Thursday, February 12, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: There's no q in sex edition
In the second round of the Men's weekly battle, the two sides fought themselves to a standstill, by both putting Jordan onto their covers. This week Zoo (or is it Nuts) has moved on to Beyonce, who at least has more to offer than just her ass.

The oddest front cover, though, has to be the new Radio Times, which has chosen to raise Billie Piper - yes, Mrs. Chris Evans - onto its front page, to mark her continued acting career. There was some sort of assumption that her role in Canterbury Tales was going to be the first step to big things, so RT is quite excited by the new project - almost as if it had never heard of Madonna, and Desperately Seeking Susan, and what happened next.

Back to the wankers for a moment, and Mark Thomas writes in the New Statesman about his decision to quit Zoo after one edition - apparently he had no idea that it was going to be quite so tacky. It seems he'd hoped he'd have been a moral compass in the romper room; instead he realised he'd be struggling to hook people's attention on globalisation in a sea of breast meat. Elsewhere in the Statesman, Rosie Millard announces that her journalistic role model was the teenage Julie Burchill, which is a bit like Miss Jean Brodie citing Rasputin as a formative figure.

And, welcoming John Squire's return to music making, John harris suggests that The Stone Roses were John the Baptist to "the more messianistic" Oasis, which is all wrong - the Roses, surely, were the Jesus figures; Oasis is more your Jim Jones - thought they were it, but everybody who followed them ended up dead.

As today's sales figures show, Q has really lost its way, and the current issue - the Sex Issue - shows quite how badly. It's not just lost its path, but it seems to have forgotten its name, misplaced its car keys, can't remember what it came into the room for and has no feeling in its legs any more. Of course, we'd cheerfully buy any magazine with Pink on the front, and the further the bra is pushing up, the happier we are, but we're a specialist market. Who reads Q now, and what do they expect?

Is Nicola Heywood, from Australia, typical? She writes an interesting letter about the White Stripes: "Without the White Stripes, nobody would ever have become interested in what was happening in Detroit. Personally, I think Stollsteimer's got a some nerve running around bad-mouthing Jack. If anything happens to Jack I'll never listen to music again. The bereftness after Buddy Holly, the numbness after Kurt, will be nothing compared to the gaping hole left in the music industry, and in the world, if anything happens to him." Got that? Jason really should shut up about being brutally attacked by the thuggish Jack, because Jack dying would be like the moment when Jasmine was taken away in Angel. Are Q readers all under twelve these days?

Kelly Jones thinks if the Stereophonics "stick around long enough" critical acclaim will come. Kelly, there isn't a long enough long enough. If you're expecting to get recognised as one of the great British bands, at the current rate of absolute sky canker you're releasing ("Moviestar... we know who you are" or whatever it is?) Sellafield will be safe for sickly children to go picnicing on before it happens. Oh, and if you really want to have a good excuse for slapping Kelly's squishy face when you see him next - and sure, you could just do it for fun - take his comments on Richard Branson: "Branson is cool, but he'd probably try to nick your bird." I guess wearing a pullover and entering into a business with noted homophobe Brian Souter would appear to be cool to someone who uses the phrase "nick your bird" without actually being in The Sweeney.

Offered straight or gay, Emma Bunton plumps for both; offered Jack or Meg, she chooses Meg. It's such a pity the new album sounds like a rushed house band trying to create some Baccharach feel without having to actually pay royalties.

Apparently, N'Sync are being sued for USD9.6 million by their former tour manager Ibrahim Duarte because he "endured constant slurs, jokes and belittling comments." And, presumably, had to see them playing live every night for several months. He's suffered enough.

Ronnie Wood has sold USD3 millions worth of his paintings - which is a really breathtaking amount, especially since he doesn't actually use platinuim instead of canvases.

A name to be taken: Cozmo Jenks. The woman who makes Jay kay's hats. Meanwhile, Q offers 12 steps to building the ultimate hair metal collection, which is like being told how best to give yourself crabs. And since when were The Cult hair metal?

Jack Black claims that tenacious D fans are more intelligent than those of Green Day. We'd like to see that tested, and we'd like to see it tested by asking them all 'is your favourite band real?'

Franz Ferdinand have a cute story about how they started: Belle & Sebastian's Mick Cooke gace Alex Kapranos a bass and told him to do something useful with it. So far, let's hope he's not disappointed.

Another Sid-dead-25-years-piece, this one by ted Kessler. Sid, you see, is Punk's greatest icon, although he got beaten in a broken bottle fight by Paul Weller - alright, so it was before Weller took to carrying an accordian and only wearing sports socks, but it's still a bit of a come down. He also promised to die before he was thirty "just like Iggy Pop." Really, his contribution to art seems to be little more than flicking Vs, and the quarter century of his passing will hopefully end the mistaken belief that he was an icon - because what do all these pieces amount to? "He couldn't hack it, had no ideas, couldn't play, killed his partner and killed himself." We're still not sure where the hero bit actually starts.

In what world was Phil Oakey's haircut bad? Nicky Clarke - a man who could play David van Day's twin without the need for any help from wardrobe - claims that Phil's iconic half bob was "ridiculous." And owed something to Bobby Charlton. Eh?

"I just thought 'this is like a surreal art project'... my whole five years actually felt quite smooth." Melissa Auf Der Maur talks about life in Hole as if it was holding down a day job on the board of a small provincial theatre, which it probably was, in a way. Apparently, Billy Corgan rang her up when she left Hole and said "the stars have alligned. You have to join my band" and she obeyed. Wonder if he tries t6hat with pizza delivery?

So, finally, Q slips its shoes off and talks dirty. It offers first a list of twenty songs to get you off - Whitesnake's Is This Love? Led Zepplin's The Lemon Song? I suspect nobody at Q has had need to add extra detergent when they wash their sheets in a very long time. Then we get an a to z of sex. A is for auto-erotic asphyxiation, B is for booty... Q is for Queer, illustrated with a picture of Rob Halford. Z? Zoophilia. The Anti-Nowhere League. Let's move on.

Some seduction tips now from Lionel Richie - "should you put out on a first date? Who knows? It's like downhill ski-ing" he claims, thereby rejecting the 'uphill gardening' model. But he gets plenty, apparently, despite the moustache so maybe we should listen to the man: "If you discover half way through you don't like her, you suck it up and gracefully find your way out." Of course it's out of context, but... exactly.

Would Pink think it easier to have a relationship with a woman? "Fuck, no; women like to talk about everything, way too much shit." It's worth noting that she treats the question about orientation with the same disdain as she would a question about her race; it's all mixed up, so what's the point?

So, onto the NME, which turned up late clutching a CD by way of apology - it's pretty good, too: von bondies, kylie, BRMC and, of course, Jet (they're determined to try and force them on us, aren't they?) The cover is a montage - of the magazine, we mean; they probably figure why bother wasting a great shot that won't add sales as much as the CD? then there's a second cover, inside the cover, which has Outkast on. If Paolo Hewitt was alive today, he'd be clearing his throat and asking if it's NME policy for black guys to only be on Page One when there's a wrap around hiding page one.

The big picture is apparently of the Rapture gig - little face in a crowd. As is getting to be a habit, it's a 'you had to be there' shot.

The NME tour is given a quick double page plug (although it's probably fair enough - 37,000 people saw the shows, or about one person for every two readers) and there's a small item about Courtney's diary - but it's almost as if the determination to try and offer a lot of news coverage (like a Sunday newspaper, breadth and context) as a reaction to the knowledge that The Kids get their news light and bright from their space computers has been abandoned in favour of just using the space to report on the NME's own doings - we thought it was just the time of year when the news pages shed; they're not growing back with spring on the way.

Peter Robinson meets Senior Junior senior, and tells him he's half the Bert and Ernie of dance. Senior is bemused, claiming they don't have Sesame Street in Denmark.

Brand New are the radar band, with a name that will hang around their necks like Bono if they make it past the five year mark. They do bristle when they're called Emo, so we doubt that it's going to be an issue, though.

Andre 3000 always calls his pants knickers now, something he's taken from British people. And Outkast want to meet the Queen. It wouldn't surprise me if the feeling was mutual - so many people spent the christmas period saying how much they loved Hey ya I'm sure it got a plug on the Message to the Commonwealth.

There's a random pop love generator thing which works by numbers - I shall ask my glamorous assistant to generate a romance. Ah: 88467 - marilyn manson meets two of girls aloud while they're working as waitresses in cocktail bars, chats them up with the line "whats French and does it doggy? moi" and it all ends when they spot him getting off with someone at a bus stop. What's really interesting is that there's a 'you' option, but only under the 'male' pool.

Liars deny they're goths. Nobody who has to say "we're not goths" are ever not Goths.

Posters have been replaced - for one week only - by valentines cards, because nothing says I love you like a picture of Fab ripped from a magazine.

the streets - astoria - "Skinner, still pushing things forward", 8
dogs - barfly - "a fearsome prospect",

various - the new cross - "unsigned bands. not shit.", 7
einsturzende neubaten - perpetuum mobile - "man versus machine versus nature", 8
probot - probot - "enjoy the darkness",8
preston school of industry - monsoon - "like the cure after eight months locked in a deserted nashville bathroom", 6

sotw - bubba sparxx - deliverance - "a real heart of uncertainty"
auf der maur - followed the waves - "FM metal juddering"

Pudgy faced love god James Walsh from Starsailor loves Celine Dion. Okay, he doesn't, he chooses Dion; the only thing he has in common with Bobby Gillespie.

And finally, Conor McNicholas popped up in media guardian this week, choosing the My Media stuff. He thinks that Blender has a lot to teach us (that putting half naked women on the cover of a magazine otherwise indistinguishable from mid-90s Q sells?) and that, online, he rates... erm, Which is a good rolling news service, but isn't a very imaginative choice.

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