Saturday, September 13, 2003

BLAINE OVERHEAD: We never thought we'd have reason to love David Blaine, but even the dullest man in the world - the only person who becomes more exciting by sitting in a box doing nothing and not talking - sometimes pulls something out the hat that delights us. And anyone who drops shit-filled nappies onto Gloria Estefan's head is a hero in our book. Next target: Celine Dion, David.

REBIRTH TO THE PIXIES?: Joel Defoe writes and points out that we'd made no mention of the reformation of the Pixies, due next April. And it's true - we'd read the story but there's just something about it that makes us a little uneasy... believe me, we'd love nothing so much as to see Black and Kim back together, belting it out, but there's something so vague about this announcement, and the timing is so curious we can't help but wonder if it's a reunion that three-quarters want and are trying to bounce a fourth Pixie into. You'll note that none of the band have spoken on the record; nor have any dates actually been announced. We'd love to see it... but we feel there may be a bit further to go before the monkey will be going to heaven again.

FUN. AND LOVING: Gary went to the Liverpool Academy to see the FLC:

The night kicked off on a slightly surreal note with a gentleman known as Super Bad Brad busking outside the venue with a ghetto blaster and megaphone singing a collection of classic easy listening tunes! Once inside, The Lovegods got the crowd going with a set of beautifully dirty rock & roll tunes, played with a twist. The Lovegods' singer was a sight to behold and her vocal range was awesome. This was followed by one of the biggest cheers of the night as Super Bad Brad and his ghetto blaster made an onstage appearance for two songs. After Brad was dragged off by one of the roadcrew, DJ Matteo upped the heat by spinning some tunes. He stayed onstage the entire night and when he wasn't on the decks he was behind the bar, which had been erected at the back of the stage, mixing cocktails. He was joined for a drink by sundry members of the support band during the Criminals set.

The Criminals got a loud reception when they walked onstage, promptly kicking into a song from the latest album. Huey, Fast and (new drummer) Spike kicked up a storm with a collection of tunes nicely balanced between stuff from the new record and the old stuff. Obviously, as they were promoting the new album, not as many of the old classics were played as on last years Greatest Hits tour, but Scooby Snacks, Fun Lovin' Criminal, Smoke 'Em and King Of New York all got an airing. They played the classics brilliantly, the new stuff was great.........quite simply a fuckin' top night.

Friday, September 12, 2003

THE FILE COPS DON'T CARE: Thanks to Gary M for bringing this article about how someone was effectively outed by copyright hunters. There's actually something slightly 'Big dildo refund' about this story, though - it smacks more of a scam to get people to buy the expensive gay porn - but it's an extra level of concern to be had about the way your information is being poked about in. Remember, the RIAA will know, too, if you've been downloading gay porn - and why should that be their business?

THAT'S PR-ENTERTAINMENT: Considering they're meant to be in the entertainment-cum-communications industry, you have to wonder at the shite way the RIAA are handling their disturbing and nasty little example-making trials. Anyone would have seen that even starting out on threatening to prosecute a twelve year old girl was going to blow up in their faces - it's not even people like us who have been pointing out that when a multi-million dollar industry starts threatening pre-teens it looks a little bit like a bully - but their attempt at damage limitation has been even worse. Having been made to look so bad, the whole sorry story could have been salvaged by merely getting the young lady to say "I won't do it again, and I've deleted all those files", accompanied by a jovial Mitch Bainwol ripping up the subpoena saying "we'll say no more about it this once." At a stroke, the RIAA would have been able to win a degree of public sympathy, show that it's not a money grabbing ogre and actually pull itself ahead for once.

But, no. Instead, it decided to be 'generous' and demand a 'mere' two thousand bucks - a lot of cash for anyone, never mind a schoolgirl whose family live in council housing - and made her sign the most preposterous legal statement of contrition heard since Joe Stalin's showtrials stopped being held in public. We hope that the cash will be shared out amongst those artists the RIAA is meant to be protecting, and presented to them on those large novelty cheques in public ceremonies, so Paula Abdul is able to demonstrate her joy at the pocket money bullied out of the child. It's only right and proper, after all.

What's made it worse, of course, is that the secondary PR-fuck up of insisting on a pound of money-flavoured flesh has given the RIAA's opponents a chance to make their own hay, offering to pay her fine for her. Surely someone in the luxurious offices of the record industry cartel knew that would happen? Maybe they were too busy worrying about the next PR disaster in their caseload, as a senior citizen also has his neck in the RIAA noose. Maybe it'll turn out they've managed to find someone who is actually a target who won't generate an immediate wave of public sympathy - although they're burning up goodwill so quickly it'd probably take a prosecution of Hilary Rosen to win people back round.

And their amnesty is being hurled back in their faces, in a legal action being brought by the Marin County attorney. He's concerned that the promise of the RIAA to wipe the slate clean of recanting file shaeres is a deceptive business practice, because they're not offering to destroy any data they hold, nor are the owners of the disputed coptyrights so aren't even in a position to make such an offer in the first place.

With all this negative burnback, you'd think the RIAA would be about as popular as a possum in a pie factory, but it turns out a majority of the public in the US supports them. According to, erm, their own poll. However, even allowing for the pisspoor nature of the poll (they interviewed 800 people, or a mighty 0.0002% sample of the population) and for the slightly dodgy timing (they asked two days before launching the assault on little girls and little old men), they still could only manage a 52% vote in favour - which would be swallowed up by the margin of error, we think.

BLAZE OF GLORY REKINDLED: Bon Jovi announce they're totally out of ideas, wonder if it'd be okay if they do the same stuff all over again? ("Bon Jovi announce albums worth of 'reworked' material")

CHICKS ON SPEED: Britney Spears getting het up about being asked about 'diet pills'; jabbering away ten to the dozen and talking no end of nonesense... just what are you hinting at, Daily Mirror?. "Maybe it was down to a lack of sleep."

SOMETHING ABOUT MAJOR SOMEONE... HE'S A JUNKIE... UM...: We're not sure that David Bowie's memory has been so fucked by drugs that he'd be totally lost without the big book of lyrics he claims he needs to be able to get through a stage show half-coherently, but it does leave us wondering what would happen if someone pinched it. Or it went missing, in the manner of Bob Monkhouse's joke books that time. If we were in his band, we'd be tempted to get out the tippex and a ballpoint and change some of the words around for a laugh. But then, we're just cruel.

C&WOBIT: The BBC has just announced that Johnny Cash has died. You don't need me to tell you he was one of the all-time greats.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

How did you spend your patriot day?

It's Ian N who brings this to the table:

James Cauty, a founding member of The KLF and The Orb, is making a track called 'Silent Night' available via the web for today and today only in recognition of the second anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. Talking to Aussie website Undercover Cauty explains: "I recorded the track a while ago and a few days ago I realized it was going to be the 9/11 anniversary. We wanted to respond to what was going on." The track is released under the artist moniker of Blacksmoke, "an occasional art collective and musical group" who have just completed an EP called'Fuck the Fucking Fuckers'. "It is a concept EP, the concept being fuck America basically and fuck weapons of mass destruction. It is like a protest record. It is the kind of record that you would want to put on if you are going to go out on a riot. We do feel quite angry about what has been going on with the war". The 'Silent Night' track can be downloaded at

Of course, if you read this after midnight you're too late and will have to run the risk of all that child porn looking for it on kazzaa-goo-goo.

SHE'S BACK, AND THIS TIME SHE'S GOT A GUN: Everyone's favourite trapezium-headed popstar, Sophie Ellis Bextor is back - probably wishing her mam had snuck in a reference for the new single and album into The Curse of Blue Peter, rather than the last one, but you can't have everything, can you?

TOUGH AUDIENCE: Darkness surprised to discover Mercury audience more interested in eating, coke than listening to music.

Next week, they'll find out that sometimes people lie, and you can't always get what you want.

THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY'S LAST REFUGE OF THE DESPERATE: "Filesharing networks are all full of child porn" wail the RIAA, signalling that they've lost the argument and battle over copyright and so are using the standard, catch-all wail about how it's all tied in with buggering three year olds hoping that'll get 'em closed down. While its true, of course, that some people do use file sharing systems to swap such things, they also use the postal service to send these things amongst themselves - will the RIAA be suggesting every mail box gets sealed too?

Actually, they'd probably see that as a great way of cutting down the prevelance of mix tapes, wouldn't they?

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Brian's little belly edition

Having snickered at Banng, it's the least we could do to drop by and see what was going on at Kerrang these days, as the fad of nu-metal receedes leaving their audience starting to dwindle back to less stellar levels. Okay, and we wanted to see the Placebo feature, which oddly enough doesn't even rate a single mention on the front page of the magazine - has Molko sunk so low that he doesn't sell copies at all any more (except to us, of course?) . their feature is built around their recent gig in Croatia, which the locals seem more interested in using to get out word about their own scene. The gig takes palce at the Dom, which seems apt for the Placebo boys, although these days when there are anked owmen on the tour bus, it's because they're doing life drawing classes rather than banging like a shed door in a hurricane. Brian M now has a little belly, which is actually quite sexy.

Elsewhere, the rang tries to find a new role, running about seeing where it can stretch the rock genre title to. So, the Gossip are in (all the way from Arkansas to Hull), and so are 27, because they've been touring their Mazzy Star-isms round with hardcore bands (interestingly, they say they go down better with the rock audiences, which suggests even the people who turn out for sweat and beer don't really have their hearts in it anymore.

Fred Durst talks about the new album Results May Vary which he believes "ends in triumph" - it ends in him singing "save me before I drown", and the thought of Durst disappearing under the waves would be a pretty big triumph in our books.

Quite Cute Alert: Colour of Fire. They once supported Placebo. And they're quite cute. That's as far as we can go.

Tom Cooper Temple cause tells a tale of throwing up into a turntable while it was playing beyonce. Because, you understand, he loves Beyonce. (This was at the kerrang awards party, so not even they have any commitment to rock).

A summer space-filling top 20 mentalists in rock (they say 21, but one is Steve O, who is merely jeremy beadle swearing. Justin Darkness scores five; G G Allin wins.

Q comes with fly posters (Stokes, Chilli Peppers, radiohead and Cobain - pretty much where Q is at these days) and a cover that shows Kate Moss draped around David Bowie - leaving now merely Paul McCartney and Fred Durst on her 'Rockstars: To do' list.

Metallica 's Kirk uses Regaine and Lars son plays with the Metallica action figures, which is curious and perhaps the sort of thing that will lead to many hours of painful sessions on the couch in later life - I mean, we'd love to send Lars scuba-diving round the u-bend, but then he's not our daddy.

Blur say they don't care about not making the Mercury shortlist - they don't need someone to tell them their album is "as good as the M-people". But we bet they could use the cash, if only to tide them over till the next US commercial jingle comes through.

Electric Six's guide to picking up men runs thus: Work it Girl; Show No Mercy; Pucker Up. Looking like the Windsor day Ward is having a Sparks Fancy Dress party is apparently no bar to success.

Mark from Ash paid psychic Sharon Neil to "move on three spirits that had attached to his aura." We reckon it cost him about two and a half grand. Mr. Muscle would have had them off for about two quid fifty.

"The last time I went back home, I was whistled at by some rednecks in a truck. I was flattered but I'm not sure if they were really interested in me. they just wanted me for my body." Havok from AFI doesn't reveal if he put out or not.

Neil Young fans apparently get confused by the screen flashing up "Clear Channel: Support our war" during his current live set. Which goes to show what an uphill task political campaigning is these days.

Paul Banks of Interpol appears to suggest he flited with suicide, but then retracts claiming he's "too egotistical" to kill himself.

Writing about Westwood, Johnny Davis seems upset that people were more interested in taking potshots at Timothy's background than they were in getting to the bottom of who tried to shoot him. There's a hint that the people who laugh at Westwood (son of a bishop turned street man) are involved in some sort of bizarre inverted snobbery and racism, and then hip hop supremos are trotted out to defend him: Pharrell Williams says "Any man should be able to speak the way he wants." Which is, of course, true, but doesn't make Westwood's phoney accent and desperate attempt to be something he isn't any less preposterous. His musical nous and enthusiasm would have been more than enough to win him respect, but the obviously faux trappings are on a par with Peel deciding to try and sound like he's a teenager from Goole or Tim Burgess pushing the idea that he was born in the South of California. Oh, hang on...

James Walsh reckons his singing is great because he isn't doing it trhough a nose full of coke. We don't reckon his voice is great because we're not listening through an ear full of cheese.

Kate's meant to be interviewing Bowie, but the best bit comes when David says to Moss "You've had flirtations with drugs... [long, difficult silence] Oh... should I mention this?" The Dame is addicted to tea tree sticks these days.

Linda Perry is making Pink lighten up for the next album: "I didn't want to hear her yapping about her problems, so it's in the third person. I can't take another child abuse song."

Matt from Muse - on the cover of the nme - now looks like Stuart Maconie working in the offices at the Nationwide. The cover also promises "The Darkness on Speed - we join them for a day at the races." They don't, of course; merely standing in the press huddle as the band do something with cars or something.

Other news: Limp Bizkit's Manchester gig saw them off stage by 9.45, less than an hour's worth of shows. And yet, they still have apologists - one Gary Vale telling the paper "people thought this was a proper show and it was just a warm up" to defend the crap event. Maybe it was the full-price fee of twenty five quid which led people to assume they were going to see a gig and not merely a rehearsal?

The next relaunch of the paper - next week - has apparently taken "six months of research and hard graft", so the plans must have been laid almost before the last relaunch had hit the streets, in the wake of the last circulation figures. On this basis, they'll probably be working on the next relaunch right now.

NME confidently predicts the Darkness would win the Mercury.

The Guardian described PJ Harvey's outfit for her Tate Modern gig as a catsuit; the nme suggest it was a tassled trouser suit. the photographic evidence isn't clear. Anyone?

The Hiss do the CD thing - The verve, Cohen and Dylan are in.

Matt Bellamy not only watches BBC Four, but discusses the show about jesus going off to India after the crucificion at some length.

Stellastarr* rubbish the idea that there is a "new york scene" - "the stokes, Interpol, the Yeah Yeah yeahs - do you think these bands are friends?" Well, maybe not friends, but there's an infrastructure of support, isn't there?

The nme has noticed that Limp Bizkit have become a national joke (only two years after they became a national joke) and spends two pages considering why. The impact is lost a little when you turn the page for an article on Andrew WK. Apparently, WK's "life-affirming qualities shames the cynics who've been slagging him since his emergence." No, not a bit of it. There's no denying his enthusiasm - that's never been in doubt (although he now shows it a lot more; at first the bloody noses and hagiogrpahy suggested he was serious, as well as partying, rather than merely serious about partying.) The cyncism was entirely directed at his very few cheerleaders in the press who seemed determined to try and convince us he was the new Iggy, and their continued perseverence in the face of an almost blank response has done nothing to make us any less cynical, i'm afraid. Yeah, he's enthusiastic. So is the pooping sheep-like dog in the house that backs on to ours - it doesn't mean anyone wants to listen to his incessant yapping all night. Or, indeed, at all.

the strokes - room on fire - "a refining and a tinkering of the strokes sound", 9
starsailor - silence is easy - "good and professional isn't enough when only magic will do", 6
peaches - fatherfucker - "don't be a pussy - take a risk", 9

sotw - stellastar* - jenny - "more art punk"
placebo - special needs - "pure borderline irrelevance"

Pretty girls make graves - the garage - "more compelling than britney snogging madonna"
fannypack - new york -" just like bubblegum"

amd finally, back to Kerrang, who record Nickelback's arrival at the Iron Maiden album launch. And we look from Chad to the maiden, and the Maiden to Chad, and none of us can tell the difference.

IT IS WITH GREAT REGRET...: "Nobody likes playing the heavy and having to resort to litigation," said Cary Sherman, the RIAA's president. "But when your product is being regularly stolen there comes a time when you have to take appropriate action."

You wonder how appropriate suing a twelve year old girl in the housing projects is, or a grandad who suspects it might have been his grandkids who did the downloading. The mere fact that the RIAA are bringing actions against people who are such bad PR disasters for them suggests they've just dragged the names off a list at random, doesn't it? Sloppy.

IS THERE NO END TO HER TALENT?: We're amused at the level of excitement being generated by Jennifer Ellison's 'new role', playing "alongside" Minnie Driver in the Phantom of the Opera (and, no, although the movie is about a hideously disfigured singer who hangs about in a live music venue when really they've no right being there, Jennifer isn't playing the title role).Some people are suggesting this is his first acting role since Brookside, although really we're thinking its more like her first acting role including Brookside. She didn't really try to act like a pop star at all with her recent Transvision Vamp cover, did she?

MADDY WAS BAD... BUT MOBY?: So, although we have a feeling she's already done a round of prelaunch publicity, Britney's doing another round of prelaunch publicity to barkm up interest in the new album. This time Britney is working with Moby and R Kelly, amongst others. We're presuming they showed R Kelly the 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' video to get him on board.

But Moby? We could just about stomach her snogging Clawfist Ciccone, but... working with Moby? Maybe it's time we threw our lot in with Christina instead.

HERE COMES THE TWAIN AGAIN: We had been about to say there's very little surprising about Shania Twain winning Canada's country music awards, except we then noticed that the prizes voted for by the public went to Terri Clark rather than ole hopalong. Curious, don't you think, that even at home Shania isn't a popular as the record industry would have us believe.

OH, IT JUST GETS WORSE: James Nesbitt - he's recorded a bloody song now. James, of course, is going to be appearing tomorrow in the remake of The Caterbury Tales with Billie Piper, and we guess if we had to choose between either of them releasing singles, it'd be James. (We're not sure we can bring ourselves to watch Canterbury Tales - the trailer has been horrifying us; especially that bit where Billie is going "He thinks I've got something" and pushes her chest out - the effect of which is the same as polishing a coffee spoon; you know what they're going for but the thing is so small it's not worth their effort). He's done Little Ole Wine Drinker Me. Let's just hope he gets John Thompson in for the video.

MERCURY: So, that's the rap box ticked, then.

BY DEGREES: Turns out that one of Speedway has just completed some sort of NVQ or something in Pop Music, and this is being used as proof that studying for a piece of paper really can help you with your career. Except, of course, he's merely got a slot in a thrown together group created to cover a mash-up that someone else created. It's like arguing for the success of an MBA course because someone on it got a job stacking shelves in a Netto.

GWYN WHEN YOU'RE SINGING: It had to happen, although we'd have been happier had it not: Gwyneth Paltrow is taking singing lessons. The sound you can hear is record executives furiously pumping as they imagine Chris Martin & Paltrow covering "I'll be home for Christmas" and launching it into the festive market.

D'OHBIT: Thanks to Mark from the rock and roll report for pointing out that the Zevon/REM collaboration was the Hindu Love Gods, and not Voodoo. We're putting the slip down to the Jo Whiley Drinking game.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

TOO COMPLICATED: We're finding it hard to believe that Complicated by Avril really was the 10 millionth track downloaded from iTunes, and suspect that had deals been done differently we could have heard that it was Blink 182 or Sting, or whoever else fancied the title. Meanwhile, Apple are trying to claim that the concept of selling on an iTunes track through eBay while not stricly illegal is just too complicated to let happen - this in the wake of Ebay pulling an auction put up by George Hotelling to test exactly where the law stood on this. His point is if you buy a CD, you can sell it. If you buy a track through iTunes, shouldn't you have the same rights? Apple's response doesn't seem very helpful - "too difficult" is no excuse. It seems we've just lost another little bit of our rights, and again we can't do anything about it.

YOU WONDER WHY PEOPLE BOTHER RUNNING AIRLINES AT ALL: On the day when judges allow the suing of airline companies for their part in September 11th, it's also been announced that Aaliyah's family have got an undisclosed amount of cash out the airline whose plane she overloaded with shoes and caused to crash. We're going to sue Richard Branson, because we're sure that if we'd ever actually got on a Virgin plane bad things might have happened.

CAN'T WAIT: For some reason, the people launching seal's return to active music has been sending us stuff - maybe they believed that we'd died and they could now pour his syrup over our cold, dead body? He's got better hair this time, but oh boy... this is the level of where he's at:

"With this album, the Brit-pop singer takes his place alongside Sting, Bono and Elvis Costello as one of the U.K.'s top contemporary male belters." -Dan Aquilante of The New York Post, September 9, 2003.  

Leaving aside the fact that Bono isn't from the UK and Sting means fuck all... could they have found a press quote to make the prospect seem any less mouth-watering? I mean, even "The CD, left in your house, will attract blowflies as large as small kittens and give off the pungent smell of burning flesh" would have been more of an attraction.

SINGLE SHOT: A small but perfectly formed Kerrang piss-take.

THERE YOU GO THEN: the RIAA slaps with one hand, pats with other as it launches its actions against 250 file-sharers while confirming the amnesty offer. We calculate the start of legal action against a sizeable 0.005pc of the (very conservatively) estimated file sharers in America will have exactly the effect the RIAA was hoping for. Assuming the shrugging of shoulders and muttering "I'm more likely to be asked to be support surgeon in an illegal baboon racing injuries ward" is what they're burning through their cash in aid of.

JUDGE WORKS OUT FRUSTRATION OVER POP STARS: We're sad, of course, that Pete Doherty has been sent down for six months following his burgarising of Carl Libertine's flat. But we can't help feeling that the judge wasn't as disinterested as he should have been. While Pete's solicitor was asking for a community sentence to allow his client to get some drugs help, the judge cut in with "He probably was suddenly earning too much money for his age and began behaving irresponsibly. Unlike most of us who have to study and work hard, they suddenly acquire wealth." We're not sure if the Judge, Roger Davies, then burst into "see that little faggot in the tutu and the make-up/ that little faggot's a millionaire", but he does seem to have listened too closely to Money For Nothing, don't you think? While not condoning Doherty's behaviour - kicking in your mate's door and pinching his stuff is as sucky as kicking your mate out your band - was the sentence for the burglary or for having a job that didn't mean he had to slog out years in some solicitor's officer in Bushey or somewhere?

it's not the first time Roger Davies has caused a storm. Or the second, or... He's the judge who told a Romanian woman to go and tell her friends that they'd go to prison if they appeared in front of him. He once told a Turkish man that people born outside the United Kingdom had no right to protest here. In 2000, he surprised many by refusing to allow two defendants to use their homes as bail surety, sending them to prison instead while awaiting trial. One of the defendants in that case was Kenyan-born.

CHICK NIX FLICKS' PICK: We're starting to worry a little that the Dixie Chicks are hitting on us or something - after all, short of stopping making the country-music-by-low-numbers they do and starting with some Broadcast type ambient soundscapes, they could hardly do more to try and ingratiate themselves with us. Hot on the tail of being just about the only (non-politically active) Americans to actually attack Bush before the Iraq war, they're now about the only people in the entertainment industry to speak the truth about Arnie's bid to become King or Superhero or whatever the part he's reading for in California right now is. Emily Robinson spoke to a German paper, saying "America should be governed by people who have a clue. I hope he doesn't win." Which is, of course, spot on and right.

As a footnote, Ananova suggest the post-Bush "outburst" banning of the Chicks music from some US stations was "amazing", which suggests the people who report for ver Nova don't really know very much about the American media at all.

MANSON CLEARED OVER CROTCH: Marilyn Manson pulled a security guard's head into his crotch area. The security guard was alarmed and brought legal action, but Manson was fine - he got off. Which is more than the security guard did.

WE SAW THIS ONE COMING: We've long suspected that what really irks promoters about ticket touts isn't so much that they're breaching the non-transferable terms printed on the tickets, but that they sit in their offices watching shabby men in ill-waterproofed clothing flogging tickets for a hundred quid that they'd only got twenty for. Sooner or later, they were going to figure out that technology will allow them to force the touts out of business not through legal crackdowns, but by becoming touts themselves. You might recall at the time of the Glastonbury ticket debacle, we wondered why they didn't just auction the tickets off themselves in the first place; now, that's what it looks like Ticketmaster are planning to do in the States. It's inevitable, really, although it's another small kick in the kidneys of rock music, ensuring as it will that even fewer young, noisy people will be in the venues as they get Ebayed out by those with higher disposable incomes - seriously, would you rather share the Darkness front row with people who'd slept out on the streets all night to get tickets, or people who were able to pull their Platinum Amex card to score tickets? (The only saving grace of the latter being slightly less smelly, of course). But from a business point of view, it's pure logic - you don't have to worry about setting your prices at a level that the market will bear, as the market will do that for you. It's also great news for pimps, as in future, loads more kids are going to have to sell their scrawny arses to get to see the bands they've helped push to the stadiums. It might also be good news for Mariah Carey - she may be spared the horror of the curtained-off upstairs under a system like this; even I'd buy her tickets in an auction for twenty pence. And it's not a million miles away from how budget airlines work. Which makes us wonder - having already made the leap into cinema, will Stelios be mulling easyGigs?

[Inital link supplied by Ms Becky Bamboo; shoes of graititude to her]

OCEAN COLOUR SCENE: THE JIMMY SAVILLE OF OUR TIMES: James from writes with this report from local news:

On ITV Tyne Tees' "North East Tonight" this evening (08/09/2003), Ocean Colour Scene were featured visiting a kids' cancer ward at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. Damon Minchella of the band was interviewed and said how nice it was to put something back into the community. Then the report cut to a voxpop of kids suffering from the effects of chemotherapy and listening to trad rock. The amusing part was when one sick little darling turned to the camera and said straightfaced "I've never heard of them".

The presenter moved on to another patient who said "It'll be good when I'm home soon".

I think the kids were taking piss out of OCS, somewhat. Still - nothing changes, eh?

Of course, during the later years of the Thatcher era, people took to carrying a slip alongside their donor cards making clear their wish that - should they be involved in a life-threatening accident or disease-up, they did not want to be visited by the Prime Minister. We're thinking about reviving this idea just in case it takes off as the thing that fading pop stars will do. Imagine being at death's door only for Robbie Williams to turn up...

Monday, September 08, 2003

STONE DRY FOR TWENTY-TWO YEARS: According to a poll organised by Mojo, even the biggest Rolling Stones fans don't think they've made a half-decent single in the last twenty-two years. Since Start Me Up, in fact, which was the only thing written since the 70's which made it into the Top 50. (Yeah, the Beatles fans might snicker but when did they last write something decent, eh?). Actually, we think this is a little harsh - we have a sneaking regard for Undercover - but it does raise a huge question. Why are people still going to see them live? If all they want is the old stuff, couldn't they just get that from those bands called things like The Rolling Stoned or the Strolling Bones or any other tribute act? Why keep paying a small fortune to see men ageing rapidly - often visibly so, across the length of one of their sets - when the words "An' this is waaan offfov tha New Album…" has been putting the fear of God into the crowd since BBC Two came on the air?

Even allowing for Start Me Up and Undercover, all this suggests they'd have been better off splitting when the Beatles did and giving more time to their solo careers.

[Plays Je Suis Un Rock Star on internal jukebox]

Or maybe not.

ROCKOBIT: I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD: The death, at 56, of Warren Zevon isn't entirely unexpected - he announced over a year ago that he was suffering from mesothelioma, a lung cancer usually more associated with people who worked with asbestos than sardonic rock singers. Zevon's work was always marked out by an obsession with the macabre, in one of his round of farewell interviews he told VH1 "Hemingway said all good stories ended in death, and I write songs about death and violence for some reason. Some of them are based on my upbringing and some are based on my reading habits. We live in a culture where violence is all around us and I found myself writing more songs about violence than romantic subjects. I like to think I have some goodhearted romantic impulses now and then, but for the most part I write a different kind of song."

Benefitting from the positive sales effects of a negative prognosis, Zevon achieved his highest US debut chart placing in twenty-five years a couple of weeks ago with The Wind, at the time accepted as his last work. In the UK, he's probably best known for his Werewolves of London hit in the 1970's, but yer chin-stroking name-dropper will, of course, point to his work in the Voodoo Love Gods, a 1990 collaboration between the non-Stipe parts of REM and Zevon. His songs were also recorded by Linda Rondstat.

In another of his last round of press, Warren Zevon told Billboard ""I'm working a lot every day. I already have great relationships with my children . . . I've already led two lives. I got to be a wild, crazy, Jim Morrison quasi-rock star, anyway, and I got to be a sober dad for 18 years. I can't possibly complain."

THE CATS THAT, ERM, GOT THE CREAM: Okay, we know that this picture is meant to be Atomic Kitten sporting milk moustaches to promote the concept of healthy teeth and bones from drinking the teat-secretions of bovine mothers, but…


… that's not what it looks like, is it?

THE DRUGS DON'T WORK. NOT LIKE THAT, ANYWAY: You might recall a year ago there was a massive panic about the designer dance drug ravers ecstasy E, when a bunch of scientists published a paper claiming that even a single pill could leave the user with brain damage and trigger the onset of Parkinson's disease. Well, the scientists are now saying 'sorry, we got it wrong - E isn't (that) dangerous after all. Science, the journal which published the wrong findings in the first place is going to publish a retraction, but what it can't take back, of course, is the knock on-effects the flawed research had - twelve months of calls for bans on raves, extra sticks to beat young people with, and so on.

It's not clear yet if there's any truth in the claims they screwed up the original report because they based it entirely on close study of Bez.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

THIS IS GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT: The RIAA is being reported as being about to offer an 'amnesty' to music file sharers. The Washington Post reckons they're about to announce that if people delete the copyright-breaching music on their computers, providing they've not been making money off the file sharing, they'll say no more about it. Erm... since the whole point of the heavy-handed legal action has been to try and bully people into doing this anyway, it's not really much of an offer, is it? And are the RIAA implying that, once this amnesty is over, they'll consider suing people even if they have stopped and deleted the files off their machine? Was that always the plan? Because if it was - and thats what this 'amnesty' suggests - then surely there'd have been no reason for file sharers to have altered their behaivour in response to the legal action otherwise? If the RIAA was going to bring action on the basis of past transgressions, then suing a few to scare people straight would have been pointless - why bother deleting the files off your machine if you're going to get sued for having had them there in the first place? It makes the whole legal route seem even less well-thought out and clumsy than we'd originally believed.

For what it's worth, we suspect that someone at the agency has sat down and done the maths about how much cash and time it would have to burn through in order to make any sort of dent into people's behaviour, and is now looking desperately for a face-saving get out.

MAN LIES ABOUT SEXUAL ABILITY SHOCK: We'd always wondered how Sting and Trudi managed to have eight-hour sex sessions - I mean, after all, how could anyone spend more than about ten minutes with a naked Sting without recalling a pressing need to go and take some clothes to the dry cleaners, or any other plausible sounding appointment? Now it turns out that - oh, never - the Eight Hours claim was an idle drunken boast made by Sting that came back to haunt him. It's funny that it is the Thing Everyone Knows About Sting and it isn't true. What's also funny is that he made it up to impress Bob Geldof. A man whose main sexual life was shared with Paula Yates doesn't need eight hour sex session tales to impress him - claiming they occasionaly washed the sheets would probably have blown him away.

APOLS IF CORN: Chris Martin has spent some time ploughing with Mexican farmers in the name of Free Trade. And he said that he doesn't think he's got the answers, and that he's just a billboard for the idea. And he admits being a champagne socialist. Which really doesn't leave us with much to be cynical about. Plus, he'll probably have pissed off David Albarn by doing it, so that's an extra mark in his favour. And, while normally we'd never miss a chance for a pop at Coldplay, we're pretty much with him on this one. - because you cancun make a difference.

And, on the bright side, the more time he spends sowing corn in Mexico, the less time he's in the studio. Right?

SHOPKEEPERS WE LIKE: Down on your knees, curs, and worship the goddess Rachel Ravey, who sends us this:

A felt-tipped sign blu-tacked in the shop window of the Subway sandwich shop near Manchester's Piccadilly Station reads: "No Limp Bizkit fans. This means you, red cap!"