Saturday, April 12, 2003

WE HOPE SHE DOESN'T HAVE A JIM BOWEN MOMENT: Dannii Minogue, best remembered for her claims that she was misrepresented when Esquire printed her words about how Australia has signs in Arabic and bigoted moron Jean Marie LePen struck a chord with the French people has been given a "five figure deal" to present a show on Capital FM. Now, since a kid earning ten grand flogging coffees on a cross country train could claim to have a five figure deal, we're not that impressed, but since she's only doing an hour's work a week, it's not a bad going rate. She's going to speak to celebrities every week, too, apparently. We're delighted that Dannii has joined a long list of celebrities - Andy Crane, Mike Read, Dave Lee Travis and, of course, Alan Partridge - who recognise that there's always a slot on local radio when the options start to narrow. And maybe its time to start putting out feelers for a job on TV teleshopping - never to early to plan your next move, honey.

WE TOLD YOU THE WORLD WAS CHANGING: Earlier, Intel made puppy eyes at Warners. Now, Apple have turned up at Universal carrying a bottle of wine and saying "I always fancied you when we were at school, you know."
We're expecting Microsoft to be taking tea with EMI executives by the end of the month.
[Respect due to Gary Marshall for bringing this to our attention]

8th April : The Seven Nation Army video is released to MTV. Within a couple of days it's on The Box's playlist, as well as on that strange MTV Peep thing.

11th April : NME breathlessly announce they have exclusive pictures from the video. So have I, actually, because I taped it three days ago off MTV2 and have a pause button on my video recorder.

SEX AND, INEVITABLY, DRUGS AND ROCK AND ROLL: No Rock takes its arse out to see Placebo at Liverpool "Academy" - it's the Uni Guild and always will be, dammit - on Thursday night:
So, there were a few kids there who'd have still been choosing between Sporty, Scary and Baby when Placebo were making their first frantic fist-shakings - they were easy to spot, all acne and Slipknot tshirts - but, generally, the cut off point for the lower age of the audience would have been round twenty. Placebo have matured; so have their audience.

Chattering their teeth like they'd taken as much speed as a US marine on a four am stakeout for saddam, the 80's Matchbox B-Line Disaster support slot looks like they're struggling to keep up with their elders. Has anyone commented on just how cuboid Guy McKinght's head is before? It looks like a cornflake packet with a lot of hair on it. He starts out doing his best Nick Cave fronting a pub rock band; then the pub rock becomes a bit more industrialised - Wetherspoons Rock? - and Guy starts to revert to his everyday voice. It's magnificent for a while, but by the end of their set the need for speed (as in playing everything at a pace rather than - or maybe because of - a need to take a top up) has rendered everything down to a slightly icky mush of sameiness. They have some good things to share, but you can just hear Mark Lamarr, five years hence, asking the Buzzcocks panel to identify their bassist - "Is it number one, 80's matchbox... number two, 50's throwback..."

Coated with a gallon of sweat from the outset, Brian Molko looks like Nicola McAullife's younger, sexier sister. He's drinking tea - showing off the teabag the way L7 used to dangle their tampons - and, contrary to the small print on the tickets ("no refunds if he's huffy") he seems to be having the time of his life. Is it just me, or does Stefan seem to have provided the inspiration of Sacha Baron-Cohen's new dimwitted attempt at a gay clone?

Placebo gigs should be organised on wedding lines, with people entering the venue being asked "Lamacq or Kerrang?" to decide whether their connection to the band was forged through their fey outsider indie appeal or because they have loud enough drums that you can ignore them being kinda faggy. Live, it's the rocky side which wins out, and when they play the stuff from Sleeping With Ghosts you get the feeling that the versions you're hearing are the forms the songs should have taken on the album; the versions they'd have gone with had Black Market Music not ended up as Marked Down Overstock to quite the same extent. Someday, some band is going to twig that sticking an MP3 recorder on the mixing desk, and making every live track available to fans for downoad at a few pence a shot is one of those business propositions that is a no-brainer; and it might take a band like Placebo to make that leap - a band who treat their songs like they treat their bodies, a band who - when it's a night on the town know you have to gussy and pluck and glam and redress for the occassion. Some songs get a wonderbra, like Taste In Men - tightly gathered and forced upwards. Some are given an Audrey Hepburn makeover - Every Me is slowed down and delivered very precisely. Your friends are refreshed, given new trousers and a big hickey. It's not just playing through the tunes, it's playing with them.

Brian calls his guitar a bitch - "she's worse than me" - and adds a whole new angle to the phrase "spanking his guitar" - and the whole thing is topped off with the Pixies Where Is My Mind? (although - seriously - they should consider doing River Euphrates instead). Overall... can I? should I? Oh yes... overall, it was just Molkorific.

Friday, April 11, 2003

PHIL COLLINS HIDING OUT ON THE BOX: We were watching the news playing that love song to Saddam again - "My sir, it's the ballot papers that will show the love of Iraq/ This is more than an election/ It's the passion between us" and we realised it's been a while since we've surveyed the goodies on offer on the music channels. Seriously, though, the Iraqis haven't had it so bad, compared with this sort of thing:
MTV are showing something called something like Carmen Elektra's beach party - "see the host in a bikini" trills the EPG, seemingly oblivious that Carmen Elektra has never been photographed in with a shirt on. MTV bosses puzzle why they're losing ground to the other music networks - and here would be a hint. This isn't seedy, it's just lame - Carmen and some other pneumatic blondes jiggling to so-so dance tracks on an American beach. As a music show, it's rubbish; as an erotic spectacle it also fails - someone who has less clout than CE might have been duped into actually looking like the thought of undressing for an MTv audience of beer jockeys was turning her on; Carmen, clearly, has checked the contract for the bare minimum she has to do to get her check. On a large plasma screen over a Florida beach during Spring Break, this might be the most inspired piece of TV ever. A cold spring day in Liverpool, it just feels like being insulted by the school bike. When it ends - hey, a show of that quality can't last forever - the Justin/Nelly video at the Playboy mansion comes on. In the same way that there's the first law of political debate (the first person to mention the Nazis loses), there is the first law of grown-up entertainment - the moment there's a cameo by Hugh Hefner, you flip.


MTV Hits
Avril Lavigne - I'm With You
Hey, she does what she wants, when she wants; she's not a puppet that's being manipulated by a shady bunch of suits. It's just, erm, she wanted to do the standard 'third single - pisspoor ballad', not because that's what the computer says is needed to portray Avril as a rounded character with the potential for mature emotions.
Sadly, at least when she's pretending to be a punk she looks like it's a lie she wants to go on with; when she struggles here to try and portray a bruised, emotional vulnerability she looks like she's been asked by the director to pretend to be third in line in the VIP queue at Cinderella Rockerfellas.

Craig David featuring Sting - Rise And Fall
What is this, some sort of a joke? It's a joke, right? Craig David meets up with Sting in some sort of downtown coffee shop; Sting looks worryingly like Dr Frasier Crane, and if there were any black characters in Frasier, I'd assume this was some sort of tribute to the Doc. But no, it's deadly serious. Sting adds to his tradition of not adding much to duets, which stretches right back to the Dire Straits one.

Robbie Williams - Come Undone
Awww, poor Robbie. All the drinking and partying has taken its toll. He thinks his life is as empty as his now abandoned and trashed mansion. And, also, of course, as this empty, 'pity me' self-obsessed ramble. "Rock and roll's so corporate suits" he wails. Oh, poor Robbie. Think of the money, son. Think of the lovely money.


Ok Go - get over it
Bless 'em, they only have one single, but what a single. The video features some spilled milk, over which - see - there is no point crying. The singer looks like a young Beck, and there's an amusing pause in the middle where they play ping-pong. It really would be great if they had something else to offer - the band come across as the sort of guys it would be nice to have around for a while.

Sadly, MTV2 - like all the other MTV channels - is obsessed with Jackass, and so instead of playing a video they have some people skateboarding and falling off. Do they not realise this on a par with, say, dropping slots from It'll Be Alright On The Night into the middle of Vh1 shows. I'm presuming they must have some sort of research which suggests this is what people want to see, or maybe they're just so desperate to differentiate themselves before the new Sky Music services come on, they don't care if it's good, just that its stark.


MTV Base
Nas - I Can
This, we're told, is being played because Nas is the fourteenth sexiest person according to MTV base. It could also feature at number one in a chart of "Most curious attempt to resurrect de La soul in the twenty-first century." Nas might be sexy - okay, he is sexy, we would, we admit it; we'd love to nibble on those ears - but surely not at his sexiest when he's singing about bettering yourself and surrounded by a bunch of squeaking kids. Still, at least its sexier than Hugh Heffner.

LL Cool J - Loungin'
Thirteenth for Ladies Love, which is kind of encouraging - nice to see an older guy being given some respect for his body, even although he does go through this video wearing the sort of hat retired gentlemen wear for gardening or watching cricket. Again, this isn't him at his sexiest - 'I need love' used to require a floor mopping, as I recall.


MTV Dance
Sister Sledge - Lost In Music
It's Dance Anthems day on MTV-D - isn't it always? - and you can't argue with this, can you? The video, of course, is of its time; when effects ran mainly to getting the Sledge to change costumes and pull focus in and out. There's a wonderful attempt to act the line "some people say to me 'why don't you go get a job' bit which is so hamfisted you wonder why they haven't been given cameos in Seeing Double, the S-Club movie.

The channel then plugs something called Dance Miami - which sounds like more cameras pointing at jiggling breasts - and then it's that awful ocean finance advert with the thing that looks a bit like a lottery machine. They should bring back the one with Frazier Hines. I'd trust Joe Sugden more than a bloke with a lottery machine - is that how Ocean underwrite their portfolios? "Dammit, if we'd got 23 instead of 47, we'd be able to pay out on those life insurance policies now..."


Is it us, or has VH1 moved to the other side of the funkier MTV brands?
Madonna - Tell Me
VH1 is having a festival of Ms Don't Mention The War today - even, cruelly, giving hours to her movie career on constant loop - Shanghai Surprise! Who's That Girl! Swept Away! - not so much a celebration, then, as a pasting. There's a bit in the Tell Me video, where she's got some cowboys behind her, and her thumbs through her belt loops; filmed from below, she's trying to wriggle her hips in an alluring fashion, and she looks, for all the world, like she's an old woman trying to keep up with Geri Halliwell. I've asumed before that she may have used up all her secret powers, and she's come back - Ray of Light, for example - but as the months tick away, you're more and more forced to accept that Guy Ritchie is little more than Creative Kryptonite.

On a happier note, the Open University has apparently realised that its old adverts were shaming to an organisation which has its own TV channel, and made something a bit more interesting visually. I still don't think I'll sign up to become a lawyer.


VH1 Classic Hits
Abba - Knowing Me, Knowing You
This is the one that ends with the two girls trampling off through the snow together, Agnetha casting a coy look over her shoulder. Tantalising. That's the way you do it, Tatu...

Lene Marlin - Sitting Down Here
For some reason this is still on an endless loop on Asda FM - maybe some store in Bridlington has still got a stock of her album they're trying to shift. Heartbreakingly, her one song that anyone half-remembers has lines like "You think that I'm a loser, but I don't care..." - words which probably ring through her head during the long shift at the Superbowl Bowlarama.


Kym Marsh - Cry
I'm imagining that this single exists purely so that the next time New opens negotiations for a photoshoot, they can get an extra tenner and a cold buffet lunch thrown in on the grounds that "she has done something recently, actually. The song sounds really irritating - there's some little bits that are quite pleasing, but all the bridges go on a little bit too far and don't quite do their job. "Everybody knows my name even though I'm still the same" she says, which is uncannily self-aware - everyone knows who you are, but you do stay the same - as someone who briefly managed to get into a successful band and now will never reach such heights again. This self-pity gives way to the Williams track, so


The Box
Luckily, I only catch the end of the Phil Collins collaboration with whoever it is. Who knew there was something more soul-destroying than Craig David and Sting? At the end, the lads get on a train leaving Phil stood alone on the platform, looking confused. Whatever happened to the outrage over Granny Dumping?

Busted - You Said No
Oh dear. Having tried to pass themselves off as grown-up before their time by shagging their teacher, and then cleverer than they were by getting caught up in the trouble of creating a coherent time-travel wheeze, they're now falling back on showing that they're really good at BMXing. And the song itself has an air of something left in reserve in case they needed a third single to keep things ticking over rather than a natural choice.

Dside - Speechless
The concept of singing rent boys isn't new, but usually they make some attempt to disguise the day job. Speechless. Winningly, the screen blacks out - or rather, totally greens out, and then purples out - and whizzes us through their dirge a bit faster; then Tatu appear briefly onscreen. So even the mighty Box playout computer can't stand this tired trash

Junior Senior - Move Your Feet
Of course, clearly this video has just been fudged to make it look like it's been produced on an old skool computer - I'n guessing they were trying for a C64, as there's none of the clashing you used to get on the dear old Spectrum. I quite like the evil squirrel, mind.


Smash Hits TV
Robbie Williams again.


Jennifer Lopez - Aint It Funny
This is the one where she pretends she's a gypsy girl - no more unlikely than her pretending she's still in touch with her roots in Jenny From The Block. I think this was the last time she bothered doing one of those pointless extra dance passages in a video - maybe she realised that stopping the flow of the single in order to do a little dance was kinda like those old opening credits for Emma Thompson's 'Thompson' show, where ET seemed to dance for no reason other than to show off, ending up looking less assured than if they hadn't bothered.

It's Girls On Top week on Magic, where they're focusing on "five of the greatest female singers of all time" (Jlo, Kate Bush, Whitney, Kylie and Madonna, if you're wondering - sorry, Aretha), erm, so next they play The Spice Girls - Say You'll Be There - a glimpse back to when Geri had breasts and looked a whole lot better for it. If you ignore the head, obviously.
Madonna - Die Another Day
Of course, Madonna fighting herself might have just been a metaphor for the struggle that goes on when she records a cack tune and has to decide if she should release it or not, although I find it hard to believe that she even considers not putting out substandard wank for a single moment.

Foo Fighters - on and on
Q never seems to change its playlist. Ever.

The new stereophonics single
Oh my. This isn't just poor by any system of analysis you wish to apply to it, it's shaming. If you remember the wrong turn the primals took when they'd spent too long with their Black Crowes albums, imagine if a bunch of half-hearted pub rock chuggers turned up and tried to recreate the Rocks era of Primal Scream working from that blueprint alone, but with the injunction to make it sound a bit more blokey? Oh my, oh my. This has been a long time coming, and it just makes you wonder what the stuff they couldn't use sounds like. Oh my. Oh my.

Chart Show TV
Amerie - I'm coming up
Who are you, and why have you made this note for note remake, other than "because the makers of Maid In Manhattan asked me to?" - although a lame clone of Donna for a lame clone of Pretty Woman does have a marketing synergy to it, I guess...

Brassy - Play Some D
Brassy rule in our house, although... not too sure about the sportswear

... flip ...

The Chart Show's sister station, which - just as The Chart Show was a programme which became a channel - is a Chart Show feature which has blossomed into a channel all of its own. Maybe, one day, there will be Indie Chart TV, with lots and lots of spinning record middles for the bands who haven't had a budget to make visuals. Anyway, whenever we switch this on we get "Programmes start on..."; I suspect it's sharing carriage space with the Chart Show shopping channel...

... flip...

The Hits
Linkin Park - Somewhere I Belong
Visually, the shots down long untidy corridors and of the singer on a bed, this isn't a million miles away from the Robbie Williams video. And, to be honest, you could imagine Williams singing the song, too; just take the faux-sharp edge off the vocals and it'd fit in perfectly. Linkin Park are clearly, cleverly, easing their foot off the pedal for a long journey - betting they can calm down at just the right speed that as their audience starts to stop being all "fuck you mom" and becomes "maybe we should have the Feiffers over for dinner next week, with that promotion in the offing", they'll take the Park with them.
Oh. They've added some giant spiders in there too, which Robbie should try.

... flip ...

Yesterdays - good Riddance
More low-budget punk from the rolling 24 hour low budget punk channel. Sadly so much is interchangable here.

... flip ...

Classic FM TV
Okay, okay, I'm sorry i called you Vannessa Mae All The Time TV. Now, stop showing pissing Nigel Kennedy, will you? Doing the bloody four seasons as well. Piss.

... flip ...

Channel U
Eve - Satisfaction
We love eve but, damn, apart from that woman who does the Pentagon briefings sometimes, there's nobody in front of a camera with worse abilities to choose and use colours well, is there?

Thursday, April 10, 2003

THE SECOND TIME AS AN INTERNATIONAL FARCE: Considering the bad blood that boiled up from the last Limp Bizkit search for a guitarist - claims that participants were made to sign away their rights; the eerie feeling that all those kids auditioning their little hearts out were going to find the job going to a Friend of Fred anyway, the job going to a friend of Fred anyway - you'd wonder why they'd go to the trouble of doing it all over again. Unless it was all just a big publicity stunt in the first place. Oh, hang about.
We're just about going to let Durst get away with his not-quite-right wittering that it would be great if the new guitarist came from Japan, although if you recast the sentence with most other racial groupings it would expose him as incredibly well meaning, middle class and flat footed.

THERE ARE HARD TIMES, AND THERE ARE HARD TIMES: It can be hard being a band who've been around for a while - your very longevity starts to work against you, and where you once seemed young, vibrant, dangerous even, you start to give off the cultural equivalent of dust. It can be hard to maintain the sense of credibility as your demographic shifts from MTV2 to MTV to VH1. But even so, you'd think there would be limits, wouldbn't you? That bands who once filled stadia and whose lead singer could reduce a certain segment of the audience to gasping mush would want to hold on to, if not a shred of dignity, at least the wrapper that dignity came in. The desire to sell a few more records would, you think, always outweigh taking actions which merely leave you looking a bit rubbish?
And yet, and yet: Bon Jovi are going to play on live TV. That's on QVC.
Once they were the crazy diamonds, now they're merely ill-advised cubit zirconium.

HANG ABOUT - IGNORE EVERYTHING ON THIS BOARD EVER: The music industry is about to change. Totally.
Intel is lined up to buy AOL's music publishing business.
Now, while this might seem like a dull corporate takeover story, just think through the implications of The People Who Make Computer Chips owning the rights to music from such a wide range of artists. And a company at that who - unlike Sony and AOL Time Warner - have no contradictory ownership of online companies and old-style record companies to clutter up their activities.
It's a cash deal. And you don't hand over one and a quarter billion quid without having a pretty good plan, do you?

SETTLED: Stelios has come to an agreement with the BPI - you'll recall the Big Five record companies were demanding a million quid because Easy's internet cafes had allowed people to burn data to CD, thereby (obviously) depriving Dannii Minogue of the very bread from her table. Easy are paying GBP 80,000, plus the BPI's costs. What this reveals is that the BPI had spent GBP 130,000 on the case so far - an indication of how big a sledgehammer they're prepared to wield to impose their interpretation of copyright rules.

ADVERTISED: Last week, noticing that Madonna had taken to flyposting in support of her 'we wouldn't want to give anyone the wrong idea' single, we sneered. But you can see why Maddy would relish the slap and scarper campaign - we can't imagine anyone at her label wants to invest too much in the single, so a cheap approach makes economic sense; Madonna herself presumably believes that failing to secure a nice billboard campaign will lull us into thinking she's all cutting edge and dangerous. Plus wandering about with a bucket of paste and some A1 sheets gives Guy something to do with his time while Hollywood resolutely fails to call.
But this morning, we noticed Paul McCartney's Manchester gig has also been flyposted. McCartney? Who earns enough in a half-day to buy all the billboard slots in the UK (especially now that the banning of fag ads has reduced demand a lot)? Apart from anything else, its taking valuable wall space away from bands who can't afford to buy 'proper' media space. And how many people likely to go to see Macca will be the sort who glance at the wall by Oxford Road Station to plan what to do on the evening when their ex has the twins to stay over? Bah, in a very real sense, is the word.

A VERY LONG PAUSE, THEN ULTIMATE DISAPPOINTMENT: There's a Stylus magazine consideration of that old faithful, the 'hidden track' online at the moment which considers the merits of dozens of the little surprises hidden -usually - after the main business of an album is wrapped up. Sadly, they find no room for the most dunderheaded example of the genre, which was when George Michael missed the point somewhat and listed his hidden track on the sleeve of Songs From The Last Century.
We're not fans of the extra track ourselves - they're the music equivalent of long lost children in soap operas; they turn up when ideas have been burned out and even at their best provide us with little more than a limp reworking of what's gone before; and usually they're just ugly, unwanted and awkward intusions into the records themselves. The need to put a massive block of silence before they come on - otherwise, of course, you probably wouldn't realise they weren't meant to be there unless you were counting - creates terrible gaps of nothingness when you're listening in a car, and has the pain of sudden return if you've been drifting off nicely to sleep. And they're so commonplace, surely the surprise value has been used up as well now? Pointless and normally a waste of time. Stop them. Now.
[Finders fee: TMFTML]

CHANGING TUNES: There's a large conference on music radio taking place at the moment at the Radio Academy, and the speech by Lesley Douglas, head of programmes at Radio 2 was pretty interesting - she announced that the network is planning to move its focus away from singles and more towards giving space to album tracks (a shift in emphasis that probably makes a great deal of sense, and could help Radio 2 be best placed when digital downloads finally replace CDs as the way of delivering music - a network that already tailors itself to the strongest tracks from collections rather than just the track promoted by the industry is going to find it a lot easier to program from online catalogues than one which needs a Singles focus) and announced that an evening is going to be given over to a massive debate on the future of the British Music Industry, which should be interesting - we hope they get Tony Wilson in to present the show he was born to chair.
They're also going to have more live music - including on the Ken Bruce show, which seems a bit of an odd slot. But so long as it doesn't stop Popmaster, we don't mind.

EVEN MORE COMPLICATED: Oh, sweet Aaron Scullion, how do we love you? Many, many ways. For you sent us a link to the witterings of Avril Lavigne on the subject of war:
"I don't believe war is a way to solve problems. I think it's wrong. I don't have respect for the people that made the decisions to go on with war. I don't have that much respect for Bush. He's about war, I'm not about war -- a lot of people aren't about war... I know there's issues in Iraq. I'm not really a political person. It's hard for me to talk about the war. I don't really know what to say but I can say that I'm really proud that our Prime Minister didn't ... fight, backed out from it."
The Associated Press reported this as Avril having "strong opinions about the war in Iraq."

FLASHBACK. AGAIN: Do you think anyone in J-Lo's camp knew before she recreated Flashdance for a video that Geri Halliwell had done the exact same thing, and that they were just too scared to tell her?

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Bistro in Bahgdad Edition
"It's like the Avril Lavigne song Sk8r boi" reckons some bint who writes in Elle about her time dating Chris Martin during the early days of Coldplay. Erm, only it isn't, really, is it? The low point of a fantastically meaningless article is when she talks about "hustling some tickets" for Coldplay at... the Barfly. What would that have been, then - four quid you saved yourself there? She takes an opportunity to swipe at Chris - yeah, we do, but we've never fucked him - while still sounding incredibly bitter that he's gone on to become incredibly rich and famous since. More of this, please, Elle - next month, how about "I sat behind Thom Yorke on the bus to school?"

OK magazine is still interested in Kym Marsh. We wonder why - maybe its some sort of really bad contract they entered into that they have to give her three covers a year for the rest of the decade? Or maybe they've simply run out of famous people, and are now doomed to become a 'looks familiar' style title in the manner of Yours, the magazine for the nearly dead that exhumes the likes of Bob Wellings to grace its front page.

The NME has got a much better cover - Karen O and the other Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Let's face it, even if they weren't the sleeperiest sleeperblokes since sleeper went to sleep, the Other Two wouldn't make much of an impression being stood next to the Cadbury's Strawberry Jam MiniRoll of front people, but lets not label them "surplus to requirements" just yet. The tagline for the 8 page (yes, eight page) White Stripes special is "in-depth guide to the brilliant album of the year", which is at least missing a "most" if not a "so far"

News... Kelly Osbourne to support Robbie Williams on is european tour - we're losing count of just how deeply into the minuses her rock rating has gotten now; annoying jingoistic dimwits three doors down try to put into words why they're so happy to support the US armed forces - "those guys [the US navy] are out there keeping us so we can sit here and bitch about stupid shit. Those guys rely on us and all we can do is sit here and say 'no war this' and 'no war that.' Did you see the two tallest buildings in the world collapse due to terrorism?" Leaving aside the odd thought that the US navy is in such dire straits it relies on a bunch of dimwitted pub rockers, and the complete lack of any connection between September 11th and the war in Iraq beyond the words "a convenient excuse", I'm actually a little surprised to discover that terrorists have apparently managed to destroy the Petronas Tower and the Sears Tower and nobody noticed; in a similar odd piece of phrasing, Madonna's American Life as "latest victim of pro-US backlash" - victim? In what way? The big tipsy blouse pulled her own fucking video; hardly "victimisation" - more her credibility has lost out to her desperate desire to be liked, even if it is by bull-necked honkers in shirts made of the stars and stripes.

The Kills' Hoel chooses PJ harvey, Dock Boggs and Jonathan Fire*eater for a made-up CD.

"The Hidden Cameras just made Tatu look tame" trumpets the paper. Coming next week: The Hidden Cameras just made S Club look washed up; make Kelly Osbourne look like a spoiled brat who we should all ignore forever.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs piece makes an attempt to try and make the Ones That Aren't O seem interesting, playing Mr & Mr & Mrs (a conceit that Number One magazine was doing twenty years ago, when - presumably - their target audience would have remembered the show; we look forward to The Strokes being invited to play The Golden Shot in the coming weeks). The trouble is, you still find yourself skimming through to get to Karen's answers. Her guiltiest pleasure is chronic masturbation. Or it might not be. It's edited too badly to make much sense.

Best indie clubs right now, apparently: Suicide, manchester; Optimo, glasgow; Junk, southend; emerge, cardiff; firerock and roll, newscastle; and hideout in london.

Eight pages on Elephant: Why? presumably because they couldn't review it for a third time. If you love the Stripes, it's a must-read. If you're only half hearted, it'll bore you rigid. There are some early shots - Jack not wearing red or white; Meg wearing a bra.

Run DMC - greatest hits - "a way cool guide to their sadly truncated career", 8
Various - all tomorrows parties 3 - "a mixed bag", 3
american hi-fi - the art of losing - "a melody... [no] worthy cause", 5

sotw - blur - out of time - "suddenly songbird doesn't sound so clever afterall"
inme - neptune - "unlovely, pretend portentous guff with constipated vocals"

the libertines - highbury & camden - "electric in every sense"
the donnas - kings cross la scala - "it makes you wonder who these guys are who keep knocking them back"
kelly osbourne - "this crowd are hardly in a critical mood" and har mar superstar - "unintentionally poignant" in detroit

and that's pretty much it. Next week, they're threatening "unseen coldplay pictures" which is pretty much on a par with, say, new scientist trailing "Some New Moulds Discovered."

SHARE YOUR SPARES: Some people may find themselves with Glastonbury tickets they no longer want - in a crowd of a hundred thousand, there's going to be dozens of people whose plans have to change, or have them changed for them. Selling tickets on Ebay seems to be a bit of a dodgy option, and so what can you do? A solution is Scarlet Mist , a site designed for the selling on of Glastonbury tickets for people who aren't seeking to profit, but don't want to make a loss. [Thanks to Gareth J]

FIGURES AND FIDDLES: Interestingly, according to, Aloud flogged 112,000 and not 85,000 tickets (the number quoted in reports of the original sell-out) for Glastonbury. Anyway, now Eavis has made a bad situation a lot worse by announcing that they're clawing back tickets from people flogging them on Ebay and are going to pass them onto "more deserving people" who will reveal themselves by, erm, getting in touch and saying they're more deserving.
And who will probably turn up to sell them on outside the festival site.
Since one of the biggest problems last year was people without tickets roaming Pilton looking for tickets, is it really advisable to try and close down a system that could have taken a lot of the pressure off face-to-face touting?

CLEARING OUT THE STABLES: While claiming it never made a difference anyway, Clear Channel have just announced they're going to cut the financial ties between their radio stations and music pluggers, which had led to accusations of the station operating a 'payola' style system. Up until now, the companies that wanted to get records onto CC's strangleholding network of US stations had also, mysteriously, shown a great deal of interest in paying Clear for all sorts of "research information"; Now, Clear is going to stop the practice as they think it all looks a bit iffy. We're really worried, though - how will the plugging companies be able to do their job without buying in all that top-notch research data?

IT'S THE ONLY CHART THAT DOESN'T COUNT MOST OF THE STUFF IT'S MEANT TO BE CHARTING: An official download chart is going to start pretty soon - although quite why it's going to take them until Christmas to start it isn't clear. The usefulness of a chart that only counts downloads tracks from 'official' sources - and thus limits itself to just 7,500 artists - is dubious anyway; and because it's tied in with Digital Download Day - the half-hearted attempt to beat the pirates at their own game - the whole thing is probably going to be a cold, depressing gray slab.
The weakness of DDD is inadvertently shown up in the BBC News Online report on the new chart: "The first day, in the UK in October 2002, was deemed to be a success in persuading users to abandon pirate services that are thought to be damaging the music industry.
An estimated 4,500,000 people are thought to be downloading up to a billion pirated tracks over the internet at any one time.

You can only shudder and wonder - if four point five million people downloading a billion tracks is after a "success" - what the figures would have been like if DDD had failed.
Interestingly, Daniel Bedingfield is the 'star' fronting the next "please be legal" day. We've always felt that Daniel Bedingfield is kind of like a star who should have been on Pop Idol, and who is just hanging round hoping people will assume he was. Anyway, Dan's opinion is "Digital is the future of music.
Every record needs to be available legitimately online before things can really take off. A superior choice of tracks is fundamental to a defence against online piracy.

Every record, Daniel? Are you saying that if even Derek Guyler's novelty gnome record is missing from the Internet, there will never be a hope of destroying Bearshare? More seriously, it's not just the range that counts - far more important is the pricing and the format. It's on format that the last Digital Download Day became Unplayable Letdown Day; the mistake looks set to repeat itself again.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

BIGGER, BETTER, FASTER, SMARTER: A quick pointing over at The Bigger The God's official site, who have MP3 downloads on free offer at the moment. This band do not suck. Worth a couple of minutes of your time to sample, or three days if you're still lumbered with dial-up.

BARELY THERE MEMBER OF BARELY THERE BAND WEARS BARELY THERE DRESS TO FILM WITH BARELY THERE PLOT: Tina bravely risks pneumonia, hard nipples to try and raise interest in SClub Movie

FIZZIN': It's not surprising that Ms Dynamite has signed a million quid deal to plug Pepsi - the company probably heard her singing "Fuck coke" on Natural High and decided there and then she had to be rewarded...

Monday, April 07, 2003

HAIL THE ENEMY OF THE MUSIC FAN: If someone sidled up to you and suggested you sign up for a tribute to Metallica, you might want to think about it for a moment and ask why? If you're pro-Peer to Peer file sharing, they're the band who forced the closure of Napster and basically told their own fans to fuck off if they wanted to share their music. If you're against P2P, then they're the band who provided the whole concept of using MP3 files and computers to get hold of free music with billions of pounds worth of unpaid publicity - it was their railing against the then small Napster that turned it, and its antecedents, into the phenomena that they are today. In short, probably only a moron would want to slap the band on the back and praise them. Naturally, Avril Lavigne is on board already.

PRECIOUS LITTLE: Radiohead continue to moan about the album leak - Phil Selway getting onto the Internet to mumble that " I feel that the recording process has been compromised for us. Its not that these mixes are bad, it's just that the actual album is better - honest." You don't think that's overstating it a little bit, do you, Phil?

DANGER! CURIOUS LOGIC AT WORK: Eric 'Blogcritic' Olsen appears to be taking a curious stance over the Pearl Jam/Dixie Chicks crisis - it seems that Eddie's protest was fine because it was theatrical, but, erm, the DCs were jarring and out of context, and thus Not Protesting Artfully Enough. Eric, sweetheart, you don't think the difference in reaction has less to do with the artless way in which the Dixie Chicks protested, and more to do with Pearl Jam having spent the best part of the last fifteen years building themselves up as Some Vageuly Anti-Establishment (Without Ever Quite Defining What Establishment It Is They're Against, Exactly) Act, and the Dixie Chicks are a country act playing country music to country lovers, who - away from the alt- end of the prairie - tend to be more deeply ingrained conservatives than a rock audience? The Dixie Chicks could have orchestrated a bluegrass operetta against Bush's actions, and the smell of smouldering CDs would still have hit our noses. Vedder could have stumbled blind drunk onto stage and yelled "Fook Boosh" and the audience would have remained pretty much unflustered.

ON SCALPING: Shawndra was reading my entries last night, over my shoulder (dammit, if my own wife won't log on and boost the hit rate, who can I rely on?) and she disagrees with me on my shrug over the flogging of tickets to Glastonbury on Ebay (a topic also considered by today's New Media Guardian - although as of noon, it wasn't up on the site yet). "You don't think there's anything wrong in someone soaking up all the tickets and scalping the fans, then?" she asked.
And if we were talking about Radiohead, say, and talking about people buying up hundreds of tickets at a time, I'd probably have had outraged posts up before the first ticket had appeared on Ebay. But since Glastonbury doesn't have 'fans' in quite the same way, and since - I'd imagine - Aloud had capped the number of tickets a person could purchase (if they hadn't then all the whining about auction sales is just so much alligator blubbing), I don't think the case is the same. If Glastonbury had wanted to ensure people with a deep commitment to the festival, but only shallow pockets, could have gone, they could have come up with a slightly less clumsy way of selling tickets than lobbing them straight up on a single website - as we said with the Radiohead affair, we'd really like to see tickets like this offered not on a "fastest modem first" basis, but in a genuine lottery. Indeed, as Glastonbury is supposed to be about raising money for charity, they could actually ask people to pitch up a quid to take part, and then choose the 'winners' of the right to buy tickets at random after, say, a week of taking registrations.
Failing that, why not bypass the touts completely, and actually sell the tickets straight through Ebay in the first place? Half the tranche could be offered on a "Buy this now" basis; the other half could be allowed to float. You could even set different lengths of auctions, so people who desperately want to know they could go would pay a small premium, while people who are more flexible could wait until the week before to find out if they'd won. People who want to pay more would still pay more, but at least the benefit would go to Glastonbury, and all the mark-up again could go to the good causes.
But maybe that's just a little too sensible. Far better to create a situation where touts are able to prosper, innit?

SHE WANTS TO CRUSH YOU LIKE JAMES DEBARGE: A supposed stalker is suing Janet Jackson over her getting a restraining order against him. We're not certain, but we think his claim for cash damages, an apology and a pair of worn panties might undermine his case somewhat. (NB: This is a joke). Seriously though, we do like the idea that maybe celebs mght be attempting to boost their profiles by getting restraining orders against people at random. Cheaper than hiring Max Clifford, certainly.

'TANT PIS: Probably just to rub it in Sara Cox's nose that Radio 4's breakfast show featured the band before Radio One's, there's an extended version of the White Stripes interview from Today on the programme's website. Jack White suggests that in the future, labels will insist all acts record on the wafer-thin white stripes budget. Hmmm. While I can see the accountants eyes lighting up at the possibility, I have a sneaking suspiscion that bands that are bigger in numbers than the Stripes may find it hard to come in so far under their current budgets. Unless they sack their bass players, of course.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

HE WAS PM. I AM A MEDIA WHORE. DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ANYTHING MORE?: Avril Lavigne chummies up to Canadian PM. For almost a moment, it seemed that maybe she was about to do something that wasn't either bland or dumb - were the red, white and blue armbands she was wearing a - gasp - cheeky political statement? "Not at all." Oh. Right.