying because he's hit 27, the age which took Kurt, Jimi and Janis. But on the bright side, Jesus made it to 33. There's a picture in the Big Issue of Heuy Lewis and the News, who now look like Huey Lewis and The Junior Finance Minsiters of the G8. Huey doesn't eat before gigs because "you can't sing the blues on a full stomach." Maybe not, but if all you're doing is Hip To Be Square and The Power of Love, you could probably get away with a finger buffet and two helpings of death buy chocolate. And a side of pork.

The nme has got a psychedelic cover because, erm, its leading on the Music. Really leading, because the page three news lead is 'Music play gig in Blackpool." The band played in a venue where some other bands have played before. The hardcore fans interviewed after the gig said the band were very good. "They were good" said a fan. Another fan added "it were magic, our Maurice." After the gig there, the band played some more gigs, somewhere.

In other news: The guy who used to play Joe in eastenders went to a festival in California; two pages are wrung from Jack osbourne goes into rehab - "he is said to have suffered from insomnia and depression... If there is another more serious reason [our emphasis] the Osbournes could be about to cancel the most lucrative franchise in TV History." We're not sure what this has to do with the billion pounds or so turnover generated from forty years of Top of the Pops; Eminem has gone to detroit, apparently to make record labels realise "there's talent in detroit." If only someone from Detroit could help him in this task, but all the while the papers are full of The White Stripes who will ever notice Detroit talent?; Kinesis are cross because they think that Top Man is ripping off their designs on tshirts. Next week The Bluetones accuse Miss Selfridge of stealing their knickers; Augie March release a single in the Uk for the first time next week.

Indian Rags run a pair of ads: "If you have no rights to fight 4 we don't want you to buy our products." One of the ads is of a woman, tits out, suckling a teddy bear - apparently in the interests of 'maternity rights.' You can only imagine the number of meetings this godawful, misjudged campaing had gone through before it made it into print.

Nada Surf do a Cd burning thing - Kinks, Lyres, Shins.

Although Adam from the Music was six when the Roses played Blackpool, do we really believe him when he says they're not an influence: "i don't know fuck all about them." Or maybe the double-negative was intentional, since he knows enough to call John Squire shit.

The nme asks people what their favourite summer songs are. James from Busted chooses Black or White by Michael Jackson. Alec Empire chooses 'Heroin.' You see the problem we have with Busted?

Radiohead take us through the new album, track by track. Apparently Thom doesn't want to take responsibility for the words of Go To Sleep, because "they were beamed from somewhere else" which, funnily enough, is the same excuse our cousin Timmy used when the cops found three growbags with dope plants in them. Didn't stop him from getting six months, mind.

The Vines answer questions; they come across well, but fall apart when confronted with the war. Asked if they're scared to commit because of american sales Craig says "Listen, it's not about America and it's not about places... we have no comment because when that bridge comes we'll cross it. Let's just say that it starts with R and the Beatles had two songs named after it." Right. A man too scared to have an opinion on the Iraq war is going to be on the barricades, is he? Of course.

marilyn manson - the golden age of grotesque - "same old, same old", 4
pink grease - all over you - "the genius pips it", 7

they really don't review many records any more, do they? Or gigs?

sotw is 22-20s - such a fool: "Lincoln, you are officially cool"

ms dynamite - brixton -"at worst, its jumped up Ricki Lake'

and finally, back to the guardian. back to madonna. Rod Liddle earns a stern look of disapproval for slagging off the Lemonheads Mrs. Robinson, but we forgive him for ticking off Julie B for not going far enough with her slagging of Madonna. He also recalls once reading an album review in the nme which read, in full: "You're shit: fuck off." I bet most NME hacks of today wish they got half as much space to review a band in.

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