Saturday, June 28, 2003

NOT SEEING HER ARSE: Thanks to the mighty problem drinker for this further example of Avril Lavigne not showing her butt to get publicity:

AND PEOPLE THINK SHAZAM IS LIKE MAGIC: Have your music tastes trashed. Like magic. Every time. Go on, it really works.

NO SHIT?: Lawsuit threat fails to deter song swapping on Internet - AP headline

YOU ANNOYING TWAT: Robbie Williams is getting his pants in a parlour-game over the apparent lack of support we (i.e. the British) are giving him over his attempts to increase his personal wealth and ruin another country with his ridiculous gurning and woefully clod-hopping antics ("break America")
Robbie says he can't understand why we're not proud: "I think it's weird how England has treated my so-called onslaught into America, you know... `Robbie will never do it, stop it, don't even try' and all that business. Come on England, get behind me
It's such a shame that I could be one of the only people that could come over here and break it big. You'd think they'd be proud of me.
I'm aiming to be the biggest artist in the world without America on this album. That's not to say that I'm giving up on this territory."

Right, let's just look at this twattage. England haven't said 'don't even try' - indeed, if we thought for one moment there was a possibility that the United States would take Williams to their hearts, and shower him with so much love and praise they'd never let him go, keeping him touring his increasingly tawdry act round and round and round the Americas, we'd be the first to buy him a ticket and send him off. Thing is, what most people predicted was that the good people of America would view a loudmouth clotheshorse doing his own special (yawn) brand of antics with the sort of bemused disdain they'd give any other crappy British half-assed comedy act. Like they'd treat, say, the film version of On The Buses, or Paul Daniels.

Secondly, why should we get behind you? As I recall, when you signed your deal that was - snurkle - going to make you a big star in America, your reaction wasn't "Hey, guys, let's show the Americans we can still make music" or even "I can't wait to show a whole new audience of millions what I can do", but some sickening bellowing about being rich beyond your wildest dreams, wasn't it? So, why, exactly, should we be expected to throw our weight and support behind your attempts to make grotesque amounts of money out of miniscule talent? Because you're also from Britain? You don't think, perhaps, if you're expecting us to support you as some sort of figurehead for our culture, you might have squandered that support through your pathetic behaviour on the chat show circuit?

And finally: isn't your own admission that now you're 'not giving up on' but are focusing on The Rest Of The World (sorry, New Zealand) a sing that the people who said you wouldn't have any success in America were, actually, ahem, right? And, yes, it is a shame that you're one of the few British Acts to get a push in the States. Maybe if EMI hadn't pissed so much money away on your contract, and instead spread the cash around on more creative acts (ones who write their own music for example), we wouldn't be in such dire straits that we're being asked to put the faith of our nation in the twenty first century's answer to Arthur Askey.

THANKS, JAN: We bet Wayne Coyne can't wait to see Janice Long, whose playing of Fight Test back to back with Cat Stevens' father and son has landed up with the Flaming Lips having to give half the royalties for their single to Yusuf Islam himself. When exactly did we decide we were going to start calling them The Flips, by the way?

GLASTONBURY LIVE FROM NOT GLASTONBURY, CONTINUED: As I write, one of the giant inflatable sun people has fallen over and is starting to deflate. The Flaming Lips have taken the stage. Possibly live, or maybe as live. The Flaming Lips are on the stage, and jiggling to Carmina Burrina - precisely the sort of entrance that Paul from Cassidy (star of Reality Check) would dismiss as being totally unneccesary. Which is why The Flaming Lips are playing Glastonbury and Cassidy are going to be lucky to get a pitch parking cars for the Wirral Eden Festival. Wayne's voice sounds very strained indeed, though...

The Thrills also had quite a difficult time, judging by the footage shown on BBC Three. They might have had more confidence throughout their set, but the demands of prime time telly, even on the middle slopes of the Electronic Programme Guide, insists that the tracks selected are the familair rather than the strongest. So we're given the impression of Connor's leg shaking and his voice wobbling. You can tell they're a great band, but this isn't going to go down as a landmark performance. By contrast, Interpol turn in a slick, carefully judged set but still come across as being totally devoid of any soul. In either sense.

Why are Supergrass still going? I don't mean that as harshly as it sounds - it's always pleasing to see them still plugging away - but its puzzling, like the continued existence of those tin cans filled with baked beans and mini-sausages or Peacocks Clothing Stores; you suppose there must be a demand but you never meet the consumers. And they're still doing the facial hair thing. It's almost like they're a historical re-enactment society or something.

Apart from the continued presence of Colin and Edith, the two drawbacks with the BBC coverage are: One, the mystifying breaks for Sixty Seconds, BBC Three's news service. Now, I know the BBC promised Tessa Jowells they'd do regular news as part of the price of getting the channel on air, but is it really neccesary to leave a track half way through? Can't the gabble through of NewsFactReduced be held off at least until a natural break in the proceedings? Two, a strange fetish for retreading old ground. So, on Saturday evening, with two days worth of footage from two stages in the can to choose from, for the first ninety minutes or so we're treated to The Bands Who Were On The Previous Evening: Primals again (welcome though that was - except: why don't they show us Kate Fucking Moss?), David Gray again (so dull we turned over to Wimbledon, for pity's sake, and Royksopp - who really, really aren't a great band to watch making their music. Some acts are best left in the studio, really.

Oh, there's also a third problem with the coverage: Colin and Edith interviewing two people from Two Pints of Lager... I don't care about Will Mellor's festival experience - "I went to a pub." There is nothing that could possibly have happened to him at Glastonbury that would make me interested in his experiences. Please make it stop.

Also disappointing that Idlewild overcame nasty vomiting diseases and haven't had a scrap of their stuff on either telly or radio. Well, not while we've been watching anyway.

Roisin Murphy from Moloko is the best dressed so far - although by her standards dressed down, really; and the best festival goer is the guy who by now is probably wishing he'd never thought of carrying a "Golf sale here ---}" sign with him all day.

GLASTONBURY SO FAR: Thanks to the crappy, crappy service 'provided' by BT Openworld, our plans to spend most of the weekend lurking about in the Playlouder online festival offerings looks likely to run aground. However, the bits of the BBC not fighting with Alistair 'what me, lie?' Campbell has been doing stirling work. Kind-of.

You'll know No Rock isn't much of a fan of Colin Murray. And after seeing him and Edith Bowman doing late night on BBC Three, our opinion hasn't been revised upwards. The main trouble with him, we think, is his enthusiasm which isn't, unfortunately, the infectious kind, despite giving people in his vicinity symptoms of nausea and crawling skin. "This is a legendary Glastonbury" he claimed, which seems to be a misunderstanding of what actually makes a legend - i.e. a bit of historical perspective. And what exactly is Edith Bowman for? They've worked together before on RI:SE, of course, and they do a show together on Radio One on Saturday mornings (Colin's consolation prize for having been stuck in the awkward interregnum between Lammo and Lowe), but the complete lack of chemistry between the pair suggests more two people who've been flung together by a lift breaking down between floors; Edith, certainly, spent the whole of their time onscreen yesterday evening looking like a woman desperate for the fire brigade to come and rescue her from her confinement with Murray. This is right up there with those other great Radio One double acts - Bruno Brookes and Liz Kershaw and Zoe Ball and Kevin Greening.

But the music they offered us was smashing. They brought us extra helpings of Primal Scream (and, to be fair, it seemed like this was C&E's idea) - Bobby showing off his belly for all the world like he was Avril Lavigne and the Black Crowes period never actually having sounded so good; and REM. Michael Stipe managed to look more ill than Bobby Gillespie ever has (prompting much fevered discussion on our sofa as to whether Nicky Wire's words may be coming true) but still turning in a set which for a moment made me wish I was up to my pretty ass in mud.

This lunchtime, Radio One have been serving up chunks of The Darkness' set - who, to be honest I think work so much better without their carefully constructed visuals - and Colin and Edith have just handed over to the more promising double act of Nemone and John Peel.

Newsbeat is reporting that "crime is down" - 167 arrests against 196 by this time last year, which while undeniably 'down' isn't quite as impressive a figure as we'd hope for - and dumped in a quote from a festival goer which seems to stand for the New Glastonbury Crowd: "Hippies rule - I wouldn't speak to them normally, but now I'm friends with the hippies." The people the festival used to be for have become little more than a sideshow for the out-of-towners. News 24 yesterday evening had a nice little interview with a "veteran" festival goer: of course, every year this section of the audience say 'it's not as good as it used to be', but this time round there was an awful lot of footage of mobile phone company sponsorship stands to bear out the charges of over-commercialisation.

Tonight: the Suede.

IT'S GREAT WHEN YOU'RE KATE... YEAH...: Curse the stripping and stranding fetish at Channel 4 - a combination of nightly Graham Nortons, Big Brothers and Time Team: The Big Dig (and, it has to be admitted, an awful lot of swearage) conspired to push Reality Check back into the 11.15 slot, which means that the attempt to bring modern group management techniques to that most dysfunctional of corporate bodies, the scouse indie band.

Kate Marlow - the Group Dynamics expert who flushes when confronting - came face to face with Cassidy. Those of us who've trawled around the Liverpool music scene between the Bunnymen and the Coral will recognise the band; and, really, singling out Cassidy was a bit unfair - there are literally dozens of bands like this in the city; playing fairly standard but often touching guitar rock, usually comprising of three well-meaning, laid back blokes and one messiah complex singer. In the past, many of them have had their advice dripped into them by Noel Gallagher; which has had the effect to making the situation worse rather than better. Kate, of course, wasn't about to stand there and say "Fookin' massive, la. Yous'll be massive."

So, with a room in LIPA, Kate tried to get to grips with the band dynamic - which quickly shows itself: the band sits around waiting for Paul, the singer, to stop showing off for long enough for them to be able to get some work done. Kate makes suggestions, Paul cavils on the ninth part of a hair. A row develops. The rest of the band sit around looking half bored, half embarrassed, checking watches. Paul storms out. They get a days studio time at the mighty Parr Street (the place where Coldplay's records were made, largely while Coldplay were out of the room); Paul turns up whining that his voice hurts so he can't sing properly. Kate makes suggestions, Paul rejects them all (Gargle with salt water? But that would make me be sick. Gargle with TCP? But that would really make me sick, and so on). Band sit around looking half bored, etc. And so on.

The highlight comes when Kate tries to get Paul to show his commitment to the process, making him sign a contract that commits him to taking cold baths. Bounced into it by the others, Paul behaves as if he's being asked to bathe in hydrochloric acid (and, of course, insists on having an audience to watch him do it).

Later, trying to put together ideas for a big entrance for a showcase date in London, the others have a brainstorming session. Their ideas aren't exceptionally original, but they show a desire to mark Cassidy out from the indie cliche. Paul sees his role as rejecting everything in an "I know best, why do we need to make an entrance, we're a brilliant band and don't need to do anything other than play our instruments and they'll fall at our feet, la" way. Kate and Reality Check may have failed to sort out the band (only shooting Paul would do that), but they did inadvertently manage to make a programme that answered one of the big mysteries of British music in the 1990's - why, when Manchester and even Oxford managed to develop a steady stream of popular talent did the formerly fertile Liverpool fail to keep up? Looking at Paul, with his refusal to accept any advice that wasn't praise, his inability to compromise with his other band members, his childishness and petulance when asked to do something that wasn't his idea, you were looking at the default stance of every lead singer in nearly every scouse guitar band for a decade. Shamefully, they were more interested in getting a thumbs up from the Gallaghers than pleasing their audience; training and arts organistaions wasted thousands of hours and millions of pounds trying to offer help and advice to a bunch of people who already knew it all.

Friday, June 27, 2003

BLOODY HELL, HE'LL EXPLODE: Another great reader contribution, from Anna Gleeson:

Did No Rock catch the Channel Five news item yesterday, about the quite frankly, petrifying report that the RIAA will sue individuals for downloading music? The reporter was demonstrating how easy it was to download stuff off of KaZaa - cue close-ups of the download screen... as the camera panned down the list of downloads, we could clearly see exactly what was being downloaded: an entire screen of Metallica tracks.

We missed this, but we hope we'll be around when someone shows Metallica a video of it. Of course, they'd have to obtain a proper, copyright approved version from ITN, wouldn't they?

BLUE HAT FOR A BLUE DAY: Bad news week for Blue - first up, their minifest in Hyde Park looks in jeopardy as The Royal Parks say "nobody's paid us, we don't think they're happening." And then, the 70's band Blue have launched a legal action. They reckon that having a new band called Blue around has cost them - wait for it - Five Million Quid in damage to their career and reputation. Or, in other words, they want us to believe that there being a newer band with the same name has caused them to miss out on five times the entire projected value of Rachel S Club's solo career.

Even the judge is having none of it: The judge asked Mr Purle: "Are you seriously saying that fans of one group would mistake one for the other? There is somewhat a difference of appearance. One is aged like you and me, the other is a boy band."
When Mr Purle countered: "My clients were a boy band in the 1970s," the judge replied: "Oh no. Boy band is a style of music that is a bit more recent than the Charleston."

Yeah, the choosing of a rubbish name without checking if someone had been equally lazy at some point in the past was a slip-up. But five million quid? My gran's false teeth are laughing.

GOOD NEWS... EVENTUALLY: Butch Vig status report on the new Garbage album - ready by October, out early in 2004. He says this one's going to be more coherent than beautifulgarbage, which we think is a kind of shame - although we realise that's what the marketplace dictates, we kind of like Shirley's apparent easy-breeze between Chrissie Hynde one minute, Diana Ross the next. We'd suggest she might want to do a solo album of a variety-box nature. We'd buy it.

TALKING OF SLIGHTLY DIM MUSICIANS: Who knew that trying to take a massive fuck-off knife in your carry-on would upset the authorities? - Turbonegro didn't, apparently...

CHARMING MEN IN MUSIC: Mystikal pleads to guilty to forcing his hairstylist to give blow jobs to him and his minders, but still wants to dispute some of the aspects of the charge.

And what is it with the constant videotaping of these sex crimes? It's lucky Mystikal et al didn't go into cat burglary - they'd be forever removing their gloves to leave some fingerprints around, "must give the cops some evidence to work with..."

THE MAN IS A GENIUS: Thanks to Rachel Ravey for letting us know that, coming out of a newsbreak about Denis Thatcher's death, Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 yesterday played... Maggie's Farm. The man is a god. And so is RR.

DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL AINT SO LITTLE NO MORE: Having threatened to sue them, Britney now seems to be giving US tab the Star the wink that she has enjoyed the odd line or two - and not of the sort she mangled in Crossroads. Of course, she says errors... in the past... regrets... let's change the subject:
, "Let's just say that you reach a stage in your life where you are curious. And I was curious at one point. But I'm way too focused to let anything stop me. Was it a mistake? Yes." And although the Louisiana native admits to having indulged in narcotics, she insists reports of her wild partying and heavy drinking have been grossly exaggerated. She continues, "Everyone talks about my year of wild living - but seriously, I haven't gone out in four weeks. And after two drinks, I'm good to go. My favorite drinks are Malibu pineapple and Amaretto sours - I can't drink strong drinks. Of course there have been times when I've done a shot or two like on my birthday. Yes, I'll go out and have a good tome. Why shouldn't I? And just like anybody my age, maybe I've woken up the next morning and said, 'Whooo... that was a crazy night.' A few weeks ago I was at (New York nightclub) Lot 61 and me and my girlfriend Jeannie did stand up in the booth and dance. Hey, Julia Roberts took off her bra at Hogs And Heifers - so what we did wasn't real bad!"

Now, there's some classic misdirection Paul Daniels would be proud of... I've done cocaine Hey, did I tell you about my friend who stood on a chair in a pub...?

Thanks for the tip-off to Charlie (possibly a code name)

Thursday, June 26, 2003

JUST A MILLION?: bearing in mind how the headline figure is the best hope, totally overstated, doubled and then rounded up ("calculated for the press release"), Rachel Stevens' four album, GBP1m deal isn't all that, really, is it? It seems to us that they're keeping an option open in case the Americans do take to the former S Clubber, but aren't holding out much hope of it. They're going to do their best, though, by the looks of it: her first single is going to be "My L.A. Ex", which is a pun that's (i) American-oriented; (ii) going to shoot over the heads of most S Club fans and (iii) very very poor.

KRS NOT HAPPY. EVEN BY KRS ONE'S USUAL STANDARDS: Those record companies can hardly be blamed for sticking out an album that, erm, KRS One says that he hadn't even finished making - after all, they're so busy trying to make sure that the artists can make music by suing the asses off their fans, you can't expect them to pay attention to whether they're releasing a half-finished album, or if they've got the name right, or little details like that. They're doing everything they can to just make sure nobody downloads it.

Seriously: The attention to detail of most record labels is so shambolic, you'd probably be just as well off downloading a collection of spoofed tracks from Gnutella.

TEN: This week's Top 10 UK Singles acts matched with the corresponding entries in the Most Shoplifted Items in the UK chart (source: some university study or other). We suspect that, as the universe is well organised, the items will be those things that the act could most do with. Perhaps.

10. Prime Cuts of Meat: Christina Aguilera
9. Instant Coffee: XTM and DJ Anna
8. Electric Toothbrushes: Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey
7. Pills - vitamins and contraceptives: Ashanti
6. DVDs, CDs, and computer games: Jennifer Elison
5. Batteries: Wayne Wonder
4. Clothing, especially bras and knickers: Delta Goodrem
3. Soap, deodorant and other toiletries: R Kelly
2. Alcohol: Fast Food Rockers
1. Razor Blades: Evanescence

'QUIET GLASTONBURY SO FAR': You'd hope so, since hardly anyone turns up until the Thursday evening.
It occurs to us that if they're really going to use the SAS to test Royal Security - which seems a bit like overkill, since a not-very-good stand-up commedian was all it took to breach it at Windsor this weekend - maybe Melvin Benn could ask them to try out the Mean Fiddler's security for Glasto and Leeds as well - "yeah, who dares may very well win, but i'd like to see you blow this bog up the way you did the Iranian Embassy."

YOU HOPE BILLIE WAS WORTH IT: This just in: Chris Evans loses claim against Virgin. Evans had been trying to get GBP8.5 million he reckoned he was entitled to when the Menopause Station of Choice kicked him off the air. The High Court, however, has decided that it's Virgin who deserve compensation - they'd been seeking twenty million, the actual figure they'll get has yet to be fixed.
Can we just point out that we hated Chris Evans when he did Too Much Gravy, his little-lamented Radio One Sunday afternoon show, and haven't ever come across anything he's done to make us revise our judgement, so we do receive this news with a little degree of clementfreude (which is like schadenfreude, but slightly more hang-dog). All those years we had to sit through people telling us how great he was. All. Those. Years. Sure, he had some great scripts, ctsy. Danny Baker, but his delivery was always a little too smug, a little too 'this is ME.' We can't help but giggle that his one current contribution to British Broadcasting is as producer for a Terry Wogan chatshow. His ripples in broadcasting are perfect circles - once again, he has to fetch the coffee for the old guard of breakfast radio.

ALL IT TAKES TO SCARE A POPSTAR: An accordian, and one of their own songs - especially if they're in Sloan, reports boingboing.

LEEDS NOT QUITE AS SECURE AS WE MAY HAVE THOUGHT: The Police are mulling a challenge to the new site for the Leeds Festival; local residents are also unhappy. Still, Melvin Benn reckons he has got unburnable toilets...

NOT ENTIRELY SINCERE, WE SUSPECT: Bif Naked apologises to parents over swearing on new record.

'IF THIS DOESN'T WORK, WE'LL START TO SELL CIGARETTES TO KITTENS: The Record Industry's apparent mission to make itself seem the biggest bunch of lemon-tart eating sods on the planet continues apace, with their confirmation that they'll start suing individuals to stop them 'stealing' music. They say they're going to go after the heavy users; of course, they'll select heavy users who are unlikely to be able to afford good legal representation, because where would the fun be if they could fight back? When you hang a freshly-hanged corpse on the town wall, you want to make sure the bastard's dead, and not about to start spouting off about rights, about how can they prove they're losing money when people download - how can they demonstrate that person X would have bought track Y, about who is actually committing the crime - the person who puts the file up, or the person who pulls it down? - any of those legal issues could be awkward for the RIAA. And they wouldn't want to be forced to squirm in open court on the whole question of whether they actually own download rights for a lot of these songs, or how they can claim loss of earnings on tracks which are out of print, or... But you get the picture.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

THE VANITY FAIR ARTICLE THEY WOULDN'T LET YOU READ: Yes, we're expecting a riposte from jackson soon over the new Vanity Fair which claims he's not got a nose at all (the plastic surgery fuck-ups making Daniella Westbrook look like Jimmy Durante), calls afro-americans 'spabooks' in private (no, we don't either; nor does google) and the only hole bigger than the gristly maw where his nose once was is the financial one he's in - a healthy USD240m. That, of course, seems plausible not only because of the small pile of unpaid bills snowflaking in his wake, but it also explains why he sold his riposte to Martin Bashir's documentary - someone really worth millions and millions, wanting to clear their name, would not grub around to sell to the highest bidder - it's like a damsel in distress asking the knight to swipe a credit card before doing in the dragon.
And we don't know about the 'Fair's claims he hates being black, but we argued along time ago that when he sang "it makes no difference if you're black or white" it wasn't so much a plea for racial tolerance, as his way of saying '... and so, I'll be white, thank you."

TOP TEN SINGLES THIS WEEK: Puzzled by just who these Gartehs and Wills are? We've helped you, by bringing you the singles charts with the top Googlism for each artist. Except Jennifer Lopez, who we chose one a bit further down for:
1. If You're Not The One - daniel bedingfield is repeating like a mantra
2. The Last Goodbye - atomic kitten is out now
3. Dirrty - christina aguilera is the bomb
4. We've Got Tonight - ronan keating is boos op boyzone
5. Rushes - darius is better than us
6. Dilema - nelly is the rapper with a golden featuring kelly rowland is currently number one on the billboard hot 100 singles chart
7. The Ketchup Song - las ketchup is the surprise hit of 2002 "the ketchup song
8. Jenny from the block - jennifer lopez is virus
9. Don't let me down - will young is so sexy
10. United States of Whatever - liam lynch is a steller feller

ATTACK OF THE CLONES: The ever-reliable spizzazzz are starting to ennumerate Justin Clones, which will be the major label's must-have this autumn, you can bet.
They also have this photo of Avril Lavigne, not flashing her belly:

WELL, AT LEAST HE ISN'T A NAZI ANY MORE: David Bowie is, apparently, a copyright terrorist. We're not sure what it means, either - that suicide bombers aren't allowed to sample him? That he sets off small explosions at Trademark and Patent libraries? Erm, apparently it means that he sold off his catalogue to bond holders (or, rather, a single holder) and now it's not worth as much as it used to be. And somehow this is like Exxon selling oil futures, because... (checks again)... there's all this stuff that's worth X, and so they sell it on for a small portion of X, thereby reducing the very size of the economy. Now, while we can see the problem when it's oil, in what way does this make Bowie a Copyright Terrorist? It smacks merely of an eye grabbing headline slapped on a slightly confused article, to us. The phrase 'copyright weapons of mass destruction' is actually, well, a rhetorical dirty bomb.

ANOTHER ROBBIE WILLIAMS BOOK: Except this time, he's going to write it himself, so he can be sure its accurate. Well, we say himself. We mean: he's going to choose the guy who writes it, anyway.

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Mind that cowpat edition
We don't know which sounds most unlikely: that the former manager of Black Grape is now Anne Widdecombe's PA, or that Bez and Shaun Ryder don't only live next door to each other, but do so in Hadfield, the village that was Royston Vasey. These facts - culled from Guardian (Friday) Review's otherwise unilluminating interview with Shaun - have caused us much mulling.

The woefully bad Green Room gossip column in Mail-sibling Metro freesheet claims that Michael Jackson sent a picture of himself to the Matrix makers "dressed as the Matrix." How would one dress up as a computer system, we wonder?

Elsewhere in Metro, the flexibility of regional editions meant we got to read the Lloyd Cole interview twice as we apparently aped his tour route last week. Lloyd is refreshingly self-aware: "Bad Vibes [a post-Commotions album] had some disastrously self-righteous songs on it. I sounded like Lou Reed on a bad day."

Careless Talk Costs Lives is like citrus fruit in every dystopian novel you've ever read; sometimes it's in abundant supply; your local newsagent has copies next to Woman and Whats On TV; other issues are like a Samizdat surprise, one copy, only obtainable in shops a walk, a bus ride, a road trip away. This months, it's like we've lost Florida, and the title is being restricted only to upper levels of government command. We did, however, barter one for a packet of fags and some sex. And it was worth the deep scratches on the back, too.

Sophie Harris goes to damn the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "I hate the YYYs and I'm here to prove myself right. Fuck. Fatc is, there's nothing sexier than someone enjoying it. It. Performance, sex, sound, sight, smell."

Dave from Kaito worries about the future: "Fair play to the Datsuns, they're honest about what they do. The nasty thing has got to be the next big thing. The band put together to copy the Datsuns..."

Dance is where it's at for Rachael Nagy of the Detroit Cobras - "Dancing is pure and it feels good. Our bodies are supposed to be mobilised. We sit at work. We drive. Fridays and Saturdays are for dancing. It's part of the mating ritual [...] Most girls will respect a man who dances because either he's gay, or hes confident in himself and wants a good time. And confidence is sex."

While the nme continues to seek new stuff in all the old places, CTCL throws the net further and finds the stirrings of a punk scene in Katmandu - Rai Ko Ris, a band from there, stress that they're not the only act, but part of a vanguard, Katmandu being home to "lots of covers bands, and maybe no more than five punky bands. So far, about three or four hardcore bands. But growing fast.

In a splendid piece that is the closest thing I've ever seen to a pop paper having a register of interests (did you know Bang is edited by one of the Polyphonic Spree, by the way? They've, unsurprisingly, already had the cover), Horton from They Came From The Stars (I Saw Them) says to Fiona Fletcher "I'll sleep with you if you write about my band." He does, she does, but not like that.

But even the offer of shagging for coverage might be better than the PR route: as Puffboy from Braer Rabbit points out "I've seen professional press releases and its like the bands are applying for a fucking admin job."

Partly as a response to the ridiculous amounts their old stuff was making on Ebay, Rev-Ola have been reactivated. Among their new roster: Ivor Cutler.

Ladytron file a tour diary from the States, where Danny is buying leisure jump suits and the band are being terrorised by Mr. Peanut.

"I've always stayed away from Liza Minelli. But I'd love to go to one of their parties" - Grant McClellan from the Go-Betweens ponders if keeping the other side of the buffet table is protection enough.

When did you last get review writing like this? Neil Kulkarni goes alone to see the Throwing Muses. Why? "Didn't want to share a damn thing. Like a wank or a bath, it was best taken alone cos they're mine, these songs are about me."

Or like this: Sophie Harris goes to damn the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "I hate the YYYs and I'm here to prove myself right. Fuck. Fatc is, there's nothing sexier than someone enjoying it. It. Performance, sex, sound, sight, smell."

"A genuine musician played a John Fahey song on harmonica at his memorial service and it helped me understand what music can achieve if it wants to" explains M Ward about his new new seriousness.

This is issue 4 of the countdown to oblivion, and we're a little scared in case CTCL does keep to its promise to explode with fury when it reaches one. On the other hand, you're invited to take out a six-issue subscription...

By contrast, this month's Word isn't quite as great as the first ones, but we put that down to the choice of featured subjects - Moby, Bjork, Annie Lennox, Tony Parsons - none of whom are actually as interesting as they seem to believe they are. But even a half-hearted Word has lots to recommend it - before we're half way through Mark Ellen's intro, we've discovered that Neil Young refused to let the bar at his Apollo gig open for more than fifteen minutes. A couple of pages on, and we discover - at last - we're united with the BPI on something; their chair Peter Jamieson hates Clear Channel too.

Will Self-Satisified suggests that "I don't think there's anyone else who unites a career in heavy fiction and light entertainment", suggesting he's never heard of Clive James, Harold jacobson, Jonathan Miller - or Alan Bennett, who, of course, unites both in the same works. And this also suggests that Shooting Stars is just the Generation Game, which isn't true at all, either.

Surprising: Penny Smith from GM-TV likes Bonnie Prince Billy, Graham Coxon is listening to The Cars (maybe Damon was right all along) and Mike Scott tends to not buy much music because "I have so much in my head." Well, one way to avoid the RIAA issuing a writ, I guess.

In the Parsons peice, there's a picture of him and the young Julie Burchill. It occured to me it's been so long since I saw a picture from this era I'd started to fall for her claims that she was a hottie in her youth. Actually, of course, she looked like nothing so much as a minor royal - one far enough down the pecking order to be drawing on at least a couple of gene pools, true, but a minor royal nonetheless. We'd so much rather Zara.

Royksopp is the Norwegian name of a fungus and also their equivalent of 'mushroom cloud'

David Quantick points out Grandaddy are serious men; their beards are "those of gaoteed artists rather than surfing wasters."

Had Friends been British, suggests David Hepworth, "by the end of season two, one of the characters would have got spectacuarly drunk and messily disgraced themselves in public, embraced a strange religion or changed sex." Not sure we can think of too many brit coms with sex changes in - there was Slap where the bloke pretended to be a woman, but beyond that...

The Bjork peice is too long and too flat; she's so busy trying to stress there's nothing extraordinary about her, she more or less proves her point.

the nme comes with condoms, which is a bit like Amputee Monthly offering free mittens as a covermount. There's also a nasty looking chocolate and guarana bar and a free festival guide (that's a guide to festivals which comes free, not ones you don't have to pay to get into).The guide warns you to avoid shagging on a glasto leyline as "one of you will get pregnant" - beware, then, boys...

nme proper has the polyphonic spree on the cover (the equivalent, we guess, of BBC2 filling summer schedules up with Fawlty Towers); pictures which prove The Strokes are making a new album and The Coral cheerily taking a forty grand loss on their New Brighton mini-fest on the chin - in the same week someone paid USD350 000 to sing with Coldplay in New York.

Starsailor are back. Did you notice they'd gone?

Sanctuary have snapped up Spiritualized, The Polyphonics have signed up with Disney's Hollywood Records and the Cooper Temple Clause have got, um, Gruey from kids TV in their new video.

AC/DC want to bring a musical version of the story of Helen of Troy to the stage while apparently Ozzy wants to do one about Rasputin. Having seen Mr Osbourne on ITV last week, we seriously doubt if he could manage to get through the lyrics of Ra-Ra-Rasputin (lover of the Russian Queen) without help.

Emily Eavis chooses ten tracks for her ideal CD - Stone Roses, Sigur Ros and Hank Williams. We have a really soft spot for Emily Eavis, you know.

Why are the Blueskins called the Blueskins? Because we use Blue Skins, they reply.

Much of the rest of the issue is just standard Glasto-wank, actually - Have Radio 4 ever dropped their drugs in a toilet? Would Interpol trust the burgers? - which is notable because they can't even be arsed to do full interviews with the bands, and so wedge three or four together into each featurette.

kings of leon - youth and young manhood - "they are to 2003 what oasis were to 1994 and the strokes were to 2001", 9
marlowe - a day in july - "heart-tugging", 7
the thrills - so much for the city - "at times ... sounds like Bluetones after too long in the tanning salon",7
califone - quicksand/cradlesnakes - "free jazz meets country. results as expected", 3

sotw - 50 cent - 21 questions - "tarty, like it's your birthday"
ladytron - evil - "first, they enslave the human race. Then they learn how to shag"
s club 8 - fool no more - "mere nonce fodder"

eminem - hamburg AOL Arena - "little more than the angry Justin Timberlake"
metallica - paris - three shows in one day - "if we hear another second, we will kill with our bare hands"

and, finally: the advert for the DVD release of Live Forever, the Britpop fly on the wall, announces itself thus: "all those discussions you've ever had - 'wouldn't it be great if...' - well, thats what happened in the 90's. 'If' happened." Sadly, not 'If' as in schoolboys with guns, or even Socks proving that it was all about the fish. Indeed, I'm not sure how much anyone had ever sat up late saying "Wouldn't it be great if, just as a bunch of ambisexualist pretty boys started to get people to take notice and realise how transcendent guitar pop can be, a bunch of monobrowed clodhoppers pushed their way to the front and redefined Dreampop into a grey, Laddish Thud?" The DVD promises twenty minutes of a video diary by an Oasis covers band, and thinks this is an extra, special feature. Right.

WHO SHALL I SUE?: Boston sue record company because nobody buys new album. Couldn't just be because it was a so-so album from a washed-up band, could it? Still, look on the bright side - if the Metallica album had flopped, they'd probably have sued the fans for not buying it.

FROM THE MAILBAG: Gareth Jones writes with some points:

i always use the toilets in borders on oxford street down here. i'm not sure if they're part of starbucks or borders though. there's signs saying you can't take books you haven't paid for in with you, which makes me laugh. they're so much nicer than going into mcdonalds. and it's open really late as well...

billy bragg. i have recently had 2 connections to the man. the tealady at my last job was friends with his mum. apparently his mum keeps 'special coffee' for when he visits. and my girlfriend is an au-pair for his former press officer. and i went round to see her a few weeks back and he was there. he's very big, and friendly.

We wonder what 'special coffee' means - Fair Trade? Does he refuse her Nescafe and so has to have the David Niven-endorsed Maxwell House? Or is he merely a Mellow Birds man?

LUSHfest 03: Another act brave enough to stand up and say "Hey, we're great, but we're also damn cute." It's interesting that the entrants so far are so much sexier than the ones you get offered up by Pop Idol, innit? Anyway, meet Afterchain:

You can read, see and hear afterchain at We're always frowned at when we call acts "a bit gothy", as if it's some kind of insult, so we'll say: brooding, industrial, slightly sinister. Good stuff. Erm... hang about, this is meant to be all about looks, isn't it? Gorgeous as well, then.

We're taking entries all through July for bands who want to throw their hats into the ring on this one - if you're sat there thinking "yeah... cute, but I'm cuter." And boys: that means you, too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

DON'T NOBODY TELL HER EGGS ARE BABY CHICKENS: Diana Ross attempts to have drunk driving charges thrown out because, erm, the police ordered her about. And she finds this surprising?

MORE GLASTONBURY HANDIES: If you're hoping to follow glastonbury by Digibox and Playlouder's site this year, you might find this timetable of who's on when really helpfull. [Thanks for link to: Tom Stroud]

Eve has really expensive necklace pinched [Correction: We meant Lil'Kim. It was late, dammit]
Eminem gives girl he's never met before really expensive necklace, telling her to keep it, just don't mention it to the rozzers, like

LIFES A RIOT WITH LUVVIE VERSUS LUVVIE: We're excited as squezy bottles made into spaceships to hear that a Billy Bragg best of is due on the sixth of October, and, him being democratic and all that, he's giving you a chance to help out with the tracklisting. The bb website has all the details. Please, though: Don't suggest he takes up valuable space with that Woody Guthrie stuff.

Talking of Billy, we were a little bemused at the quote of his on the back of that John Harris Britpop, Blair and The demise of English Rock book. We were hobbling round Borders wondering if we tried to go to the Starbucks toilet we'd get an electric shock off the stair rail handle, so we weren't able to write it down, but it was along the lines of "Huh. Of course it went sour, all them bands sniffing round politicians. Why didn't they think it would go wrong?" - (if anyone has the exact quote and would like to ease my tight shoes on this one, you'll be doing me a favour). From a man so firmly involved with Red Wedge, who - had Kinnock taken Downing Street - would certainly have been having canapes and fruit teas with Neil and Glenys, this does seem a little rich, and not a little bitter.

SHAKIRA. JUST HEAR HER: Alan Connor has this to say on Shakira, the spokeshead for Reebok:

Shakira seems to have retained her talent for gibberish, but the poetic license which made it charming must have expired:
"My music crosses cultural boundaries to reach today's youth around the world," says Shakira. "Reebok understands what young people around the world are all about. By joining their team, I am able to fuse my style and music with Reebok's products and marketing to further connect with this global audience."

We're still scratching our heads to work out exactly how one fuses ones music with some plimsoles.

Alan also asks why, exactly, she's not wearing the things in this delightful animated gif:

We suspect the reason would be that, since the picture suggests she's not holding up a shoe, that it's easier to stick a picture of a shoe on top of a body than to try and draw them on underneath those clothes.

NOT A FULL STOP; MORE A COLON: We've been sat for a couple of weeks on the following, which is the wording of the announcement Johnnie Walker made on Radio 2 when he told listeners that if he wasn't around from time to time, it's because he's having cancer treatment and not becuase they're about to parachute Simon Bates into his slot:

""Before I go there is something I want to mention. It is something that normally a person in my position would want to keep close to their chest but, because of the occasional time off I might be taking, I wanted to go public with it.
Five weeks ago I was diagnosed with cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, which is apparently a very treatable type of cancer. "I am kicking off the treatment tomorrow and will be taking a week off and will see how it goes.
To all those who are facing that challenge - and those who love people and are part of a family facing that challenge - it's a toughy isn't it? I know how you feel."

And, fond as we are of Stuart Maconie, who'll be keeping the Shania Twain spinning while Walker's away, we want to send JW our best wishes. Remember: This man gave Chris Morris his first job, and we all owe him a debt.

NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE FIXX, OF COURSE: Rob Dean has been back in touch - we picture him unable to sleep, pacing the room all night, desperate to know more about this Popstars-The Rivals rejects band. And, in the small hours, he gets a call from a snitch. A trip to a deserted parking garage, some careful placing of pot plants, and he gets the facts for us. (Maybe he spent some time online, but I prefer my version, okay?).

It turns out that - being street - they're not Fix at all, they're Phixx. Although rather than sounding street, it sounds more like a bar being test marketed by Mars - "it's your basic biscuit and caramel combination, but with mint flecks in it". You can find out all about them here, although it can be summed up in the phrase 'they chant 'Liberty X were losers, too' before they go to bed every night'. This, though, is quite touching: "Nikk said the whole experience was exciting. He added: "We were worried people would forget about us. But I have found out we have a fans website." Bless him, apparently unaware that even Groundpig have got a fans website.

Hang on a moment... Nikk from Phixx? Let's hope they don't take personal bookings for him over the phone, else there's going to be a lot of angry Nikki Sixx fans at Kwik Save openings in Bassetlaw this year.

BOTNEY: Alan Yentob was an amiable guest on Phil Jupitus' breakfast show this morning on 6 Music, talking about his arts series on BBC1 (Imagine - and let's hope that's silenced the critics that say you have to know the right people to get a series commissioned on BBC Television; if Alan Yentob can do it, why, anyone can). He's doing a show on rap in the current run, apparently, attending The Hip Hop Confrence - not a scary prospect for a man who held up the Manchester end of Greg Dyke's Big Conversation - and hanging out with Eminem. Amusingly, Eminem apparently was keen to be interviewed by the man who's the boss of the man who's the boss of the man who's the boss of Tim Westwood. Never mind that Westwood is more posh than Yentob himself...

HOT IN HERE While we're letting ourselves be used like cheap whores, lipstick smudged, red bra showing through cheap white too-tight blouse, we're also going to give this to you, my dearies: it's a link to a hot hot heat player which has, as you might expect, HHH music lurking inside it. We're not totally convinced by h-cubed ourselves, but Mrs. No Rock is always quite entranced when they turn up on the radio, and time has a knack of proving her right.

ADDICTED: We're not sure the extent to which a new Janes Addiction album is an event; surely not as much as it used to be, but nevertheless, we're happy to provide a link to an audio stream of lead single Just Because, to allow you to decide for yourself.

The new album is out on July 22nd in the States, and is called Strays. Because, presumably, strays don't make great pets.

The really scary detail is this is their first studio album for thirteen years - so you, mister indie disco, how long ago does that mean you were dancing to Been Caught Stealing, then?

SHAKIRA (NOT SHAKIRA): Shakira throws fit at how her body looks in a shoot for a Reebok ad. Rather than spend a fortune and an age retouching and thinning, the agency just sticks her head on someone else. And so, a new measure of a declining star is born: One not worth a photoshop airbrushing.
It's also interesting that this was for an advert for sportswear. So: We're meant to buy keep fit gear on the say so of someone who isn't even fit enough to be able to appear on the posters, are we?

POPOBIT: Vic Taylor, of Tommy McCook and the Skatalites and Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, died on Monday. Obituary here.

Monday, June 23, 2003

THE LONGEST WALK ENDS WITH BUT NOT A SINGLE ONE OF STEPS: Rob Dean reports from last night's Crusaid event. "I thought you might be interested" he starts... oh, indeed we are:

Thought you might be interested to hear that a number of D-list celebs were flaunting their talents last night at the after-walk party following Crusaid's 'Walk for Life' in London ( After a 10km fundraising stroll we were well geared up to see who would be desperately drumming up publicity, er, showing their support for Crusaid that is.

Sadly we missed most of Jemini's set so I can't comment on whether the, ahem, technical problems of Eurovision had been sorted out. Then Hayley Evetts came on and sang some Anastacia covers, fairly unmemorably. Haydon of Ultimate Kaos/Reborn in the USA appeared in full somersaulting/vest-removing/crowd-eye-fucking mode which set many of the queens and teenage girls in the audience off to fairly obscene levels of drooling.

We were in paroxysms of excitement, though, about the billed headlining appearance of One True Voice (I was hoping to heckle that sour-faced Jamie). When the compere (a drag act whose name I didn't catch but who was very professional and good at working the crowd in a Butlins stylee) announced that 'something had come up' and they wouldn't be showing their faces after all, there was something of an indifferent murmur from the crowd.

But who should come on in their place but the other five Popstars Rivals boys, who've apparently become a band together and are calling themselves 'Fix'! I can't remember all of their names but there was that nice Peter who had to bail out of the show because he was too old, and Chris the Geordie and the one who looks like Robbie from Eastenders and another two. I can't see anything about them on the web so I think this must be a new development - hoping to be the next Liberty X no doubt. They were chronically under-rehearsed, that's for sure, and they did a cover of Prince's 'Gett Off' which I rather enjoyed but my other half thought was ill-advised.

Best of all, they opened their set with a song called 'Contagious' ('Contagious... deep inside me') which was perhaps not the most carefully considered choicefor an HIV and AIDS charity gig.

Anyway, not to be cruel, it was a really well-organised and enjoyable do. And Chris the Geordie and Hayley Evetts went on the dodgems together afterwards, so you could bump them if you wanted to.

DESTRUCTION OF GROUPS IN THEIR PRIME/ WHOSE MANAGEMENT WAS 19: Today's Daily Express (the paper whose web presence is a scan of their front page) is claiming that Simon Fuller is looking to offload 75% of 19 Management, the laboratory-style-home-of-the-indetkit-hits. Do we detect a Martha style flogging off before a severe drop in value?

THAT BT-YAHOO LINK-UP: So, this is partly designed because BT has decided that it doesn't want to do content - again. (Seriously, it's been like a bloody hokey cokey with it rushing in and pulling out of content provision). And so Yahoo is going to provide the meat and gravy and BT will merely carry the plates and do the washing up. In today's New Media Guardian piece on the deal, they mention that one of the things Yahoo is bringing with it is the Launch service.
Which raises a question about the future of Dotmusic, surely? Because if Yahoo are the content half of the new donkey, and they already have a fairly well-liked music and download service, what exactly is the point of the BT-owned equivalent? Maybe they'll fold the two services together, or perhaps they'll sell Dotmusic on (again). Or perhaps it'll just be junked. Yes, we know that's not actually a prediction so much as a run-through of possible scenarios. We're not\bloody psychic.

AND THE LORD DID SMITE THE FILESHARERS: From The Book of Hatch: In that time the record makers did worry that the sharers of files would destroy their profits. And the record makers did come to the house of Orrin Hatch, and they did say:
'Orrin, you are a reasonable man. If the sharers of the files do not stop their work, we shall be destitute.'
And Orrin did hear their troubles, abd being a reasonable man, did consider their woes.
He called upon the lawmakers to use their power and smite, saying:
"When a man loads down the chants of Christina of Aguilera and makes no recompense to the keeper of her copyrights, then the Lord should be given free hand to destroy the computer used to enable that cruel abuse. As it is taught - if thine right eye offends thee, then pluck it out - so, if their hard drive is misbegotten, then put the computer beyond use. For that is how the lesson of the copyright has been taught, and must be taught, and shall be taught."

Okay, we're just adding the biblical gloss - and, to be fair to Hatch, he does say "yeah, if we can do something else, great; otherwise - smash their infernal machines." Even so, the man is clearly dangerous.

PLEASE DON'T GO: Mishap-strewn Eminem gig sees organisers reduced to begging punters to stay before young Slim even takes the stage.

COLIN OR ZANE? THE CHOICE IS YOURS: Having spent last week listening to rather more of Colin Murray's lame-duck period in charge of Not The Evening Session than we would have done if the choice wasn't that or nothing, we were quite looking forward to Zane Lowe taking charge. Having then heard the trail for the show, we started to wonder if we weren't making a big mistake. It seems we're not alone on this. [Link via Popbitch]

NORMALLY, WE SHUN ONLINE PETITIONS, BUT: You have to admit that the calls for the Queen to dump Motion [DYSWWDT?] after his turgid William Rap has the mark of something that should be given our full support.

FARMYARD INACTION: If anyone should be aware of the implications of dorr bolting following animal escapes, it should be farmers. But Glastonbury are sliding the lock into place after the hooves have gone by announcing a rethink of how tickets are sold. For next year. We think this is as close as we're going to get to an admission that this year has been a bit of a mess.

As is typical, its around this point in the run-up to Glastonbury that we start to wish we had tickets, dammit. We shall be chanting "it's spending time in mud with trustifarians" to placate ourselves for the next seven days.

GLASTONBURY AIR: We've got a long file over on our sister site Zapsmart with the details of when you can see and hear Glastonbury on the TV, Radio and out your computer next weekend. You'll find it here, but if you're not a member of Zapsmart, you'll have to sign up here first. It's totally free, it is.

OFFER FROM RINGO STARR ALL STAR BAND ALSO POLITELY DECLINED: "Ere, Michael, you don't want them Radioheads bringing everyone down; I'll headline your festival for you." Eavis does not give Fab Macca thumbs aloft but hopes babysitting and nappies will keep him at home next year ("hopes he'll consider playing next year.")

IT'S BEEN A WHILE...: But don't think we've forgotten our pledge to ensure that Avril Lavigne gets full praise for her 'true to me' stance to not rely on flashing her boobs, belly or bum to get attention. Here's a picture of her sticking to that at Canada's Much Music awards last week:

MAYBE THEY SHOULD HAVE TAKEN A LESSON FROM ELTON: Lollapalooza was forced to pull the first date of the new tour because, said the organisers, Janes Addiction couldn't fit their stuff into the venue. Odd that, said one of the local contacts, scratching their heads. We managed to fit Metallica in. Perhaps JA could have used some of the space created by the pisspoor ticket sales...

THAT'LL PAY FOR A HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA. OR TWO: The falling out between the Dead Kennedys and Jello has just completed a further level of legal action, with the Californian appeals court upholding the earlier judgement ordering Jello to pay about a fifth of a million dollars to his former band members.
Two hundred thousand dollars. Lot of money in championing the poor and downtrodden, then, isn't there?
Amusingly, this won't be the end of the matter, as the appeals judges have sent the whole case back to the trial circuit, where the question of if the partnership should be dissolved will have to be reconsidered.
[Finders fee: rocktober, now back at its desk]

LIBERTINES DEBACLE: THE LAWNMOWERS SPEAK: The Rest Of The Libertines have issued a statement to defending their decision to milk cash out the audience before too many of them twig they've lost the main attraction ("stating their intention to carry on so as not to disappoint the fans"):

"The Libertines are not splitting up and their future is secure.

"The Libertines will be going ahead with their UK tour even though Peter Doherty will not appear at the shows.

"Peter is unwell and the band are very concerned for his well being, they have told him out of concern for his health that he needs to get better before he can rejoin them. They also want it to be known they fully support him through this difficult time.

"The band are going ahead with the tour and will be joined on guitar by 21 year old east Londoner Nick. It was an extremely difficult decision for Carl, Gary and John to continue with the tour, but they decided they would proceed so as not to disappoint their fans, who they trust will understand the adverse situation they are in."

So... that's it... You're ill Pete. We think you need a rest. We'll help you by telling you to get lost until you sort yourself. Clear?

HA! THAT'S ONE IN THE EYE FOR PEOPLE WHO RECKON YOU COULDN'T GIVE AWAY ELTON JOHN TICKETS: Because you can, it turns out. Having badly misjudged the price people were willing to pay in Romania to hear the Bishop of Reading lookalike, the organisers of Elt's Bucharest gig resorted to giving tickets out to people milling about outside the stadium so he wouldn't have to play to an empty venue.

LUSHfest 03: It's not too late, you know - we're going to be taking nominations for Best Looking Unknown Act (by which, we mean: an act who've never had a Top 40 hit in their home country, the UK or the US) throughout July. Its more fun than Wimbledon. Now we've got more than one entrant, there will be voting, too. To nominate a band or singer you're involved with, just drop an email to the special email address with either a smallish jpeg or a link to a website. We'll take it from there.

LUSHfest 03: And thankfully it's not all ladies prepared to put themselves above the parapet. When Mojo entered, they bashfully suggested that only their singer, Kieron, had looks, but we think they're being too harsh on themselves:

Kieron has won a competition in 'a woman's magazine' naming him as the most eligible bachelor in the UK, so he's probably used to this sort of thing. Again, let's not treat these boys as mere pieces of meat - visit their website and give their music a listen, too.

LUSHfest 03: Well, we thought Sixx might have had a clear run in to win the inaugral shallowest music contest ever (remember, unlike American/Pop Idol, we admit: it's all on looks alone) but now we've had some further entries, so it's going to be a contest after all...

This is Niki Kwik. You can find her homepage here. We think she's in with more than a chance. Nice use of lips...

Sunday, June 22, 2003

THEY SAY ITS YOUR BIRTHDAY. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YAAA: We've never been big fans of Andrew Motion, the poet laureate, and find much of the work that he trots out to justify his position and barrel of sack or whatever it is he gets is just barely above the level of the Reader's Poems letters in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. But he's surpassed himself with his poems for the 21st Birthday of William Windsor, next-but-one in line to be unelected head of the United Kingdom.

Motion - in the manner of an elderly aunt at sea in the Woolworths Record Department - has decided to make his poem funky and relevant to young people by giving it an A-side and a B-side, in the way records had, erm, before William was old enough to realise. Oh, but it gets worse - the A-side is in 'rap' form. Apparently. Now, we're no Chuck D, but... oh, judge for yourself:

Better stand back
Here's an age attack,
But the second in line
Is dealing with it fine.
It's a threshold, a gateway,
A landmark birthday;
It's a turning of the page,
A coming of age.
It's a day to celebrate,
A destiny, a fate;
It's a taking to the wing,
A future thing.
Better stand back
Here's an age attack,
But the second in line
Is dealing with it fine.
It's a sign of what's to come,
A start, and then some;
It's a difference growing,
A younger sort of knowing.

Uh... yeah. That's rap, that is. If your experience of rap runs to Morris Minor and the Majors and Ant Rap, of course. The other poem is equally bad, but at least isn't pretending to be in a toaster stylee.

Motion contends that vinyl singles and LPs had A-sides and B-sides (erm, except for LPs, of course, which had Side 1 and Side 2) and that they were usually very different, either in form or tone. Which could sometimes be true of singles, but very rarely was the case with albums. But he uses this as a metaphor for how William is a new type of royal, both young and doing unexpected things - playing polo, going to a really expensive school, getting into a really good university, making mutterings about doing duty... hang on; is this the right list? - and traditional. Motion could, of course, have also used the god Janus as a metaphor for this. Although with Andrew M's almost neddy-like devotion to rhyming, we can see why he might have chosen to avoid that.

THE VOTES ARE IN: Just for the heck of it, here are the top 25 sexiest women in music - according to the readers of UK FHM, anyway (so there's a certain type of woman to the fore here):

o 1. Holly Vallance [overall position 2]
o 2. britney spears [3]
o 3. rachel stevens (s club) [4]
o 4. jennifer lopez [6]
o 5. kylie minogue [9]
o 6. christina aguilera [11]
o 7. beyonce knowles [15]
o 8. sarah whatmore [18]
o 9. sarah harding (girls aloud) [20]
o 10. charlotte church [21]
o 11. cheryl tweedy (girls aloud) [24]
o 12. hannah spearritt (s club) [26]
o 13. dannii minogue [27]
o 14. myleene klass [33]
o 15. louise what used to be in eternal [40]
o 16. shakira [49]
o 17. kelly rowland [54]
o 18. jennifer ellison [60]
o 19. jenny frost (atomic kitten) [66]
o 20. pink [67]
o 21. jessica (liberty x) [71]
o 22. alicia keys [72]
o 23. donna air [73]
o 24. shania twain [78]
o 25. avril lavigne [90]

The Olsen Twins have made records and were in the top 100, but we've excised them on the grounds that, in reverse order, they're mainly actresses and they've only just turned sixteen, you sick fucks.

THINGS WE DIDN'T KNOW WE DIDN'T KNOW: We'd always known that Dawn Chorus - who did a throwaway and not unpleasant version of Teenage Kicks - was in a large part Liz Kershaw; back in the days before she was a Radio Star; even before her brother was a radio star, come to that. What we didn't know until this week was that one of Andy Kershaw's girlfriends was also in the line-up. Scarily, that girlfriend went on to be Carol Vorderman. Add those thoughts up. And be scared.

UNCOLLECTED: Andrew Dixon comes home one day. Workmen are renovating the flat next door. Unfortunately, they've screwed up and cleared out his near-priceless record collection as well. Some GBP12 000 worth of rare and irreplaceable vinyl.

We can only symapthise with Andrew, which, we realise, won't do much good. He's not the first, of course. No Rock still remembers the time Liverpool's Planet X burned down (no mean feat, considering the way the toilets usually overspilled and ensured the place was always damp.) Their dj Carl Sebino (time has raised question marks over the spelling of his name) had, unfortunately, chosen that night to not bother with taking his entire record collection home, planning to go back and pick them up the next day. He did, but it took a bucket rather than a box to carry the resulting mess.

Closer to home, we discovered that when our brother moved home, he and his wife had taken the decision to not bother putting a small box of seven inch singles into the moving van. Instead, some really, really valubale punk records (first pressing of Gary Gilmore's Eyes, for example) were left out for the binmen.

Even closer to home, we once found a huge pile of Fall, Family Cat, Wedding Present, Ride (you get the picture...) records for sale in a Kitchen Fittings Shop in Anfield. We thought it was odd - apparently the shop was flirting with second hand goods, but even so: why would an indie kid suddenly offload his entire record collection? We wondered this all the way into town, as we drew out some crisp notes and returned to pick up almost the whole lot. A year later, and we're rubbing knees with a big eyed boy and he takes us back to his room to play records. "I've not got many good things... I used to have a great collection - Fall, Family Cat, Wedding Present, Ride; you get the picture... but someone stole the lot about a year ago..."

Any more record collection wipe out stories? Send 'em in to

STAY AT A BURGER BAR: In a desperate bid to try and squeeze a few more quid out of the Hard Rock concept, they're going to open more Hard Rock Hotels. We've always been a bit sniffy about Hard Rock Cafes - we've not seen the reason for a mark-up of two hundred percent on a beefburger because you're eating it under a guitar once played by Elvis Costello's backing band; the value of a Hard Rock Hotel is even more lost on us. We can just about see why - with very little pop related to visit - a tourist in London might make an hour to look at Eric Clapton's plectrum and eat an overpriced bap-and-beef combination (two hours, if you include queueing) but to spend their entire holiday staying in such a place? Is anyone really that desperate to enforce a marketing concept of fun on themselves?
Still, they do have one advantage: if you throw your TV out the window, rather than having to pay for it, you could claim cash back for adding veracity to their concept.

LISTEN UP, BRIGHTONIANS: This is very short notice - very short notice indeed - but we've just been told that The Popguns are playing Brighton on Sunday 29th. At the Freebutt. Yes, the Popguns. Sublime, delicious, special Popguns. It's a one-off, too. Our right arm is currently up on Ebay for anyone who can bend the rules of physics to allow us to go there.

THAT'S ALL THEY NEED: As if Iraq hasn't suffered enough, now John Lydon is blethering on about how they deserve a Sex Pistols gig. Yeah, right, John. Nothing makes you forget your kid's been blown to pieces by a cluster bomblet like seeing some old, rich, comfortable, conservative men pretend to be young anarchists.