Wednesday, August 13, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: It'll be back to it's 10 pm timeslot in a couple of weeks, you know, edition:

You know, some heartless buzzards have suggested that Kym Marsh 'splitting' from her resting actor husband Jack Thingy in the week her album was released and made a hollow thud as it fell to earth might have been a nasty, nasty piece of media manipulation. Surely not - why, look at the interview she gave to last week's Heat, where she was so sad the poor girl was in tears. And the interview she gave to last week's OK!, where once again, she burst into tears. Of course, if you were really cold and cynical you might wonder how both times she managed to be photographed brushing away a tear in exactly the same pose. But you'd have to have a heart of a muscle-based repeating pump with some valves to prevent backflow to be that cold.

Angelina Jolie is this week's big interviewee in the Radio Times this week: "I believe you love people, whether they're a man or a woman. I don't want to be provocative and say I'm bisexual, but I understand the love of one woman for another because I've felt it." Angelina "Look at the phials of blood me and Billy Bob wear! I'm marrying Jonny Lee Miller, so I'll rip my arm open and write his name on my shirt with my own blood! I'm throwing a hissy fit because my nipples got airbrushed out of the Lara Croft advert!" Jolie doesn't want to do anything provocative like calling herself bisexual. Righto.

Janet Street-Porter sends a New Statesman diary from Edinburgh, where she's doing a one-woman show. Obviously, she's fabulously pleased with herself - any of the posters for her show "not stuck up have to be locked up before they're stolen" and, of course, she drops, like Gaping Ghyll, (almost as if this was a too-perfect Craig Brown spoof) that she's friends with the Pet Shop Boys, you know. They turn up with a necklace for her where those letters you can buy from Elizabeth Duke and string on chains has been made up for her to read "cunt" - in other words, they're lifting their ideas directly from Popbitch these days. (Younger readers may not be aware that at one time the Pet Shop Boys were the smartest and most urbane young men in pop music. Nowadays they make Ben from A1 seem like the Malcolm Muggeridge.)

"The coolest band in the world are back" trumpets the NME - which, judging by last week's Keith Richards cover probably means it's Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Actually, it's the Strokes. Surely they wouldn't give the Strokes the cover without an interview, would they? Not twice?

On page three there's a really gory picture of Jack White's finger being cut open - it's not clear if its by luck or judgement, but page two is given over to a full-page ad for batteries of an injured finger as well. Smart if planned. "It is unclear at present how [the White Stripes] plan to make up for their missed Carling Weekend festival appearances" tuts the headmasterly nme. I hope they sit Jack down and tell him how it's not just the school and the fans he's let down, but how he's let himself down as well.

There's a page and a half spread of Strokes News on 4 and 5 - surely that's not the big exclusive they've given the cover to? No, there's also a double page live review. It's starting to look almost like false advertising, the way they'll try and sell issues off the back of not very much indeed. And the "thanks to spin and" credit suggests that a big chunk of what they're running isn't even fresh, so they've decided the main attraction of the nme this week is some stuff that you could have read elsewhere. There is some fresh interview material, though: there's a description of some of the new album tracks by Jonathon Cohen. No, he's not in the Strokes, he's, ahem, the reviews editor of Billboard. Leeching off the stuff produced by other pop magazines is our gig, nme. So, what of the review, then? Two third of it is dedicated to the other bands on at the Japanese festival and a doesn't-work running theme of 'what if the strokes don't turn up' (One doesn't like to use bitchian, but gyac - the article is surrounded by pictures of the band on stage).

Damon's solo album of lo-fi records may never get released. We can only pray that this turns out to be the case.

The devil is in the details: Amongst the stuff lifted by Pete Libertine from Carl's flat was their NME award. Meanwhile, Carl says "There's a chasm of pity and sadness and there's something missing" - yeah, your video player, an antique guitar, two hundred quid cash...

New Vines album guff - "a bit more of a Pavement feeling", "much heavier now"; while Rock N Roll, the new Ryan Albums set - says Adams - "sounds like awesome fun." We always get nervous when anyone reaches for the f-word to describe music. Stuff that's fun to make generally comes across as self-indulgent. Not something you could accuse Ryan Adams of. Well, not if you didn't want to repeat yourself. More first listen reports flow from the Starsailor camp, where the nme reckons their "Silence is easy" could be "this years Rush of Blood to the Head" - hard to imagine, but maybe it they're right - if anyone was going to challenge Coldplay for producing the biggest collection of limp, mournful sixth-form GCSE retake dirges, it'd be Starsailor.

The video for the remake of I Believe In A Thing Called Love with feature The Darkness being menaced by giant crabs. We're well aware that the punchline here doesn't so much as telegraph itself as get zapped by the force of the speed of light into your cortex, so we'll move on, shall we?

Richard X chooses the tracks for a CD - I monster, the Human League (Marianne, interestingly) and Nightmares in Wax. He also tells a nice little story about going shopping for a silver pen with Phil Oakey.

Brody from The Distillers says that rather than be thought of as a "woman," "I like to be referred to as a she-male." She doesn't seem to realise that this won't conjure up an image of a lady rocking, but of something a little more ladyboy-ish. And she doesn't look anything like a lady-boy.

"The first time you get stabbed it's like a piercing" announces Dizzee Rascal. Let's hope it was a Prince Albert at the very least. He clearly is a JanetStreetPorterNecklace with delusions that his sad little life is in some way heroic, and the sort of worldview that's allowed to pass unchallenged - "people think you should go to college to study music, learn the trade and then you'll get a step up", for example - which is such nonsense we can only assume Ted Kessler was too busy laughing his head off to point out that the only people who think that are the sort of sods sucking down central government funding for college courses where you "learn the trade." Dizzee, see, went to raves and made demos which he gave to djs. He's clever, see? Nobody else has ever thought of doing that.

Dave Grohl's wedding will be 'graced' by a Beatles tribute band, which has, unfortunately, rendered him eligible for nothing but cruel and unusual punishments. Style tip: It is the worst manners to enforce your guests to listen to a tribute band of any stamp. If you must have a live band, ensure they will perform a variety of work.

There's a two page interview with the Hives. They try not to sound too bitter about the eight years of no-fame prior to the 'breakthrough', which they describe as "eight years of Gwyneth Paltrow not giving a shit about who you are."

muse - absolution - "next to this, even something as majestic as Elephant sounds painfully small", 9
pleasure - pleasure - "fred thinks he can be Prince; cheap computers have given him his chance", 7
guided by voices - earthquake glue - "might finally get the recognition they deserve", 8
Patrick Fitzgerald and fern smith - this imaginary woman - (yup, him out the Kitchens of Distinction) "guilty relief to vituperative anger via self-deprrcatory humour and leg-wobblign grief", 8

sotw - the libertines - don't look back into the sun - "not a fitting end, but one hell of a cliffhanger"
the cooper temple clause - promises, promises - "just misses out on sotw"

black rebel motorcycle club - leeds & Edinburgh - "next single sounds like Oasis when they were the most exciting band on the planet"*
bright eyes - Manchester academy 2 - "still more gifted than most people on planet earth"

There's a letter from someone who cares about whether Funeral For A Friend are 'extremo' or 'post-hardcore'. "Calling it extreme makes it sound like some fucking kiddie's genre" he wails. Yeah, and calling it "post-hardcore" makes it sound like some fucking kiddie's genre where they've all not shaved for a month in the hope their cumulative bumfluff makes them look like they're grown up.

And finally, there's a pull-out about the Rolling Stones, written in a 'This is Mick Jagger. He was in a band. Called The Rolling Stones" type introduction way. It's so not what you'd expect the NME to be doing you do wonder idly if there's any connection between this and the frustratingly over-common Stones ad running on at the moment.

* - Oasis never were the most exciting band on the planet. We think they mean 'like Oasis when the mere mention of them didn't want to make you stab eyes with nailcippers"

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