Saturday, January 18, 2003


The Onion. One Look At My Music Collection Will Show You How Much I Respect Women. Have a splendid weekend.

U2 charity ego-wank pulled

That big Aids gig featuring U2, um, Macy Gray and... oh, Shaggy has been axed because "the proposed producers could not come to a satisfactory agreement with the [Nelson Mandela Foundation]." Dammit, Mandela never caused all these problems when they did the Free Nelson Mandela gigs, did he? Seriously, we don't know what the problems were, but we're guessing that it may have come down to problems with the arrangements to ensure Bono's massive sense of self-satisfaction was properly shaded from the cruel sun of South Africa.

"Mr. Brown - you can't know from your position how tempting it is in this case to just throw the book at you"

Bobby Brown can't see nuffink wrong with breaking terms of bail and drink driving. The court, however, could. Highlight of the report is the observation that "Whitney Houston... was not in court." Well, not yet, anyway.
Brown's statement as he was taken down - "it's over" - may prove to be a bit over-optimistic as he's also wanted in Atlanta.

Our faith in love is diminished. Slightly

We're sad to hear that Zoe and Norman are on a break - presumably the dressing up as an elephant for Reeves and Mortimer was the final straw - and we wouldn't normally mention it (unless it was a really slow news day) except for the curious grasp of fact Ananova are showing here, reporting that the couple are apart, but both apparently in the same house. Except Zoe, who's living simultaneously in Brighton AND London. That really is the sort of complication that can cause trouble in a marriage.

We hope you guys can sort it out.

Somewhere else in China

Okay, with Suede already having announced plans there, and now Morcheeba off there too, perhaps it's time to stop reporting 'western acts touring China' like its that unusual - certainly, there seem to be better gigs in Peking these days than you get in Cheltenham; surely time to leave the phrase "following in the footsteps of Wham" out of any articles.

The Morcheeba jaunt is being sponsored by The British Council, as part of the organisation's largest ever investment in taking British artists overseas. A lot of their efforts are going to be concentrated on countries that Bush has on his little list, so, for example, A Winters Tale is going to be peformed by Dundonians in Tehran.

While we're happy at the thought of Blank Verse, Not Bombs, we're a little worried that since one of the biggest problems caused in "The Clash of Civilisations (a trademark of the News International Organisation)" is the perception of Western Cultural Imperialism, maybe sending over more Western Culture isn't the most constructive approach.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Boweling out

There's currently more stuff about Maurice Gibb's bowels online than you could possibly want - dotmusic at least spare us many of the details - but nobody seems to be able to tell us if this makes Barry's case stronger or if it means it was all a bit of a sad accident. Anyone? mail us at trust me, I'm a

Maybe there's something wrong with her solicitors?

Back in November, second string Minogue Dannii was threatening legal action against the BNP for suggesting that the interview she gave saying "that Jean Marie LePen, he's got a lot of good ideas" and "Asians are pouring into Queensland" and so on supported their policies.

She was going to see a solicitor, you'll recall, and get them to take that site down, since it was misrepresenting her views, expressed in an Esquire interview.

Strangely, the page still sits on the website. Curious, eh?

Quick question

Knowing there's nothing the British tabloids love so much as an unrepentant paedophile to hold up to chill their reader's blood, isn't it curious there's not been a peep in the redtops about Jonathan King's self-serving posts from prison? How come, for example, Rebekah Wade - who as editor of the News of the World encouraged her 'readers' to form vigilante mobs - seems to think there's nothing of interest in King continuing to promote his worldview from a cell?

For what its worth, No Rock has no problem with him banging on all he likes. But we think its odd that the Mail, Sun et al don't want to run a story that would seem to be tailor made for its "all prisons are like Butlins/Kiddie fiddlers on the prowl/they're all at it" take on British Society? You can't help wondering if there's some sort of reason they don't want to get on the wrong side of the man who recorded Una Paloma Blanca.

It's only a little thing, but...

Remember to take your finger off the shift key when you type the 'dot' in dot com

In The City hits back. Possibly

In The City - Tony Wilson's increasingly vanity-conference - is going to return this year, despite a dwindling number of attendendees over the last couple of years as record company budgets tightened.

Announcing plans for the next twenty four months, Wilson took the opportunity to moan about the state of the British Music Industry. At least he's not blaming computers; Wilson thinks

“Retaking the World is not a reference to ITC but rather the state of the UK industry which has lost so much of its world market share. ITC believes the media has much responsibility and it is the UK media that will be the focus of ITC 2003. We’re not blaming the provincial futility of Pop Stars or the overarching monopoly of the UK’s only national FM radio station, but fingers can be pointed and they will be pointed.”

Hmmm. Wonder how far Wilson's prepared to go pointing the finger at Popstars which - as a product of Granada Media Group ultimately is underwriting his day-job wage packet when he reads the local news on Granada TV.

More curious is quite what he means by "the UK's only national FM radio station."

Leaving aside the fact that there's more than one anyway; and even more than one pop station, now that Radio 2 is attaching itself to more ears than Radio 1, you could argue that the Capital Stations and the EMAP stations form blocs just as powerful as Radio 1 in breaking new bands anyway - a glance at the ILR playlist, the Radio 1 playlist and the Top 40 will usually show more of the big sellers getting support from the commercial lobby than the licence-supported network. Of course, the main problem with the British Music Industry is that the Industry is run by an increasingly elderly, out-of-touch bunch of twits who rely on their glories from the days of punk (or, god help us, prog.) But even the plain talking Mr W knows that he won't rescue In The City by slagging off the very people he needs to attend.

Key 103 rapped for Hindley stunt

The story about gorm-pop station Key 103 getting censured for announcing a GBP500 sweepstake on the time of Myra Hindley's death is odd for a couple of reasons.

First, "the presenter was new to Manchester and had not appreciated the strength of feeling against her in the area" - eh? I know the current demands of Top 40 mean that being bright isn't a major consideration in the selection of presenters, but how can you not be aware of the feelings of Greater Manchester towards Hindley?

Second both this report and the full adjudication fail to mention if the prize was awarded - although the Radio Authority report does say "the majority of callers wanted the prize donated to a children's charity" (the majority - of three.) Surely offering a cash prize that doesn't exist is a worse breach of the rules than a tasteless remark?

Kate and paste

Women's Wear Daily reckons that Harper's Bazaar admit they stuck Kate Winslet's head on another person's body; HB are now denying it. To be honest, the body looks genuine - its the head that seems dodgy.

Cheer up, Polly Jean

The Sydney Morning Herald meets Polly Jean Harvey and explains why she's practically Australian. (Clue: it's by injection)

Rawls with the punches

Lou Rawls, the amusingly-named singer has been arrested for 'battery on a household member' in Albuquerque. Interestingly, the policeman who booked him said he was "very professional" throughout - there's a profession in being arrested now?

It's a mighty long way down rock and roll

Andrew WK. This time last year he was supposedly going to crush everything in his path. Now he's reduced to plugging deodorants.

Wives in the balance

Jackson Browne is in a bit of a huff with TBS Superstation, and threatening legal action over their biopic of the life of JFK Jr.

The movie focused on John-John, the only son of a president to have a penis-related nickname until George Bush Snr's boy came to be known almost universally as 'dickhead hair trigger'; presumably because he didn't actually achieve anything much the movie was jazzed up suggesting that Kennedy had to rescue Darryl Hannah from Browne when Browne beat the crap out of her.

This, says Browne, never actually happened. Browne hasn't objected to some of the other strange claims in the film - that JFK Jr was in some way handsome, charming or interesting - but we bet he doesn't like that, either.

David, don't worry

Fame Acadmey winner David Sneddon is worried the nation hates him. Don't worry, David, most of the nation have no idea who you are. He told the Sun:

"A lot of people hate me because they think I'm just another Gareth Gates, but I'm a different breed. I've written an album and I know it's good. I can't wait to ram it down people's throats.

"I found out Elton John is quite a fan. He knows it's rare to be a piano-playing songwriter.

"I don't care if everyone hates me - so long as Elton likes me."

Righto. Well, that's lucky. And, yes, David - it's really rare to be a piano-playing songwriter. There's just you and Elton. Oh, and Tori Amos, of course. Martin Gore from Depeche Mode. Mozart and Beethoven. And...

Still. Looking forward to ramming your album down our throats, eh? I'm no expert on subtext, but...

I'm Metallica. No, I'm Metallica

Writ-happy lo-thunks Metallica are suing another band who decided to call themselves Metallica. Now, while we assume the non-fan-hating new Metallica were having a bit of a laugh, and they know they're, technically in the wrong, but the Most Humourless Men In Rock have gone in totally heavy-handed, threatening to sue them for lots and lots of cash. Why? How much could an artprank Metallica have cost Lars, seriously?

We wonder if the band are aware there are three Metallicas on the Band Registry at the moment - one plays metal; another - in a direct challenge to Lar's band - plays 'sucky' music. Now there the consumer could get confused.

Another ex-exec

It's the season for Record Company executives to come to the conclusion, totally on their own and without any pressure from their companies, that maybe its time they started to cast about for new employment. Thus, we have to break the news to you that Jay Boberg has decided to leave MCA after seven years. He's proud of what he done did do:

" Few of my peers at major labels have enjoyed a tenure as long as mine at MCA. Arriving from IRS Records, I came in with a reputation as a maverick, as a champion of groundbreaking artistry and a person with a true love of music. As I walk out of here today, all those attributes remain intact."

Hmmm. "Maverick" is one of those labels, like "eccentric", which you can't actually claim for yourself. Especially if your contribution to the gaiety of nations adds up to records by Bobby Brown, Shaggy and, erm, Blink 182.

It doesn't have to be this way

Allow the news that the new Mel C single has been written by Blow Monkeys mainstay Dr Robert to sink in.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

ANOTHER ANSWER TO THE QUESTION: who are people who type 'lolita' into their search engines?

It's official

Dead accodian player Jimmy Shand more popular - and hence better - than Texas, Primals, Simple Minds, Mary Chain...

Oh, those trees brought you the air that you are breathing

Apparently Joe Strummer loved trees (no, news to me as well) and so Future Forests are planting a memorial forest in his name.

Appleton name change

The Appleton Sisters have changed the name of their album(from 'Aloud' to 'Everything's Eventual') to avoid people muddling them up with Girls Aloud.

Of course, a better way to stop people confusing them with the Popstars band would have been to fill the album with something other than half-assed readings of featherlight pop fluff, but it seems Nic and Nat were even worse at doing that than coming up with album titles. A new single Don't Worry is due in February. We're already getting them muddled up with Mel and Kim over here, then.

Boris against the porn world

The Spectator's leader column has weighed in with a typically confused piece on Pete Townshend.

"It may turn out that he has not committed an offence" (erm, except he's admitted that he has) "but his reputation has been destroyed forever" (we're not quite sure how The Spectator are able to look into the future.)

But just in case there's a danger of them being thought of as being sympathetic, the paper rushes to make clear they're here to have a bit of a gawp at Ceaser, then to bury him, then point out that they never liked him. Townshend's explanation - who, remember, the Spectator just said might not have done anything wrong - is suddenly making "pathetic excuses."

Perhaps the problem is that Boris Johnson isn't sure if he's got any opinions here, and so he quickly scampers off from simultaneously saying how its a bit of a shame that the people who get arrested on Operation Ore will never be able to rebuild their reputation (funny how 'Oh yes, you're the chap who looked at the kids being raped' is one of those things you can't shake off) and damning the people on the list as "warped and pathetic" to consider the actual nature of the crime.

The problem is, reckons the paper, not that Townshend looked at pictures of children, but that he paid for them. It wouldn't be a problem if he hadn't. So is Johnson's paper suggesting that, providing no money changes hand, the swapping of pictures of small boys being fucked is fine?

Just in case we run away with the idea they know what they're thinking about, they suddenly change tack and say how much better off we'd all be if there was no porn at all, anywhere. Ever.

So, let's just get this straight:

Pete Townshend perhaps hasn't done anything wrong.
It's terrible that people accused of child porn offences can never leave the stigma behind.
People accused of child porn offences are twisted and sick, but don't deserve to be punished unless they actually pay for the images.
We'd be better off if there was no porn at all. But, presumably, if there must be porn, it should be free.
All clear?

"Who are all these people typing 'Lolita' into search engines?"

That's what Pete Townshend wants to know. Hmmm, could they be the same people who've made Tatu the second most played video on The Box?

Ooh... Betty

Michael Crawford musical bombs on Broadway, saving us the prospect of a Cast Album.

Your chance to dress like Smashy

Someone - we don't know who, as he's smudged his face out in the style of a porn star in his pictures - is attempting to offload a hideous Smiley-Miley style One FM jacket on their website. We wonder if maybe Mark Goodier's not finding the pay at the Smash Hits chart is all it could be?

Classic rock moments: Number one in a series

(Or "Hoary old anecdotes") Phil Collins has just been recording Another Day In Paradise in his plush studio - instructing us to "think twice" about the homeless. As he makes his way to his luxury home - this was back before he moved to geneva - a homeless person asks him for spare change. The millionaire Phil Collins does, indeed, think twice. And decides it would be wrong to give the guy anything. Cheers, Phil.

Bono pox upheld

The Supreme Court has kissed the pretty butts of Disney by refusing to throw out the Sonny Bono Act. Doing its bit to keep America just that little bit more stupid, the court said it wouldn't strike out the most recent extension to copyright, which now lasts for a whopping 70 years after the death of the creator, or 95 years if the work is owned by a corporation. With this ruling, however, there's no logical reason why companies can't find a pliable senator (i.e. most of them) and get the period extended forever and ever. After all, (apparently) the people who work for Disney would be out of work if Steamboat Willy was allowed in the public domain.

She first appeared in The Beaver

There's an interesting little side piece in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix's tale of how Avril Lavigne's home town of Napanee are basking in the joy of being the place she came from:

"Lavigne's first taste of fame came in the pages of the Napanee weekly, The Beaver, following her 1999 appearance on stage with then-idol Shania Twain"

So, it turns out - surprise, surprise - Avril is little more than another Alanis Morrisette in more ways than just pumping out music that's assumed to be alternative because she stares in the video; she's also has Pop Skeletons in her stylist-designed punk closet.
"What has impressed local residents is that you rarely hear a mention of Lavigne's music without a mention of Napanee"

This might be less unlikely than it sounds, really - of course, you hear her name all the time, and this was the first time I've ever heard of Napanee. But then, I've never heard her music mentioned, either. Does she actually have any of her own?

Celine Onscreen

Celine Dion's new car ads appear - what the hell are they on about? asks a puzzled nation.

What's the worst thing that could happen?

Well, maybe you could shoot a Dr Pepper ad, then get gunned down, and they go ahead and run the commercials anyway.

[UPDATE: 19-01-08 - The above linked story is available on; Dr Peppers were running a Coke ad featuring Jam Master Jay some three months after he'd been murdered.]

Poll time

The Spin Readers Poll results are in - or is it out? Anyway, here's the juice:

Best Band: The Strokes;
Worst Band: Creed;
Best New Band: The White Stripes;
Best Solo Artist: Beck;
Worst Solo Artist: Britney Spears;
Best Live Act: Weezer;
Best Song: "Fell in Love With a Girl," the White Stripes;
Worst Song: "Complicated," Avril Lavigne;
Worst-Dressed Lifetime Achievement Award: Christina Aguilera;
Best Dressed: Gwen Stefani;
Best Hip-Hop Jam: "Hot in Herre,"
Nelly; Coolest New Trend: Garage Rock.

Jesus. Garage rock the "coolest new trend?" - what next - skiffle? But then, what else would you expect from a magazine which has the category "best hip-hop jam" in its poll anyway? Generally, the readers seem to have better taste than you could hope for - especially taking the opportunity to call Creed for the useless tykes that they are. But they better leave off Britney, mmmkay?

You have to feel sorry for ITV

Cilla stropping off; Barrymore tied up arguing "Maybe the anal injuries happened to him after he'd been taken out of my pool" - is it possible to bruise a corpse? and now Nigel Lythgowe has a heart attack and Matthew Kelly finds himself with some explaining to do. At this rate, by Easter, they're going to be down to Geri Halliwell and Ant and Dec to carry the whole of Saturday night. Oh... hang about...

ADF sick of being the politics band

Asian Dub Foundation have been moaning to Playlouder about being pigeonholed the whole time as a political act.

Chandrasonic points out "we never get asked about love-lives." And then announces "but I'd rather not talk about."

So, he's asked about food, and starts to talk about vegetarianism.

It's like ADF have got some sort of Situationist Tourettes, isn't it?

Cox off

Most of the tabs this morning have picked up the news that Sara Cox is planning to take up the clause in her Radio One contract which will allow her to move to a different slot on the network from next year. That must really delight the management there - we've got a year of speculation about who's next for the - what is it? - third most popular? breakfast show; while they're going to have to try and find a slot for their expensively signed - ahem - talent. It's hard to say which problem is going to be more tricksy. It's impossible to draw up a list of likely names to take over with a straight face - Danni Behr? Moyles? Blackburn? - or imagine a show where Cox's style would be an improvement on the incumbent. And with the BBC about to be put under scrutiny on its general handling of public cash, there might be questions to be asked as how they managed to cut a deal giving someone loads of money to do the breakfast show for three years, without it actually committing her to do the breakfast show for that time.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

It's what he would have wanted

In memory of Maurice Gibb - cremated today - we offer the top five BeeGees pisstakes:

1. The HeebeeGeeBees - 'Meaningless Songs In Very High Voices' Vocal groups featuring TV's Mr. Sex Angus Deayton and the genius of pisstake pop, Phil Pope. Oddly, incredibly popular in Australia

2. Rock Profile - One of the best editions of UK Play's Lucas and Williams series, which suggested that Barry controlled the other two through a series of whistles and commands.

3. Big Train - Sherrif Chaka Khan hunting down the BeeGee boys in the Wild West. Best enjoyed alongside 'The artist formerly known as Prince stalking jockeys' and 'Chairman Mao rises from his deathbed to sing Virginia Plain'

4. Kenny Everett - An odd sketch in which he purchased a Make Yourself A BeeGee kit, slowly mutating into Barry Gibb at the orders on the cassette tape

5. Clive Anderson Talks Back - suddenly, it became very obvious that the BeeGees (or, at least, Barry) had no sense of just how ridiculousl the band could be perceived as being.

Bubbling under: The Legs and Co routine for Tragedy - Pierrot clown being all sad - when it was number one we can only assume was meant to be a gentle pisstake from Top of the Pops.

Oh, and we're no experts, but if the surviving brothers really are going to fight the hospital every inch of the way over Maurice's treatment in hospital, isn't burning the body going to make anything difficult to prove?

Sum product

We're a little bit confused by the figures quoted by the BPI in their report on a raid on a counterfeit CD "factory" in South Shields at the New Year. They say they seized 4,500 counterfeit CDs with an estimated value of GBP22,500 - an average of five quid a CD.

(This suggests the BPI are paying way over the odds for their knock-off CDs; but whatever). However, they then reckon that the factory, with its thirty-five CD burners , had the capacity of producing over 500 fakes an hour - 16X burning speed, then. Investigators claim this meant the factory could produce GBP600,000 worth of dodgy albums a month.

But where does that add up? If the assumption is meant to be that the factory is churning out shiny discs at full pelt, round the clock, we'd be looking at GBP1.8m. To make the figures add up, they'd need for the bloke to be working an eight hour day seven days a week - which is amusingly naive. The BPI claim they were investigating this guy for four months which - if their output numbers are right - would mean that half a million CDs came out of that one place since they started to investigate it. Presumably the large number of delivery men it would take to distribute these CDs are being sought by police?

Hey - maybe she is some kind of rebel after all

You think viruses which wipe your harddrive or emails those pictures of you naked at random to everybody in the world are bad? Maybe they are, but at least they don't force you to visit Avril Lavigne's website.

Showing your age

Thanks... sort of.. to The Rub for its helpful list of just how long ago some albums were released - it's slightly UScentric, but (fr'example) a kid born the year REM released Chronic Town can now buy booze; a child born the same year as Surfer Rosa was released can apply for a learner's permit, and a child born the year Fear Of A Black Planet came out need not fear a midnight visit from Gary Glitter.

Pete in full

The Smoking Gun has offered up the full text of Pete Townshend's article about discovering porn on the web. It's dated January 2002. Interestingly, it deviates again from some of Townshend's own reported remarks (here, he was looking for information about Russian Orphanage Boys when he stumbled on a child being raped - wasn't the story at the weekend that he was surfing with one of his kids?) and claims that it's possible to get from Google to kiddie porn without actually typing any words. Possibly so (we reckon you might just about be able to do it clicking through the directory options - potentially) but you'd have to be hugely single minded and definitely searching; no way you could do it by accident. He claims that he was on the point of calling the police, but instead decided to talk to a lawyer "off the record" instead; the lawyer advised him that it was better to say nothing.

Okay, so far this could be plausible - we're not sure about the search engine that returns porn on 'russian + orphanage +boys', the return being so worded as to not be clear what lay at the end of it, but let's buy that for a moment. And let's say that Pete did think to call a lawyer rather than a police station when he saw the hideous video.

We're supposed to then believe that, having been warned of the possible consequences of reporting this incident, when Townshend later pumped his credit card details in for another site, he didn't know he was breaking the law, as he told The Sun? How would that be possible?

And why is there no mention of this further "research" in his treaty? And if he'd been advised by this lawyer that going public with his concerns may reflect badly on him, why did then apparently write about on his website in January 2002? And if he chose to do that because of the death of his friend mentioned in the article, why did he not go to the police at that point but instead wait - by his own account - almost a year to go and see them? If Pete Townshend is indeed a victim of circumstance - and it's not impossible - circumstances have really ganged up on him big style, haven't they?

What the pop papers say: Eccentrics and guns edition

The real shame of the GQ retouching of Kate Winslet's picture, of course, is that instead of noticing the wonderful corset, we can't help but wonder why her leg appears to have been twisted - has she had an accident with a threshing machine? Was it some bizarre punishment for that terrible, terrible single she inflicted on us last Christmas?

We do think that David Lister might need to calm down a bit, though. Writing in the Independent about Kategate, he pondered "What would Stalin have done if he'd had access to photoshop?" Possibly locked the Adobe staff up in a gulag, or maybe spent his days peacefully pasting flat caps onto kittens for the delight of visitors? Who can say?

The new Mojo is supposed to be dedicated to English eccentrics, but the most nuts statement comes from an American, Chuck D: "Losing Jam Master Jay to a murder was, maybe, not quite John Lennon, but it was like as if Ringo and George Harrison both got hit at the same time." Prizes on offer for anyone able to use the Chuck D formula to express the death of Maurice Gibb in terms of members of the Velvet Underground.

Talking of whom, Lou Reed reveals how he stays heroin-thin now he's off the skag: Chen Tai Chi. We could make a snark, but he might hit us.

"Girls would come into our hotel room and leave, bored" claims Carlos Santana. Maybe you should have tried shagging them rather than playing your dreary music to them?

There's a nice retrospective on Lonnie Donegan, who based his career on having "a nymphomaniac girlfriend whose Dad owned a pub" - although, to be honest, we can't work out where he found the time to make music with that combination on offer. One of his colleagues complains "When Lonnie had the hits, kids jumped on the bandwagon thinking it was easy [while] Lonnie went on to become an all-round entertainer. That's why skiffle died." Proving that not only did skiffle create the template for british rock music for the following fifty years, but also invented the whiney indie-kid who hates His Music getting popular.

The parade of bonkers English people is a joy. The fifty best eccentric english albums includes Viv Stanshall, Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Robin Gibb, XTC, Pulp and the Auteurs, while the artists featured are almost guaranteed top copy. Jarvis Cocker claims "as far as the English love of cross-dressing, I've never dressed up as a woman" before going on to hymn the delights of Reg Varney in drag and describe The Last Day of the Miners Strike as a John Lennon song he dreamed; XTC's Andy Partridge snorts in disgust at Robbie Williams - "basically Norman Wisdom" he reckons; in a rare appearance in interview - or, indeed, daylight - Lawrence from Felt/Denim tells of his struggle with rock: "I couldn't even say 'rock and roll' for years." There's a piece on Vashti Bunyan who "failed completely to bring my own quiet songs into pop music" so she ran away. When Ewan MacColl heard her demo, he told her to "beware of the ephemeral", which scared her because she really believed he was talking about a monster; The Coral reveal they're a six piece because they kept adding members until they reached the size of the Beachs Boys and Love.

The main English Nutter, of course, is Kate Bush, who gives a revealing interview to go with the racy swimsuit-and-corsetry photosession that makes the cover. Okay, maybe not, but there's lots of good use of archive (EMAP finally wising up to the value of the Record Mirror and Sounds archive they bought when they took 'em over and closed 'em down) and some nice stories - Baboshka and Breathing took a week each to record, Kate singing them over and over until they were right. David Munns of EMI is probably already being carpeted for saying "She's precious - I want her to be the way she is" rather than insisting she delivers a new album now and gets herself in shape for FHM. Great, one person in the entire fucking music industry who cares about the artists and their work, and he has to be the one dealing with Kate Bush.

Mojo's reviews include glimpses of 4,766 seconds (a Teenage Fanclub retrospective) and Pavement's magnificently loopy 2-CD reissue of Slanted and Enchanted - the Luxe and Reduxe edition. See, not all Froot Loops come from Albion.

Heat's lead story - its cover - is that Jade (who won Big Brother about a lifetime ago) had changed her hair colour. As a magazine, you can just smell the microwave meals for one when you pick it up, can't you?

Like Liberty X, NME comes clad in tight plastic; like Liberty X, its for no real reason. Yes, it's Bring It On week again - The Thrills are on the cover; The Raveonettes reveal they signed the biggest deal for a Danish band, ever (eclipsing, um, probably Hans Christian Andersen); The Bandits... they're just scary, aren't they?; Taproot and Raging Speedhorn make up the numbers and the arrival of Electric 6 is heralded by them admitting Danger High Voltage is, indeed, about kissing and touching and asking how much money they can make while they're here. It's actually quite a nice edition, actually, but the question is: How come the whole of the next month's gigs are considered, and there's not a single non-white face in the entire magazine?

Thank God for Eminem. He's not black, of course, but he's got black friends, right? And he's on the cover of the nme proper. Looking about twelve years old, actually.

The news pages - now living in a terrible interregnum while the woman from the Daily Star finishes up over there; they've not even bothered to give Julian Marshall "acting news editor" status - start with a picture of a music shop with the entire Hip Hop Vinyl section removed. "Is this the future?" asks a doom-ladened headline. Um... no? The paper then goes on to challenge us to imagine a world with no hip-hop. It isn't hard to do, of course - you can just flip through Bring It On. There is, of course, a serious assault on music freedom gathering on the fringes of the Home Office and in the garden suburbs. It's a pity the nme feels the need to sensationalise the issue - 'David Blunkett said he wanted a hand in deciding "what is and isn't acceptable" subject matter for artists to record songs about' claims page three; on page four the full quote (from Jeremy Vine's show) shows he didn't actually say that, just that he wants to open a debate with record producers, distributors and "those actually engaged in the music business about what is and isn't acceptable" - you could argue that expressing (out of touch) views is what a Home Secretary exists to do, but to suggest that that's on a par with Blunkett calling for the power to veto tracks is just misreporting. A sidebar lists "what Blunkett Might Introduce" - including restriction of sales of certain albums to certain age groups; 'Parental advisory stickers tailored exclusively for the UK market' and "a law outlawing the release of any records that aren't 'acceptable.'" Well, yes, Blunkett might introduce those measures. He might also introduce imprisonment for possession of a stereo system with more than one turntable, a law banning the use of Sting samples on records, and stop and search for people suspected to packing CDs. But he hasn't actually proposed any of these things, either. What's worse is that one of the things "Blunkett might introduce" according to nme - the parental advisory stickers - erm, is already here, and has been for years. The music industry operates a voluntary code of stickering product with saucy or violent material - just like in the states. The paper snorts at Jay-Z being held up as an example of the danger to our youths - "Jay-Z's the Blueprint 2: The gift and the curse [...] peaked in the UK charts at 56 and dropped out of the Top 100 within a fortnight... such a showing would be seem unlikely (sic) to influence a cultural shift in britain." In which case, should we forget what we read about that new rock revolution, then, until those bands sell in Houston-like quantities?

In effect, its nice to see that the nme can still work up a fuss; it's just a pity that it's tilting at a tabloid obsession that has already rolled on - ricin is the new guns, people - and by exaggerating just what the threat is. There's no doubt that Blunkett would probably happily accept powers to veto every record released in the UK, and we know for a fact that every Sunday Kim Howells sits down and decides which records he'd put on Top of the Pops, but there's more than enough reason to attack Blair and his b-list without Making Things Up. As editor Conor McNicholas points out - in a beautiful, photo-bylined "The editor speaks" column insisting that "this possible future cannot be allowed to happen" - "it's also entirely unworkable", what with the internet and all. Right. Well, then, let's just ensure that this future - simultaneously possible and impossible - must never happen, in this or any other possible universe.

Other news: 3D is planning to take more adverts out in the NME against war in Iraq - doubtless IPC will try and persuade him to take over sponsorship of Bring It On as well; Lamacq's replacement "a hit with listeners", says copied-out news release from Radio One press office; "girls distraught over rumours of Fabrizio Moretti's engagament to Drew Barrymore" - true, there's a hell of a lot broken hearted lesbians at the moment; Ian Brown is going to appear in the next Harry Potter movie - "he's doing a screen test for a speaking role, but if that doesn't work out he'll get a bit part" - so, that's a bit part, then; Mock Turtles reforming off the back of Vodaphone campaign - which means, I'm afraid, that Mitsubishi ad with 'Joy' on it will probably lead to Gay Dad getting back together; "I won't wear skanky clothes that show off my booty, my belly or boobs" says avril Lavigne - nicely run next to a picture of her at the MTV Video Awards with her crop top and bar showing through (good work, picture department)

Wayne Coyne is this week's CD making man - Bowie doing Heroes; jackson doing Beat It; Missy doing Work It.

"The most hotly anticipated movie of the year" proclaims nme of 8 Mile, forgetting the third lord of the rings, the new harry potter, two Matrix flicks, chicago and, the Bridget Jones follow-up. The Gangs of New York, Star Trek Nemesis and Chicago. Oh, and Maid In Manhattan. Hilariously, the paper then tries to find Britain's 8 Mile - "where the 'Hood ends and Suburbia begins" - Princes Park Avenue is nominated for Liverpool, which means either we live in Suburbia or the hood. Hmmm.

There's a pull out and keep Hot List of the Greatest New Bands - and remember, the kids, under new nme rules, anything less than two weeks in the lower reaches of the album chart constitutes Failure - plugging Kings of Leon (hair rock); The Kills (the Kills); Dashboard Confessional ("thoroughbred emo"); The Hiss ("we're attacking rock and roll like invincible zombies"); Jet ("the antipodean Oasis"); The Warlocks ("music to take drugs to" - the drugs, alas, are not specified); The Sleepy Jackson (more australiana - remember, this is the year of New Ayers Rock or something); AFI (dom-rock); Clipse (token non-white act - erm, sorry "hustlers of hip-hop"); The Basement (on the basis that if Oz rock doesn't take off, there's always The New New New Merseybeat to fall back on). They ask stars who'd they'd like to see on the cover of the nme - strangely and delightfully, Mozzer answers (The Thrills, as it turns out) which surely must be the first time he's spoken to the NME in years, apart from screaming "He's not at home, stop calling" down the phone? Roddy Woomble wants to see Conor Oberst on the cover of the nme. We want to see Roddy and Conor, stripped and naked, writhing as they struggle to pleasure each other using hands, mouths, feet, in a small glen, bathed in sunlight and filled with whipping cream and jam. We suspect we may come closer to getting our wish. There's a summary of how they did last year - pretty well, it has to be admitted (The Streets, BRMC, Coral. Ms Dynamite, The Vines and, um, Fischerspooner) - but it just makes this year's models seem even more single note than ever.

the raveonettes - whip it on "its clammy blues will give you shivers too", 7
kula shaker - kollected - the best of - "[their] back catalogue means precisely nothing", 1

sotw - jay-z - '03 bonny and clyde - hang about, where were we reading that Jay-Z was "unlikely to influence a cultural shift in britain" recently? Oh, yeah, page 4.
the flaming lips - yoshimi battles the pink robots -"a beauty"
tiga - man hrdina - "departs from the formula into hard and slightly dull spooky electro-house"

the music - middlesborough town hall - "destined for even greater stages"
the libertines - valencia roxy discoteca - "out of this world"

and, finally, back to the gun debates with nme-mail. The most pressing argument in favour of everyone being armed is the look of fear on Jarvis' face when he's being kissed by a strange stalky woman in that sub-Smash Hits "pictures of me and someone famous i once met" bit.

In defence of Pete

IN DEFENCE OF PETE: In yesterday's Guardian, Rod Liddle kind of defended Pete Townshend by suggesting that it's not much good for society to make looking at things illegal; in the same edition Zoe Williams suggested that his arrest was part of panic and confusion about child porn. Well, hers and Rod's maybe - she suggested that typing "child pornography" into Google "could land illegal matter on to my hard-drive." Both miss a rather important point - Townshend wasn't idly Googling or clicking by accident; he paid money to people selling images of children being sexually abused. His crime wasn't looking, or even searching, but in providing cold, hard cash to the people running the sites. It's a vital distinction.

There's a more considered support for Townshend by Howard Owens at BlogCritics, which carries a large chunk of an article on Townshend site from a year ago, where Pete talks about his anger at the availability of child porn and suggests that Google should be made to censor searches on certain terms and words (cheers, Pete). This, suggests Owens, backs Townshend's claims that he was doing research and not merely perving off on pictures of kiddies. Well, maybe. Although you could argue that a lot of paedophiles do use the cloak of child protection as a cover for their activities; or even that writing angry articles about child porn proves disgust, but doesn't disprove self-disgust.

To me, the key question seems to be: Pete finds all this kiddie porn online in 1996-7, and is angry and disgusted about it. Why is it that he only goes to the police to complain about it in December of 2002, when the papers have been reporting that police are going round arresting people who've given their credit card details to the site? Surely, the way to protect children would be to complain at the earliest available opportunity, not five years later?

It's poll time

Popjustice poll results are in. Norah Jones best female artist; Fred Durst gets the lifetime contribution award; and Single of the Year goes to Atomic Kitten for their cover of Pink's Get The Party Started. Oh, hang on, that's next year's Brit results, isn't it?

The only chart that leaks

Since this week's TOTP could be the best one since Kid Jensen was presenting (Electric Six and Audiobullies), with Flaming Lips midweek position at 14 and The Libertines at 15, next week's could be even better.

Apres Moulin, le deluge

Oh good. The success of Moulin Rouge and, latterly, Chicago, is set to swamp cinemas with a load of pisspoor musicals. And, as is common in the music world at the moment, rather than create something new, old stuff is being dusted down and remakes are seen as the way forward. For example, Ashanti is lined up to appear in a remake of Sparkle (What Irene Cara did before 'Fame' and, indeed, fame.)

We're waiting for Kelly Osbourne to announce her lead role in a new version of the Sound of Music, with the action relocated from Nazi-era Austria to 90's Kuwait.

We mentioned this in passing yesterday

But that Van Morrison sexual harassment tribunal has been settled - there's a full report on icWales. Jerry Lee Lewis' sister Gail Lewis has withdrawn her allegations; Van has made a big cash payment. Luckily, the out of court settlement was reached the day before five counts of sex discrimination were going to be heard.

The Times - First with the news

No, seriously, it was nice to see a passionate piece about Fanzines in The Times yesterday, especially since it mentioned - for the first time in the proper newspapers - the triumvirate of Adventures In Bereznik, Trout Fishing In Leytonstone and the marvelous Are You Scared To Get Happy? It's by Bob Stanley, too.

Hmmm. I wonder why The Times should feel empathy with people producing a publication that exists solely to channel the views of the owner of that publication?

No vertical integrated content fun

Apparently by pretending to be from Billboard, the Hits Daily Double claim to have wangled an interview out of Howard Stringer (Sony Corporation of North America's Chairman) and Andrew Lack, the hack-turned-head-of Sony Music. Unfortunately, it sounds pretty genuine to us.

Asked if Lack's lack of music industry experience - he's spent the past few years of his life tinkering about with NBC news - would be a problem, Stringer replies

"I am confident Andy can communicate and work with Sony’s other business units horizontally and globally and will bring all the forces together."

Good. Turning to Lack, they ask what parallels there are between running a TV network and a music group. His reply?
"Whether you are talking about film, TV or music, the twin pillars of all content-driven businesses are creativity and the need to reach the broadest possible audience."

Now, assuming that this really is the voice of one of the new major powers in the music industry and not some sort of postmodern joke, how scary is that? He believes that music should "reach the broadest possible audience" - which suggests the new policy at Sony will be to bland down its roster even further.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

This just in

Ikara Colt and Yeah Yeah Yeahs - on tour, together:
Mon 24th Feb GLASGOW CMU
Tues 25th Feb SHEFFIELD Leadmill

The King is half-undressed

Doubtless Pete Townshend will be delighted at Jonathan King's kind words of support for him on the Tip Sheet. Pausing only to murmur how sad it is about Maurice "I knew him well in the sixties" Gibb, King then suggests its "even sadder" about Pete Townshend (because, after all, being caught buying kiddie porn really does knock dying young after a screwed-up operation into a cocked hat, doesn't it?

King continues:

"but I warned you all when it happened to me. The unholy alliance between police and media, combined with Britain's extraordinary sex laws has meant its open season on celebrities.

But hold on Jonathon, weren't you convicted of sexually abusing minors - not the same thing at all. Indeed, at least publicly, hasn't Townshend been saying how angry people like you make him?
"Whether it's false allegations provoked by publicity as it was for me, and will be for Pete, John Leslie and all the others, or, true past skeletons coming out of star's closets, it's going to get worse. Watch out for those tabloid Pete stories acquired by agents like Maxi boy. I see there are now senior politicians in the frame. Could that be ugly rumours? (all you need for conviction, evidence is not necessary)."

This is just pure bollocks, isn't it? Apart from anything, Townshend said he went to the police himself a couple of months ago. And while false allegations are certainly worrying - we see Van Morrison's shaken off those allegations about sexual harassment - what's the problem with celebrities who've sexually exploited children being exposed? "True past skeletons" are, you know, Jon, crimes. Are you really suggesting if you're famous you should be allowed to get away with buggering small boys?

And "all you need is ugly rumours -[clever wording, King - cheers] - evidence is not necessary" is just extreme ridiculous. Indeed, Gary Glitter's case shows that the interest of the press tends to work in the person's favour, since it was the press involvement that led to his acquittal in the trial over him shagging that fourteen year old. Evidence is still all. You got caught. I hope that your lack of remorse is noted by the parole board.
"What I want to know is - do they do kiddie porn in braille?"

Maybe you should ask one of your contacts?

They should have said it was a beauty treatment

Birmingham's BRMB radio is being prosecuted for getting listeners to sit on dry ice. Wouldn't it be cool if they could be forced to do community service - like handing over one third of their airtime to community groups or local unsigned bands?

Bitch does Vicar

Internet now collapsing in on itself, say observers

Phair enough?

We've already reported the aptly named The Matrix (the people behind Avril Lavigne) are working with Liz Phair. Now, (apparently) Liz has addressed everyone's fears, although as Glorious Noise points out, not allayed them. It's a wonderful piece. Go and read it. No, now. Okay?

Because the problem is that it's right. You can't begrudge Liz wanting some of the candy; a dance in the sunlight. But one of the things that has made us love her thus far - supported her dreams - is that she seemed to be one of us; rather plough a "quirky" line than just whack 'em out for Big Success. The whole argument is self-defeating on so many levels - "Nobody likes the stuff I make, so I'll do someone else's stuff to get popular" edging around with the ridiculous claim that the woman who wrote "Fuck and Run" seems to believe that if she put her mind to it (or, rather, about a quarter of her mind) she couldn't create something on a par with (on a par with) Sk8r Boi or Complicated.

Since its "Top of the Pops or bust", we look forward to the swimsuit photoshoot for Maxim. (Actually, we do, but we would, we're hounds.)

Maybe you want to rephrase that?

Bearing in mind most of yesterday's papers carried the hideously swollen bruised eye of the woman punched in the face by Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy - the John Prescott of manufactured pop - maybe the spokesperson for Polydor should have thought before saying "There's more to this than meets the eye."

Polydor seem very keen to deny that there was any racial element to Cheryl beating the crap out of a toilet attendant, as you'd expect. They're threatening to sue someone, which could be quite an interesting court case. Popstars experiencing mood swings in nightclub toilets. Hmmm.

He's funding his own investigation

According to the Celebrity-tax-ometer thingy at Tax Central, (assuming he doesn't do anything like tax avoidance), Pete Townshend should be paying thirteen pence a second in income tax - nearly four million quid a year. That's double the amount the police were hoping for to carry out all the investigations under Operation Ore...

Here is the injury... do you want an insult with that?

Useless waste of space Chris Moyles has had his TFI Clone show on Five axed. He's being replaced by former Juice FM breakfast corpse Christian O'Connell. O'Connell, who's since gone on to X-FM (presumably to avoid the station challenging parent company Capital's Chris Tarrant at Breakfast) will presumably be doing much the same thing, but at a quarter of the cost.

From the Brits, to the AMAs

The 'peoples choice' of American Music Awards, the, um, American Music Awards (20,000 record buyers are polled - odd, since if you believe the RIAA, there aren't that many people left in the states still buying records) have been announced at what can only be described as some sort of ceremony.

Billboard reports "Nickelback got the crowd on their feet following its performance of How You Remind Me" - lets hope the parking garage didn't get overwhelmed with so many people leaving so early. Kelly Osbourne - the amusing comic creation - did one of her songs; Christina Aguilera was there, too. It really does sound like a night in hell, which is why Eminem probably couldn't be arsed to turn up and collect his four awards. Sheryl Crow won an award. Another award went to the Dixie Chicks. Then Celine Dion won something.

The Michael Jackson International Artist of the Year prize went to Madonna. Next year, Michael Jackson is expected to receive the Madonna International Artist of the Year.

Maybe he was filled with the Holy Spirit? Or some sort of spirit?

Normally, we'd say that anyone daft enough to pay good money to see Jesus-suck-ups Creed live would deserve anything they got. But, by all accounts, the recent Chicago gig was a wonderful piece of work. Bishop Scott Strap was alleged by some to be "high out his mind", reports Billboard, falling down, forgetting songwords and leaving the stage for ten minutes.

Not surprisingly, even the devout amongst Creed's fans were a bit miffed and - after weeks of moans and grumbles - the band have apologised. Or rather, the management have stuck out a lame attempt to save face. Unfortunately, it comes across more like a slap in the face:

"The band has heard that you are unhappy with the quality of the recent Creed show in Chicago," reads the letter sent to fans from Jeff Hanson Management. "We apologize if you don't feel that the show was up to the very high standards set by our previous shows in Chicago."

So, the band has heard that their fans think they were rubbish, but have passed the apology to their managers to do?
"We also understand and appreciate the fact that there has been much concern about Scott's health and we want to assure everyone that he is doing very well and is taking a much needed break at home in Orlando after a very long and rigorous touring year."

We take this to be that Rock's Ned Flanders is sleeping it off.
"For now we hope that you can take some solace in the fact that you definitely experienced the most unique of all Creed shows and may have become part of the unusual world of rock'n'roll history!"

Oh, right - so the fact the show was pissed up against a wall shouldn't matter - hey, we did a shit show. We've never done that before. You're lucky we don't charge you more for having seen this one off event. Righto.
"Again, we apologize if you didn't enjoy the show but remember, 'It's only rock'n'roll but we like it!'"

"We really couldn't give a fuck. We've got your money, suckers."

What does saying 'It's only rock'n'roll but we like it' actually meant to mean? "It doesn't matter we put on a performance that even our biggest fans thinks was rubbish, because, it's hey - rock and roll." The band might know their bible, but they seem to have skipped all the bits about humility.

Meat (free) Conor Oberst

A quick plug for PETA's video interview with Conor Oberst, the acceptable musical face of veganism (i.e. not the one you want to slap - hello, Moby).

It's curious that the meat eating, fox-killing majority don't manage to get anyone cool to talk on their behalf - aside from the people tempted to by McDonald's cash to promote their products. Nobody ever really pops up saying "Meat is cool", do they?

Not taking the rap

We thought, since her colleagues are so busy damning rap, we'd just point out an instance where rap has helped cut street crime, the Splash Extra project:

The scheme gives youngsters the chance to take part in activities such as drama, abseiling, circus skills and making videos and rap music.
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell said robbery and street crime had fallen by an average of 5.2% in these areas.
And in Avon and Somerset, it had fallen by 31% in parts of the region where Splash Extra was held, and risen by 56% where it had not.

Ms Jowell said: "Splash Extra is about getting young people off the sofas - and off the streets - and showing them that

Oh, Romeo

While we have a certain degree of sympathy for the view that Gangsta rap isn't to blame for the use of guns, you have to swallow hard when Romeo tells the Standard "you can't blame So Solid for all the gun violence out there." True, but you can blame it for the gun toting actually done by members of the Crew, surely?


The lights returned in the sky last night; after the mists cleared, we found they'd left the nominations for the Brit Awards behind:
British Male Solo Artist -
* Badly Drawn boy
* Craig David
* David Gray
* The Streets
* Robbie Williams
Interestingly, Williams is nominated here and nowhere else - so we're expected to believe that he's the best solo artist despite not actually producing anything considered in any way worthy of praise. That makes sense then. And don't even let's get started on whether The Streets is a solo artist, or are a collective or whatever. Let's push things forward (DYSWIDT?) and give 'em an award...

British Female Solo Artist
* Sophie Ellis Bextor
* Ms Dynamite
* Beverly Knight
* Alison Moyet
* Beth Orton
Rrright, because that Alison Moyet comeback really burned itself into the nation's consciousness, didn't it? It was almost as if Shergar had been found. And much as we love Sophie, wasn't her contribution to music in 2002 repackaging her album from 2001? We'd like Beth to win it, but we know Ms D has got this one stitched up.

British Album
* Coldplay - 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head'
* Ms Dynamite - 'A Little Deeper'
* The Coral - 'The Coral'
* The Streets - 'Original Pirate Material'
* Sugababes - 'Angels With Dirty Faces'
Three great albums, an alright pop effort and an album that at least has some ambition to it (even if its very limited) - not a bad line up, even if the last of these - the Coldplay - is probably going to win it.

British Group
* Blue
* Coldplay
* Doves
* Sugababes
* Oasis
We're wondering why Oasis are on this list? Is it a joke? Had they forgotten to clean the slate properly from last time round? Were we in a coma and missed Oasis doing something worthwhile? Nice to see Doves nominated, even if they're hugely unlikely to lift the prize. Blue? Coldplay?

British Single
* Atomic Kitten - The Tide Is High
* Gareth Gates - Anyone Of Us
* Gareth Gates - 'Unchained Melody'
* Liberty X - 'Just A Little'
* Will Young - 'Anything Is Possible' / 'Evergreen'
This really does imply the state of British Music is more fucked than it actually is, doesn't it? When the rest of the awards nominations hints at the margins moving into the mainstream, this line-up reads like a particuarly bad night on the Smash Hits channel. Two cover versions (which surely should be more or less ineligible anyway, shouldn't they?). We know Just A Little was nowhere near the best single released last year - it wasn't even the best chart whore single - but we find ourselves throwing our moral weight behind it

British urban Act
* Beverly Knight
* Big Brovaz
* Craig David
* Daniel Bedingfield
* Mis-teeq
* Ms Dynamite
* Romeo
* Roots Mauva
* So Solid Crew
* The Streets
Why so many nominations? Is this the BPI trying to show off how wide their knowledge of black (sorry, urban) music is? Presumably they're also unable to tell the huge difference between So Solid Crew and Beverley Knight?

British Dance Act
* Chemical Brothers
* Groove Armada
* Jamiroquai
* Kosheen
* Sugababes
Sugababes as dance? And what, precisely, did Jamiroquai do to earn this nomination? Is it just so there's a worse hat than Badly Drawn Boy's in the nomnation list?

British Breakthrough Artist
* Liberty X
* Ms Dynamite
* The Coral
* The Streets
* Will Young
This is "new artist by any other name" - now its called Breakthrough, we presume the prize is more for size of achievement rather than novelty. On which scale, Will Young would be the victor - but since he had the entire weight of the Granada corporation behind him, that seems unfair. Ms Dynamite's zero-to-hero achievements have been great, but The Coral have overcome the double handicap of being unknown and from a city that's been given pariah status by the music industry for the last few years, so they deserve it more.

Pop Act
* Blur
* Enrique Iglesias
* Gareth Gates
* Pink
* Will Young
Eh? Did we miss something here? When did Enrique and Pink become British? Does this mean we don't get to marry Alecia to allow her to apply for citizenship? Bah. I'm not sure if I'm more bemused by the increasingly art-wanky Blur in the Pop category, or their appearance in awards aimed at praising the best of last year. Pink's prize, by a mile.

International Male Solo Artist
* Beck
* Eminem
* Moby
* Nelly
* Bruce Springsteen
Hey, Brit award people - we don't have to give a prize to people simply because they wrote about September 11th, you know. That's very much an American trait. Beck seems to be nominated in this category every year; presumably a cruel joke on the Brit's part. Eminem should walk this.

International Female Solo Artist
* Missy Elliot
* Norah Jones
* Alicia Keys
* Avril Lavigne
* Pink
Apparently cut and paste from the Grammys without a second glance - we can just about see that Jennifer Aniston's kid sister Avril may have a small profile here, but I can honestly say I have never met anyone in the UK who gives a chicken McNugget about Norah Jones. Again, if this isn't used to give us an excuse to see a slightly squiffy Pink spending our money wisely, we'll pout.

International Album
* Eminem - 'The Eminem Show'
* Norah Jones - 'Come Away With Me'
* Alicia Keys - 'Songs In A Minor'
* Pink - 'Missundaztood'
* Red Hot Chili Peppers - 'By The Way'
Pink album from 2001, wasn't it? So, much as we'd love to applaud her again, we're hoping that the Chilli Peppers get this - even if its on the basis of "long time career, first time winners" buggin's term

International Group
* Foo Fighters
* Nickelback
* Red Hot Chili Peppers
* Royksopp
* White Stripes
How sad that Nickelback are disfiguring this category, which otherwise would make a pretty good second day at Glastonbury, don't you think? The brave winner would be Royksopp. So expect to see Dave Grohl's victory speech.

International Breakthrough Artist
* Norah Jones
* Avril Lavigne
* Nickelback
* Shakira
* White Stripes
Again, if we apply some sort of tape measure, Shakira would trounce all comers in this category. And if Shakira is a mighty thoroughbred, Norah Jones is My Little Pony. Why are the Brits colluding in some sort of profile raising for her?

Outstanding Contribution To Music
* Tom Jones
Apparently, Frasier lost in a one-man election for head of Condo Board back in 1998. We can but hope the panel remember the man's many crimes, and vote for Reopen Nominations. They could give it to Maurice Gibb - I'm sure Tom would understand.


The usually wonderful Undercover are hailing Electric Six as "The New Face Of Britpop." Erm... except, of course, they're about as British as Rupert Murdoch.

The shame

Let's skirt as quickly as possible past the obvious jokes - The Kids Are All Tight; Hope we date before you get old, etc etc - and ask: what the hell was BBC News 24 doing last night?

Obviously the police search of Townshend's home was news, and you can understand the minute-by-minute news service waiting to pounce the moment anything happened. But yesterday evening, the 6 pm bulletin carried a continuous live feed across the bottom the screen of Townshend's front door. This added nothing to our understanding, told us nothing about the story (child porn users have white front doors?) and turned the serious search of Townshend's home into a Rolling News Circus. Fair enough, the media scrum would have been bad enough anyway, but for the BBC to ensure we could keep an eye on a closed door lest the other news - impending war, cabinet splits, missing women - bored us a little too much. Had we flipped, we might have missed... erm, a policeman in shirt sleeves (child porn users = well heated homes?) emerging, saying nothing and getting into a car and driving off. The excitable editors at N24 should take away a valuable lesson that something doesn't become news just because there's a news camera pointing at it.

Meanwhile, we were amused to see the Star's editorial yesterday - "How many more celebrities will it take before the government understands that we hate paedophiles?" So not only do we need celebrities to help us choose which supermarkets to shop in and how to vote, but we can't even know something is wrong until someone we've vaguely heard of commits a crime now? No wonder the gangsta rap/guns story is such a runner, as it involves Number One Recording Artists. Presumably burglary must wait until that one off Hollyoaks who's just dyed her hair black buys a tin of treacle and some brown paper. But it's nice to see the Star on its high horse about child porn. Remind us which national daily ran a front page picture of a child in a bikini top with the headline "She's Fifteen, She's 38DD*, and on her sixteenth birthday she's going to show them to you?" That would be The Star, of course.

(* - we can't remember the actual size of the breasts in question)

Monday, January 13, 2003

Girdles round the earth

It's a mighty impressive list, it's Jason Gross's 25 Favourite Scribings for 2002. Of course, it's arguable, but its a great starting point. Nothing from NME, you note...

[Ta to TMFTML]
[Update: 20-09-08 - Archive.Org copy of the original list which is now no longer on]

He doesn't even get it right when he's talking about himself

From Media Monkey:

Writing in his column for the Sunday Express, Boy George takes the opportunity to "shamelessly plug" (as he puts it) his new radio show on "GLR". Not only does GLR no longer exist, but the station that replaced it, BBC London Live, is probably the biggest rival of the station he really works for - LBC. Here's hoping he has a good relationship with station owners Chrysalis.

Mind you, the Guardian's media column should be a bit kinder - after all, London Live was replaced by BBC London almost a year ago; and what paper has led to the internet suggesting that Jerry Hall has made up a defence of Pete Townshend because it misplaced their conversation about kiddie porn online from 2001 to 1991?

"You can trust my judgement"

Amusing musings from Fred Durst - defending hanging out with Britney. Um, Fred, sweetie, with the teaming of you and Brit, it's not you who's diminished in our eyes, mmmkay? Meanwhile, the next Limp Bizkit single is going to be called "Crack Addict." Oooh, how shocking you are, Mr. Durst. I fear society might never recover from your onslaught.

If you want any further proof that Bizkit and their fans are pussies - check out their Vision On style Gallery - but I'm sorry, we can't take any of your pictures seriously.

More trouble in paradise

Another Major Label In Trouble; this time Warners with uberhead of AOL Time Warner stepping down after the apes, ivory and peacocks he promised shareholders when AOL merged with Time Warner failed to materialise. Nothing to do with the complete over-statement of what AOL was worth, of course (no wonder their mascot's called Connie). More shake-ups expected soon throughout the group.

Thanks for clearing that up, Pete

THANKS FOR CLEARING THAT UP, PETE: Pete Townshend has attempted to ensure that he can argue press coverage means he can't get a fair trial... um, sorry, given an interview to clear his name to today's Sun. The pattern of a story slightly shifting is quite pretty if you hold it up to the light.

Now, it seems, he's looked at "three or four" sites after "accidently stumbling across one" - it's funny how it's so easy to accidently stumble across a child porn site, type your credit card details in, press the confirm button and start looking at pictures of children being abused - it happens before you even realise it, doesn't it? Though how Townshend squares the "it was all a horrible accident" with the "it was all done in the name of research" argument isn't clear.

“I have never purchased any forms of child pornography or wished to own any. I saw the first awful photo by accident. It repelled me and shocked me to my very core.

So shocked you went out and looked at other sites? Was this because you weren't shocked enough?
“I was not breaking the law at the time. This was in the winter of 1996/1997. It was then illegal to download, which I did not do, not to search and view.

Hello? Pete, mate, what do you think you're doing when you access a webpage? You're downloading it, aren't you? You might not be *saving* the document permanently, but you're still having to copy the thing from the remote computer to your own. And even if you didn't right click on anything, this is surely all a legal nicety, isn't it? Wouldn't you be as upset if I came and peered in through your bedroom window even if I didn't take pictures?
“I did not think using a credit card was illegal either at the time. As a public figure I would never have given details had I known I would be breaking UK law."

Right. So, you're expecting us to believe that you're so stupid that it didn't occur to you that paying cash to people who sell pictures of kids being raped might not only be stinkingly unethical but also illegal? And, hang on a moment...
"[The Internet] is allowing child porn to be circulated freely around the world, crossing borders, allowing laws to be ignored...

- hey, Peter - maybe all the people downloading child porn aren't ignoring the laws. Maybe they just didn't know what they were doing was illegal.


It's almost incredible to us, but somehow the BeeGees managed to really piss away any wave of sympathy we felt for them during their BBC interview [Real] this morning.

Of course, it's terrible to lose a brother under any circumstances, and to believe that it might be as a result of medical malpractice is even worse. But Robin and - especially - Barry just came across like the worst northern stereotypes, arranging a scrap before the wake's even taken place. Self-aggrandising and aggressive, they actually managed to make their walk-out on Clive Anderson's show look even-tempered and considered.

Perhaps the highlight came with Barry stating Maurice was "one of the greatest recording artists of all time", leaving no doubt that he meant the other two were sitting on that sofa.

We were so angry when he was kicked out, you know

Limahl follows in the shoes of, um, Jimmy Young and, uh, Noddy Holder and makes the small but significant leap from singer to dj, with a new slot on the Magic stations on Sundays playing a surprising mix of 60s soul and heavy gospel. Okay, it's an 80s show and he kicked off with Too Shy, but we always thought he looked sexy in a vest so we're happy to wish him luck.


Top ten TV musical moments, as voted for readers of TV Guide Online (the world's most sophisticated electorate):
1. Buffy Musical Episode 27%
2. Elton doing 'Candle In The Wind' at Diana's funeral 9%
3. America: Tribute To Heroes (post sep'ven benefit) 8%
4. Eric Clapton doing 'Tears In Heaven' for his dead son on Unplugged 5%
5. MTV plays 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' for the first time 5%
6. Bill Clinton on Arsenio 4% (highest non-death related entry)
7. Whitney does the Star Spangled Banner at the '91 Superbowl 4% (not the only time you'll find the words "Whitney" "does" and "bowl" in the same sentence)
8. Premiere of the Osbournes 3%
9. "American Idol fever" (like Winter Vomiting Disease, we'd imagine) 3%
10. U2's Superbowl tribute to themselves ("victims of September 11th") 3%

One of the greatest stars of 70s music has died

No, not him, Micky Finn, "the other guy in T-Rex."

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Ah - it was an academic interest, was it?

Let's not be too quick to condemn Pete Townshend for using his credit card to buy kiddie porn - it may be easy to suggest that if he really was researching a book and "wanted to know what was there" - and who wouldn't be puzzled what may lay behind a link saying "Kids being fucked here", after all? - that maybe he should have contacted, say, a police department or one of the many academics (actual academics) who have already done this sort of research.

It would be cheap, wouldn't it, to suggest that it would be of little comfort to know that the person paying the bloke flogging pictures of her being raped was only handing over the cash to gather some material for a book - I know I have no problem with kiddie pornographers getting rich from flogging images, providing the end users are merely writing details of the pictures down in spiral bound notebooks, after all.

After all, how could Peter be a paedophile - look, he's calling people who find that sort of thing "mentally ill" (although if he believes child porn users are mentally ill, wouldn't his "anger and vengeance" be misplaced?)

Let's take him at word. Which still makes him at best morally dubious and very, very stupid, doesn't it?