Friday, October 03, 2003

WEAKENED, OFF: At some point today, No Rock is going to take in its pavement tables, push up those candy-striped canopies and put the shutters across the windows as we go off for a weekend elsewhere. However, to keep you going until our return*:

Pitchfork Media offer a range of fine MP3 downloads, including Dressy Bessy, Broadcast, Ssion and Beat Happening.
mmmexchange has nothing to do with music, but everything to do with food. Its primary purpose is to hook up people who desire food from places they don't live in, but any sort of food-related discussion is valid within its comfortable domains.
Justin and Ryan - not, we suspect, a genuine transcript of Justin Timberlake and Ryan Adams' TV show.
For no real reason Lisa Scott-Lee and some baby. In Welsh.

See you some time Sunday.

* - we wholeheartedly believe that without regular No Rock updates, you will either die or at least feel somewhat disorientated.

SOME KIND OF A RECORD: Dido's album is, apparently, the fastest selling record since Be Here Now was released. How on earth has that happened? Can that really be right?

The only thing we can assume is that it's like being poisoned by asbestos dust - its so light and fine you don't realise you've put it in your shopping bag, and its only a little while later that you realise there's anything wrong at all. We're suggesting everyone who's been near a record shop in the past week checks their CD racks, just in case they might have picked it up by mistake.

'ARE YOU SURE YOU NEED THE RUBBER GLOVES ON BEFORE TOUCHING THEM?': Customs at JFK airport have seized the entire 12" consignment of Desert Songs, the Josh Homme side project. Nobody seems entirely sure why, although our favourite theory is to save PJ Harvey from having 'worked with one of the Queens of the Stone Age' mentioned in her obituaries.

ZIPPING UP MY BOOTS, GOING BACK TO MY ROOTS: Norman Cook has announced that his new album will see him going back to his "hip-hop roots" - a curious claim which has led us to spend most of the morning playing London 0, Hull 4 and The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death with the bass turned up to see if we could spot these roots anywhere in his early work. Only joking, Norman, we know we can trust you when you say the next Fatboy Slim album will be hip hop, and don't stop. "Damon Albarn sings on one track" he announces - how much more hipper do you want your hop, short of it wearing a big clock round its neck?

PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES SHOULDN'T FALL OUT WITH COURTNEY: Of course, the thing about Courtney being responsible for destroying Butch Vig's studio was only a gag, but probably will happen some day, if she survives. For now, America's Paula Yates has spent the last twenty four hours smashing up a friend's house, getting arrested, and taking an overdose. No wonder with all that going on she's got no time to finish the album off. We'd imagine the label are sucking a thoughtful tooth and thinking "well... if she does OD for good, it'll make the final mix a hell of a sight easier to agree..."

SALES SLUMP: Global music sales down 11 pc in first half of the year, and although the headline from the industry is "see? downloading kills?", even the IFPI admits that less than 40 pc of the drop is due to web-thievery. They make some sort of half-assed claim that the countries where sales have fallen badly are the ones that are worst beset by piracy, but why would Germany be a country full of web-downloaders while Austria isn't? The real reason why Austria has seen a sales increase is the concentration on local acts in that market - or "giving people what they want", seemingly an astonishing concept in the music industry. Likewise, the UK has seen album sales grow, which means that apparently we're not able to be painted as country where downloading is rife. Which is, of course, just pure crystal bollocks.

The real problem with the music industry can be summed up in the way they're pinning their hopes on Robbie William's live album to be a Christmas big seller. With, presumably, the greatest hits for Xmas 2004. There is the mark of a business that has run out of steam.

AND THE DIFFERENCE WOULD BE...?: Simon Cowell to play himself in a version of Pop Idol where its all scripted and the outcome has been determined by the production team from the very start. Again.

IS THIS THE RIGHT TUNE?: If anywhere was going to get a Kerrang Radio Station on FM, it would be the West Midlands, where that sort of music can be found digging into the soil, laid in thick strata. But we're not sure its such a great idea as a format for a radio station. Sales at the magazine have started to slip as the modish popularity of its core music has waned, and we're not sure a station powered totally by rock is going to pick up enough non-hardcore fans to make it viable; to make it viable, it'll have to expand its playlist and thereby alienate those who championed it in the first place. We imagine that had the West Midlands FM licence come up for grabs now, rather than the process having started a while back, EMAP would have gone with the more flexible Q format. Which, we greatly suspect, is what the West Midlands will end up with, whether under that name or not. And at least it's not Kelvin McKenzie.

HEAD IN THE BOWL: No Rock Bay Area Correspondent Becky 'in these shoes?' Bamboo files from the Radiohead in SF and LA shows:

It used to be that all I knew were big stadium shows. I thought that was the way things were and you just had to accept that you could never get closer than a football field from your musical idols. Then I moved to the Bay Area, stopped giving a fuck about what people would think of me going solo to gigs, and realized that that fourth wall is pretty much non-existant when you're two inches from being kicked in the face when the bass player jumps up. Shows became personal moments rather than events shared with half the university students in a 100 mile radius.

All the things that typically annoy me at shows become magnified when sitting on the cold, hard dirt waiting for the giant screen above the stage to cut to a shot of the guitarist. There are few bands for whom I would endure this. Radiohead is one such band. But even I have my breaking point.

I attended two Radiohead shows last week, one at Shoreline in Mountain View and one at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. The Bay Area concert was a typical Shoreline show: people talking through songs, singing loudly and off-key, with the tallest guys in the world standing right in front of me. All things I've come to know and accept as the price you pay at an ampitheater. The band was on, the light show was fantastic, the audience was enthusiastic, and I came away with a crick in my neck.

Then came the Hollywood Bowl. As I stood there, trying to shut out the singing, the incessant, inane chatter, and the hysterical screams, it hit me that I've lost them. I've lost Radiohead. I've lost them to the boozy frat guys and their date rape girlfriends. I've lost them to the perfect blonds with their shiny, shiny hair. I've lost them to people who don't realize when they're being insulted (a lyric change in "Creep" from "I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul" to "I want a perfect body, so I can look good next to you." And the crowd *cheered* the line. Apparently irony has no place in Hollywood). They're not mine anymore. Yes, I know they never were. I've seen them playing the MTV Beach House, for crying out loud. But somehow, it always felt like they were. They belonged to the outsiders, the intellectuals, the freaks. They belonged to me. Maybe it was the summer of 1993 when Jaeson and I bonded over "Creep" that made me believe that. Or maybe it was that long solitary summer of 1997 when I knew no one and was living in a strange place with only The Bends, OK Computer, and the films of Al Pacino to keep me company. Whatever it was, they were mine. But I can't believe that any longer.

I don't know how many of you have had a similar moment, but it hurts. I could barely keep myself from sitting down and sobbing. I know I tend to take things way too seriously. And that the things to which I become attached are often viewed as banal or frivolous to most other people. And I know I should shrug this off as an insight I really should've seen from the beginning or as unimportant, but... it hurt. It still hurts. I really need to stop going to shows at the Hollywood Bowl. I always come out of there disillusioned.

Ah, enough. Maybe tomorrow I'll be cheery enough to write up Stellastarr*, The Ravonettes, Rhett Miller, Evan Dando, Scott Miller... Good lord, I need a nap.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Eventual edition
Last week's Guardian Online had an interesting feature about the way blogs are changing the traditional music press.

No, no, they didn't, since you ask. But we're not bitter or anything about it. But instead, let's talk about how damn great that new tabloid Independet looks... yeah, that's the paper of the future. Oh, yes indeed.

Seriously, they wrung the admission out of Conor McNicholas that the nme is being influenced by the bloggers, which is perhaps why the paper is starting to allow its writers to have their personalities back.

In the New Statesman, Andrew Billen uses the Arena Imagine Imagine documentary to give Lennon a further beating about the head, quoting Robert Elms, a man I find it difficult to love under normal circumstances, but whose destruction of the egoiest of the Beatles' dreariest of ballads makes me feel, well, tumescent: "It's the sort of thing Miss World contestants say. It's not the politics of the left, or anything else. It's the politics of the infants school." To illustrate his point, a little girl at Lennon's old school decided she liked the line "above us only sky" - "because it's true."

So, the NME has finally made it thirty-five miles up the road to Milton Keynes, dragging its feet under the weight of a student supplement. In MK, of course, we do our universities without having the actual students - a splendid concept, but one which does rather screw your chances of seeing Interpol playing in the place. There's the first part of one of those competitions that reek of grandmothers and the Daily Express, where you have to collect tokens. The prize is having "your rent paid for a year" - up to a whopping GBP2100. (2900 in London) - great news if you're living in, well, poverty. The great cities of this country are represented by their clubs, venues, pubs,shops, local heroes and a token popstar. So you get Belfast (Snow Patrol, Rusty Zip); Birmingham (Broadcast, the Carling Academy); Brighton (Eighties B-Line Matchbox Disaster, erm, Julie Burchill); Bristol (Chikinki, The Thekla); Cambridge (The Broken family Band, The Corn Exchange); Cardiff (Funeral for a Friend, Oz Bar); Dublin (Bell X1; BT2); Edinburgh (Degrassi, Fopp - the one with a licensed bar); Exeter (The Buffseed, Lo-fi-hi-fi); Glasgow (Dogs Die In Hot Cars; the 13th note); Leeds (The Blueskins; Countdown); Liverpool (The Bandits and - it's finally happened - Keith's); London (The Beatings, thinking yourself at the centre of the freaking bloody universe and being all hoity-toity and having a tube); Manchester (Longview; The Apollo); Newcastle (The Futureheads; Crash Punk Rock); Nottingham (Hell is for Heroes; Rock City); Oxford (Winnebago deal, the Zodiac); Sheffield (Pink Grease, The Leadmill) and Southampton (Delays, Five-o-store). It's a much better student guide than the last couple, mainly because they're not trying to be yet another fresher's magazine (there's a couple of 'don't worry if you're a bit glum' pieces, but they're brief) and concentrate on giving some useful pointers. If you're local to any of these places, you now know where to avoid for the next three months.

The NME proper, then, has got The Darkness on the cover. What's that - third? fourth? - and still no interview.

The problem of the Big Picture format to kick of the news is starting to show itself - what if there aint a big picture? This week's shot is a fuzzy picture of Brody Distiller, um, smoking a fag. Whee, rock and roll.

In other news, Kings of Leon talk about knowing the Strokes, knowing Jet, knowing the White Stripes... it's a bit like Taki's column without the racism. Except for Jet, of course. The White Stripes think their new video is the "best ever" - no, no, not the poledancing one. There's mounting excitement that there might be two Kylie LPs in the works - or at least a new Kylie and ones by Holly, Dannii, Delta and Stefan.

Gruff Rhys does the fake CD thing - Urusei Yatsura, Amen corner and Tippa Irie (yes, 'Hello Darling)

This week, it's Peter Robinson v Jack Osbourne. It's like reading Lord Hutton investigating a tiny child.

In the past, we suspect that ten new British bands would make the basis of a special edition. Now, it's just a two-page spread and about three words from each. Take a bow - quickly - The Glitterati, The Open, The Ordinary Boys, Keane, Kid Symphony, Your Code Name Is Milo, Kasabian, Hal, My Red Cell and Eastern Lane. Ten bands. Forty faces. All male, all white.

In the absence of a Darkness interview, in order to fill space, they fall back on interviewing Mark Spitz of Spin.

Mind you, it's a wonder the nme wants to interview anyone these days: Damien Rice snaps that talking to the paper is "bollocks. The whole entertainment industry is just a pile of shite, really." Blimey. Let's hope he never tries to get a job in it.

Noble, of British Sea Power, points out that "the great crested grebe looks exactly like Bernard Butler".

Barry Nicolson puts it to Josh Homme that his desert albums are the sort of lousy ideas stoned students come up with. "it's all of those things without being any of them" he explains.

Thrice want to thow piss at Fred Durst and do the Loveline thing - it's been a while since we've seen that getting a plug in the pop press; back in the dreampop era no shoey interview was complete without a report on Rachel Goswell being asked about masturbation by KROQ's audience.

Pull-out posters: Paul Simonon. Dolf Datsun, Flea, Carlos Interpol, Nick Oliveri, Sid Vicious, Mani and McCartney. Mmmm. Bassists.

Razorlight - Borderline - "there's only one Johnny Borrell", 8
Suede, ICA - "camper than Graham Norton in a Tutu", 7
Har Mar Superstar - Garage - "a preening wonder", 8

the distillers - coral fang - "Brody has made herself the most important new rock star in the world", 8
belle and sebastian - dear catastrophe waitress - "it thrums with a new found confidence", 8
finley quaye - much more than much love - "tired and irretrievably pleasant", 3
the electric soft parade - the american adventure - "a record that could sink manhattan", 9
robbie williams - live at knebworth - "doesn't even have no regrets", 4

sotw - 12:51 - "we've missed you boys"
beyonce - baby boy - "telexes in her vocals"
dmx - where's the hood at - "a problem with homosexuals"

And, finally, Didz from Cooper Temple Clause loves Blondie: "I've still got a crush on her, I suppose."

PITY THE POOR MIDDLEMEN: The downloading show has rolled into the senate, with Mitch Bainwol happily lying to the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee that the whole suing thing? That was, like, the last resort; but hey - what else could they do faced with a tanking market. Except, of course, the continued buoyant sales of albums in the UK proves that downloading can't be the cause of the record industry's woes - certainly not the main one - and, even more of course, that the RIAA's members have had something like five years to put together a legitimate alternative to the download networks and so far have got around to a couple of half-assed versions.

Meanwhile, LL Cool J sent a message to all the boys that he doesn't enjoy the concept of his house being violated: "My question is, if a contractor builds a building, should people be allowed to move into the building for free?" he asked. Maybe not, but if there are people in the street in need of a home, and the builder doesn't put a lock on the door, and... dammit, I'm not going to be bogged down in your metaphor, James. he continued: "that’s how I feel if I record a song or make a movie, and it zooms around the world for free." Ah, but is a song on Kazaa a building like a house, or is it a building like a showroom? That's the quest... dammit, no.

Chuck D took issue with LL: "P2P to me means power to the people. I trust the consumer more than I trust the people at the helm of these (record) companies. LL’s a staunch American," he added in a brief interview. "He’s my man and all, man, but when you solely have an American state of mind, you’re increasingly becoming a smaller part of the world."

The hearing was called by Minnesota Republican Norm Coleman, worried by the bullying tactics of the RIAA: "As a former prosecutor, I am troubled by a strategy that uses the law to threaten people into submission." Splendidly, Norm used to roadie for Ten Years After and called Chuck and Ladies Love Mr. D and Mr. J, which makes them sound more like suspects in a rape case than rap stars. Although, of course, rape suspects these days tend to be known by their shirt numbers than their initials. (Just on a side note here: Have Popbitch put a block on mentioning the names of the footballers under investigation? And if they have/ did, would that be tantamount to identifying them, since you could conclude that a name blocked had been blocked for that reason?)

An example of how the RIAA campaign has been hitting harder than it needs was given by the testimony of Lorraine Sullivan, a 28 year old student from New York. Discovering that she could be liable for up to USD150,000 a song, she said "I thought my life was over, and that I’d have to file for bankruptcy." She eventually settled with the RIAA for USD2500, money which we're sure Mick Jagger is sweating on.

So far, the RIAA have squeezed cash out of a massive 51 of the estimated six million regular filesharers in the US. Record sales have yet to pick up as a result. The RIAA campaign has done fuck all for their industry, but it's fucked up some individuals chosen more or less at random. They may, strictly, have the law on their side. But then so did John Major when he sued WH Smiths for selling a magazine that suggested he might have been having an affair. Being right doesn't make you any less of an amoral bully.

GOOD NEWS - YOU CAN GO HOME EARLY: Peaches to support Marilyn Manson in Europe? That's rather like sending Bill Hicks on as warm up man for Dennis Leary, surely?

ITS THE LIGHT VERSUS THE DARKNESS: Cliff throws his preacher's cap into the Christmas Number One battle ring, but admits that while a number one would be nice, he'd settle for a number two. If only it wasn't for that damn bag, eh Cliff?

BABY NEWS: While we obviously send congratulations to Alexandra and John Peel on the birth of her first child, and his first grandchild, can we also say just how old this makes us feel?

But we look forward to the 'This is our grandaddy on Radio One' jingles sometimes around 2008.

MEAN LEANER?: There's been quite a lot of excitement at the latest Mean Fiddler annoucements, with their announcement at the same time of their plans to take their successful festival format to Europe, but they still made a loss of GBP8.3m in 2002. They've been flogging off the loss-making bits of the business - including the radio experiment (which didn't last long) - so maybe they've decided to concentrate on what they do best. But much as we'd kind of like to see a strong Fiddler group to provide a buttress against Clear Channel, we're not sure that trying to cram more festivals into an overcrowded European schedule is the way ahead. But I guess they now what they're doing. (Apart from that Radio business.)

COMES UP PEANUTS, SLICE AFTER SLICE: We're delighted that Puff Daddy, or P Diddy-man or whatever, is going to run the New York Marathon, cementing his position as the rap Jimmy Saville. What's curious, though, is he's doing it for the kids, planning to raise a third of a million dollars for New York schools - we think he's asking for sponsorship on the basis of the number of bullets he dodges during the 26 mile run. Not unreasonably, he's saying "if i give all this money to the school system, I want it spent on books and computers," which has prompted Mayor Bloomberg to sniff "You can't go and take gifts with strings on them if they're very small; if they're very large you look to see whether the strings are acceptable and consistent with our principles." Which leads us to wonder: when he sold the entire school system to Snapple as a pot to piss in, what did their USD106m buy them, exactly?

THE HONEY TRAP REVISITED: There's a consideration in the New Scientist of soem scientific work into the credibility of the RIAA's "evidence" of filesharing on the Gnutella network. This is slightly different from the RIAA breaching the terms of service on kazaa (which might also invalidate its evidence and undermine its prosecutions), but it raises again the same question: why on earth is an industry which claims it's losing money like a Turkish bank pouring so much cash into such an unpopular and wobbly attack on its customers?

GREAT... DOZENS OF COVERS OF 'THE STREEST OF LONDON': Actually, this is quite an interesting idea; a chap called Kevin Moyer had the idea of bringing together 'street' musicians and the likes of Pearl Jam and made an album out of it. For charity, of course.

IT WAS EITHER THIS, OR A GANG OF YOUTHS ON BIKES: Scott Weiland has managed to listen to his finanical advisor and has come up with a nifty write-off to set against tax ("launched his own record label"). Weiland's label, Softdrive, will launch with a release from the reactivated Campfire Girls. (The Campfire Girls seem to be as to Scott as The Raincoats were to Kurt Cobain.)

No, Scott, it doesn't mean you can claim back expenses on that.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

WHERE THE POP PAPERS GONE?: Slight glitch with Pop Papers this week, as we've not been able to track down a copy of the nme for love or money, or even in return for kittens. We'll have one by tomorrow, we very much hope, so it's shifted to Thursday for this week.

Preview: We know the Darkness are on the cover. We bet they're not inside.

LIKE SOME OTHER VIRGIN: You'll doubtless have heard of the legal action being brought against Madonna by the son of a photographer who claims she's ripped off his ole da's work. Well, the Madonna Copy & Paste Guy Bourdin page lets you compare and contrast. Talent borrows; genius steals; Madonna - at best - pastiches. [Thanks to Alan for the link]

IF THIS FAILS, THEY'RE GOING TO TRY SWITCHING TO A SEVEN INCH FORMAT: Okay, so here are the new rules for the chart starting from January 1st 2004 - singles, which only had two tracks until the 1980s, when they had four (which used to be known as an ep) until a couple of years ago when they reduced to merely three, will now only have two tracks. The things which used to be singles will become known as "maxidiscs", although, of course, since they'll only have three tracks and something less than twenty minutes music on them are in no way making use of the maximum seventy-odd minutes space on the disc. Both singles and maxidiscs will be eligible for the charts, along with one extra format. All clear?

Official Chart Company chairman Richard Wootton says "This project is a perfect example of how retailers and record companies can work together for the good of the industry."

Not a word, you'll notice, about the poor beleagured customer.

DOMINO PIZZAZ: In the 1980's, the only connection between dominos and entertainment was those interminable Record Breakers where people would set to breaking the record for domino toppling. Since 1993, however, Domino has been a splendid, thriving indie label (a rare enough beast in the last decade) and now they're celebrating with an orgy. A musical orgy, but an orgy nevertheless:

October 04 London ICA - Clinic, Hood;
October 12 London ICA - The Pastels, To Rococo Rot, Movietone;
October 13 London Cecil Sharp House - James Yorkston and The Athletes, King Creosote;
October 14 London Cecil Sharp House - Jason Loewenstein and Lou Barlow;
October 15 London Cecil Sharp House - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Adem;
October 16 London Shepherds Bush Empire - Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Pram;
October 17 London The End - Four Tet, Mouse on Mars, Max Tundra; with DJ sets from John Peel, Pram, Franz Ferdinand, Cinema & Manitoba
October 21 London Astoria - The Kills, Quickspace, The Blueskins;
October 24 London Electrowerkz - Franz Ferdinand, I Love Lucy, Block Party, Joy Zipper; with DJ set from Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai
October 27 London Shepherds Bush Empire - Stephen Malkmus, Quasi, Archie Bronson Outfit

Which is a pretty fine line-up by anyone's standards.

Under the same link, and quite briefly: The Fall have got a new album due on October 27th; and the Von Bondies have signed to Sire. We presume they chose that label purely to piss Jack White off. Because it's all about the Jack.

GREENWOOD GOES COXON: Now, we don't want to be seen as Casandras, but the news that Johnny Greenwood is about to release a solo album seems to us to be the first step towards the eventual disintegration of Radiohead. It may take another three or four years, but you mark our words - as soon as an integral member discovers what it feels like to make an album without having to listen to someone else's opinions on how he should be playing with his wah-wah pedal, you're into the endgame. Or at least looking like a little runt version of the band for the future (hello, the Blurs). It might be his solo album - called Bodysong, and some sort of soundtrack - that's being released, but really, it's preparing the ground for the Thom Yorke solo set sometime round 2007.

NOW OZZY TURNS LLOYD-WEBBER: Ozzy Osbourne is writing the songs for a musical about the life of Rasputin. We imagine that, in order to be as historically accurate as possible, Ozzy will be undertaking stringent research, which will lead him to conclude the following facts are known about Rasputin:

- He was Russia's greatest love machine
- He was the lover of the Russian queen
- He was a cat who really was gone

Shouldn't be too hard to knock up a song about him, then.

'ENTIRE RAP INDUSTRY DEAD OR IN PRISON BY NOVEMBER 2009', EXPERTS PREDICT: If things continue at this rate, anyway. Now there's a warrant out for Lil'Kim's arrest because she failed to turn up at court to explain the cannabis she was caught with in 1996. If she can't post bail, she'll go to jail, is the rhyming threat hanging over her. Good news for Joan Ferguson, then.

I'M YOUR MAN: So, Britney reckons she was the 'man' in the relationship with Justin, does she? And yet she claims she only shagged him - after three years - because she thought they were going to get married. That doesn't really sound very bloke-like to me, Britney. You don't see tear-filled eyes down the Hammer and Tongs as builders let loose the wail with a shaking sob: "I slept with her last now... and now she's saying she doesn't want to marry me at all. It was a ruse! All a ruse!"

Or maybe she just means she fucked him with a strap-on.

In the same ananova report we've linked to, they use the phrase "limpbizkit, the band formerly known as Limp Bizkit" - something I'd not heard before. Has Fred Durst really changed the name of his band simply by punctuating it badly? This is splendid news. We look forward to the announcement of his re-branding as freddur's T.

TAKEOVER: Now that Sanctuary have bought Destiny Child's management company, is there anything standing in the way of a Spritualized/Beyonce chirstmas duet?

BOB'S GOB: We're sure that when he condemns teenage girl's magazines, Bob Geldof is genuine - just as genuine as he is when he believes that George Bush is solving Africa's Aids problem. It's just that besides being genuine, he's also wrong and hypocritical.

See, if you suddenly stripped out the J17/Sugar segment of the market, where would girls go to get sexual advice? Instead of the 'yes, there is sex - but don't do it' messages which - if he'd bothered to read the contents rather than the coverlines - Bob would have discovered is the older teen mag's usual response, they'd be more likely to gravitate towards the adult titles. A sixteen year old girl isn't going to buy Go, Girl; with no J17, she'll go for the full Cosmo, whose message is more obviously "grab him, squeeze it in, and enjoy it." Or, perhaps, they'll turn to books, like 1987's Sex With Paula (Yates), the companion book to the TV series which saw Paula asking teen favourites about their sexlives in intimate detail - filmed when she was still Mrs. Geldof, of course. The trouble with Bob, of course, is that he's assuming that the magazines make young people interested in sex, whereas, of course, that's more down to biology. All the teen girl magazines do is try and channel the urges into a responsible direction.

But it's the biology that's the problem, isn't it, Bob? And this is where the odd smell starts to rise from his argument.

"There is something predatory because they are made by adult men and women. Is it because of my age that makes me feel they are wrong? I don't think so. I would have objected to them when I was 20."

Really, Bob? But how does that sit with your biography? I don't have a copy of Is That It? by my side (although I could try any charity shop, where it's a bit of staple) but I recall rather a lot about your early teenage masturbation experiments, and chatting with your mates about it. I also don't recall much in the way of condemnation of the actions of that older lady who grappled with you in her front room. (I must have been about fourteen when I read that, funnily enough). Ah, but that's different, isn't it? That's boys.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

'LACK OF EXPERIENCE' ONLY LACK: Capital might say that Johnny Vaughan's not having presented a radio show isn't a problem for his new programme for them - indeed, it's hard to see why this would be a problem anyway; doesn't everyone have to start somewhere? - but it's not actually true, is it? We can remember way back - probably when he was still co-presenting Naked City with Caitlin Moran - travelling through London by coach one Sunday morning and hearing him presenting a show on, we think, GLR (as it then would have been). He may well have been sitting in for someone else, but he made a pretty good hand of it, technically. Whether he's going to revive the feature, which lives with us to this day, where he'd encourage people to call in if they were having a post-curry shit that was uncomfortable (theme tune: Ring of Fire) is anyone's guess. London, can you wait?

TORI AMOS IS TIMOTHY LUMSDEN: Tori Amos has decided that she's a librarian, and that, therefore, her best of album is, um, a library.

Somehow, we don't think of Tori as a librarian - even although all the librarians we know are sexy and gorgreous, as soon as Tori says "Yes, I am a librarian" we have visions of her trying to hurry the tramps out of the Children's Section and breaking off from suckling a pig in order to stop Mr. Hughes from cutting the Times crossword out of the paper. But its a nice idea.

Monday, September 29, 2003

I wouldn't invite him to your house

Having survived the nightclub fire, the drummer of Great White has walked away from a three-car pile-up. We can't decide if he's leading a charmed life, or is just an astonishing Jonah.

[Updated 23/08/08 to reflect current site style; content unchanged]

ST PETERSBURG HAS SPOKEN: Just in case the law against assisting suicide didn't hold, St Petersburg, Florida have rushed through an emergency law to block the onstage suicide that had been planned for a Hell on Earth gig. It's going to be back to shoving rats in a blender for them, then.

JUSTICE RESTORED: Pete Doherty has won his appeal and had his sentence reduced from six months to two, in recognition of his prompt plea of guilty. This means he'll be out within a week, all being well. So we might see that Libertines reuinon in October.

INDIEOBIT: Sad news reaches us via James of

Top Welsh indie pop singer song writer Matthew Jay has committed suicide.

No joke, sadly.

Apparently he threw himself out of a window. Obviously must have been distraught at being dropped back in April and having his offical website being taken down.

No idea if this has been on popbitch or holymoly already. I doubt anyone on those sites cares... I saw him supporting Starsailer way back when and he struck me as half decent - my editor at the time fell in love with him and so I spent a great deal of my working hours listening to his 'Draw' album.

Googling on his name, we were a bit spooked that the second suggestion (after the now-sealed official site) was for a review we wrote of the band's (they had a PJ Harvey style naming convention) Summer 2001 gig at the Liverpool Lomax for Ink Magazine:

[...] Matthew shares that if next single doesn’t get a top 75, there might not be any more. But ‘please don’t send me away’ deserves much more than the shallows of that end of the chart – heartfelt and desperate, its fate should be under the skin, not skimming the surface. Sweetly, politely, but with a sense of time passing, this sums up the band’s message: there’s nowhere you can go where there’s nobody, but that doesn’t stop you being alone.

CARLY SIMON VERSUS THE LANDLORDS: We will, instinctively, side with Satan over a landlord anyday, and so we're cheering for Carly Simon in her fight with the owners of the Dakota Complex - but even so, we're puzzled as to why she felt the one-bedroom apartment needed two bathrooms. We're assuming that she means toilets rather than baths, which makes us concerned - is there a problem here, Carly? Should we expect a public leak?

PROOF YOU NEED TO GO A LONG, LONG WAY TO FIND SOMEONE WHO STILL LIKES DIDO: As stupid stunts go, the Dido either side of the Atlantic event must win some sort of prize - how much aviation fuel was burned up simply to allow Dido to do three songs in a London Virgin, and another three in a New York branch? Apparently the "specially chartered plane" carried just her and "one hundred specially chosen fans." The fact Dido can invite stalkers aboard an airplane and nothing untoward happens shows just how dull she is, doesn't it?

YES, THAT'LL WORK: Brilliant idea - Michael Jackson, keen to put the last couple of years and that totally unwarranted but difficult to shift stench of kidding fiddling behind him, turns to R kelly to help relaunch himself. We're guessing they'll be considering an R&B workout of Leader of the Gang.

NB: This story appears in The Sun, and so might have no truth in it whatsoever.

SHANG-A-LANG: Les McKeown has suddenly decided to pipe up about what a beast Bay City Rollers manager Tam Paton was, in a bid to flog copies of his new book ("to set the record straight"). "Paton tried it on with me, but I wouldn't enter his sordid world" he claims. "I have no time for people who fiddle with kids. I just don’t understand that stuff. I understand most things, but that one is beyond me."

RACHELWATCH: James Powell brings the latest example of Ananova's use of the mildest excuse to publish a picture of Rachel Stevens under the guise of news - hold the front page for her fear of toilets...

Sunday, September 28, 2003

SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD: The RIAA's capacity to consistently bungle its PR is almost incredible. Having fired off 261 writs, it now turns out they'd not even considered that the use of dynamic IP addresses by Internet Companies meant that using solely IP data to finger file sharers was a dodgy practice. But even when forced into a humiliating climbdown, they still can't resist being bolshy - so, while withdrawing charges against Sarah Seabury Ward, they can't actually bring themselves to admit they've made a fuck-up and apologise. The Wards don't have any filesharing software, and using a Mac aren't even able to get on the Kazaa network the RIAA announced they were using to download gangsta rap - but do the RIAA say "Sorry?" No, they say they're withdrawing the lawsuit "as a gesture of good faith" and then warn that they're still going to carry on investigating.

No, the RIAA. A sign of "good faith" is not withdrawing a totally flawed and baseless prosecution. Good faith would be if Ms Seabury Ward chooses not to go to her lawyer, and ask how her local paper came to be told that she was an illegal file sharer, and if she decides not to launch a defamation suit against you. We realise that you're now locked into this awful, awful course of action, and there's no way out for you - you may have some victories, getting students to pay you some money - but squeezing cash out of little people isn't going to make you look good. You'll certainly have more cases like this, where you'll wind up looking like a bunch of asses who haven't even bothered to check the basic details before going crashing into the courts demanding recompense for non-existent misdeameanours. Or you could just withdraw all the actions, but though it'll save your face from the drip-drip of bad publicity, it'll still make you look like a bunch of bungle-bounces. How has the person who dreamed up this line of action managed to keep their job?

MOBY OFFERS COLDCUTS: Tiresome advert soundtrack writer Moby has announced a new collection of leftovers, grouping together the bits that were too rubbish for 18. "We can charge tonnes of cash for this, and people will be daft enough to pay for it - and it's stuff that we thought wasn't good enough" ("It just seemed to make sense again because we had so much material that otherwise would never see the light of day") he gibbered excitedly.