Saturday, March 01, 2003

Unintentionally apt Google search term

kelly osbourne pap don't preach

And she took the full six... no, wait, nine inches

Is it just us, or does the tale of Fred Durst's My Night With Britney [manfully typed in full by the good folk at Playlouder] sound less like something that actually happened, and more like the reader's letters section of Penthouse? "She came back at three am wearing a see-through blouse and I could see her nipples." It's actually the sort of thing you'd not be surprised one of the teenie virgins in S Club to come up with, not a fully-grown man in his forties: 'you could see her boobies and everything.'

How spambands work

The Datsuns, for shame, are having this done in their name:

"We all know how great The Datsuns are live and what a better way to show your friends then to send them the ‘In Love’ video. For this mission, email the ‘In Love’ video link to 20 or more people asking them to check it out. Just go to the Digi Toolbox at the DST [URL edited] and copy and paste the “In Love” video link into an email. Add my email address to the Bcc section of the email that you’re sending so I can tally up how many people you sent it to. Head over to the Mission section for further details. 2 Winners will receive a killer and very rock n’ roll Levis wallet as well as some music from the Datsuns. This mission ends 3/7

Now, there's a very fine line between "If you enjoyed the show, tell your friends" and "Hey, just post out the URL willy-nilly and you'll get rewarded." It's not even like the reward is worth it - thousands of people are going to get unwanted advertising, and in return, two people just get a crappy wallet? Sweet Gwen Wept.


The nice Simon Tyers has been in touch again, this time with the following observations on what they're planning for our radio services:

I live my life vicariously and without need to pander to the whim of anyone,
which is why I spent most of today reading the text of the Communications
Bill discussed in the Commons on Tuesday off the Hansard website, and
further to your thoughts on the radio discussion a few points need to be
made and/or clarified. All quotes are from said publication:

* The main thrust of the local radio discussion, stemming from the concerns of the Commercial Radio Companies Association and backed by the Tories, is of a clause about "the power of Ofcom to interfere in the day-to-day running of a local radio station to the extent that the station must employ local people, provide local training and development, and use premises within the area or locality". Ron Atkinson-styled spotter's badge to you, sir. When everyone has a Morning Crew and a Drivetime Cash Giveaway, not to mention a central playlist, arguing about where the bloke who lines up the adverts is from is a bit late, not to mention the idea the whole bill can be held up by someone deciding the opportunities for local employment aren't neccesary. Then John Greenway, the opposition spokesman promoting the cause against the above, gets completely confused, stating "they will not be successful in providing a local service unless they have local people on the ground", even though surely there's no difference in the two outlooks as you can't tell a station they can employ whoever they want wherever they want and then remind them they're supposed to be local looking. Later he sugars the pill : "Success is achieved by offering something different - the local service".
Well, yes if you're BBC local radio, but I've never heard anyone say "You know what I love about (insert commercial station name here) FM? They sound so localised!" Luckily, the pro-locality clause was passed. Worth mentioning that a couple of years ago there was a lot of talk in the sector about how commercial radio had essentially been shown up by the success of Mark and Lard, with various MFM types saying they'd just realised that the mid-afternoon DJs could actually project their own personality and off-kilter features with success, but what this actually seems to have led to is a networked package of piss-poor topical entertainment involving Jon Culshaw to be slotted in whenever the DJ feels like it.

* Greenway again : "Local bands feature prominently on local radio, more so on commercial radio than on the BBC as a matter of fact." Fuck off! On XFM, possibly so. Nowhere is it stated, actually, what 'local bands' actually refers to, so possibly they're referring to a French-style music quota of British bands, as later suggested, but even so. And also, being a Conservative, it's possible it's just his anti-BBC radar going off.

* When a Labour MP brings up Clear Channel, Greenway rules out the idea that tighter regulation is due to media ownership loosening as "there are real dangers in trying to predetermine what commercial radio stations may need". However, even Kim Howells later admitted that playlists are generally too bland and samey across the country and appears to be against radio monopoly, citing "nationwide playlists for local stations, the removal of local station managers in favour of national brand managers and extensive computer-driven automation of services." See, he's good for some things.

* Howells also provided my favourite line of the transcript - "I know fanatical members of the Cabinet, whom I could ring any time, night or day, when I worked with them, but never on a Sunday evening when they listened to "Poetry Now" on Radio 4. I never rang them at that time." Place your bets!

* The Tony Hadley interjection appears to have been mis-reported, even if he does start about how the Spands "found our audience through a vibrant live music scene and through national and local radio stations playing music which, like ours at the time, was outside the mainstream", as if Radio 1 never goes near guitar bands any more. He goes on to cite the ClearChannel experience and how "both musical diversity and local character will also suffer". Unfortunately the Tory spokesman - a different one - uses this to go off on a rant about the national BBC dumbing down even though they're discussing a clause relating to commercial radio, and even after John Robertson read out an opinion poll finding about disenchantment with local radio.

* Pete Wishart, SNP and an ex-Runrig member (Robertson : "a band whose compact discs I have in my house. I enjoyed his music, along with that of his fellow artists") gets involved with the less locality argument, while of all people Michael Fabricant tries to point out that Radio 1 is providing showcases for left-field music, only to be met by Robertson with "I shall have to take the hon. Gentleman's word for that. I have now reached the age at which the music broadcast by Radio 2 becomes more one's kind of music. Radio 1's slot on the dial is sadly ignored these days: I am obviously getting very old." Evidently this passes for a joke in the Commons. Later Simon Thomas (Plaid Cymru) namechecks Bethan Elfyn and the Thursday Session In Wales opt-out, which apparently he only listens to because it covers the local music scene.

* On a brighter note, it looks like DAB radio is going to get a push, both in terms of uptake and availability, which can only be good.

Where the bleats have no name

Bono very, very careful in his Iraq war remarks - careful to suggest that Tony's heart is in the right place, and bloody careful not to piss off his friend George by mentioning him at all.

Friday, February 28, 2003

Pay up, pay up

6Music is reporting that the cost of entry to the 2003 Glastonbury is going to be GBP105 plus, of course, booking fee - they're saying the increase is to cover the "extra security." Hang about a moment, though - when the numbers allowed in were increased to 105,000, the extra heads were needed to, erm, cover the cost of security increases. There's going to be an extra 45,000 on top of that this year, and yet prices are still going up to "cover security"? Curious.

Head change

James Palumbo stepping down from the helm of what is, scarily, Britain's biggest indie label, Ministry of Sound.

The Crane Mutiny

When KACL had adopted its salsa-only format, Frasier paniced to discover his fanclub - a motley crew of cranks and the painfully lonely - had staged the world's smallest demo outside city hall. 'What if they threw a protest, and nobody came?' sneered the Seattle media.

Why this episode keeps coming to mind watching the ragbag-sadsack lobby outside the High Court for Michael Jackson versus Granada TV, I can't quite place. It is kind of funny, though, that Jacko's auto-hagiography was titled 'the footage they wouldn't let you see', and yet he's the only person who's stopped footage being used.

SAW ONE TODAY, AND IN HIS HAND, WAS A WEAPON THAT WAS MADE IN BIRMINGHAM: Another delightful twist to the weapons of mass destruction held by Iraq - they were actually bought for the Saddam Regime by the British taxpayer. A delightful arrangement cooked up under the Thatcher that's so far cost us a billion quids worth of healthcare, hospitals and education; to say nothing of the billions we're about to waste on the off-chance they're still there. We'd be delighted to know if there's any legal action the British taxpayer could take against Thatcher, or if - better yet - her arming and underwriting of the torture constitutes another war crime.

Darkness doesn't fall, it downloads

Those of you who've drifted this way looking for audio darkness freebies will be pleased to know the recent Radio One session is available on the official site. MP3s, for free, and not even Hilary Rosen could complain.

Avril Love-In

Okay, it's not. It's more bashing Avril. Hey, we know we're just a h8r boi, but Avril's got the cover of Rolling Stone (back with the tried and slightly undressed formula after the godawful beatles and phish experiments):

And she's clearly not showing off her booty there. Though she might if she turned round. As for the promise to not flash tits or belly - well, you can't expect her to keep delivering on all three promises at once, can you?

The interview also slaps the face of anyone who'd pegged her as being a bit thick, too - you're so wrong. A bit is not the word. Challenged about not being able to pronounce David Bowie's name properly, she says "but i was born in 1984" (doesn't stop her dropping names like AC/DC or Nirvana though, does it? - oh, and there's another example of her saying "I like punk rock" there, something she now denies doing of course); her claims to have written Complicated and that all the Matrix did were to make it sound a bit less hard rock are dismissed by her actual songwriters - they say Avril's contribution to the song was to change "stupid clothes" to "preppy clothes" (we're guessing the phrase "take off all your preppy clothes" was something her stylist said to her) and then there's this:

"And that's not the only reason why I don't dance around like a ho onstage, but it definitely has something to do with being brought up with tons of morals. And I'm not saying I'll never write a song with a curse word, because there's definitely been times when it's like, 'Aww, man, "fuck" would sound so good there!' But then I think about my mom, and how it would probably hurt her," she says, laughing quietly. "So I just say 'frig' instead."

Yes, sweetheart. That would make all the difference. The lack of fucks on your record nothing to do with The Matrix knowing that you'd not get access to the all important Walmart market, then.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Why live a little? Live a Lotto

While the official line might be that the handing over of the old National Pop Music centre to Hallam Uni was just a straight swap - building for some land - the University itself has circulated an internal document which suggests they see it as a purchase:

"You may have heard that the Board of Governors this week gave their approval to the University's plan to purchase the former National Centre for Popular Music for £1.85 million."

Clearly, it's up to the university what they do with their money, but we wonder if the land-swap angle has been played up in order to avoid the tricky question of why, if the University have coughed up nearly GBP2million, this money isn't being handed straight back to the National Lottery.

While we understand that the two mills worth of land is going to be put to work for the good of the people of Sheffield (or at least those who are getting the benefits of the city's regeneration programme), surely the original grants that built the building were intended for some other use than that, and as such, any money at all raised from their sale should be returned to the Arts Council, who used our money to fund GBP11m of the GBP 15m costs?

More Glasto sign-ups

Dave Gahan and Prince, together at last. There's just going to be a cloud of pervert air hanging over Pilton, isn't there?

I'm still Jenny from the blockhead

There was a wonderful mismeeting of minds on BBC Breakfast this morning, when Dermot Murnaghan met Jennifer Lopez. DM was forced to stumble through questions about collaborations with "Ell... Ell... Cool... Jay" while J-Lo sat there polite and bemused.

The highlight, though, was when she was asked about Maid in Manhattan, and, in keeping with her current 'street' personna started to talk about how she could identify with the role as, really, being given large sums of cash mainly because of your arse and having to clean toilets to feed your kids are virtually identical lifestyles. Then:

"I love the fact that it takes place in a hotel. There's more reality there."

Only Jennifer Lopez could think that living in a hotel is reality.

The 3AM Girls will have a tricky time spinning this out into a full page

popbitch shuts for a springclean.

Call us paranoid

But 3D suddenly arrested on drugs and porn charges?

We hope Somerset and Avon police have got something very solid, otherwise the arrest of one of the most vocal critics of the government's Iraq policy might just be a little too convenient for words.

Damon Albarn - you might want to go into hiding.

Is It Sophie Ellis Bextor?

So, Tim Burgess has used the web to prove the Charlatans aren't dead. But the lyric he posted - "who is the girl in the tight black dress, who can press all your buttons, pretending she's a princess..." - who can he be talking about?

I Want Your Pax

"George Michael - Pop star" read the caption on last night's Hardtalk, although to be accurate and cruel, it's a while since he's been either pop or much of a star. But he was here to talk war.

The new BBC news studios ill-serve the format, by the way - those hideous IKEA plastic circular tables on the raised bistro-style stripped wood flooring look uncomfortable enough at the best of times, but the width of them left Tim Sebastian and Michael sat to the side, awkwardly twisted, like two men in a crowded bar.

The main meat of his opinion had already been floated through the news - that an anti-war Band Aid would be a bad idea. Perhaps a bit unfairly, the early reports had suggested George had dismissed the plan as being ill-judged because he thought the participants were young and stupid, but his point was actually a bit more subtle than that - the current crop of chart stars are known for singing anything that's put in front of them, so if they sang "No more war", it wouldn't have the same impact as if they were known for writing their own feelings and opinions into songs - which is a fair point. You also can't disagree with him when he snorts that Noel Gallagher is "not an intelligent man", and his reaction to Sebastian's suggestion that he should stick the time-honoured rock star subject of Just Say No was splendid - "I take drugs. I'm not a hypocrite."

The trouble is, of course, that George came off as a little too pleased with himself - he took the Shoot The Dog controv on the chin, but suggested that if he'd not made the record, it would have been another three weeks before the public would have heard about the Iraq conflict; and he also left himself totally exposed on the question anyone against the war should expect - "what's the other option? would you leave saddam in power?" Michael's response was curiously "Saddam must go in the way Saddam must go, but not now." Which is simultaneously lacking in the how, and - more curiously - suggesting that early March is a lousy time for freeing a people from the yoke of oppression, and maybe we should leave it until July?

There's a report on the meeting on the BBC News website - filed, you'll note, under entertainment and not politics.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

What the pop papers say: Boiler fixed edition

It’s always tricky to know exactly which way Darcus Howe will jump. Sometimes he surprises us and says something totally unexpected. Which is why we were delighted to discover his perspective on Ms Dynamite. We’d have expected something along the lines of how its funny that the media have decided the authentic black voice of the street turns out to be a posh girl who isn’t too black, but is quite pretty; that the more interesting and challenging views of, say, Beverley Knight are ignored because she “doesn’t look as good.” But, no, Darcus is besotted: “only weeks before, she had challenged young black men to lay down their guns. Now, she went for the government’s jugular. An eye for an eye, she said, would result in us all becoming blind. I rocked and rolled on my walking stick. I felt proudly that she was ‘my girl’. She had much greater authenticity than her elder, Jesse Jackson.” You get the drift. Darcus, sweetheart - I think you’ll find the eye for an eye business was actually Ghandi; it’s now quite a popular greeting card which is where we suspect Ms D came across it. It’s wonderful that the media are listening to any young, black woman at all, but let’s not get carried away.

Talking of getting carried away, we stumbled across a Sunday Express this week; always a delight as it allows us to check on Boy George’s column. He was in wonderful form, as the Madness musical Our House had just won Best Musical at the Olivier award. “How can anyone describe a musical that is full of old hits as an original music” he fumes. “One always risks appearing bitter” (no, really?) “when speaking out against the various heirarchies that run just about everything in this country.” Yes, forget the small knot at the heart of New Labour; the security forces; even the shape-shifting lizards - those damn bastards at the head of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards are the ones calling the shots in Britain. Boy’s ire, of course, had nothing to do with Taboo, his collection of old songs run up into a story with dancings, didn’t win anything, of course.

The NME is a feast this week. You get a Bring It On - Jet, the Mars Volta, Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Karen drinks a bottle of champagne before going on stage, which might help our morag on her fishing trip; the Blood Brothers; Har Mar Superstar; Hot Hot Heat and Brendon Benson all line up. Again, it’s the frustration of the bands you really want the nme proper to cover proper.

You also get art prints - Coldplay, who appear to be trying to grow beards - “but it’s only been three or weeks”; Oasis, who are now so ugly the design team have attempted to just paint them out with “select all->bucket tool->fill”; the yeah yeah yeahs - do the nme only have that picture of them laid out on the bed? Shamefully, the larger format makes it clear Karen has got wasted on a bloody minature. Lightweight; the vines - craig, topless but turned, so we can’t see what era his lady-like breasts are into now; Black rebel motorcycle club - [william ried not pictured]; the polyphonic spree - hmmm, if this goes on a single wall outside of student housing, we’d be very surprised; and, finally, one that sums up what the nme meant, and what the nme means: On the A side, The Clash. On the B side: Avril Lavigne.

The NME proper has the white stripes on the front - great though scary picture which manages to make Meg look exactly half the width of her brother lover.

News reports 50 Cent is the biggest selling black rap act in the Uk since the Wu-Tangs; PJ Harvey is playing V2003; “sources close to her are urging [Ms Dynamite] to run for mayor of London” - eh? do they mean that sources say people are trying to get her to run, or is Ms D getting messages saying “Friends of the you suggest you should be running for mayor? Oh, and pass the ketchup, sources say.” Another ‘eh?’ moment comes in a caption to a piece about pop fans in Iraq - which is actually a pretty nifty article - “Young Iraqis are big fans of Britney Spears, as this mock-up shows” - well, no, mocked up photos don’t really show anything, as Colin Powell demonstrated in the UN the other week; Apparently wearing a Cult tshirt was “a hilarious own goal” for David beckham because, erm, Billy Duffy supports Man City. Um... so? Coldplay claim “we’re like the Beatles in America” - hang about, when Jesus claimed to be bigger than The Beatles everyone started burning his records in the Bible Belt, you know. Mind you, Chris might think he’s the McCartney of our age, but he also believes Liam Single Brow Gallagher is like Beethoven. “[Songbird] is the most beautiful song in the world” reckons Martin. So, he also has something in common with Be... oh, you’ve already spotted the ‘stone deaf’ punchline coming, then? Kelly ‘44 with a blank’ Osbourne couldn’t give “two shits” about former beau Bert McCracken - even though, still a lot more than the number of shits the British public give about her; Kelis and Naz are going to get married; Macauly Culkin has denied that he takes drugs... you’d never know the nme news pages are being put together by a showbiz gossip person, would you?; there’s a track by track guide to the new Blur LP - sounds like Coxon’s well out of it to us; Marilyn Manson’s new album is going to be ‘mad’ - so, like Cyndi Lauper, then, we’d guess.

There’s the full text of Chris Martin’s letter of support for Glastonbury - he suggests that a “country show or a large sporting event” causes disruption for the local area, which while true, isn’t quite the same - no sporting event packs 150,000 people into a single farm. Pilton resident Andrew Gaskell said, confusingly “my new [our emphasis] home was robbed during the last festival, but these things cannot be allowed to detract from the good that it does - it’s something we should be proud of.” Obviously what we’re seeing here is a shift in the village as festie-heads slowly move in and the anti-fetsival people move out, but we find it incredible that anybody could say “it’s great, I don’t mind if it did lead to someone smashing their way into my home, stealing stuff and poking my kid’s toothbrush up their arse. It makes money for tree factories.” What is interesting is that about half a million quid’s worth of council taxes has to go to offset the difference between the money Glasto pays to the police and the cost of their operation, which does suggest that maybe the Festival’s good works for charity is offset by draining cash away from Somerset’s coffers. And the 50,000% rise in crime year on year for the festival weekend compared with the year before (when it didn’t happen) has to be a concern, however fond of REM you might be. There’s one further curious aspect to the story: Eavis angrily denouncing the spary painting of pro-festival slogans on opponents houses as “dirty tricks” - really? They graffitied their own houses?

Radio 4’s Anthony Roman (the band, not the station) do the Cd thing - Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, David Bowie.

On Band is The Futureheads - “the pleasure I obtain from music is quite sexual” says Barry; which, I guess, makes us like we’re peering into his bedroom?

Luke Steel from the Sleepy Jackson says “ I feel like I’m ministering through my music” - which is probably better than getting stiffies from it.

Har Mar Superstar - he knows not to overstay his welcome at a strip club, apparently, but apparently hasn’t noticed the ‘welcome’ mat for his faux-career being rolled up already. We don’t need another Ferrino. Mind you, the next features are Corey Taylor and Steve O, so maybe it’s a secret feckless one-joke tossers special?

“We’re not living for fame and fortune, we don’t think that equals happiness. The trick is not to become satisifed. I’m pushing away enjoyment on a lot of levels constantly” explains Jack White. However keen he is to push away enjoyment, he’s happy to take a break from pushing away millions of dollars He’s unabashed about getting sponsored by Nissan, but points out they didn’t autograph a car like they were meant to. It’s a life of small victories.Meg keeps mostly quiet, especially so when Ryan Adams name crops up. Finally, Jack: “I’m 27. That’s the age of rock and roll death. I’m going to try and get through this year without dying.”

white stripes - elephant - “there’s the implication he can do more... the most fully-realised white stripes album yet”, 9
turin brakes - ether song - “knight’s vocals occassionaly buckle under the weight of their Jeff Buckley-isms”, 8
moloko - statues - “at worst sounds like Eurythmics bulldozing an orchestra”, 6
black box recorder - passionoia - “predates Miss Kittin by two decades”, 6

sotw - the coral - don’t think you’re the first - “one day the Joe Meek will inherit the earth”
moby - sunday (the day before my birthday) - “dirge”
black box recorder - these are the things - “perfect for ironic voguing”

christina aguilera - gay - “heavies haul the troublemakers out the audience and the audience are requested not to light any cigarettes”
sigur ros - hammersmith apollo - “ “no other band can touch them”

and finally... one article might be luck, but after the second Darkness-praising article in the Guardian in three issues, we have to ask: Is Alan Rusbridger Justin’s dad? Or has Robertshaw started to blackmail Polly Toynbee?

Major suddenly realises owns web presence, launches service

So MusicNet is now to be offered to AOL members in the US. The key phrase in the report, and why its unlikely to work, is "AOL will charge USD17.95 per month for the right to burn ten songs to a CD, roughly the same price consumers pay for CDs in a music store."

Righto, so there's no manufacturing costs, distribution is a few kilobytes of data down a phoneline rather than lorries, men, forklifts, ships; there's no cost of packaging; warehousing is replaced with a little bit of silicon; there are no store costs involved. And yet the price per track is the same as if it was on a CD? (actually a little higher, since most CDs have about a dozen tracks). And we don't even get a lyric book?

And what's this monthly subscription/ten track deal anyway? That isn't how people consume music, is it? You don't go into Virgin Megastores on the first of each month, write a cheque for a fixed amount and say you'll pop back for, say, seven CDs over the next four weeks? A monthly fee for unlimited access, maybe. Otherwise, charge per unit. And charge a lot less, by the way. In fact, devising a way to allow people to pay ten cents a track might just send AOL back to profitability - a micropayment system that works is, like, the golden grail or holy fleece right now.

Now the horse isn't in the way, the door bolt shoots across lovely

Now MPs have joined in with the campaign to "keep" local music on local radio stations. Yeah? Bit late isn't it?

Labour backbencher John Robertson, MP for Glasgow Anniesland, [reports the Guardian] led the call for music content to be regulated by the bill, saying he had the backing of former Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley.
Mr Robertson said Mr Hadley and other musicians were concerned that the relaxation would leave the UK with American-style centralised radio stations which ignored emerging bands.

Have these people tuned into a radio station recently? I mean, seriously. Presumably not since Tony Hadley used to pop up on the radio from time to time.

Tory John Greenwood weighed in:
"Mr Greenway also hit out at moves to force local radio stations to recruit staff from their area and broadcast from studios within their locality.
The most successful stations already did that without regulation, he said.

Really? Can he point to these stations? By which I mean the ones that have most of their functions performed by staff with long standing connections with their area, rather than most of their work done centrally elsewhere; and if he can name a single market leading radio station outside London whose programming comes entirely from its Target Service Area? Because I bet he can't.

Christian faith

We thought giving Chris Moyles a chatshow was odd. We thought sacking him and replacing him with the notoriously mirth-free Christian O'Connell rather like taking off the handbrake in order to swap for a giant parachute-brake instead.

We seem to have been right.

Mel C: Gay. True.

It's not an answer to 'is Mel C a lesbian'. But, at least, she's going to play GAY. But look, she's got a boyfriend, okay?


Howie Epstein, bassist with the Heartbreakers, dead at 47 from a suspected overdose. Fairly safe to say he won’t be coming around here no more.

BADLY BEATEN BOY: Following on from yesterday's story that Badly Drawn Boy could only make GBP1.60 busking, the Guardian sent out some of its writers armed with their voices, a harp, even - god save us all - a euphonium. None failed to make more than Damon.

MR JACKSON GOES TO COURT: Michael Jackson called his two hour snoozeathon 'The footage they didn't want you to see.' Erm, except, the only person going out the way to suppress footage is Jackson, surely, since he's the one going to court to stop Granada from making any use of stuff they've not shown already? If Granada wanted to be really mean, maybe they should stick the whole lot out overnight on the ITV News Channel before the judge stops 'em...

YOU THINK I GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE GRAMMYS?: Well, we don't have to, as Becky Bamboo was our man at the Grammys. Except she's not a man, and she wasn't there, but at least in the right continent:
okay, so is it just me or was there just a bit too much nora jones love? the grammys always seem to go overboard when they find something innoffensive that just about everyone likes. I mean, sure, it was a nice little album with a few weak spots but I can think of 20 others off the top of my head that were much more deserving of those awards.

how freakin' cool was it to see simon & garfunkel? that was too awesome. I think the eagles' announcement of hell freezing over was premature. it officially happened sunday night. and it was a nice touch to have dustin hoffman introduce them. I could've lived without his painful intro of no doubt though.

speaking of no doubt, what the hell was that car wash thing attached to gwen stefani's ass? other than that I dug their performance.

someone please explain to me how anyone can say the words "country music" and "faith hill" in the same sentence. unless it's: "faith hill has about as much relation to country music as kraftwerk does" I'm not buying it. oh, and thanks for the coochie shot, love.

and yet another coldplay "what the fuck?" moment. sure they're a nice enough band, with some pretty songs and nothing that makes me absolutely despise them (other than "spies") but: "one of rock's most innovative bands", "remarkable", "outstanding", "musically ambitious"? not a chance in hell. innovative? hardly. they haven't risen beyond their influences. they haven't even risen to the level of their influences. remarkable? the only remarkable thing is all this fucking praise they're getting all of a sudden. outstanding? well, they're not horrible. musically ambitious? no way. they take no chances with their sound. I'm really and truly baffled by this. I saw them at glastonbury in 2000 and liked them okay. I love "yellow". I saw them when they first toured here and while not overwhelmed, was entertained. but by no means do they deserve any one of those hyperbolic phrases. you have to wonder if the members of the new york philharmonic laughed themselves silly at "musically ambitious" as they were playing their sustained whole notes as the backing orchestra. I know I would've.

nelly, ashanti... I wasn't all that impressed. although I will say this about ashanti - she's a hell of a better singer than she is an actor.

but eminem backed by the roots? fucking awesome. I love that song anyway, but to hear it with a band and not with a backing track... wow. there is so much tension that just builds and builds so when you hit that chorus it just lifts you onto your feet and into the air. definitely the highlight of the night.

"london calling" was great too. elvis, bruce, dave grohl, and steve van zandt... nice and furious rendition, boys.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

THE LIGHT SHED ON DARKNESS: Judging by the number of Google searches for 'Get your hands off my woman' right now, the Darkness have broken into public consciousness in a big way. Second most common search right now is 'Natasha Kaplinsky Naked' with 'Norah Jones Naked' coming up behind.

IT'S A GOOD TIME TO BE A STUDENT DRINKER: Not only did last week see the expensive, public-funded National Pop Music Centre in Sheffield get handed over for nothing to Hallam University students (although, at the same time, the University gave some land to a local regeneration organisation), but now a bid to spare schools from the new licensing legislation could lead to students' unions being exempt from licensing laws at all.

Fred On The Dead

Fred Durst is fast emerging as the Richard Hillman of shit rock. Writing on the Limp Bizkit website, fred sheds tears over the nightclub fire last week:

"i am horrified at what happened to the innocent people who were burned to death at the great white concert recently. i feel so much sadness inside because of it. how could such a thing happen? especially when it could have absolutely been prevented. it is so important to make any concert a safe place for fans to be. we have had our own terrible exsperience with a similar situation in australia a while back. i believe that it is our resposibility to provide you with the safest most secure conditions when you come to our concerts and i pray that every club owner, tour promoter, venue security, and band will learn from this horrible incident."

Ah, yes. Learning from horrible incidents - so, presumably, you'd be disgusted if the attempts to investigate what happened in Rhode Island last week were hampered by, say Great White's singer refusing to attend the inquest except by video link? You know, Fred, like the way you were "too busy" to attend the inquest after that "nasty Australian experience"? It's interesting that you're now Mr. Safety, though. Perhaps when the Australian coroner accused you of being "inflammatory and indeed insulting to the security staff who were engaged in their best efforts to extricate crucially injured patrons from the crowd collapse" it hit home? or are you merely hoping everyone's forgotten?

[Edited 20-09-08 for formatting only; content unchanged]
[Part of Rhode Island nightclub fire coverage]

HOME OF JACKASS, ISN'T IT?: Newsnight didn't work, so Blair's going to try and make the case for dropping bombs in Iraqi civilians on MTV - we could see this working, actually. They could have hidden cameras in Baghdad, and play it for laughs, couldn't they?

THANKS, JAMES: When exactly did Martine McCutcheon stop being FabTiff and turn into the horror that she is now? We know it was well before she left eastenders, and it must have been before she thought we really needed a cross between Linda Lusardi and Celine Dion in our entertainment firmament. Anyway, now she's got a new bloke and, unfortunately "James has a wonderful family who always look after me. There has been many a night when I have gone round to sing on their karaoke machine and by doing this, I was encouraged to sing again." Right, Martine - but did it not occur to you why a karaoke machine might bring these feelings out in you? Does that not say something about your singing style? Is the fact that James' family weren't inspiring you with "a box set of Maria Callas" or even "an Alanis Morrisette DVD" not telling you something? Indeed, doesn't the fact that you knew James for 18 months and it wasn't until you stopped putting out godawful records that he started to want to be your boyfriend tell you something?

BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME: So, Badly Drawn Boy went busking in London and earned just one pound sixty pence - we're guessing that he's counting the sharpened coins as well. "I sympathise with real buskers" he says "most people just don't care." Yeah, Damon, but most buskers don't wear a stinking stupid hat and, more importantly, play stuff people want to hear rather than the new Badly Drawn Boy single. Try doing something like She Loves You next time, you might earn enough to get a decent shave.

Monday, February 24, 2003

COVER YOUR BUTT: A bunch of Kylie fans - concerned that her arse is fast becoming all she's famous for - have started a campaign to get her to cover her peaches up. The irony is, of course, that Kylie's real buns do indeed get covered up, in painstaking pixel-by-pixel detail - indeed, everyone in the Kylie HQ would have a lot easier life if they didn't have to worry about the true state of the Minogue loveseat getting spotted, as right now they're having to go to enormous lengths to keep the cheeks hidden - at the brits, they had to had to hire a giant, plastic false arse to cover her real one, as this photo shows:

POSSIBLY THE MOST UGLY NAMES FOR AWARDS IN THE HISTORY OF AWARDS: have launched another answer to the Grammys, the hideously entitled The Critiquees , although surely the point of blogcritics is to provide a common home for quality writing by people with varying tastes? Which would make having an overall favourite album, say, a bit of a contradictory concept? For what it's worth, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot wins, and we'd have to say "Writing by the sort of people who quite like Wilco" would be rather an apt strapline for Blogcritics. However, the Buffy album is at number eight, which means we forgive them almost anything. Shockingly, Avril comes out at number two in Best new artist, which we put down to many regular blogcriticers being unable to acknowledge that there are any artists they've not heard of before.

WE WAITED A WEEK. BUT NOW OUR TONGUE MUST BE UNBITTEN: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Kelly Osbourne's album in at thirty one with a phut last week... this week... sinks to forty-four. Ha ha ha. Ha ha. Ha! All of those column inches, all those front pages, and... when she's not actually being sworn at by her dad, it turns out Kelly Osbourne ceases to exist at all. Priceless. Rock factor: One, and falling...

THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF... SHAME: Somehow, the induction of AC/DC into the R&R Hall of Fame has been cocked up. Undercover are calling the sudden dumping of original AC/DC bassist Mark Evans "a serious credibility issue", which we think is rather strong, but it does look a bit shabby. It's not like starting line-up members haven't been induced in the past or anything. It's all a bit rubbish, really.

AND WE'D LIKE TO THANK OUR DEALERS: there were about nine hundred catgeories in the Grammys and, In the words of david Coleman as imagined by I Ludcrious, i can't be bothered to read them all out, so pick your favourites, and give them a shout. Most notable, of course, is the spectacularly ordinary Norah Jones, who took virtually all the awards - you'd have to imagine the equally not that impressive Vanessa Carlton must be wondering why they all went to Norah and not her.
No Doubt took best pop vocal performance with more than one person involved, or something; Coldplay's In My Place took best rock performance and best, um, alternative album (it's different to something?) and Nelly and Kelly did awfully well in the all important rap/sung collaboration category. Eminem's Eminem Show was judged to be the best album with rap containing more than fifty one percent vocal tracks. And nice to see Jars of Clay picking up a prize.
We wholeheartedly agree with Hella Good being best remix (non-classical) and it's kind of fitting the last award on the list went to the Clash for best long-form music video. We suspect the best promo went to Eminem simply because he took the piss out of Osama.
We've seen very little of the coverage, but on BBC Breakfast this morning there was a new addition to our bitter men of rock list - Dirty Vegas. Were they pleased that the biggest music awards of them all had showered them with a prize? No, they wanted to moan that "nobody recognises us back home" and they just tacked their nomination at the end of reports - "and Dirty Vegas have been nominated." Don't let the magic of the moment make you happy, guys. Maybe if you'd not prolonged Liam Gallagher's existence we'd be a bit kinder to you.

HEY, WHAT ABOUT THE ELETANTS?: We find it curious that Lee Ryan wants to gather a human shield of celebs to record an anti-war single - wasn't it Lee who, even while the world was going "two planes... how many thousands?" spat "who cares about New York when elephants are dying?" We wonder why he's suddenly developed a concern for people? Unless... surely Saddam isn't planning a pachyderm shield? Moving elephants to protect his weapons of mass destruction?
Tony, face it: even the dimwitted one from Blue knows the war stinks. You're not going to sell us this one.
[Actually, Tony, you might be able to: there's one last card you could play - 'We believe there may have been Iraqis in the Paris tunnel that fateful night...' - that might just swing it. You could call it 'The People's War: Do or Die, Do it for Di']
Advertisement: No Rock has had a war baby. Warticker. We like to think George Bush reads us, cause we're simple.

BREAKFAST WITH FROST... AND YOG: For some reason, Breakfast With Frost has dragged up george Michael for a hard-hitting interview. George warns that the West and "the fundamentalist world" are going to be at loggerheads for years. It's nice that George is standing up to be counted, but... Georgie, Bush starts all his meetings with prayers and invokes The Lord God all the time; Blair is desperate to keep the Pope onside while also trying to lead the Anglicans from the front. I wouldn't be too sure that the West isn't the fundamentalist team on this one.

HILL OFFICIALLY OVER: The whole JJ72 package just got a lot thinner with the news that Hilary has quit the band to "pursue other interests." JJ72 will continue, we're reassured, and they're looking for another member to take her place.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

WOKE UP THIS MORNING, MY WOMAN DUN NOT DONE ME WRONG, MY DOG DAIN'T DIED, AND THE LAW AIN'T ON MY TAIL: Perhaps the strangest story so far this week was the BBC having to pay undisclosed damages to Burt Weedon over an allegation in a programme trail for Radio 2 that he'd learnt to play guitar while in jail. His lawyers issued a statement which said, in short "Some rock stars may cherish a reputation for being hell-raisers, but Burt is rather proud he never did put a foot wrong."
Apparently at 82, Burt is still making music. Play In A Day Care Centre?