Thursday, November 06, 2003

JUST IN: BBC News Online's ticker is reporting that the Sony-BMG merger is on.

SEE YOU IN THE NEXT LIFE: Just been announced that suede have, to all intents and purposes, split.

suede would like to announce that from next year they will be working on their own individual projects.there will not be a new studio album until the band feel that the moment is artistically right to make one.this announcement does not affect the forthcoming touring commitments. suede would like to thank the fans for their wonderful support over the years.

PRESUMABLY HE'LL BE HAVING TO TAKE THE BUS SOON ENOUGH ANYWAY: Now Micahel Jackson flogs his car. Whats kind of curious is that while the value of the Bentley has been boosted because he got the stars who appeared in his flop charity single What More Can I Give to sign it, the car itself appears to be being sold to boost Jacko's personal fortunes. Slightly cynical, you might say.

WE GIVE IT SIX WEEKS: but hats off anyway to the team planning to revive Creem and, more importantly, to bring back its satirical edge. You'll find the modern music industry just loves people snickering at it.

JUMPIN JACK SLASH: Stones boycott spreads south to the US. Jagger says, bemusingly, "I feel bad for the stores that aren't going to have the product but they have lots of other products, and music videos don't sell anything like movie DVDs." Erm... that's conciliation right there then - chin up, HMV, you weren't going to be selling thousands of the DVDs anyway. He could have added that Rolling Stones DVD do even worse business than music DVDs by groups who can't remember the Jazz Age, but for some reason chose not to.

Tower aren't going to black the band, says their man George Scarlett: "The fact that the Rolling Stones are going to bed with an electronics retailer shows how out of touch they are. Best Buy has done more than anyone to bring down the quality of music retail. But the band is a cornerstone of popular music. You can't just pull it off the shelves in a snit." There's nothing snitty, of course, by claiming that Best Buy has "brought down the quality of music retail" - and we're not sure what he means by that, unless it's their awkward habit of charging less for CDs than their music-only competitors. Scarlett also seems to contradict himself, suggesting that its out of touch to hook up with Best Buy, and yet also demonstrating that its Best Buy who are setting the current standards in music retail in the Americas. Clear?

SO, THAT'S ALRIGHT THEN: Courtney makes it clear that she's not addicted to anything too dodgy:

"I want to make one thing clear right now," she says in the new issue of Us Weekly, which hits newsstands this week. "I do not take narcotics. I have taken prescription pills, and I went to rehab once. I take Xanax that is prescribed to me, but practically everybody does that nowadays. But I do not take street narcotics."

Got that? Everything she OD's on, she has a prescription for, and/or is legally available over the counter. In Mexico. Must make Frances Bean happy when Mummy is turning her od into a game for her that she knows, at least, she didn't buy the drucks from a nasty street dealer (like Jack Michaelson, say) but was entitled to have them.

And, of course, "practically everybody is taking Xanax these days." I believe they're even going to sponsor the Olympics next year.

BOOKED: Kris Need's forthcoming Primals book is touted as being'warts and all' but is there any level of debauchery in the Primal's past that we don't know about? And if there is, one glance at the increasingly raddled face of Bobby Gillespie will fill in the gaps. We're imagining that this won't be the full, true story anyway - we're sure the crack and heroin and drugs and sex and bottomsex and Kylie and Kate Moss and guns will be dutifully recorded, but how much will there be about C86? Not much, we're betting. Gillespie amongst the cuties will wait for another time.

BRMC BROUGHT DOWN BY CRACK: You want loud? Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are so loud, they cracked the floor of Leeds Town Hall. That, Jets fans, is rock.

WE'D JUST LIKE TO MAKE THE OFFER: Pink can come and piss in our garden any time she chooses. Although we're not sure about the worldwide social worker thing. That just strikes us as a bit scary... like she's going to come round and try to get us to talk about our pee-pees and make us touch anatomically correct dolls. On second thoughts...

CAN I BE THE KNOB?: Robbie Williams is appealing for marks ("fans") who went to the Knebworth gigs to send in photos so that he can make a giant image of himself, to replicate the way he's taken their money and made a giant cock of himself over the years, we suppose. The resulting picture is going to be sold for William's doesn't like to talk about it charity Give It Sum, which means as well as providing the raw material for his DVD launch, fans will then be suckered into buying a 'charity item' that is also, of course, part of his promotional work. Neat-o, eh? We suggest if you got caught in one of the traffic jams caused by the concerts having been filled to the capacity of William's ego rather than the level they could easily cope with, you send in a photo of that.

THAT'S GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF KISS-KISS: It's not merely that Holly Vallance has got to pay GBP145,000 in lost earnings to Brad-from-neighbours, her former manager who she kicked into touch. She's also going to have to fork out interest and, alarmingly, his costs. Add to that her legal costs, and we're guessing that Miss Vallance is going to be open to any offers of work that come her way for the next few months.


I was in the war, you know

REM singer goes Percy Sugden.

GOLDBIT: Bobby Hatfield, out of the Righteous Brothers, has been found dead in his hotel room at the age of 63. Bill Medley, the other Brother (he wasn't really his brother), is said to be broken up and incoherent at the news. The band had been inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year, mainly on the strength of their two big hits, You've Lost That Loving Feeling and Unchained Melody. The band had split up in the sixties, but reunited in 1974 for the now irony-titled Rock and Roll Heaven and had been an on-off affair ever since. You've Lost That Loving Feeling is popularly cited as the most-played record in radio history, although judging by how Capital have been pushing Beyonce's latest we're not sure that its a record they'll be holidng for much longer.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: The Presentee Awards Edition:

In the Media Guardian, Dylan Jones - editor of GQ - cast his mind back to The Hit, which we were banging on about a few weeks ago ourselves. His invoking of IPC's short lived young bloke's weekly was in light of Project Tyson, EMAP's still-code named attempt to fuse Heat and FHM and get the lads into the weekly buying thrill. Apparently already nicknamed The Weekly Wank by disgruntled FHMers, we don't really think Tyson is going to be a Hit for the twenty-first century; part of the reason why it never made it into its third month was a tendency to be too wordy and thoughtful (it had a column by Tony Parsons and reviewed theatre) rather than giving space to High Street Honeys and soap actresses (although, of course, back then it would have been Annabelle Collins in her nightie) - in fact, we suspect Tyson will be less The Hit, more Hero. Hero, for those of you too young to care, was a very ginger toe-in-the-water by DC Thompson to produce a brother for its Jackie girl's weekly. Boasting a cover with, um, Glenn Gregory (even back then a star not so much nearing his sell-by date as already in the reduced to clear section), it never got past its first issue. Dylan Jones does, of course, do us all a favour by reminding us that Paul Weller was the first Hit cover star - he was also, if memory serves, the first person to appear on the cover of The Cover, the last-ever attempt to launch a proper music paper in the UK. That managed six weeks, we think.

Anyway, enough of the past. Bang up to date with Q. Britney Spears reckons she's about to knock the semi-naked photoshoots on the head, and that she can only get through them by necking eight cans or so of red bull before disrobing. By our calculations, following the bared bellies for the pre-album promotional tour, her body must consist of 73% by mass caffeine. If Red Bull really did give you wings, she'd be able to fly herself across the Atlantic by now. And here she is again, looking half undressed, on the Q cover. What is it with her and these odd clip-on tie things? She keeps wrecking a perfectly good near-nakedness by adding this accoutrement apparently stolen from the fish counter at Asda. Stop it now.

Jon Bon Jovi comes from the same town as Bugs Bunny [Perth Amboy, New Jersey] which delights him. He also invites Pelle from the Hives to suck his dick, which is an offer Pelle will probably turn down.

Apparently "all the best new bands are Canadian - the Stills, the Hidden Cameras and Broken Social Scene." So now you know.

Martin Trimble, 22-20s singe, thinks the blues are dead. (Presumably they just didn't wake up one morning.)

Offers you'd be best off refusing: 'Win a Kill Bill Holiday to Tokyo.' Spending money and bandages not included.

So, it's the Q Awards, and on paper the shortcomings are even more striking than in the reports - clearly, prizes were awarded on the basis of who'd turn up; and when they ran out of people who'd actually done anything this year, they made up any old award to give them.

So, Blur show up and - astonishingly - we're asked to accept that Think Tank is the best album of the year. Next year, Damon is releasing a demos albumk because he "wanted people to have an insight into the music-making process... to unveil it." Cheers for that, Damon. Next time you're in town, why not pop down and I can unveil my working processes to you, you twat. Because - and I'm guessing here - your songwriting process is to sit down with some drinks and a guitar and pen and paper, knock out the first thing you think of, sniff "Ha, well, doesn't matter what Mr. Coxon thinks anymore" and piss off down the pub and/or a wank.

What's the best single of the year? Check the RSVPs... and it turns out to be Dirrty by Christina. "Kissing a woman is totally different to kissing a man" she muses on her Madonna snog, "it's quite pleasant." This, of course, is absolute toss - especially when you're kissing Madonna, who has a tache that could rival Mark Lawrenson (and has firmer lips, too, we'd guess) and it seems to imply that Christina finds kissing men unpleasant.

Who's that over there in the dark? Duran Duran? Better give 'em a Lifetime Achievement award. Roger Taylor describes being back together as like "putting on an old pair of socks." Which isn't something you'd imagine Nick Rhodes saying.

Muse have turned up? Too young for a lifetime award, too quiet for a best of 2002 award... they'd better have an 'Innovation Award.' Matt says that he stinks of shit and really wants to see A Perfect Circle.

Also keen for an elsewhere, Perry Farrell is planning to head off for a bite to eat with A Perfect Circle (if only Q had thought, they could have tempted them with a prize, too.) Since the Lifetime Achievement has gone, Farrell has to be tempted with a 'Q Icon' award.

But that leaves Robert Smith. He gets a Q Inspiration prize. And moans on about being called goth. You should worry, pal. Wait until you get labelled nu-rock.

By the time Scott Walker appears (for his first awards ceremony since 1967) the names for the fake prizes have run out, so he's lumbered with a special award - which suggests, insultingly, that he's not an icon, inspiration, innovation or achieved anything in his lifetime. My Dad, when he was in the navy, lived through a period where the admiralty tried to boost morale by presenting almost every seaman with a medal. When asked what it was for, the reply would be "for eating spam out of tins." And, apparently, the food at the Q awards wasn't much better, either.

Now, to next year's runners and riders. Brody Dalle used to be convinced that the vacuum cleaner in her cupboard was Frankenstein's bones, and that the house in which she and Tim Armstrong lived in with was haunted. All of this seems to have got mushed together in the reasons for why the marriage failed. Brody takes pride that she stuck out the relationshipfor seven years, despite it being "a difficult fucking marriage, and a struggle for the longest time." It's this confusion between struggle and achievement which seems to be Bordy's defining characteristic (hence last week's NME interview where she seemed determined to portray her rise to the top as a battle).

Talking of people up against the wall, it's that Ryan Adams moment again. "New Orleans was the worst place ever to make a record... there's only two things to do in New Orleans - drink and die." He's only just getting warmed up - or pissed off - here. He's still banging on about the [B]ryan Adams jokes; a full column inch is burned up on it as he fumes that it's not even witty, apparently unaware that people no longer call for 'Summer of 69' because they think they've come up with a new gag, but because they want to see the (over-)reaction. Oh, yes, Adams is back, and he's a bigger jerk than ever. Bitter-beyond-belief about his treatment, he feels he's an "easy target - Fuck Ryan Adams!" Well, yes, Ryan, you are an easy target, but only because you make yourself one, with your silly tantrums, stupid fights with Jack White, not having had the balls to stand up to your record company when they release New York New York while the dust was still settling at Ground Zero... need we go on? Adams tries to explain away his erratic 2002 because "a friend of min was passing away, my mumwas sick... no-one bothered to find out what was going on... it was like 'fuck you - how dare you judge me.' Now, it's true that Adams had a shit year, and nobody would wish that on anyone. But to complain that people are judging you by your behaviour on stage and in interview is a little weak, Ryan. Nobody took the trouble to find out what was going on? If you wanted people to know, you could have told them instead of aiming broadsides at the White Stripes. But even then, at the end of the day, people are going to review your activity on stage, because they've paid to see you, or buy your records. Your life is hard? Fine, cancel the gigs. If not, don't look for special dispentation - if you went into a restaurant and got a pie that tasted like shit, you wouldn't say "Well, the chef's dad's got prostate cancer and his cat's been put down, I'll swallow this, shall I?"

Oh, an article on the Playboy Mansionzzzz...

It's probably just as well Michael Stipe stripped off for the REM photoshoot, when he meets Nick Duerdin he's "wearing clothes even Jarvis Cocker would baulk at."

Asked about Courtney, Stipe says "Courtney is every bit as intelligent as Peter Buck." Which probably means Buck should be restrained for his own good, as Stipe also says La Love is "fine."

["As Q went to press, Courtney Love's closest allies were set to stage an intervention" - didn't Courtney organise one of these for Kurt with, um, less than stellar results? And isn't the word "allies" rather than "friends" an interesting choice?]

Talking of friends of the rich and famous, Britney on Fred Durst: "He came to my house one time and then he left. After that, he continuously - almost every day, left a card in my mailbox." They ask Brit if she wants to be taken seriously. Her reply is "Oh, no. Once you need to be justified, you're setting yourself up to fail."

Reviews - Blink 182 - Blink 182 - "forgettable", 2 (remember - Q gives marks out of 5)
Ryan Adams - Rock & Roll - "isn't a bad album... but never stellar", 3
Ateed - Come To Me - "the Pringles ad singer", 2
Do Make Say Think - Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn - "happily, some wrong noises", 3
Kylie - Body Language - "the pop princess proves herself entirely at ease", 4
Pink - Try This - "a keen eye for the next collaborator to further her cause and the ability to sound like Pink no matter what shape her cause takes", 4
Beatles - Let It Be Naked - "stripped down, the songs are cruelly exposed as second raters", 2

Nick Cave would like to be a penguin.

The NME has got its second female cover in two weeks, which surely is some sort of a record for the last ten years. This week, thanks to our wonderful wife, we've consummated a twenty-year courtship with the title and have started to recieve it on subscription. Which means we're going to be doing these for the next fifty-two weeks at least, then.

The Big Picture is Queens of the Stone Age dressed for Halloween. Yes, it's a bit of a light news week - Coldplay have thrown away forty-two songs (by which we presume 'stored them up for b-sides, bonus singles and the inevitable box set in 2013) and, erm, that's it.

Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol does the CD - Stevie Wonder, the Kids From Fame (Starmaker rather than High Fidelity) and Blackstreet.

Peter Robinson takes on Daniel Bedingfield (played by Rodney Bewes). He wants to own a farm with deer on it, which is kind of sweet.

Radar band: Devendra Banhart. Oh, he's a *character*. Great. A one man Polyphonic Spree, a musical Simon from Brookside. A giggling George Harrison. That's what the world needs now.

Ben & Didz from Cooper Temple Clause like Oceansize - "their bass player John Ellis used to make music for fruit machines."

Kylie's manager moans that the national obsession with Kylie's arse is "ludicrous and poor journalism." Yes, we bet you sob over single column inch, don't you? I'd imagine even while you were arranging that lingerie photo shoot a couple of months back you were thinking "Ah, but will this serious attempt to raise awareness about thongs descend into pisspoor journalism about Kylie's arse?" - and when you were approving the design for the Tussaurd's waxwork, I can imagine you were fretting "what if the tabloids pick up on her arse being stuck up in the air rather than the serious attempt to boost tourism in London?"

Hundred Reasons are apparently only making as much now as they did in their call centre jobs - maybe, but you're able to irritate the fuck out of thousands of people at once now. We're hoping their label decide to outsource their jobs to India in the next couple of weeks.

Here's Ryan Adams again - "there are people who are gonna hate this record and kill me for it." Again, he talks as if this would be part of some anti-Ryan campaign, rather than perhaps some people will think its rubbish because, you know, it's a bit rubbish. "I will always," pledges Ryan, "be a student of Noel Gallagher." A man who thinks he has anything to learn from Noel is a desperate man indeed.

Posters - Adam Ant, Madonna, Thriller, Mozzer, The Cure, Miami Vice and Ghostbusters. It's the 80's, although for some reason it's a Look-In 1980s selection rather than an NME one.

lostprophets - glasgow garage (ah, a slight change from the Kings Tut lead-off) - "comebacks? piece of piss", 8
22-20s - manchester hop & grape - "a complete sense of unwavering focus", 9

pink - try this - "we're glad she's happy, but couldn't she have locked herself awat with some Sylvia Plath before recording it?", 6
rachels - systems/layers - "for the nocturnal suicidal in the city", 7

sotw - outkast - hey ya - "refuses to acknowledge the existence of either fashion or form"
britney - me against the music -"damper than a goose's gusset"

and, finally, daniel ryan of The Thrills loves Dexys. Kevin Rowland is "the nicest person I've ever met." We presume Daniel must be in some way agoraphobic.

THE ATTEMPTED RESURRECTION OF TWEEDY: Cheryl 'Bruiser' Tweedy has started to do the career-salvaging circuit of interviews following her conviction for punching someone's lights out. "I'm sorry to the fans and to my family and the other girls that it ever happened. I'm sorry that I went out that night" she told Five Live. That's a whole heap of sorry right there, although she seems to have neglected to have apologised to Sophie Amogbokpa, whose face she used as a punchbag. "The fans, the girls, everyone's been so supportive, it's been unbelievable," she said. "They've took the time out to sit and write letters of support." Bless, they've tooked out the time. Why, exactly, are they offering support? At this difficult time of having been found guilty of an unprovoked violent assault? Yeah, we find that unbelievable, too, you know.

GMTV asked Tweedy if she accepted her conviction and she replied "Yes." They didn't think to ask her how come she and one of her band mates had come to be lying under oath about it, though, which seems like a spot of journalistic laxity.

SORRY, THAT WAS MISJUDGED: Montreal lawyer in trouble after being heard singing 'I shot the Sherrif' as he left the murder trial. His defence was that it was the "story of his client." Although the Marley version didn't have a verse about hiring a jackass as a brief.

HAR MAR VLADIVAR: Vladivar Vodka sign up Har Mar Superstar and, erm, a giant pink unicorn to try and promote their rather nice drink. While we don't begrudge HMS the chance to make a few bob off his comedy personna, we suspect this marks the end of anyone taking him seriously. It's like the moment when Al Murray signed up with Sky - the carefully created comedic alterego blown apart in the name of commerce.

Talking of HM, he also turned up at the Kelly Osbourne album 'launch' do (according to Popbitch). Now, we know that the album is really a pawn-move in a long-term game to get hold of the Black Sabbath back catalogue, but the turn out for its birthing - "her cousin Terry off the Salon, Har Mar Superstar, Chris out of Menswear, and er, I think that's it" - surely shows the games' up? You've more chance of reading a newspaper story about Royal Aide Michael Fawcett than seeing anyone buying a copy of whatever its called.

THIS IS AKIN TO DARIUS DATING ZARA PHILIPS: Australian Idol loser wins date with Paris Hilton. The people who didn't even get through the first stages win three dates (Boom, and tish) [Thanks CFB again].

IDOL THREATS: You'd imagine that, since Granada managed to make it work, the Pop Idol format would be pretty idiot-proof, wouldn't you? Except not in Australia, where a last minute pull-out before the Australian Idol finals has thrown the whole thing into turmoil. Cosima DeVito - who we suspect might just be one of those subversives - walked thirty minutes before the show was due to air, leaving Channel Ten trying to work out how to soothe viewers demanding voting money back; others wanting to know how the Cosima's votes were looking before she quit, and the prospect of having to abandon the programme with two weeks left to run. The network is refusing to reveal just what the final votes were in the show and are offering to refund to people who send their phone bills in - which sounds like an administrative nightmare (and what will they do about people with Pay and Go mobiles?), but the whole thing must be a total nightmare for them.

Cosima DeVito, you have won our undying respect. [As does Claire Flynn Boyle, who brought this to our attention...]

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

BRITS OUT: Britney's pulled out of her gig presenting an award at the MTV thingy - which seems to be coming from an abandoned freaking circus tent. Probably afraid of Madonna turning up with a strap on.

LIKE NINEPINS...: After the Evanesence split, Alien Ant Farm guitarist Terry Corso has walked out of his band, too - maybe there's something in the water - or, more likely, people are starting to sober up and realise what they're actually doing for a living. Has anyone rung Blink 182 yet?

GIVING AUSTRALIA A MISS: Curious, isn't it, that Limp Bizkit haven't managed to schedule a single date in Australia as part of their South East Asia tour. Not the first time Limp have kept out the country, of course - you'll recall that Fred Durst only agreed to give evidence to the inquest into the death of a fifteen year old girl during their Big Day Out set via a videolink. It's almost as if Durst is scared of setting foot in the country (or "jurisdiction", to give it another name), isn't it? I'm sure that would have nothing to do with the coroner at that inquest calling his actions 'alarming and inflamatory', or Durst's attempts to try and shift the blame onto others despite the evidence of him encouraging the fans to goad the security guards who were struggling to help people caught in the crush. Or the extraordinary business of the claims that the band had been to visit to girl, Jessica Michalik, in hospital which were just lies? Or perhaps just the awkward question of why the band fled from the country instead of waiting round to help the investigations? None of that, I'm sure. It's probably just they couldn't find a venue.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE: Ben Moody has walked out of Evanescence halfway through a European Tour. We believe the correct word for when this happens in a pro-God band is 'schism'.

JUST BEFORE WE SUE THEM, CAN WE DRAW UP A PIE CHART OF WHAT THEY'RE LISTENING TO: Clear Channel and 'most of the labels' are using file-sharing networks as a research tool. Of course, this might make those people who've already handed over thousands of dollars to the bullying RIAA wonder if they've not been a little duped, as if the labels' position that filesharing is bad is such an Old Testament-style truth, isn't using the data generated by the networks like including shoplifted CDs in the Top 40? Indeed, isn't it a little bit twisted to be suing people for using a service that your own marketing department is happily embracing? 'Twisted' as in 'stinkingly hypocritical', of course?

"We're definitely using it as a tool. It's just part of a bigger trend of the labels using real data to figure out marketing plans as opposed to radio charts, that are not tied directly to consumer information," said Jeremy Welt, head of new media at Maverick Records, a Time Warner label. [...] "It's unfortunate that all this file sharing is happening and we have to see all the music that is being taken, but at the same time we have to look at it from every angle. We'd rather get this data from legitimate digital sales and stores, but we're in a transition phase right now."

I could be wrong, but isn't that an executive with one of the largest record companies saying that file sharing - far from being a threat to the future of the music industry and set to condemn pretty young popstars to hunger - is merely 'unfortunate' and 'a transition phase'? Doesn't this really undermine the moral tone of the RIAA campaign? And does this mean that you're okay to download providing you also fill out a form to allow the industry to track your taste?

DANGLING FROM THE CLEF: It turns out that David Sneddon's glorious prize wasn't even the slightly disappointing award it was meant to be - the original plan had been for the Tartan Clef to go to Rod Stewart, but despite Mr. The Mod's constant moaning about how nobody gives him awards for anything, he couldn't be fagged to go to Glasgow to pick it up, so instead they handed it to the first Scottish person prepared to make a quick dash back on a Virgin Westcoast train. Okay, not "quick."

In other rock-gong news, we're delighted that one of the people being used by The Guardian in their campaign to lift the secrecy in the honors system is Sting. The paper wants to know exactly what it is the phrase "for services to the music industry" means - apparently, there would have been a hundred word citation produced to argue that Sting is worthy of his title. Could it have been the rhyming of 'Nabokov' and 'cough'? The advert for the luxury car? Or is it merely the Queen, too, has dreamed of blue turtles ("except in my dream Philip shot them.")?

Monday, November 03, 2003

WHO CAN YOU COUNT ON?: We've been wondering a bit about the accuracy of Rajar figures and the effectiveness of its 'writing down on bits of paper' methodology ourselves, of course, with its unlikely claim that nobody listens to 6Music - and Kelvin McKenzie has had his own quibbles, which he is about to bring to court in a bid to demonstrate that his TalkSport network is more popular than Rajar would have people believe. With the whole organisation about to have its very methods called into question in front of judges, and many watching eyes, you'd expect Rajar to be hammering together a united front, wouldn't you? Erm... except Managing Director Jane O'Hara has quit to go sailing.

THAT'S NOT REALLY A NEWS STORY, IS IT?: Kate [Moss] flashes flesh in chart bid - maybe if you added 'for the first time this month', you'd have something...

SNEDDON WINS MAJOR, MAJOR PRIZE: Ha! Are we looking silly now, having suggested that David Sneddon was a washed-up nobody whose career had stalled like a 1970s Marina in a very deep ford. Then he only goes and wins a Tartan Clef. Yes, that's right. Oh, you neither, huh? Apparently it's given to Scottish acts who promote Scottish music - other winners this year were Runrig (of bloody course) and The Cosmic Rough Riders. It's funny, we always thought that Scottish rock was in a really healthy state... then an awards ceremony like this comes along and it makes you wonder if Stuart Adamson had the right idea.

WE'RE SURE HANDEL IS DELIGHTED: Handel has picked up a 'best classical' award at some godawfulsounding hell-pool of advertising and music people sucking each other off and chanting how frightfully clever they all are. The Velvet Underground's I'm Sticking With You won the best not-classical use of music in adverts - although we think it rather gives the lie to Barbara Zamoyska, film and TV music head of Universal Music Publishing when she says "music is 50% of the overall effect of a commercial and these are perfect examples of music and visuals working together" that, although we remember the song being on the ad, unbidden we couldn't have told you it was for a Hyundai car of some sort. Which would suggest to us that it didn't actually work at all well.

WELL... AT LEAST THEY'VE NOT GOT MICHAEL MOORE INVOLVED: Stipe, Moby and, erm, Frank Black are looking for the best anti-Bush advert. Now, while they've got their hearts in the right place, are those three going to really be the best judge of an advert to win over political waverers and those who might be starting to wonder if the War on Terror might not be quite what it seems?

Oh... hang on Moore is one of the judges, it turns out: "Hey, this ad has a great idea, but how about some shouting? I could do the shouting."

NO JAM TOMORROW: Paul Weller has announced that he's doing alright, money wise, right now ("Weller dismisses Jam reunion rumours".) Since he's being old Jam songs again live anyway, it's hard to see why he'd want to bring the other two along - we calculate that it wouldn't treble the price of a ticket, so it'd wind up costing him money having to split everything three ways.

SHARON STOPHIE ELLIS BEXTOR: We know it's - in most senses - a cheap shot, but... Sophie... it's too easy to lose that reputation for being prim and proper, you know...

it's too cold for dressing like that

Click here to see why Janet always told you to sit with your knees together - not office safe

LOCAL COPS ON A GLOBAL STAGE: We loved that Scotland on Sunday thought to ask the Lothian & Borders Police if they were going to raid the MTV European Music Awards what with all the drugs and so on, but we liked deputy chief constable Tom Wood's response, too: ""The law is no different for them as it is for anyone else. Just because they are from Hollywood doesn’t make any difference whatsoever. We will police accordingly but I’m not going to discuss any detail of operational plans that we have. Our job and our role is to make the event go smoothly just like Hogmanay and the Tall Ships events go smoothly." There's just so much that's brilliant there - from the sniffy implication that 'we're not impressed up here with you emimeminems and your kelly minogues, we've had the tall ships' to the confusion that the MTV people are coming from Hollywood - it's MTV Europe, Tom. They come from Camden. Although, admittedly, Camden is more rotten with drugs than LA is, so I guess he was just trying not to frighten anyone.

EMI HAVE A SPARE BILLION QUID?: So, it's looking increasingly likely that EMI will be buying up Warners, bringing a billion quid we could have sworn they didn't have and their skill at laying off staff right across the world to the label.

And as EMI-Warners starts to take shape, the might of Sony and BMG are starting to mull merging together their music concerns - if they can get it past the European Regulators (the EU is really sharp on stopping record labels merging, in case it becomes anti-competitive, like the labels don't already act as a massive price fixing cartel anyway.) Big Five the Big Three by this time next year?

Curiously, as it looks more and more certain that Warners will cease to be a stand-alone operation (or as Stand-alone as you can get in the belly of the TimeWarner beast), Madonna is getting more and more edgy about the future of Maverick, her vanity label that has managed to keep bubbling along off the back of Alanis Morrisseyette. Madonna, reckons the Mail on Sunday, wants to buy Warners out of the label - she's "afraid" that the change in ownership will give management the opportunity to shunt off the creaky loss-making concern to where labels go to die (Pye in the sky?) ("the new owners won't be interested in investing in the label in the same way").

Sunday, November 02, 2003

MAYBE SCOTT HASN'T QUITE GOT THE POINT OF CHARACTER WITNESSES: Drugged-up junkoid Scott Weiland wasn't ripped off his tits when he crashed his car and drove off; and we can take the word of, erm, his mate Slash for it: "SLASH called today to correct the record. He said to tell everyone that Scott did have the accident and did attempt to leave, but he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol." Jesus, we wouldn't take Slash's word for it if he told us what the time was, even if he had the backing of a Mickey Mouse watch and the speaking clock, so we're not sure why having a man whose grasp on reality is about as firm as The Queen's handshake vouch that he wasn't pissed is meant to work - "Scott pissed? He was about as pissed I was..."

THAT'S SHAME: We're betting Bryan "Baby" Williams is red-faced at his unpaid jewellery bill being made public - after all, he's only being sued for USD80,000 - what sort of rapper is he, only spending that on his bling?

CALIFORNIA GET SCHWARZENEGGER: ... Princes Risborough has to make do with Jay Kay, who has thrown his 'weight' behind a new housing project in the Buckinghamshire town. We know we're running ahead of ourselves here, but we're just concerned that maybe he's sniffing the possibility of a political career when his music career runs out of steam (i.e. from about three years ago.) JKMP? Oh god... it makes the prospect of Howard as Prime Minister seem almost desirable.

DELTA SKELTER: It would be incredibly cynical to suggest that the only reason Delta Goodrem won so many awards at the the ARIAs the other week was because of her beating cancer - certainly, without her comeback from the big C, it's hard to see what would have inspired anyone to give her seven prizes (on this basis, Natalie Imbruglia would have had to be awarded a giant golden statue of herself and allowed to have sex with anyone Australian she chose). Of course, the survival is good news all round, but it's lead to a wonderful spot of bother with her manager. It's now reached the point where he's taken to complaining bitterly about only getting the very briefest of mentions in the thank yous at the awards - Glenn Wheatley moans "I was not thanked properly at the ARIAs. That's a fact. And that didn't go unnoticed by the entire f---ing music industry. One cursory throwaway line: `Thanks, Glenn.' Who was that? Was that a Glenn? Was that the manicurist?" Erm... since you'd already had a massive falling out, I'd say it was probably over generous. Besides, shouldn't the real star of the night be those malignant little cells?

What makes this all doubly splendid is that Delta thinks Wheatley was spending too much time working on his other client's career: John Farnham. Even in the age of air travel, Australia remains a very, very far away land, doesn't it?

BUT YOUR LIFE DID INTERSECT BRIEFLY WITH SOMEONE QUITE FAMOUS: Fan meets Jane McDonald: "I think what I like about her is that she just seems so normal. She's just an ordinary person who has done well for herself. You can really relate to her... You want to meet someone but then are afraid they will not live up to your expectations." So... you were afraid that Jane McDonald might not live "up" to being ordinary? How can you actually let someone down when they're only expecting you to be humdrum?

WHEN TRIBUTE BECOMES INSULT: They've just added Kid Rock to the Johnny Cash 'tribute'. Yeah, that's what he would have wanted.

PLANE TRUTH: One of the great truths of the Rock Age is that, really, it would have been shit without air travel. Can you imagine the Beatles turning up by boat in the States? Or how many international touring acts would be fagged to go to Europe if they had to spend three weeks chugging across the Atlantic before turning up at Southampton? Okay, without air transport Phil Collins would only have been able to do one set at Live Aid, but no leap forward is without complications. And think further: No I'm Mandy, Fly Me. No Daniel by Elton John. No Leaving on a Jet Plane, no Jet Plane Flying High Above Me. Steve Miller would never have sung about Jet airliners, and it would have been a scheduling nightmare to be A Star In New York and A Star In LA. Primal Scream wouldn't have had to worry that landing at Luton wasn't rock and roll enough for them, and Cats UK would have been spared the need to make a novelty hit about the same place, ooo-eee-ooow. Rock needs planes and airports.

So, you'd think, a big bash to celebrate one hundred years since the first ever flight would be knee deep in musicians wanting to acknowledge what the overcoming of gravity had done for them, wouldn't you? But instead, the line-up can scrape up the Beach Boys the Temptations, Aaron Tippin and Lee Greenwood. Oh, and Michelle Branch. It's all a little, well, BOAC, isn't it?