Wednesday, November 03, 2004

In today's Guardian, Alexi Petridis reports on the UK's first-ever mobile gig or something - a stunt by the people at 3, still half-heartedly trying to bark up the extra features of their video handsets despite pretty much having given up on the multimedia elements of their offering in the commercials. He reported the gig - by Rooster, which shows how little 3 were spending on this - sounded like you'd imagine if someone sang down the telephone.

In the same paper, a name from the past - unless it's a different Tommy Udo contributing a letter about how his grandfather used coca-cola to loosen tight rivets, it's a return to the public prints for a former NME man.

Talking of returns, NME carries an article by David Quantick, although it's part of the Peel Memorial and from 1989. Steve Lamacq also returns, for the same reason. The paper has done the man who once dressed up as Jesus for their Christmas issue well - the list of people shuffling through to pay tribute is astounding: they even get a quote from Noel Gallagher, a man whose music we're sure never even made contact with the rag-tag end of a Peel playlist ("he will be sadly missed" was Noel's opinion, which shows why he can't afford to let Liam take on singing duties - not with an ear for a unique phrase like that).

Lamacq says when Radio One axed the Evening Session, he sought out John's advice: 'He said "look at me, I've done virtually every slot on the network, in terms of evenings, afternoons and weekends, and now I've ended up right back where I started."'

Jarvis Cocker says that the news of Peel's death made him feel "abstract... I guess you always expected him to be there because he seemed quite old even when I was a teenager"; Fergal Sharkey pops up again to remember Teenage Kicks.

It's slightly disappointing that the most crackling edition of the paper in ages - prossibly since the Quantick eats camembert with Peel article first ran on his 50th birthday - needed a death to drive it, but it just reflects again the extraordinary influence of, and affection for, Peel.

Elsewhere, there's a sense of an above-the-game issue: possibly because there's been no need for filler. Eminem's foray into politics with the Bush-baiting Mosh - fat lot of good you did, fella; Handsome Boy Modeling School passes judgement on Damon Albarn: "He crosses the fine line between rugged handsomeness and grungy handsomeness. But hey, he still smells good." And there's Le Tigre (although slightly disappointing to think that modern readers of the NME incorporating the Melody Maker need to have what "riot grrl" was explained to them).

devendra banhart - shepherds bush empire - "even pulls off a 20 minute reggae jam"
ian brown - brixton carling academy - "best gig ever"
scissor sisters - swindon oasis leisure centre - Rich Pelley does indeed take his mama: "it's a bit like being at aerobics"

britney spears - my perogative - "confused, jaded and bored", 6
john lennon - acoustic - "interesting, if unnecessary", 8
jukes - a thousand dreamers - "You can practically hear pages of The Guardian turning", 2
xavier - xxx - "hooking lazily around Italian house chords and 70s basslines", 7
totw - eminem - mosh - "still an immensely powerful piece of music"
the used - take it away - "better than anything else on this putrid turd of an album"
gwen stefani - what you waiting for? - "makes you feel sick all the way through"
bright eyes - lua - "the finest wet boy we've got"
u2 - vertigo - "four blokes in a small room making a killer racket"

on the back page there's an ad for Vertigo, funnily enough, and everything about it makes me want to rip up the paper, were it not for it being the Peel Special and so needing to keep it in a box wrapped in tissue paper. But the advert... it's made to look all fly-poster, cheap printed, scuzzy, even although you know it's probably had more design cash poured into than the rest of the magazine, and probably every pair of trousers I've ever owned. And there's a "buy all three formats for six quid" offer in there, too - surely the closest you can get to actually rigging the charts without actually offering a free fiver in each "maxi CD" (what the hell is a maxi CD anyway?). The whole thing stinks of desperation - desperation to seem cool, to seem relevant, to be popular. The funny thing is, if they weren't trying this hard, they might actually be cool and relevant and even more popular.

Finally: A better ad. A full page, just a picture of Peel, what the Coporation call "the BBC blocks" and the lines he wanted for his gravestone: "teenage dream's so hard to beat." Of course, the Tories would probably insist it was a terrible waste of licence fee payer's money. Which is why they get the offers from Busted instead.