Friday, February 07, 2003

At least he didn't play the sax

Knowing precisely how to bring down a party, Bill Clinton opened for the Rolling Stones by delivering a lecture on global warming. "If we're not careful" he warned, "human beings could end up like the dinosaurs." As if to illustrate his point, Mick and Keith came on and played all their hits.

Does anybody actually just send demos anymore?

Tommy Mottola is looking for Britain's answer to Mariah Carey - although I would have thought the humilaiting album sales for the last two releases would have been a big clue as to what our answer is.

The main problem with the Diva Boot Camp idea is just what sort of diva - even a diva in waiting - would queue outside the bloody Marquee for hours in the freezing cold for an audition? They might put themselves through it for quaaludes, but not to warble 'I will always love you' in front of two bored execs.

Mottola, of course, discovered Carey and, by the end of their association had fucked her, married her and dumped her and she'd become a gibbering, damaged public freakshow. The winner of Diva Boot Camp can also look forward to a trip to America and the chance to sing in Las Vegas.

Jacko Flacko

So, Michael Jackson's lawyers have complained to the Broadcasting Standards Council [BSC] about Martin Bashir's programme. It's hard to see on what grounds, though. Clearly, there's no way the show can be considered to have breached the pale one's privacy - "come on into my world" seems to have closed off that avenue - so, presumably the grounds will be unfairness. Which will be tricky to demonstrate, I'd have thought.

Unless there's a big bucket of unused footage of Jackson not making his kids wear scary masks, not twitching like an electric eel in a barrel of Watneys Red Label while feeding Blanket, not pretending to be Peter Pan with the umbrella and the rope walk and the following children, Bashir and Granada will be sleeping soundly.

If anything, the documentary was a little bit too fair to Jackson, giving him ample space to defend his actions and justify his behaviours. The bottom line should be: if you don't want to give ammunition to the people who think you're weird, it's best to avoid inviting cameras to watch you sitting with mannequins in a hotel room, or begging for an ice cream cone, or dangling your kid out of a window, rather than complaining about it afterwards.

Williams crack burning

We know the google searcher was looking to make an illegal copy of escapology, but you have to admit - it is a lovely image, isn't it?

I have to tell you no such message has been recieved

We know the Daily Mail has always been a bit loose in the way it uses language, but, according to the nifty MediaGuardian mailout this morning, it's got this report today:

Michael Jackson has declared war on Martin Bashir. P20

Remember that time we thought you were pregnant?

Madonna has got into a right old "two and eight" as her duff-cockernee-wannabe-spouse would doubtless put it over Heat magazine's front-page claim that she's with child. We can't see why she's so pissed off at this one - phantom Maddy pregnancies date right back to IPC's short lived The Hit in the mid-80's, after all.

Unless she's not sleeping with Guy at the moment, of course. Anyway, Madonna has trumpeted off the to Press Complaints Commission to rage against this invasion of her privacy. But we wonder if the tarnished Queen of Pop has realised that she's got another useful area to attack the OK-its-for-some-reason-okay-to-like on?

Only the Tv adverts for Heat featured an explicit shot of the 'Madonna's Pregnant' front page. if it's really that bad, will she also be sending letters to the ITC and BSC?

Thursday, February 06, 2003

It's easy to mock, but if it wasn't for the NME, who'd even think of giving Coldplay an award?

Or, the NME Brat awards (apparently sold to some lager company) - those nominations, in full.

>The Libertines
>The Coral
>The Cooper Temple Clause
Interesting that all these bands are sponsored by Virgin, isn't it? No, really, we're killing ourselves. The nominations for the Coral, TCTC and the Libertines seem to have blown in from a different category - maybe Fopp is sponsoring an award for "best uk band not overcome with belief - supported by their team of advisors and PAs - that they actually can fly higher than a rainbow" and they should have been in there. Because its a mismatch, isn't it? We're guessing Coldplay will pick up the big one, being crowned as "Band who are perceived as being 'proper' by the sort of people who don't really like music of the Year"

>The Strokes
>Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
>The Vines
>The White Stripes
>The Hives
>Foo Fighters
See, this is more like what we>d imagine a NME list of nominations to look like - if they'd followed the same convention as the UK category, we'd have been choosing between The Strokes, the Foos, Dave Matthews Band and probably Midnight Oil. We're rooting for Meg and Jack, but we know that it's Dave Grohl's. He's already bought some duraglit.

>The Datsuns
>The Vines
>The Polyphonic Spree
>The Hives
Nice to see the cash-strapped purse at Channel Four hasn't stopped it from lashing out on the sponsorship for this one. Money well spent, plugging a programme strand that nobody I have ever spoken to ever actually mentions. Still, it could have been worse - Best Live Band sponsored by attheraces would have sucked even more. Maybe E4 could look into using some of its incredibly expensive downtime to carry stuff from Channel 4's twenty-year music archive? Obviously, once that endless hairdressing salon thing has ended. Now, where were we? Oh, yes. Nominations. We're presuming that the inclusion of Oasis in this field is merely to set up some comedy moments for the awards evening - a band who spent most of the year either marching off stage, telling its audience to fuck off, being booed or not showing up at all doesn't really seem to be up to code, does it? And curious that the nme shortlists The Vines in the same issue it carries endless reports of just how shit the Vines live were (according to Australians). The Polys, then, should win this - each member could keep the prize on their shelf for two hours, forty five minutes before passing it on to the next.

>The Streets
>Avril Lavigne
>Ryan Adams
>Ms Dynamite
For some reason, while bands are segregated in a way the Archbishop of Canterbury would approve of - foreigners over there, brits over here - solo artists are all lumped together. We hope it's Pink, just to piss off the people who don't like her.

>The Coral
>The Vines
>Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
>The Libertines
>The Datsuns
>The Music
Oooh, it's so hard to choose - when was the last time you saw a list of Best New Bands and all of them had potential (other than the potential to make you wind up in court explaining why you had to take the axe onto that tour bus). Maybe they could all just share it?

>>Fell In Love With A Girl> The White Stripes
>>No One Knows> Queens Of The Stone Age
>>The Scientist> Coldplay
>>Tribute> Tenacious D
>>Whatever Happened To My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song)> Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
>>You Know You're Right> Nirvana
And, again, the perplexing fascination with Tenacious D rears its ugly head. The video, if anything, was worse than the song alone - doing the video in a Karaoke Video booth is an old concept, put to far more inventive use by Sonic Youth; watching it, you'd be hard pressed to believe that Jack Black is actually meant to be an actor by way of his day job. The Nirvana inclusion is even more puzzling - sticking some old clips together with sellotape isn't that inspired an idea for dealing with a dead artist; it made the claymation Jackie Wilson doing Reet Petite look clever. Still frightening, but clever. For once, Coldplay really do deserve their nomination - not only because The Scientist was a great idea well executed, but also because anything that smashes Chris Martin through a sheet of glass is fine by us. But it's got to be Fell In Love. Like nothing else.

>>Highly Evolved> The Vines
>> A Rush Of Blood To The Head> Coldplay
>>Heathen Chemistry> Oasis
>>The Coral> The Coral
>>Songs For The Deaf> Queens of The Stone Age
>>Original Pirate Material> The Streets
Hey, drink enough Carling and we're sure that Heathen Chemistry might start to sound like something other than a wanking contest between eunuchs. The Coral's album isn't really a coherent work; more career end compilation than an album proper. Coldplay will get it; the Streets deserve it.

>Chris Moyles, Radio 1
>The Breezeblock, Radio 1
>Gary Crowley, BBC Radio London
>Mark & Lard, Radio 1
>The Evening Session/Lamacq Live, Radio 1
>John Peel, Radio 1
Again, you fear for the sanity of people who'd actually sit down and nominate Chris Moyles for anything other than a long, slow, painful death. We know a lot of people listen to him, because he'>s "on in the office". Actually, he's on at the moment, isn't he? [Retunes]. Oh god. Oh god. Make it stop. [Retunes again]. Lamacq. Perhaps the BBC will then realise what they've done.

>The Office
>I'm Alan Partridge
>Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights
>The Osbournes
Forget Zane Lowe, the really cute and nervous guy who was sitting in for him today on Gonzo deserves some sort of award. He's lovely. The Osbournes we're assuming was written in as an excuse to try and get Kelly "She's So Unusual" Osbourne to turn up. The not-actually-quite-as-good-as-people-said Phoenix Nights will win this.

>>Get Free> The Vines
>>All My Life> Foo Fighters
>>No One Knows> Queens Of The Stone Age
>>There Goes The Fear> Doves
>>The Scientist> Coldplay
>>Envy> Ash
Of the ones on offer, Envy should win. Maybe Get Free could deserve it. The Doves would be nice to see. But it won't be, will it?

>>A Rush Of Blood To The Head> Coldplay
>>There Goes The Fear> Doves
We're not sure why they give separate awards for this, unless it's to underline that the other awards are voted for by the readers who, apparently, can't be trusted to get it right. These, then, must be seen as the House of Lords awards, selected by an appointments committee, to the other, Commoners, awards.

>The Neptunes
>The Streets
>The White Stripes
>Panjabi MC
You'll know that we love the White Stripes as much as anyone, but we're not quite sure what's so innovative about them - faux incest? Fischerspooner's nomination must be for being the first act ever to bring together Pet Shop Boys style stage shows with totally valueless music. We scent that this whole award is merely barked up to allow Panjabi MC to get an award, so if you're disabled, say, or from another majority, you might like to try and beat Tatu to the "The candidate must demonstrate a commitment to the company's equal opportunities policy" prize for 2003.

>Kings of Leon
>The Kills
>The Thrills
>Yeah Yeah Yeahs
>The Warlocks
Again, the duplication of categories is puzzling. They should give it to the yeah yeah yeahs, though. Any failiure to give a prize to karen o should be punished.

>Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
>The Vines
Are there really that many Pink fans in Kings Reach Tower? Presumably The Vines have blown it, and Eminem won't turn up. Oasis? No, Coldplay, again? "If we tell them they>re getting lots of prizes, Gwyneth might come with them. And she might wear a dress you can see her tits through again."

>24 Hour Party People
>Minority Report
>Bowling For Columbine
>28 Days Later
>About A Boy
Goldmember? You're 'avin a laugh, aintcha? Although, of course, not in any literal sense. Unless there's some sort of outstanding debt from the paper to Danny Boyle, Michael Moore should expect a call here.

>Chris Martin
>Liam Gallagher
>Craig Nicholls
>Dave Grohl
>Julian Casablancas
Julian is quite cute, we guess, but really, his little face doesn't say "sexy" does it? The closest we can get is slipping him five bucks to make himself scarce while we screw his brother. Dave Grohl also a curious appearance in a sexy man list - really, he just gives off that whole vibe where you'd feel unsettled doing it, like he'd be asking you to explain exactly why you're touching him there all the way through. Liam Gallagher - to be fair, he should be judged on his gormless, ugly, pre-prehensile face before it got smashed repeatedly by that Italian, as its a 2002 award. Fab we wouldn't piss on if he was on fire - and since his appearance suggests he sleeps next to the dumpster out the back of Cherry Tree in Runcorn, we wouldn't be surprised to find ourselves in a position where that course of action may become something we'd have to face one day. Chris Martin could, conceivably, triumph in a sexiest man competition, if he was up against Morph, Johnny Vegas and the shadow cabinet. But all considerations are dancing in the sand. Craig Nicholls. The man is so sexy, he could turn a Jeep gay.

>Avril Lavigne
>Karen O
>Charlotte Hatherley
>Christina Aguilera
>Meg White
The trouble with Meg isn't so much that she's indie's Charlie Dimmock; not even that you find when she approaches you in a dream she keeps asking "Do you mind if my brother watches?" but that no matter how you try, it's impossible to think of shouting out "Meggggg" at the moment of orgasm. Kylie might be sexy, but there's always the risk that too enthusiastic a shag and all that skin scraped up at the back of her skull will come lose and you'll find yourself mid-screw with a baggy duvet cover. That Christina Aguilera is even here is just ridiculous - lots of stars find themselves the subject of sploosh websites, where fans post pictures of their heroes that they've recently wanked over. Christina is the only current recording artist we know of who has an Official Sploosh site. Avril Lavigne may look like Jennifer Aniston, but has the charisma of Kelsey Grammer. We can't choose between Karen O and Charlotte. Actually, that's not true. We just wanted to take a little longer over it. Karen O has the poise - she's sexy and knows it. But Charlotte is a lot more innocent-looking. And that's always going to be the clincher.

>Osama bin Laden
>Robbie Williams
>George W Bush
>Simon Cowell
>Pete Waterman
>Tony Blair
Bit harsh on Osama Bin Laden, isn't it; all he did in 2002 was to stick out a couple of poorly thought out recordings. Although you could say the same about Robbie Williams. It's hard to believe that any NME reader could really get so worked up about Cowell/Waterman - ooh, they were rude to the Cheeky Girls, lash them. Probably choosing Bush would lead to the paper being banned in the US, so Blair it is, then.

>Liam Gallagher
>Dave Grohl
>Chris Martin
>Craig Nicholls
>Graham Coxon
>Ozzy Osbourne
Right - so, in order then, the achievements of the NME heroes are:
- getting the shit beaten out of them in a nightclub and not quite making it to the end of any gig
- managing to go a year without endorsing the dangerous crap that HIV isn't connected to Aids
- having polite sex with Gwyneth Paltrow
- managing to stop the mantits
- being sacked by his bandmates and trying to spin it into leaving in disgust
- squandering the last of any respect he may have had as an artist to become a sweary pantomime dame
How does one choose?

>Brixton Academy
>London Astoria
>Glasgow Barrowlands
>Shepherd's Bush Empire
>Nottingham Rock City
>Birmingham Academy
It>s usualy impossible for a non-London venue to win this, sadly. And the two Academys should be instantly disqualified for having sold their name for a mess of potage (Carling? Carlsberg?) The Astoria actually deserve it - and its not often we>re nice about the Mean Fiddler group - for staring down the even more satanic Westminster City Council and their apparent bid to make London the least fun place to be on the planet.

>Liam Gallagher
>Craig Nicholls
>Dave Grohl
>Jack White
This is a shit and pointless category that has had no value since the end of the New Romantic era. It's only a step on from having a "Dressed Most Like Someone In Greek National Dress" round.

>The Hives
>Julian Casablancas
>Jack White
>Liam Gallagher
>Taylor Hawkins
>The Polyphonic Spree
The Polyphonic Spree wear sheets, for crying out loud. And Julian Casablancas looks like a boy starting work experience at the Bradford and Bingley. "Mam said jeans'd be okay providing they were ironed." Still, compared with Liam - appearing in tonight's Life of Mammals foraging for clothes in black sacks left outside Banardo's - he's quite the snizzy dresser. Jack White at least has his own furrow.

>Ash Unofficial
>Foo Fighters
*clears throat* No, really, we couldn't care less. No, that's fine. Seriously, its funny to watch Popbitch trying not to look excited about the nomination, isn't it, like an older brother at a kid's party struggling with his inner desire to join in the game of musical chairs. We can't help wondering why the nme is so immodest as to even allow its name to go forward here, by the way. The thing is, is quite good, but its really crappily built; even with broadband it takes ages to download; the floaty menu boxes are shite; it throws up too many pop-up windows; and the news ticker thingy just seems designed to make things hang even further. It's morally wrong to vote for Oasis' website here, of course, as let's not forget the bully boy tactics they used to shut down their own fan's sites not so long back. Ash Unofficial? It'll have pictures of Rick and Charlotte; how could it fail?

>Robbie Williams -'Escapology'
>Gareth Gates - 'What My Heart Wants To Say'
>The Streets - 'Original Pirate Material'
>The Vines - 'Highly Evolved'
>Westlife - 'Unbreakable'
>Coldplay - 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head'
What, no Will Young? It may well go to Coldplay. But Westlife are evil, and so lets hope for their victory here.

>Las Ketchup - 'The Ketchup Song'
>The Cheeky Girls - 'Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)'
>Will Young and Gareth Gates - 'The Long And Winding Road'
>Nickelback - 'How You Remind Me'
>Robbie Williams - 'Feel'
>Blazin Squad - 'Crossroads'
To suggest that the ketchup song is bad is misplaced - it never really set out to be anything other than a backdrop to summer drinking in the first place. If an award was being offered for Most Pointless Purchase, that would make a bit more sense. Likewise, the Cheeky Girls. It'd be like mocking Brighton and Hove Albion for being a bit shit at football - they'd counter that its not their fault they found themselves playing above their natural level. Williams is shit, but the git would probably turn up to pick the award up thinking it was being clever. Really, Nickelback need this award. You know that it'll make Chad cry knowing that his heartfelt grunting was the subject of eye rolling and tittering.

>S Club Juniors
>Atomic Kitten
Let's just not bother with even treating the banged-together acts as bands - it's like Egon Ronay considering a Happy Meal - which means that its between the 'Phonics and 'back. And since the Stereophonics should be slowly washing up, limb by limb, on beaches along the North Sea Coast - don't worry, we got Arts Council funding - the prize belongs with Nickelback.

>Gareth Gates
>Kelly Osbourne
>Kelly Jones
>Jack Osbourne
>Chad Kroeger
Uh? Which Pink haircut? Sorry, I almost seemed interested, didn't I?

>Gareth Gates
>Christina Aguilera
>Mike Skinner
>Kelly Osbourne
>Robbie Williams
>Robert Harvey
Christina Aguilera surely should be disqualified for failing on the "dressed" part of the qualification. And although we don't think much of Osbourne, we do always think she's nicely turned out and wouldn't want to use this merely as an excuse to bash the talentless twatbourine unfairly. Mike Skinner? Williams? We really can't be arsed since there's no box for Fischerspooner.

>Oasis at Finsbury Park
>Carling reading/Leeds Festival
>T In The Park
How can you vote for Reading *and* Leeds at the same time? Surely not possible. And Oasis in a park? Hmmm. Oh, Glastonbury. That'll do. Nobody'll be sober by the time they get to this one anyway.

Was the Word

It's always nice to hear Mark Ellen on the radio, as he is at the moment; and it's always nicer to hear of him being involved in a magazine launch (was ever anyone so wasted as he was when at the helm of Arena?).

Word, the much-anticpated magazine from Ellen and Hepworth's new stable has arrived, and it sounds like its got its mind in the right place (although it's an bit rich for Ellen to snipe at magazines bragging about "200 LPs reviewed and rated" - who was it who started that trend when they were editing Q, Mark?). If any copies show up in Liverpool, we'll let you know.

Another Kitten/Westlife hook-up

Is there something in the contracts which forces them to only splash in each other's pools? Or is there a plot to create some scary ass crossbred pop toddler act?

Music to shoot girls by

Together at last - Dr Dre and Burt Bacharach.

Seldom can missing a gig be such a relief

We weren't invited to go and see Kevin Spacey's welcome fest at the Old Vic last night, so we missed Courtney Love both dressed as Donald Duck and, erm, not. People seriously believe that Courtney is capable of having planned and executed a careful and almost untraceable execution of Kurt Cobain, you know. Yet she seems barely able to hail a cab.


Cerys to marry Seth Riddle, Dylan to be best man. Can it really be that she's going to become Mrs Riddle? We were saving ourselves for you, Cerys. Well, okay, not actually saving, but...

Apparently the wedding invitations are asking guests to dress up in 1930's style clothing, which is going to cause problems for Bob Dylan as we don't think he's got anything quite that modern.

The sound of feet dashing to catch a bandwagon

The ever reliable remember the eighties - although they should consider renaming themselves The 80's - A Warning From History - reports that the latest totally unwanted revival is of Modern "Ay-ay-ay-ay-Moosey" Romance, a band who even at the time not even Look-In could muster much excitement over. More encouragingly, the Most Beautiful Man in the world (or at least Duran Duran, or at least on the days when Nick Rhodes looked like crap) John Taylor is apparently working with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But John, don't save a Yeah for me now...

... I'm sorry, I think Local Radio got into my brain.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Steve Wright will sue

Hang about, those officers Powell's just played were clearly The Manager from Steve Wright's old Radio one show - "Write this down, boy, did you get that, it's nerve agent... agent nerves..."

What the pop papers say: The sort of madness that makes people go to the theatre edition

Old ladies are smashing, aren’t they? Andy Bell - the one out of Erasure, not the one out of Ride - was in the Relative Values (... and my spoon) column in the Sunday Times Magazine, with this Grandma. Gran is priceless: “I’d listen to his records, but when he started putting on dresses I thought that was a bit much.” The Sunday Times chooses to illustrate this with a picture of him dressed - seriously - as a swan’s arse.

Marie Claire gives its front cover to J-Lo, but its heart is with Mel C; she’s upfront about having been depressed, having been another eating disorder case while in The Spice Girls (is there an award for Most Fucked-Up Band In History?). The irony of Mel C saying that the press took photos of her arse and called her fat (she was then a size ten) in a magazine with a woman feted for her butt on the cover probably won’t be lost on many. If you need us to justify our belief that Mel C is a national treasure, it’s worth a read; especially for the quote that the band’s dynamics were affected by Mel B’s mood, and that you could tell her mental state from the sound of her footfalls.

Lopez bleats that “marriage is hard” - clearly, she approaches it in the same way that she would a hard bread roll in a restaurant, and sends it back.

SeanHughesWatch: Hughes is in Marie Claire, plugging Comic Relief, which he likens to being approached at a party and getting told “You’re a comedian, be funny.”

It’s Bring It On week again, with the magazine finally getting the chance to use the “Must see... The Sights” gag it’s probably been storing up all year. There seems to have been an almost concerted effort to choose less obvious targets this month (or maybe the bigger acts are all taking a rest this february, or doing the Big day Out or something?); so we also get the Warlocks, My Morning Jacket; Hope of the States; Kings of Leon; Sleepy jackson; the Soledad Brothers and, um, ladytron. BIO hangs out with Danny Hunt. They once had a rider in Germany that consisted entirely of rhubarb. Kraftwerk wouldn’t have moaned, Danny. He tells a tale about winding up by accident in a goth club in Brighton and “sticking out like a sore thumb” - yes, four grim-faced young-ish people dressed head to toe in black must have been so jarring in such an environment.

The NME proper has splay-legged half naked Craig Nicholls on the cover. There would be your one fifty worth right there, then. The resonance with that famous Clash cover isn’t, we suspect, coincidence. Again, though, the paper spins out an incident way beyond its importance - so, we get page 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 basically dedicated to Craig has a bit of a strop. Not so long ago, there was a prediction that the weekly pop papers - there were plural then - would find it harder to cope in the internet age than the monthlies; the Uncuts and Qs had never pretended to have a new agenda, and so can cope with a world where rock news is just a click away; the weeklies would struggle as they arrived too late with the “latest.” This week has demonstrated that incredibly. All the gibbering over whether Craig is cracking up because he got a bit pissed off at being asked if The Vines were splitting up - graphics, psychologist’s viewpoints, Paul McKenna called in - looks rather stupid stacked up against the past seventy two hours of Michael ‘come and have a sleepover’ Jackson, Courtney ‘I demand an upgrade’ Love and Phil ‘Well, Leonard and DeeDee backed down’ Spector. What’s that you say? Craig threw a plate of sandwiches at a wall? Gosh.

In other news: Chris Morris makes film; a new series of The Osbournes; there’s a preview listen of the new White Stripes album, elephant - and it does sound marvellous; “Kelly Osbourne drives fans to tears” says a headline; “bores everyone else” fits in there, too; The Coral might play Glastonbury; Radiohead have listed sixty new sogns with their publishers - apparently their lost songs.

Curiously, you’ll recall a couple of weeks ago that the NME was telling us we were seconds away from having government control of music. Funnily enough, they don’t really seem that bothered about this when they interview Kim Howells - they’re halfway through before they even bring up David Blunkett’s comments upon which the whole shock horror issue was built; and when Howells says that it wasn’t Blunkett’s intention to control music, the whole subject is quietly dropped. But what about our petitions, NME? Where should we send them? What is interesting, though, is Howell’s admission that he named the So Solid crew in connection with rap-glamorises-guns-causes-violence speech because its what his kids play. Missing an open goal, the NME doesn’t ask him how many guns his kids have bought as a result of listening to twenty one seconds. Then, bizarrely, when Howells says “I could just as easily have said Eminem...” the NME spits “we’re talking about British acts” - what? They were probably lucky that they didn’t get a second dictaphone smashed with such an irrelevant point - presumably songs either have a violent real world effect or not, no matter where they come from? Or is it NME policy to only worry about government interference in home grown music? Then, even more mysteriously, when Howells says he wants a debate about the lyrics and influence of rap, the un-named journalist asks “So, if a debate were to take place as you propose, what would be its endgame” - apparently not realising that a debate has been taking place for the last three or four weeks, and that everyone so far had thought that the NME was part of it. It’s almost as if they misunderstood what was meant by “a political debate” and were picturing everyone getting together in a confrence room at a Travelodge; agendas being circulated; and a vote at the end. Stuart Cosgrove must be spinning in his grave*. The paper are preparing something on the war, which is to be encouraged, but we hope they get a slightly better grip on the subject.

Danny Hunt pops up in the big paper choosing ten tracks he’d put on a tape, CD or download to his i-Pod. Love - still every time, eh? - The Fall, Tricky and Interpol. No Tiger, Danny?

Fred Durst’s arse appears in the gossip page.It’s marginally more attractive than his face.

Paloalto are described, marvellously, as the result of aliens cloning rock after watching MTV2 for ten minutes; The Used try very hard to pretend their not merely trying to spin Bert’s penis’ guest appearance on The Osbournes into a career.

There’s an attempt to spin Jump The Shark from TV programmes into bands, which could be fun - Happy Mondays edit Penthouse; Roses headline Reading; New Order records football song; Meg Matthews and - to show there is life (death?) beyond Manchester - Kiss take off their make-up.

The Tatu piece doesn’t add very much to what we know already - manufactured paedo-tease lesbo pop - but makes good use of the obsessive way the daily Express and its ilk are desperate to prove that the girls are straight.

There’s the nominations for the NME Brat Awards - even here, they’d published them on the website before even Camden station was selling the issue with the details in, of course. Avril Lavigne nominated for most sexy woman?

massive attack - 100th window - “not a bad album, just a poor massive attack album”, 6
tatu - 200km/h in the wrong lane - “as a stunning metaphor for Russia the marketing can only be commended” reckons Sian Pattenden, offering not a single piece of evidence for such a bemusing claim, 6
kelly osbourne - shut up - “the voice of the anti-cheerleader brigade”, 7
kelly rowland - simply deep - “very dull”, 4

sotw - polyphonic spree - light & day - “embrace... light up your life”
moloko - familiar feeling - “actually genuinely hard to resist”
miss kittin and the hacker - stock exchange - “Miss Kittin can’t even take a punt on some shares without it being about shagging”

big day out in brisbane - pj harvey does “a greatest hits package”; the vines are “the Pete Doherty’s pants of today’s bill”
kelly osbourne - amsterdam melkweg - “more personality in her little finger than Gareth or will” (is that all we’re looking for these days?)

and finally , like they want our approval - great move dumping the texts column and replacing it with a ‘best thread on the website’ piece instead. Now all you need to do is get rid of those shitty photos...

*- we know he’s not dead. It was a joke.

NME - News coverage you can trust

Actually, we're rather proud they didn't bother to remove all evidence of their earlier, wrong story:

Mysterious man from UNCLE sought

There's been some muttering about how Lana Clarkson and Phil Spector had apparently never met before she was found dead in his house - as if it's somehow wrong to murder someone on the first date - but there isn't that much distance between them as it might seem.

The Oracle at the University of Virginia points out that they've got a co-star in common - David "Sapphire and Steel" McCallum, who did the Big TNT Show with Spector and the Haunting of Morella with Clarkson.

McCallum, of course, also once stuck out an album of apparently straight-faced playboy pop.

It was a programme about a creature which once ruled the earth...

...BUT NOW IS REDUCED TO A CURIOSITY THAT - THOUGH STILL LOVED BY SOME CHILDREN - IS MAINLY ONLY OF ACADEMIC INTEREST: Thanks to A., for supplying that it was Walking With Dinosaurs was the '99 documentary.

They'll be going shopping like Jacko

Spending some time with Michael Jackson is turning into a good business decision for Granada, isn't it? Besides being the most-watched documentary since 1999 (no, we don't know what the 1999 one would have been, please email us if you do), the programme is reckoned to have sold some three million quids worth of commercials and has been flogged to ABC for USD4m.

In our review yesterday, we forgot to mention we were quite taken with jacko's way of attracting attention in the shop - "yoo hoo", he trilled, for all the world like Vera Duckworth's bastard love child.

What's she got to say to them?

I know its very easy to suggest that standards at British Universities have slid a bit, but even so - Charlotte Church to address the Oxford Union? "About the famous people she's met", apparently, which sounds that the OU is now picking its ideas from the ones left over by RI:SE. Still, after he recent slip of telling Canadians how happy she was in America, there's always the possibility that she'll start to wax lyrical about Cambridge.

We do love the way the Oxford Union spokesperson says "She's very brave coming here..." - yes, because after singing in front of the Pope and the President of the United States, not to mention numerous live TV appearances, the prospect of a few drunken hooray henry students must be paralysing, mustn't it?

If God loves a tryer, he'll be in very heaven today

Hope overcoming experience like a relentless 800 bomb carpet attack, with the news that Danny From Hear'say is launching a solo career - yes, in music rather than painting walls or something - and The Bluetones have announced a fifty date tour of the UK.

It's the BBC Online headline of the year

Love blames 'potty mouth' for arrest - "This is not the first time rock stars have been at the centre of allegations about bad behaviour on board planes" observes the report. We were delighted to see that the Daily Telegraph seized the opportunity to give the story above-the-masthead billing this morning.

That's just scary

We know it'll be down to the mention on Popjustice, but really, the number of people stumbling onto No Rock through Google searches for "Lynne Perrie" and "cock", "porn" and so on is rather disturbing. Course, it's not the first time that Ivy Tilsley's alter ego has got herself in trouble for having something fleshy poking through her face, is it?

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Never say Neverland again

You can imagine ITV being a bit miffed that their Mad Musician Monday got slightly trumped by Phil Spector being even madder than Michael Jackson, but they still had a good feast off the exclusive interview - a warm-up chat with Martin Bashir on Tonight, then the ninety minute Tonight Special; then a large chunk of the News at Ten; and then a Special on the ITV News Channel (an ITV News Channel show being defined officially as special when the audience rises above the number of people who sit on the production floor of the channel). In fact, apart from getting Jacko to appear in Coronation Street - probably impossible, since he'd find the bubbling hormones in Weatherfield too scary - they made the most of their exclusive.

Set up by Uri Gellar, who must by now have "Friend of Michael Jackson" on his passport under 'Occupation', it looked like the original plan had been for Martin Bashir and the Tonight team to report back that Michael's certainly odd, but not creepy. The earlier footage seemed to point in this direction. However, the accumulation of disturbing imagery and behaviour must have got too much for even Bashir to smooth away by the end, and so the original storyboard was ripped up and the "what is it with you, you freakin' freak?" ending got tacked on.

A curious man, who keeps odd company and seems at times to have genuine difficulty understanding what's going on around him. But enough about Martin 'I've seen all the reruns of the Louis Theroux Shows on UK Horizons, you know" Bashir; nobody could really hope to get to the bottom of Jackson without a lot more time and a lot more willingness to be probed on his part. What did come through was a badly fucked-up bloke; but one who seemed to rely on his perceived childishness to avoid answering tricky questions (as he has in court, of course). Certainly, the scenes in Neverland, where Jackson behaved like one of the kids, didn't come across as totally natural.
Asked if he'd had plastic surgery, he said yes, twice, but only his nose. Then he stammered "cosmetic surgery wasn't invented for michael jackson."

Apparently, the changing faces of Jackson have been down to him getting older. Which is curious, because for a forty-four year old man, he doesn't look a day over badly drawn cartoon.

And the children stuff? Maybe he doesn't realise how it looks - though someone who wrote a cheque for millions after earlier -um - allegations must have a shrewd idea; but then, someone who can skeeter through a store buying twenty million odd dollars worth of ugly tat without even pausing wouldn't blanch at the concept of paying a few million to buy off a kid's family, either. You'd have to question the behaviour of any parent who lets their kid sleep in jackson's bed, though; the answer may have something to do with those millions of dollars.

With his own kids, he came across more like a slightly befuddled grandparent who wasn't even sure who they were or what they were doing there - as Bashir tried to ask about the two year old being caught in the crush at Berlin zoo, Michael thought he was being asked if he'd enjoyed his trip.
But it was the shop scene that said most - Michael enjoys shopping, we were told, before being shown the footage of him tramping round a store going "I'll have that... that... that..." - not shopping, just acquiring. Empty acts. When you can have anything, the act of possession becomes meaningless.

Spector at the feast

Well, to be fair to Phil, if we'd been forced to sit in a small soundproof room listening to Starsailor over and over, we'd probably fly into a murderous rage as well. We're guessing his unfortunate houseguest must have made the mistake of saying "Actually, I agree with Paul - Let It Be does sound better without the strings..."

Meanwhile, at King's Reach Tower, a sidebar is being prepared: "Didn't Marvin Gaye shoot someone?" "Nah, he was murdered" "What about Lennon?" "Has any pop person actually shot anyone before?"

Alanisly, Kim Howells was in the Commons yesterday talking about guns and music - he obviously focused more on the dangers of gangsta rap than the wall of sound. Apparently, people who suggest that his belief that the lyrics are bad is misplaced are just liberals, he says. There was poverty in the 1920s and 1930s and people didn't go round making records about guns, he said. Angela Eagle piped up that a lot of rap didn't mention guns at all, you know - we've always liked Angela, especially since she started listing rap acts like she was Clement Freud on Just A Minute - Grandmaster Flash, Ms Dynamite (now, of course, The Acceptable Face of Singing Black People), Missy Elliot.

Oddly, 1Xtra's News TX seems to have missed the story entirely.

Monday, February 03, 2003

EC slightly more focussed than US

The European Commission has drafted a directive on music theft that's causing the music industry to have kittens. See, the EC has twigged that the real problem isn't people sitting in bedrooms downloading the odd Lulu track, but the people making shitloads of CDs - and other dodgy goods - who are the challenge.

Indeed, they can see that twatting the heads of people using Napster and its children is going to hobble development of an information-rich euro society. So the directive concentrates on hooky goods and ignores downloading. One industry commentator has already moaned that it goes "against the principles of US law" - um, yes, hello? Europe? - and we can expect a whole heap more moaning as the impact sinks in.

The new proposals include going after people who make stuff to create false authentication labels, which is interesting, and probably will mean the closure of every market stall in the north west.


A really good piece over at MacWizards Music offers an additional reason why music sales are falling - because there were 12,000 fewer new titles released in 2001 compared with 1999. Hmmm. And that's only one of the strange things that he's found sifting the RIAA's figures. Worth checking out - take a pen and paper.

Oooh... September's not so far away

There's a new website for Rose McDowall, one of the most gorgeous and talented people in the world so far as we know; and it's got a tantalising promise of a compilation of her post-Strawberry Switchblade stuff set for release in September this year...

The long road back

Dannii "LePen does a lot of good" Minogue has started her long struggle back to try and make it clear that she only comes across sounding like a racist, anti-immigration dimwitted asshole, and that she isn't like that at all.

In SunDay magazine this weekend, she could barely contain her delight at Japanese food - she didn't actually go so far as to say "see? I like sushi, how could I be racist?", but the point was there. It's funny, of course, that she was jabbering away about Tokyo and didn't take the opportunity to bang on about how in Japan there are even signs in English writing, despite her fascination that there are signs in arabic script in Australia. Curious.

Anyway, we don't suggest that you need an excuse to boycott Dannii's new album. It should be avoided purely on artistic grounds alone. One of the highlights is this - a love song to her vibrator:

"Instead of just lying there,
Why don't you show me that you're powerful,
Put in triple X batteries just so you give me something wonderful,
Change it up fast and slow
Till I find the frequency I like.
Love it when you do my vibe on
Good vibrations, that's what gets my ride on, gotta have vibrations,
Jump on to it, sit right on it, plug it in, give me my vibe on, gotta have vibrations.
I don't want to put you down, looks like I'm a vibraholic now."
Dannii then begins rapping, saying: "Be like giving me vibrations over my stimulation, straight out of the box uhh the hesitation, your love is like a pony that I love to ride, making me crazy."

Related, but not musical

We're going to wander slightly away from music for a moment to plug our new sister blog, the war ticker, which - while not attempting to be comprehensive - is setting out to offer a slightly sarky perspective on the In No Way Inevitable war on Iraq, and related wars on terrorism, drugs, civil liberties and firefighter's right to strike.

While we're wandering off the topic totally, we'll also give a quick heads-up to mmmexchange, which is a fledgling online community dedicated to uniting people homesick for foodstuffs. So, if you're in Ohio missing Marmite, it'll hook you up with an expat American in Barnsley yearning for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Its a great idea, and we'd think that even if we weren't married to the person who thought of it.

Lobbing some firelighters

NME headline the Tatu chart position with Teen lesbians Tatu top UK Singles Chart - noticeably not bothering to mention album chart leader Timberlake's age, sexuality...

In other collapse-of-morality news, they've celebrated reaching number one by, erm, getting tattoos. Because they're called Tatu, see? Good job they're not called "A Hard Rogering From A Man To Sort Them Out." Offering Mark Lamarr an easy punchline, Lena said "I was terribly scared of pain and I nearly fainted at the sight of the long, long needle."

We've got this from Simon Tyers, which raised some interesting points:

I found it interesting that Richard and Judy led the charge to get Tatu outlawed - specifically because they made their opinion clear on their show on Wednesday, yet it was only reported on Friday, the same day as, leaving the barely disguised tabloid salivating aside, *two* pieces connected to them appeared in the Torygraph and an interview in the Times, all starting from a hand-wringing position. You wonder how come the self-appointed indier-than-thou (hello, Playlouder) have got behind it, with such obviously wrong lines as "Sugababes-esque" being bandied around. Would the video have been on Q's playlist the week before Christmas had it not featured faux-snogging? Of course it's not actual moral outrage - it's the record company and their Russian manager (a sub-Tom Watkins type who is reputedly first to every barrel requiring scraping and was allegedly inspired by child porn) ensuring everyone knows there's a pop record featuring lesbian teenagers well before anyone has to hear it, as you'll note from the album selling next to nothing and no-one batting an eyelid. Fem 2 Fem, where are you now?

Actually, whatever happened to Tom Watkins? There was a documentary about him in which he went on about how he was developing a computer-aided cyberbabe pop star who was bound to be massive in every territory, but that was a good three or four years ago.

In other news, I might write to them about this, but ahead of the pop papers review I have to point out something from the Q Look! Tits! Special : "Never knowingly exciting, Tom McRae finally did something of note last month when he found himself in the middle of an armed stand-off etc". Actually, last month is technically January and the seige started in December, but indeed something of note did happen to him last month. Namely, Q reckoned of his new album "it's early days, but this remarkable record will be hard to better all year."

Good points all, I have to say... and extra kudos for reminding me of Fem2Fem, who surely must be kicking themselves repeatedly at the moment... "if only we'd gone with tartan skirts instead of bras..."

And there's just this whole odious feeling about the way "lesbian" is being bandied about, as if there's something somehow inherently interesting in lesbianism anymore...

Sunday, February 02, 2003

We're confused by moral outrage

The Daily Star is disgusted by Tatu; so disgusted the whole of the front page was given over to the picture of the women kissing to show us just what's wrong. Russian MPs are outraged. The daily telegraph has touched itself and feels itself to be outraged.

But we're a bit confused. See, tatu are adults dressed as schoolgirls - now, since nobody has a problem with SchoolDisco (adults dressed as children, of course), why is this worthy even of comment? And if the sexualisation of school children is the real crux of the outrage, then why was there no fuss at all over Busted's what i go to school for (schoolboys spy on semi-naked teacher, end up fucking her) which is behaviour that is taken so seriously its about to be criminalised? Or over S Club Juniors, who - unlike Tatu - are actual children, actually dressed up to display sexual appeal?

Our problem with tatu is that its ugly women making insipid music, and we're amused that people who are trying to justify their sex-driven fixation with the Russians are clinging desperately to the production credits of Trevor Horn to claim musical merit in the tune. Sure, Horn produced 'Video Killed The Radio Star', Propaganda and Frankie Goes To Hollywood's pleasuredome album. But he also gave us 'Living In the Plastic Age', Dollar and Frankie's Liverpool album. The talent he has a producer lies in the strength of the material and artist he has to work with; Tatu are the sort of dull 80's eurohotelpop we've not seen since that hilarious time Princess Stephanie of Monaco had a crack at making records.

Seriously, if you want to see "schoolgirls" kissing, use google; don't buy a record.

And Britney suited school uniform so much better.