Saturday, August 21, 2004

DOES AXL ROSE REALLY WANT ORDINARY PEOPLE RUINED?: Obviously, you'll have noticed that there's no great love for the RIAA and its self-appointed sister organisations around the world as they attempt to stamp out file sharing with heavy-handed legal action and ludicrous demands for compensation. It's worth taking a moment to look at the case of 36 year old Ross Plank, who - fair enough - had downloaded songs. The RIAA are forcing him to pay USD11,000 in "damages". They found evidence of "hundreds" of songs. Maybe. Let's say he had 1,000 songs on his computer, shall we? That still works out at "damages" of eleven dollars a song - or twenty-two times what Real is currently charging for a single download. We're really not sure how the RIAA can get away with this - straight-faced lying about how much damage each individual download does to its interests. We can't understand how the loss of earnings generated by a single download can be more than the download is worth. Well, actually, we can: people are being bounced into settling for absurd figures because they're scared. Plank had to take out a second mortgage to keep the RIAA happy - a second mortgage to pay for a few hundred downloads; a second mortgage to pay for a few hundred bucks worth of recordings. All being done, claim the RIAA, in the name of the artists. But which artists really want people to have to put their homes at risk? Is this what David Cassidy wants? Or Axl Rose? Is Moby happy with this?

US District Judge Nancy Gertner is certainly alarmed at the way a big corporate body is attempting to drive all over ornery folks:

"I've never had a situation like this before, where there are powerful plaintiffs and powerful lawyers on one side and then a whole slew of ordinary folks on the other side."

In an America that's recently seen the Worldcom and Enron scandals, is there anyone who actually believes the RIAA is playing fairly here? Isn't it about time the ridiculous, medeaval demands of the Big Four record comapnies be reigned in? Punishing copyright violation is one thing, but wrecking people's lives over a handfull of songs? It's going too far.

SEARCH WENT "TOO FAR": As the Jackson pretrial rolls on, workers at the Neverland Ranch have claimed that the police search of Xanadu went beyond the terms of the warrant. They're suggesting that the warrant left off some rooms and that the cops never bothered to get them added, but just went through them anyway. the Sheriff deputies counter-testified that this was about interpretation of the warrant and that, in their opinion, they were allowed to go through the disputed office. (Again, we're a little confused as to why the jackson defence think getting some of the evidence ruled inadmissable is going to help him clear his name - if there's stuff that has a big question mark left over it after the trial, he's always going to be followed by whispers.) The pretrial carries on after the weekend.

COURTNEY BOTTLES IT - BUT CLAIMS SHE DIDN'T BOTTLE ANYONE: Now serving Courtney Love court report number 73: at her ex-boyfriend's house. Outside the court, she described having the State of California take her on as being "scary." "I just want to play music," she explains, although since she's managed to fill a lot of her time wandering about shouting and punching and smashing and snorting, we're not entirely convinced.

WRONG WAY ROUND, SURELY?: While we quite like the idea of a Darkness/Ash tour, we're a little bemused by the headlining of the Darkness over Ash - although there's also rumours of The Wildhearts being involved, and we're just hoping that they don't get stuck in between the two bands that people would want to see.

WORST ROCK STARS EVER: A list of bad rock stars that starts out by suggesting that Fred Durst would be too easy a choice is a list that demands respect, so we're happy to tip our hat to Something Awful. Doctor David Thorpe has produced a list of the ten worst rock stars, using careful and considered criteria to produce a definitive rundown. The notes for each provides ample justification for his choices, but the headline listing is:

10. Johnny Rotten
9. Shaun Ryder
8. Lenny Kravitz
7. Axl Rose
6. Liam Gallagher
5. Steven Tyler
4. Morrissey
3. Ted Nugent
2. Bono
1. Jobraith

AND WE'D HAVE TO SAY: WE AGREE WITH HIM: Having worked with many people over the years, Paddy Maloney from the Chieftans is in a good place to judge on who the best collaborators are. In his opinion, Don Henley was alright, because he gave them good food, but the best people to work with? The Muppets.

Friday, August 20, 2004

THE CHEEK OF IT: The Cheeky Girl's mother, Margrit, reckons the collapse of Telstar has cost the Cheekoids half a million quid, and that as songwriter, she's GBP700,000 out of pocket. There's something depressing in the thought that the Cheeky Girls have racked up a couple of million in earnings; although its amusing to think that a company has burned through all that cash trying to prop up Victoria Beckham's career. Mind you, it's an ill wind: apparently, having bust her label, all the free time is letting Victoria germinate another baby in her inner parts. Luckily, the Cheeky Girls have chosen to set up their own label rather than spawn.

VERY. PRECISE. TERMS.: Apparently, amongst InStyle's awards this year, there was a category sexiest singer/designer. Apparently it's J-Lo, whose design work we would suggest involves little more than going "Uh-huh" when some people show her the rubbish that's going to be marketed under her name, and a bit of negotiation about her cut. Gwen Stefani was runner-up, and - god help us all - Mandy Moore, who is neither sexy, a singer, or a designer, came third.

NICE WORK: Beyonce Knowles - who, apparently, wears a wig a lot of the time - gets paid USD4.7 million for her L'Oreal contract. Ten day's work a year. We bet she chuckles as she banks the cheque, gurgling "because I'm worth it." Every time. L'Oreal have the right, under the contract, to carry out an inspection of her hair, but they have to give her two week's notice - presumably to allow her to grw it back if need be.

MAN! I FEEL LIKE A RAMBLE: While the British legal system happily rolls over and lets the glittery dazzle of Madonna's fame allow her to take a large chunk of open country and make it her private property, the New Zealanders aren't quite so sappy. The Overseas Investment Commission has told Shania Twain that if she wants to lease land on the South Island, she'll have to open it up to public 'tramping' rights.

We're sure she's delighted.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

WHITE STRIPES TO SPLIT: Oh yes, apparently our dream of Meg White's Solo Circus is a step nearer. The Stripes? They're going out on a high. How do we know? Ben Blackwell says so, and he's Jack White's nephew. Although he actually concedes that he's not spoken to Uncy Jack about this, and all he's going on is stuff he's heard in Detriot, which means that, erm, actually, this isn't even first hand gossip. "Oh, yeah, and don't go into town on Friday - this bloke says he helped a guy pick up his shopping, and the guy said... where are you going? Come back... there are aligators in the..."

HARD WORK BRINGS ITS OWN REWARDS: Apparently Moby has been working really hard and now has three whole albums ready to go - all he has to do is decide which one to release first. Probably shouldn't ask us - we'd suggest 'the one that sounds least like you made it' - but surely the process is to send all three to advertising agencies and let them decide. Isn't that what you normally do?

FULL CIRCLE: Sad news from the States, as Dan Fogelberg is in the advanced stages of prostate cancer. Although Undercover reports him as "dying", Fogelberg seems a bit more upbeat, at least according to his own website:

"Dan has been recently diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and has entered treatment. He apologizes for any inconvenience the cancellation of the concerts may cause his fans. Dan is confident he will be able to fight this illness. Your prayers, good wishes and positive thoughts will be very much appreciated."

DASHES TO ASHES: Excitement on the Ash front, with announcements of a new single and a European Tour. First, those tour dates:

08.10.04 - Paris, Trabendo Theatre
09.10.04 - Luxembourg, Kulturfabrik
11.10.04 - Frankfurt, Batchkapp
12.10.04 - Essen, Essen Rock Festival
13.10.04 - Kiel, Max
15.10.04 - Oslo, Rockefeller
16.10.04 - Bergen, Hulen
17.10.04 - Bergen, Hulen
18.10.04 - Stavanger, Folken
20.10.04 - Helsingborg, Tivoli
21.10.04 - Goteberg, Sticky Fingers
22.10.04 - Berlin, SO36
23.10.04 - Hamburg, Markthalle
25.10.04 - Halle, Easy Schorre
26.10.04 - Prague, The Roxy
28.10.04 - Nurnberg, Hirsch
29.10.04 - Graz, Orpheum
30.10.04 - Linz, Posthoff
01.11.04 - Vienna, Arena
02.11.04 - Munich, The Backstage
03.11.04 - Lindau, Club Vaudeville
05.11.04 - Zurich, Abart
06.11.04 - Berne, The Bierhubeli
07.11.04 - Turin, venue tbc
08.11.04 - Milan, Magazini Generali
09.11.04 - Modena, Vox Club
11.11.04 - Toulouse, Havana Cafe
12.11.04 - Madrid, Arena
13.11.04 - Barcelona, Bikini
14.11.04 - Bordeaux, Cat
16.11.04 - Brussels, Botanique
17.11.04 - Amsterdam, Paradiso

... and then the single details: It's out October 18th and called Renegade Cavalcade. It'll be released in formats.

ARE THEY STILL GOING?: Apparently Virgin Radio is still on the air, and they've just signed one of those deals that looks more than a little rushed to ensure that the history books will insist that Virgin was the first radio station to broadcast a download chart in the UK. Although Virgin's run down will only feature the top twenty tracks downloaded by Napster users - which, in old media terms, is like drawing up your list of best selling singles on the basis of what's selling well in John Menzies. Of course, Chief Executive of Virgin Radio, John Pearson, doesn't even drop a hint that he's launching a chart which ignores iTunes and OD2, the two leading download companies:

"This groundbreaking chart with Napster puts Virgin Radio at the innovative edge of the radio industry. Napster is the premier online music partner in the UK and this is the first step in what will become a much broader partnership."
He said Virgin Radio's 4.4 million listeners were more au fait with downloading technology than those of any other radio station, with the station's research showing they were more likely to purchase tracks online and more likely to own an MP3 player.

Curious that a station which relies mainly on the old medium wave for its transmissions is making such a bold claim about its audience - they've all got MP3 players but they're listening to a radio station which is primairly a service that isn't even listened to in stereo? But then again, anyone who believes that Napster is the "premier online music partner" rather than an ill-judged attempt to revive a defunct brand name probably hasn't got the tightest grip on his cue cards.

LET JACKSON SING: Michael Jackson has asked the good Judge Melville to let him make a statement about his "msitreatment" at the hands of the police at the time of his arrest. He claims to have a Carefully worded statement that won't prejudice the case, and, frankly, we'd love to hear it. Apart from anything, we're curious how he can explain a man with a dislocated shoulder managing to wave furiously with both arms.

OPEN AND SHUT CASE: So, it turns out that the Times' excited story about a bloke who bought a suitcase in Australia which was full of Beatles recordings is up there with the Sunday Times' Hitler diaries and anything you hear on Fox News as being a big pile of rubbish. Pete Nash, a Beatles expert, has looked in the suitcase and found no Lennon-McCartney marvels - there were no tapes in the case, and everything else seemed to be clumsy copies. Mind you, if the phrase "this is just a clumsy attempt to pass something off as a genuine Beatles article" holds any water, the British Hit Singles people should be knocking off the points for Free As A Bird from the Beatles' total, too.

ELLISON TO THE RESCUE: We'd really to believe the story that Jennifer Ellison saved a small child from being crushed to death by an elephant, but we don't. Because if a kid fell off an elephant during a ride, surely it's not going to roll into the path of the elephant? We do believe the comment from the British tourist in Thailand who told the press the parents "didn't recognise Jennifer" - with her permatan, Sluttern At C&A wardrobe and bucket-to-face make-up, they probably thought she was a ladyboy.

THEY'RE GONNA PUT WELLER IN THE MOVIES: In perhaps one of the least enticing offers we've ever heard, people are being invited to take part in a text-in competition to sit in a small room listening to a giant Weller playing his songs. Apparently, "selected" cinemas will be holding a screening of a concert film, and if you text 'RAGGEDY OLD PISSPOT' and your postcode to 88080, you might be dragged from your bed at midnight and forced to watch the movie. There will be no popcorn.

Okay... maybe you're meant to text PRIZE WELLER instead. But try going with the pisspot thing, see what happens. It might be a secret prize.

A LITTLE MORE ON REAL: Furdlog provides an excellent what happened next on Real's faux-consumer campaign to try and force Apple to let them have access to iPod technology. For a start, their call to arms managed to stir up a load of pro-Apple postings on the supposedly independent freedomofchoicemusic site, which meant the ability to comment was yanked - freedom of choice, it seems, is one thing; freedom of speech quite another.

Meanwhile, we're still wondering about Real's desire to ensure that music be totally free: is this the same Real who sued Streambox when Streambox attempted to offer a product that would allow people to choose how they wanted to listen to streaming media?

THE COMEBACK TRAIL IS LONG, BUT WIDE: Although, really, JimBob, once of Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, never went away. He's announced some UK dates for November, which will all be in aid of promoting Angelstrike, a new album of stuff. We've not heard it, but we're guessing it'll be chock-full of puns.

RAPID EAR MOVEMENTS: Your first chance to hear the new sound of REM - new single Leaving New York is being streamed online [Quicktime format].

GIRLS ATUMBLE: Thank god for Nadine Coyle - if it wasn't for her swift thinking when Nicola Roberts "fainted" on a rooftop, Roberts could have plunged to her death. Coyle saved Roberts, and thereby saved us from the horror of a National Period of Mourning and a State Funeral. Nicola recalls the moment whe she looked into the eyes of the big D:

"I don't remember how it all happened - it was all a bit of a blur. I was already feeling faint as we were wearing winter clothes and it was boiling hot weather. All I remember is getting my heel caught in the railings, then losing my balance and Nadine screaming as she caught me in her arms. Nadine and Kimberly pulled me away from the edge and al the girls sat me down and were worrying about me. It was terrifying I couldn't stop shaking for a couple of hours."

NEXT WEEK: WHAT IF CHRISTINA AGUILERA RAN THE NEWSAGENTS?: Business Week's David Gumpert ponders what it would be like if Britney Spears Ran Your Local Deli - inspired by a song by folk artist Andrew Kerr (which, from the pieces quoted by Gumpert sounds like Eminem's Stan without the reply). Oddly, Gumpert doesn't seem to have discovered that, while she's never run a deli, Britney did run a restuarant (into the ground, as we recall...)

MOGWAHHEEEY: Good news for people who like grim news - Mogwai are releasing a BBC Sessions album covering stuff from 1996 - 2003 in October. We're guessing this won't actually be aimed at the Christmas market, although, if your granny does like Mogwai, we'd love to hear about it.

I CAN FEEL IT COMING IN THE AIR TONIGHT: Here they come, pitching for the Christmas market, the old geezers and rough diamonds hoping that their compilations might make it in to a parent's stocking. Phil Collins is striking out early with Love Songs, a frankly puzzling collection of live stuff, rarities and "his best ballads" - presumably the ballads are there to provide "songs people have heard of" and actually shift the otherwise afficiando-only double pack. We were going to try and use the name of the record as the basis for a crap You Can't Hurry Love Songs pun, but, frankly, Phil Collins isn't worth the effort.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Declaration of war
We're now at war with Belle and Sebastian. The reason, as you've probably already guessed, is the feature on 'records you're ashamed to admit liking' from the Guardian Guide. Most people tried to answer the question and keep their cool intact, so Tim Burgess chose A Song For You by The Carpenters, a band so "uncool" they had a whole album of tribute songs recorded by the likes of Sonic Youth in their honour; some actually did own up to liking something truly terrible - our mucky little daydreams about Charlotte Hatherley have taken on sinister overtones in which she breaks out Paul McCartney's Say Say Say to create the mood. But Stuart Murdoch? His shame - his need to confess - is to liking Tallulah Gosh by Tallulah Gosh. He does ruefully admit that there's an element of the pot calling the kettle black involved here, but even so: Tallulah Gosh is nothing to be ashamed of. Tallulah Gosh is twice the men you'll ever be. They are all pleasure, no guilt. They are pop, and the pop is good.

Talking of pop, it's time for the twenty quid music prize again, this year coming with a lavish brochure to promote the shortlist. Most spoof awards ceremonies are usually dedicated purely to the debunking - the Razzies, the KLF's Turner Prize alternative. What makes the pj.c20qmp unique is that while it cocks its snook in the direction of the slightly more well-funded Nationwide Mercury award, it's motivated not by malice but pure love; love of the single as an art-form, and the love of pop as a force that makes your life better, if only for as long as it takes to dance about waving your fag in the air and spilling your drink. The brochure - some say programme, some say collector's edition magazine - interviews each of the shortlisted makers of the contenders, and asks a bloke with an accordion to choose his favourite. It manages, along the way, to show the current slew of "proper" pop magazines for the poorly-written, uninspired works they are. And they even make us change direction entirely and consider doing rude things with Will Young and Cheryl Tweedy at the same time, which is quite a feat. Cheryl apparently once saved a dog from some bad boys who were going to kill it, which... excuse us while we wipe a tear from our eye. Unfortunately, neither of their singles are any cop, so we're backing Sweet Dreams My LA Ex, because it just is the best single of, like, since Tallulah Gosh, probably. Rachel Stevens is pretty honest about what she brings to the song, too: "A good song is a good song... a lot of the time it doesn't matter who's singing something, as long as it's a good song." Which, we'd suggest, explains Whole Again, too.

The Top 10 Stage Sins and Crimes. It can only mean one thing - it's Observer Music Monthly time again, although it can also mean that they're already running out of ideas for their top tens. The number one is Bowie being hit in the eye with that lolly - although since that was an accident, and it was thrown from the crowd, so we're not sure how that's a stage crime at all. What about L7 tossing tampons out at Reading audiences? What about anyone - but especially De La Soul - making festival audiences sing bloody rounds?

Patsy Kensit reveals she puts on Strict Machine and pretends she's Debbie Harry - well, at least she's doing it in the privacy of her own home these days and not at the front of Eighth Wonder.

The Record Doctor visits Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who reveals a murky indie past - although not that murky; he knows the difference between 'Between The Wars' and Paul Weller. The doctor hits his spot with NERD, Skinnyman and Four Tet, although Guru-Murthy worries they might be a bit pretentious.

"You can't hear a catsuit" says Justin Hawkins, defending the Darkness as being more than a spoof act. Actually, you know, you can, if it's properly tight and made from the right material. As a girl faints just from being near him, he muses that "they wouldn't look twice at me, if I wasn't famous", while Dan - having been thwarted in his attempts to buy a belt he likes - observes that he's been getting his way too much because he's been put in a mood by being told "No." They seem - as a group - to just about be keeping their feet on the ground.

Mary Lou Lord pops up as part of a feature on buskers - you'll recall her, of course, as having been the woman in Kurt's life before Courtney; Courtney, certainly, has never forgotten. She seems to be a lot happier and more in perspective than the woman who came after her, and then went for her.

"When my mother died, it was because she finished her time on Earth. I know that when I die I'll see her again, so how can I fear death?" says Fela Kuti. Depends, I guess, on how you got on with your mother.

Paul Morley has seen the current Coke advert: "She sings, insipidly, the 1954 protest song 'I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free' that the fabulous Nina Simone would make her own. A song that was once a powerful, delicate cry for equality and freedom has its guts ripped out and is presented as if it Coke that can be the ticket to a higher spiritual place."

Howard Marks goes to Manumission, which, if they had managed to persuade him to carry a traffic cone and a poster of Bob Marley, would have been the most studenty thing ever.

It's a special V Festival preview NME. We know just blurting that out is going to have you abandon your monitors and rush down to the shops to pick up your copies straight away. There's The Killers on the front, too, you know.

There's a meeting of Manchester legends Ian Brown and Noel Gallagher - Noel does the guitar on Brown's new single, and they were making the video. A kid mistakes Ian for Liam, which is funny. More closer to the current year, there's a picture of Michael McGaughrin, who was the inspiration for Franz Ferdinand's Michael. Cute enough, we guess, but he does have that slight air of someone who'll be banging on about themselves the next morning while you're trying to dump them.

Peter Robinson takes on Natasha Bedingfield, managing to confuse her by asking her if she got permission from the copyright holder to put her own album onto her iPod. She seems easy to confuse - "you've got to put all the names in and everything." Or... you could use CDDB...

Kaiser Chiefs go to Moscow with radar in tow.

There's a big picture of Brandon Flowers from the Killers standing in a lily where the stamen would be, which makes him actually being a kind of floral penis, doesn't it? He aims to "beat U2" by getting his songs as part of the collective psyche, which is better than trying to beat U2 by getting to lick the assholes of the leaders of all the countries with permanent seats on the UN Security Council.

Hope of the States' Sam had a teenage drug hell - or, rather, a teenage drug purgatory, but he doesn't want to talk about it. The Kings of Leon, however, are more than happy to talk about Mushrooms. Apparently they saw a man piss himself on them, and that's enough for them to Just Say No.

Mani turns up alongside Kasbian, which gives him a chance to sound off about Ian Brown's "reclamation" of the Roses' back catalogue: "he could have phoned me - I'm a better bass player than the one out of Fools Gold. And prettier."

The votes were counted, and these were the eight posters chosen by readers: Razorlight, Matt Bellamy, The Killers, The Streets, Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes, Pete Doherty and Morrissey. No Charlotte Hatherley, then? That'd be the Paul McCartney effect.

curiosa festival - new york - "[Robert Smith] cements his status as an icon for a generation"
lcd soundsystem - ibiza - "the 80s viewed in a mirror warped by the 90s"

soulwax - any minute now - "solid but conservative", 5
the rocks - asking for trouble - "throw this lot on top of the bonfire", 3
30 Odd Foot of Grunts - other ways of speaking - "Russell Crowe's voice is pleasant, but his songwriting sucks", 3

sotw - the dears - we can have it - "optimism, light, joy"
jet - cold hard bitch - "All Right Now"

and finally, Johnny Borrell from Razorlight chooses his 'Why I Love' band... it's the Kinks.

SCOUTING FOR BOYS (AND GIRLS): We've always managed to set aside our feelings of ennui at yet another act named after a character in To Kill A Mockingbird (Boo Radleys, Atticus Finch, The Tom Robinson Band) just enough to not hate Scout Niblett; luckily, she's rather good; equally luckily, there's a couple of free MP3 downloads from her available over on at the moment. But, as I'm sure her mother must have asked, what's wrong with Emma? It's a lovely name.

FRED DURST'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Fred remembers when he was young:

learning was something that couldn't be forced, but well recieved when actually penetrating an interest of curiousity pertaining specifically to me and my own mind.

I remember telling one of my own teachers that, I do...

WRENS SINGER GOES SOLO: Before No Rock regular Becky Bamboo panics too much, although Charles Bissell is planning to do a tour of the US of his own, he's not lightening up on his work with the Wrens - indeed, they've just expanded their North American tour dates as well.

for those of you on the correct side of the Atlantic, these are the Wrens dates:

August 20 Denton, TX - Hailey's
21 Austin, TX - Emo's
31 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom (w/Travis Morrison and the Hold Steady)
September 04 Boston, MA - Middle East Downstairs
10 Seattle, WA - Crocodile Cafe
11 Portland, OR - Berbati's Pan
01 Chicago, IL - Logan Square Auditorium
02 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
13 New York, NY - Knitting Factory *
06 Halifax, Nova Scotia - Halifax Pop Explosion

... while Bissell solo can be seen here:

August 19 Chicago, IL - Schubas
24 Baltimore, MD - Talking Head
25 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
26 Atlanta, GA - Earl
27 Athens, GA - Caledonia
28 Winston Salem, NC - The Warehouse
September 21 Rochester, NY - Bugjar
22 Buffalo, NY - Nietzsche's
23 Pittsburgh, PA - Modern Formations (w/Fiery Furnaces and White Magic)
26 Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's
04 Iowa City, IA - Gabe's Oasis
05 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry

They might get to play Britain some day. If Becky lets them have their passports back.

LEE FAILS TO INSPIRE: Liz McClarnon, who, you know, is probably going to sign a record deal any day now, has made it clear none of the songs she'll have on her album have been inspired by Lee from Blue.

Of course not, Liz, because you went out with Lee, not the people who are actually writing the songs for you.

STUNTS ON THE STUMP: Isn't democracy great? Marilyn O'Grady (like Dr. Fox, she insists on the "Doctor") has cooked up a splendid idea to try and raise her profile in the current election race: she's taking on Bruce Springsteen. Obviously, her unpleasant policies (anti-gay unions, anti-abortion, anti-all them strangers from foreign countries coming in to blow up god fearing Americans, anti-anti-anti) are only going to attract attention from other people who wear burlap sacks and sleep with their hands outside of the blankets at night, so she's cooked up a scheme to try and boost her profile: Ban The Boss.

"He thinks making millions with a song-and-dance routine allows him to tell you how to vote. Here's my vote: Boycott the Boss. If you don't buy his politics, don't buy his music," the ad says after detailing a handful of allegations against Springsteen regarding his lack of support for former President Reagan and incumbent President Bush.

Interestingly, O'Grady kicks off her explanation of why she should be sent to the Senate with details of how she's done eye-surgery and runs a small business. We're not entirely sure why Springsteen's biography (generating massive sums towards the nation's GDP, employing thousands of people across the year on live shows, etc) should be considered unworthy of making able to suggest an opinion on the election, while O'Grady seems convinced that having corrected a few squints means she's the right stuff for making laws. But thanks for pointing out Springsteen's "lack of support" for Reagan - that makes him seem a whole lot more attractive as a political spokesperson to us, if he's been doing it so long.

MAKE TRADE FAIR: News of a big charity gig at the Hammersmith Apollo - Make Trade Fair Live is an Oxfam bash featuring Razorlight and Jamelia with this well-intenioned aims:

Make Trade Fair LIVE has been organised by Oxfam to highlight the impact of unfair trade rules on poor farmers in the developing world. Oxfam is working to make trade fair and lift people in the developing world out of poverty.

Thirty quid gets you a seat, twenty five a standing position and it all takes place September 14th.

REAL AND FAKE: We're a little bit bemused by the decision of Real Networks to cut the price of their downloads (America only, of course) to 49 cents a pop in a bid to compete with Apple and the 79 cent iTunes. Since we know that Real is losing money on its full-price downloads, it's clear they can't afford to keep the price at that level forever, so where's the value of this offer to them? Either people will follow the lowest price - which means that when Real stops taking the enormous hit 49 cents suggests, and returns its price to normal, they'll disappear; or else people won't be affected by price changes, which means that they won't swap from iTunes anyway. If Real had a gloriously well-thought out offering, then the low price might work to tempt people in and then their magic could get them to stick - but, clearly, people have already decided that the Real store isn't worth paying extra for so it's unlikely the stunt is going to do them any long-term good. And, with Real predicting a loss of five cents a share for just the third quarter of the year alone, it could be a move which breaks the company for good.

If that doesn't, their other stunt deserves to:, which pretends to be a consumer-driven campaign, but makes a pisspoor job of covering up its actual nature - it's a Real Networks advertising campaign to try and put pressure on Apple to allow iPods to play downloads from all sources. (Generally, of course, organisations which use the word 'Freedom' as part of their name or slogan represent the polar opposite of freedom - see The Freedom Association) Real, of course, is on shaky ground when it starts to complain about nasty technology companies not allowing their competitors access to their players - unless I've missed something about their plans to make .ram and .rm and all their technologies open source? And to pretend that Real are in any way interested about Freedom of Music choice when their own downloads come with DRM to stop you exercising your freedom of choice to share music you've bought with your friends, the way you might have leant out CDs in the past, is a bit rich as well. The other curious thing about Real's ongoing battle with music players is the strange little blind spot they seem to have in making their downloads work across all players, as you can spot in their press release:

With Harmony Technology, RealPlayer Music Store supports more than 70 secure portable media devices, including all 4 generations of the iPod and iPod mini, 14 products from Creative, 14 from Rio, 7 from RCA, 9 from palmOne, 18 from iRiver, and products from Dell, Gateway, and Samsung. Generally speaking, Harmony supports any device that uses the Apple FairPlay DRM, The Microsoft Windows Media Audio DRM, or the RealNetworks Helix DRM, giving RealPlayer Music Store support for more secure devices than any other music store on the Internet..

No mention there, or on Freedom of Music Choice, about Sony's portable players. But then, of course, Sony also has control of lots of the tracks that Real needs access to. Even when you're only pretending to be a consumer pressure group, you don't want to piss off the people you need to do business with.

[Thanks to Alan at ACME for the Freedom link]

JACKO SETBACK: Despite bussing in the whole damn family, Michael Jackson's bid to have evidence seized from Neverland ruled inadmissable has failed - although his team are going to be allowed to challenge individual items on a case-by-case basis. They've got until tomorrow to come up with a list of what they'd like to see excluded.

FRANZ COCK UP: Franz Ferdinand were thrown into a last-minute frenzy by the sudden realisation their plans for the new single, Michael, would fall foul of the arbitrary BPI chart rules. The band's mail out explains:

Due to a rather silly schoolboy error, we neglected to realise that the inclusion of 3 tracks on both CD single formats would mean that Michael CD2 would become chart-ineligible. Victims of ours and Franz's own generosity (lavishing 5 new B-sides on their fans across all the formats), we would like to apologise in advance as CD2 will nowbe re-packaged and released without the offending third track, Tell Her Tonight (Paul Sings).

Tell Her Tonight (Paul Sings) will instead become available for download as a high quality free mp3, from the Franz Ferdinand and Domino websites, as of today. The new Michael CD2 will still feature Don't Start on the B-side.

So, it's an ill wind that blows no good, as old ladies would say as their hats disappeared over the hedgerow. Free Franzies for all...

SOMETIMES, PEOPLE THROW UP BECAUSE THEY THROW UP:To be honest, when we heard news that Christina Aguilera had made a car screech to halt so she could rush out and throw up we didn't think "she's pregnant" - nor, come to that, did we assume it was part of a modish Hollywood diet. We just thought that she'd heard about Madonna being prone to carsickness yesterday and and jumped on the bandwagon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

FRED DURST'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Fred Durst turns his thoughts to birthdays:

i do not like birthdays. it has been this way for me as long as i can remember. i do not like recieving gifts either. it makes me feel very uncomfortable. i really enjoy giving gifts and surprising people though. i cannot figure out why this is. as a little boy i loved surprises and presents. my son loves them as well. i guess i'm gonna have to figure it out later.

He also posts that junk email that claims " it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae." We think it probably sums up both his hardcore fans, who've littered the comments with "wow, that's amazing and so very true" type wide-eyed enthusiasm, and Fred's intellect that he seems to really believe this obvious wasp toss. If it were true, Countdown would be a hell of a sight easier and dyslexia wouldn't be a problem at all, apart from anything else.

INEVITABLY, THE BITCH IS BACK: We bet you hadn't even noticed that Meredith Brooks had disappeared, had you? If you stretch your mind back a bit you might remember Bitch - "I'm a bitch, I'm a mother, I'm a child, I'm a lover" - from 1997. Yes, that one. Bloody irritating, wasn't it? Now she's back with a new album, Shine. The quality of the new stuff is probably best guessed when you know that Dr Phil has adopted the title track as his new "anthem."

PROBABLY TOO NERVOUS TO ASK FOR SINGING LESSONS AS WELL: The quality of Christina Aguilera's judgement has never been great, but it's getting poorer and poorer - now she's asking Holly Valance for acting lessons. Clearly, never seen Neighbours.

TIGER ISLAND: Coming up on october 19th [US release date] is a whole new album from Le Tigre, This Island. Before this, they're sticking out a single, New Kicks, a sampley-audio documentary thing dedicated to getting Bush out, featuring Susan Sarandon, Al Shrapton and Ossie Davis, amongst others. It's kind of like a political version of Chas and Dave's Snooker Loopy. Meanwhile, they're also preparing to release superior versions of their entire back catalogue. Expensive times to be a post riot grrrl fan.

MADONNA IN MANCHESTER: REVIEW OF REVIEWS: The New York Post seemed convinced that Madonna would rather have been anywhere but Machester, but Manchester was falling over itself in excitement at her return to the first place she played in the UK. Ah, but now the place where she first kicked her heels, the Hacienda has been de-built and replaced with nasty little flats for people with lots of money but no soul. Actually, that sounds like Madonna's sort of place nowadays. The Manchester Evening News seemed puzzled by it all:

On stage, a soldier struggled to escape from a cage while the screen behind him showed a woman in flames, then a George Bush look-alike kissing a Saddam Hussein lookalike. What did it all mean? That war is bad? Or merely that, like a Madonna concert, war is spectacular? [...]But she strives ... to make the pop concert into supreme art and theatre. In that respect she falls well short of such conceptual geniuses as Peter Gabriel when it comes to putting on a gobsmacking and thought-provoking show.

"Less good than Peter Gabriel" is pretty damning in anyone's book. Like the MEN, The Times reached for the old stand by of giving it three stars out of five, the reviewer's shrug of the shoulders in headline form.. The Guardian's Dave Simpson gave her an extra mark, but seems equally puzzled:

" However, it's impossible to pin Madonna down: a Kabbalah convert who sings "I'm not religious" beneath images of Christ; a hit machine who mixes classics (Papa Don't Preach, Like a Prayer) with stinkers (Hanky Panky); a multimillionaire Material Girl who has no qualms performing John Lennon's Imagine."

- although, to be fair, Lennon wasn't exactly living on a bench in Central Park when he wrote Imagine, either. It seems to be the rich hypocrite's song of choice - let's hope nobody walks too far into Madonna's occupied chunk of the British countryside singing about no possessions and a brotherhood of man.

At least, asRadio One reported, the fans were happy:

"After she finished the concert with 'Holiday' we got the reaction from the fans, which included 'totally fantastic', 'awesome', 'electric' and even 'the best thing in my life'." As we've suggested before, what might be more telling is to ask the fans what they thought the show was worth - remember some of the tickets had been changing hands for silly money. Really, really silly money.

The Swabische Zeitung knows what's most important, though: It headlined its report "Madonna Starts Re-Invention European Tour in Kilt." I guess we should be thankful she had a skirt of any kind on.

ONE IN THREE: If you think the pop press is in a poor state at the moment, give it a couple of years and you could be left with even less choice. New proposal s governing the way magazine distribution works threatens up to 1000 magazines[Media Guardian free reg required], according to the Periodical Publisher's Association. At the moment, there's just over three thousand consumer titles available in the UK. Of course, the closures would be across the board, but with several music titles looking a bit shaky, it could be enough to kill a few of them off.

NOT DOIN' IT FOR THE KIDS: How fortunate that Kylie is thinking of giving up music to concentrate on motherhood, just as her sales curve has started to head downwards. Nice timing.

Coming next week: Dannii Minogue announces her intention to swap music making for slightly smaller, less attractive children than her sister's.

IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR: We've been consulting our fairground experts as to whether or not the appearance of most of the Family Jackson at Michael's hearing yesterday constitutes an actual "sideshow" or not, and their judgement is that, unless there was the smell of frying onions and a booth telling fortunes, it doesn't quite make it. Having said which, it came damn near close. We can';t help wondering if the idea of turning up in a double decker bus was inspired by the Partridge Family or Summer Holiday, but it suggests that negotiations are already far advanced for selling the rights to the musical. Packing the courtroom with the scarily-similar looking faces of the Plastic Surgery Family Jackson to stare unblinkingly at the judge sounds as if it might have be an idea cooked up by Michael's good friend Uri Gellar ("and if that fails, we can try bending the prosecution's spoons..."). Nothing very much happened in the courtroom itself as the hearing got underway; it looks like its going to take its time. The double decker might wind up appearing on the timetables.

SUBS' BENCH: If Chris Woolstenholme's wrist isn't ready for the V festivals, his replacement on Muse's Bass is going to be Morgan Nicholls, richest from ("best known for") playing with The Streets. Sources - and you know how sources talk - suggest that Chris will still be involved in some capacity; we very much hope he'll be flouncing round the V showgrounds in a wedding dress screeching "It should have been me up there, me me me...", but it's more likely to be a tambourine, isn't it?

DOHERTY'S MORRISSEY INFLUENCE: 'I'M CHANGING MY PLEA TO GUILTY': Well, this time, Pete Doherty turned up at court to answer charges relating to carrying knives.

GO BACK TO WHAT YOU KNOW: Depending upon your level of cynicism, Embrace playing Bradley Woods Scout Hut in Brighouse is either an exciting guerrila gig in an unlikely location, or Embrace getting a booking worthy of their profile.

COURT DATE LOVE: A date has been set for the illegal possession of drugs trialin the busy legal life of Courtney Love. She's still not quite got the hang of not pissing judges off, though; when Judge Elden S Fox asked her if September 30th would be acceptable, she replied "I don't know." She had what was described as a consultation with her lawyer (taking, we imagine, the form of him saying "Don't piss off the dude with the high chair and the hammer" over and over) before saying her thank you very glads.

SOMETHING FOR THOSE GUNS WITH THE BUILT IN MP3 PLAYER: Napster is doing its bit to help the brave Americans fighting for [insert something people might for here]. It's offering a staggering nine cent discount on downloads made by members of the armed forces. It's unclear if this generous offer will be extended to wounded veterans or suriving relatives.

THEY'VE CHANGED THE NEIGHBOURHOOD AGAIN: Out go the google ads, in come this bar just above our heads, which we think we'd like more if it didn't remind us of the Xoom Bar. (Or the NBCi bar, as it became, shortly before we were all thrown out of their servers forever.) As part of the overhaul, it looks like there's something gone wonky with the links...

SHYNE OFF-LINE: If you thought the American jail authorities were being incredibly laid back about the dozens of interviews and even phoning in raps from his prison cell, it seems they might agree with you. Shyne - banged up for his part in the P Diddy/J-Lo shooting incident - is being investigated for over-enthusiastic phone usage; apparently if there was a rule for prisonners use of phones available, he was breaking it. Now his phone must remain silent while they investigate.

OH, FOR THE LOVE OF NIXON: The Manics have announced more details of their soon-to-be-with-us new album. Life Blood will be out October 4th, preceeded by The Love of Richard Nixon on September 27th. Looking over the list of other tracks on the album, it seems almost as if they've been competing to write songs with titles that sound like Manics songs:

A Song For Departure, 1985, Firefight, To Repel Ghosts, Emily, Fragments, Askew Road, Solitude Sometimes Is, Glasnost, Always, Never, I Live To Fall Asleep, Cardiff Afterlife, Empty Souls and Litany.

It's all there - the one with the sweeping statement about eternity (Always Never); the one with the foreign name (Glasnost); the 'despair is me' one (I Live To Fall Asleep); the 'did we mention we're Welsh?' one ('Cardiff Afterlife'); the 'haha! famous name in unusual context' one (... Nixon); the clumsy attempt at anthem (Song for Departure).

We're interested to discover Askew Street getting a mention, as that wasn't far from a place we used to live (although we were surprised there's only one in the whole of the country, according to MultiMap). If we were in Liverpool now, we'd be beating a path to pinch both street signs, ready to have them up on Ebay for the start of October...

WELL, IT KEEPS HER OUT OF OUR HAIR: Celine Dion is making plans to extend her run in Las Vegas until at least 2009. Now, I know what you're thinking, but she hasn't been heard asking us to pass her love on to a non-existent doggy*, so we can only conclude that she's decided that Vegas is a place where she feels at home. And what does that say about here?

* - this will, we promise, be the extent of obscure Buffyverse references for the week.

IF YOU'RE NOT ON THE BUS...: Curious, you know, that with all the faith Madonna is putting into "natural remedies" she can't even climb aboard a London bus for fear of throwing up. That really doesn't sound like testament to a healthy body, healthy diet to us. But we do now really want to get her on a cross-Channel ferry.

"PLEASE, PLEASE HELP ME": We're delighted by the news that Louise, aware that the rush of time has been heading in some other direction, is sniffing round Rachel Stevens hoping to score a career saving duet. We can see what's in it for Louise... for Rachel, though?

OH GOD, IT'S POD: The first of what we're sure will be a long stream of solo records from the members of POD is due next month, when Jason Truby releases String Theory. He's not even an original POD spod, having only been with the band a year. The album is made up of 25 songs on 19 different guitars, which is less a concept album, more an eagerness to be thought of as talented akin to that which sunk Emma Thompson's sketch show.

ROCKOBIT: Sympathy to the brothers Cester from Jet; their father John Cester has died following a battle with cancer. Chris and Nic had put the band into a holding pattern in order to spend as much time as possible with him during the later stages of his illness.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The new threat to record companies: The CD covermount

Oh, for god's sake. Now parts of the music industry are moaning about the free CDs given away by the papers at the weekend. The Music Managers Forum - no, we hadn't, either - have wailed that it sends a message that "music is cheap and disposable" and is begging its members not to allow their artists to be used in the promotions.

MMF chairman John Glover told BBC News Online: "Music is valuable, you should be willing to pay for it. The message you get from a newspaper is music is free. It devalues all of our artists' catalogues. "It's madness - I don't know why our industry does this. That catalogue will be worth nothing in years' time because everyone will have got it for free. "I have now got here a massive collection of these free CDs," he said. "They're fantastic CDs but almost every artist I've ever managed since I started managing back in the 70s is appearing on these."

Glover was one of the people behind Victoria Beckham's solo career, so he knows about devaluing music. The thing is, of course, that he's wrong on two counts. First of all, most of the free CDs that come with papers are either fairly rubbish, or, in the case of the ones mounted on the Daily Star and express, totally rubbish. There are exceptions - the Guardian's recent couple of free CDs featuring Franz Ferdinand, or the Times every so often doing a band special - but these are clearly attempts to promote groups to new audiences as much as boost sales; most CDs are made up off off-cuts of well-worn back catalogues - the 'best of Disco/80s/glam' compilations favoured by the Saturday tabloids tend to feature tracks that have been anthologised so often they'd struggle to command a price above two quid in the last petrol station open on Christmas Eve. Secondly, the "it sends the message that music is free" is just absolute nonesense - the covermounted record has been a staple of the pop papers for years, and yet their readers kept buying records in far greater numbers than the non-music paper reading population at large; does he really think that someone getting a CD with Rose Royce doing Carwash is going to be so thick as to not be able to understand the concept of a Free Gift?

The garden magazines give away free baskets and kneeling pads all the way through spring and summer; it doesn't lead to a bunch of their readers being caught shoplifting from the accessories department at Wyevale.

[This post was slightly edited 21/04/07 to match the current No Rock house style and to correct a spelling mistake; the content was unchanged]

SUPPING WITH A LONG SPOON: As you'll probably have heard elsewhere, Warners in the US has been approaching people who run MP3 blogs offering them a Secret Machines track, spring-snapping an interesting debate amongst MP3bloggers over whether it was right to accept this bounty or not. I'd have thought: yeah, if you think Secret Machines are the sort of band you'd normally support; no, if not. Obviously, major labels have the sort of crediblity that would make Wolfram and Hart think twice before dealing with them, but when they do manage to sign a decent band, let them make a decent record, and generally not fuck it up too badly, I'm not sure there's too much to be gained from poking them with a stick and saying "unclean, unclean" just for the sake of it. It's good that a major label has endorsed these blogs, and accepted what they're doing, and not merely sent them a cease and desist letter. We sometimes link to streams sent to us by various PR organisations, when we think it fits with what we're doing here; and we feel our soul is still more or less intact.

So far, so clear. However, as Coolfer reports, Warners then had to go and prove their demonic credentials by getting employees to post obviously false positive testimonials in the comments section - it seems that record companies still haven't learned anything since they first started blighting Onelist email communities in the 90s: Real people don't write like they're scripting Casey Kasem. It's obvious from about sixteen miles away when a comment, or an email, is written by someone who is sat in an office pretending to sound enthused; mainly because real people don't tend to use phrases like "they're real cool. U can check out their website here:" For 24 hours, Warners seemed like they got it. Instead, they managed to turn their brief moment of tuning into the modern age into a bit of face-directed backwards blow-up.

I BELIEVE IT'S GENEROUS TO FORGIVE THOSE WHO HURT YOU IN THE PAST: Many, many years ago we almost had our first piece of writing published in a proper magazine when Snipe accepted something we'd written. As it happened, they then got something in about the Mighty Lemon Drops, dropped our piece to make space, and then turned into When Saturday Comes for their next issue. We sometimes wonder what might have been had that piece hit - our wildest dream is that we'd have been spotted, headhunted and would, by now, have been well into a career trajectory that would see us saying "Look, Murdoch, we're both agreed that The Times needs a kick up the arse; the difference is, I think you do, too. I'm not interested." The more likely career path would have me sat writing a blog fielding emails from Wendy James fans admitting that I'd never actually built a proper shrine to her in my bedroom. Anyway, for all the what might had beens, Circadian Shift is hosting a Mighty Lemon Drops download at the moment; this is the sound of an arch-nemesis. Possibly.

THAT WOULD BE AN ECUMENICAL MATTER: You can't help but admire the way Michael Jackson spreads the love around - we were convinced he was a Jehovah's Witness, but since his, ah, unpleasantness presented itself, he's taken to hanging out with highly members of the Nation of Islam, and now he's calling in at the First AME Church in LA - that's African Methodist Episcopal, of course. Any suggestion that this was simply a PR move prior to today's court hearings would mark you out to be a cynic - and if it was, it backfired a bit, because a man facing charges suggesting he's sexually attracted to children really should be careful how he phrases things. Jacko, asked what he was doing at the church, said he'd gone to "worship and see the children." Under any circumstances that would sound a little like it's on a par with a trip to a petting zoo, wouldn't it?

A BIT OF A PUFF: The main reason, Julian Casablancas, that you didn't see "no fucking hurricane" while you were playing New York would be, erm, because Charley had been downgraded to a tropical storm long before it reached New York. It leaves a slightly bad taste in the mouth for a band to be pretending they're "braving" a storm when they're hundreds of miles away from the heart of it, even more so when it's destroyed the homes of hundreds of people who could least afford it and the lives of at least a dozen people.

MUSE KEEP ON COURSE FOR V: Despite the wrist injury to Chris Wolstonholme, Muse are insisting they'll still turn up to play the V festivals this weekend. Apparently they have "other alternatives" up their sleeves if Chris' wrist is out of action.

IT ALMOST MAKES KELLY AND OZZY OSBOURNE SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA: Christmas 2004 ruined, as Ashlee and Jessica Simpson prepare to release a cover of Little Drummer Boy. It was a lovely thing, wasn't it?

GOING STRAIGHT: Now, who had taken out bets that Christina Aguilera's constant harping on about how she was all pierced and "dirrty" was little more than a lame attempt to get attention? Oh, all of you? Surprisingly, she's now removed the lot. We really hope they don't turn up on Ebay. Aguilera's current look, of course, is some vague idea of what 1940s movie icons might have looked like if they'd had Harry Hamfist as their stylists, and is in no way a pisspoor rip-off of an old Madonna image. Strike a pose.

YOUR OWN PERSONAL JESUSES: Everyone's favourite quasi-para-perv leather gimp Martin Gore and Depeche Mode in general have announced a double remix album thing, that will gather together various mixes of stuff from across their 23 year career. It'll be with us in October.

Meanwhile, a man who would give anything to actually be as slightly sexily twisted as Gore is, Marilyn Manson, is releasing a "best of" compilation, pulling the modish trick of including a cover version on the album to be used as a leading single. He's chosen to cover Personal Jesus, which is a bit of a hoot - it's like watching a bloke who pinches pensioner's handbags pretending to be Tony Soprano. There's also going to be a DVD, so you can watch all Marilyn's videos, too. Try not to be too shocked.

WHEN WE WAS FAB: You have to wonder if Oasis have thought through all this hoopla about the tenth anniversary of definitely maybe - yes, it might help them shift a few extra copies of the DVD, but it's a bit like holding a massive party to mark ten years since they last did anything worth listening to. Anyway, as part of the invitation to remember when they seemed like a potential fireball instead of a spent force, they're making available a download of a live version of Columbia from the Chicago Metro, back when people actually thought Liam Gallagher was quite sexy.

WHO'S THAT GIRL?: It's not quite on a par with 'who is You're So Vain' about, but Donovan had revealed the identity of Lalena: apparently, the name was made up by running together Lotte Leyna's name. If you're still saying "none the wiser", she was a german actor, married to Kurt Weill. She played hooker Jenny Driver in the Threepenny Opera.

MILLER LITE: American brewery giant Miller has got itself into a bit of a mess with its special cans, issued to mark the "50th Anniversary of Rock & Roll." Six cans have been released, each featuring a classic cover from Rolling Stone with a rock great on. Unfortunately, Miller have managed to select an all-white line-up. Not, stresses Wener Publishing's chief marketing officer Gary Armstrong (Rolling Stone are joint promoter of the special cans), that they've done it deliberately:

"We didn't even consciously think pro or con, the same way that the only woman on there is Blondie. We just went with the people that we thought were appropriate," he said. "We went through (the covers) and said these people we don't think are appropriate, or wouldn't appeal to Miller drinkers."Armstrong noted Rolling Stone wasn't around for the birth of rock 'n' roll - it was first published in 1967 - when many formative black artists of the genre emerged.

Yes, yes, I know Mr. Armstrong seems to think that Blondie is a woman rather than a band (hey, but I bet he knows she's really called Debbie Blondie, he's no klutz) but you have to admire his Olympian feat there: managing to try and calm down a touchy situation by implying that there haven't been noteworthy black artists since 1967, or at least noteworthy enough to appear on the front of Rolling Stone, or at least, if they did, they were "inappropriate." To adapt Artie off the Larry Sanders Show, they could have at least used Lenny Kravitz - he's only half "inappropriate."

Armstrong then suggested that black artists might choose not to be associated with beer:

Jimi Hendrix's estate, for instance, is protective of his image, Armstrong said. "Again I think it might have had something to do with the beer."

Yes, god forbid that Jimi Hendrix name becomes associated with drugs in the public mind. We're a little puzzled at the news that the Hendrix estate has suddenyl become so protective of Jimi's legacy: presumably flogging his work for any car commercial that comes up is the best way of making Jimi seem like a money-grubbing hack.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

ACCIDENT-PRONE: You'd have to wonder if Muse are especially clumsy, because a short while after Matt Bellamy managed to injure himself with his guitar, Chris Wolstenholme has done his wrist in, forcing the band to axe their last three dates on the Cure tour. We're not going to draw any conclusions how a young, virile man on a tour might come to injure his wrist during those long nights in hotel rooms. Not us, no.

DJOBIT: The death has been announced of Hunter Hancock, pioneering US radio DJ. Known on-air as Ol' HH, between 1943 and 1968 he hosted radio shows, for many years holding the title of black Southern California's favourite presenter. His popularity amongst black listeners was so great, many fans were surprised to discover that the Texan born hancock was white. His first on-air slot was reading the news for KMAC-AM in San Antonio. After a move to a jazz station in Los Angeles, a chance meeting with a record rep persuaded him to try one or two "race records", as early R&B was known at the time. It was such a success within a week, he'd changed his format to all R&B; in 1956, he was equally quick to pick up on rcok and roll. Hunter died on August 4th from natural causes.

SHAMBLING ABOUT: Pete Doherty has announced a whole bunch of other dates for babyshambles which will take place assuming there's nobody on the door who Pete takes a dislike to, and he can get sorted:

Brighton Concorde 2 - September 16;
Portsmouth University - 17;
Cardiff University - 18;
Frome Cheese and Grain - 19;
Liverpool Masque - 20;
Leeds Cockpit - 22;
Nottingham Rescue Rooms - 23;
Leicester Charlotte - 24;
Norwich Waterfront - 26;
Birmingham Medicine Bar - 27;
Newcastle University - 28;
Aberdeen Lemon Tree - 29;
Dundee Reading Rooms - 30;
Edinburgh Venue - October 2;
Glasgow Barfly - 3;
Stoke The Underground - 4;
Shrewsbury Music Hall - 5;
London Scala - 6

PISS COCK PARTRIDGE: Poor Will Young, who not only had his moped stolen, but when it came back it had rude daubings all over it. To make matters worse, a snickering friend told the press all about it:

"It's a really horrible thing to happen, especially as it was brand new. It was battered to bits and had unsavoury graffiti all over it.
The arsehole who did it either didn't like Will or they didn't like his moped. It's like the Alan Partridge episode when his car is covered in graffiti."

With friends like that, of course, quick to point out the similarities between you and hapless has-beens, you'd probably be best off starting to cultivate new mates down the BP Garage.

A MEETING OF MINDS: We believe this is what they term a "gruesome twosome": Duncan from Blue and Tara Palmer Tomkinson. You really don't want the details, but they've been in a bungalow in Crete for a couple of weeks and nobody's seen hide nor hair of them since. Probably trying to find the stairs up to the bedroom.

MAYBE TIME FOR A CAREER CHANGE?: Troubles aplenty for the Daddy Diddy during his time in Ibiza. He's had the indignity of police boarding his yacht telling him to keep the noise down; now, he's getting pretty much the same reaction from clubbers. Ibiza crowds have twice booed Puff Daddy off stage when he's tried to rap - once from Space, once from DC-10. An insider - who we picture rushing for the phones like a reporter in a 1950s screwball comedy - tattled the lot:

"He was getting the [Space] crowd going and singing over some tracks. But when he tried to rap the crowd turned on him, shouting and jeering until he left the stage. [At DC-10] He got on stage and everyone cheered - but once he started rapping there was another chorus of boos. He persevered but the crowd reaction was so bad he was forced to leave the stage. He looked very hurt and was heard asking one of his flunkies: "Why don't they dig me?""

We're not sure, but perhaps its because the only people who like Combs are the sort of people who enjoy their rap watered down with gallons of Sting or Mariah or anything else, and people paid to tell him he's great. Out amongst people who actually like music, the reception is frostier.

SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY DESERVE THEIR OWN VANITY LABEL: There's not a person alive, surely, who would bergudge Aretha Franklin her own label?

SO GOOD TO BE BACK HOME AGAIN: When Wes left Limp Bizkit, there was a lot of bad words spoken, but it looks like circumstances may have forced him back home: Wes Borland needs work; Fred Durst needs someone with talent. The Limp Bizkit site has been cleared out and replaced with photos of Wes and the band rehearsing, which is thrilling like an Osama Bin Laden tape - when does it come from? Is there any indication it's recent? Is it a fake? We do wonder, though, how much of his own shit Wes will have been forced to eat before being allowed back on the teens-in-big-shorts gravy train.

THE PERPETUAL CIRCLE OF LIFE: When we first heard that Glasotnbury's rubbish has been recycled we thought that that was being a little harsh on the Reading/Leeds line-up, but it turns out that they were just trumpeting the 30% of waste recycled from the festival left overs. Amongst the re-use, festival poop is being sprayed back on the land as fertilizer - something to think about next year as you're pitching your tent, of course.

JACKSON MANHANDLING INVESTIGATION SEALED: The Santa Barbara police are pretty keen to have the results of the investigations into Jacko's complaints that they manhandled him when they arrested him; Judge Rodney Melville has insisted they remain sealed. The police are probably fairly certain they're cleared by the report - Jackson claims he had his shoulder dislocated while in custody, but, in a real-life version of the old "I can only life my arm this high, before the accident I could lift it this high" joke, there's plenty of film of him waving enthusiastically to fans with both arms as he was released.