Saturday, October 02, 2004

THE PAST COMES BACK TO HAUNT US: Democratic Member of the House of Representatives for Dallas Martin Frost planned a fund raising event. He came up with a big name to build his event around, and charged between USD250 and a thousand for tickets. Only problem was the big name was Peter Yarrow, from Peter, Paul and Mary. Yarrow had pleaded guilty to molesting a 14 year old in the 60s, and, although he'd received a Presidential Pardon in 1981, Frost believes in child protection legislation very strongly. Worse, his opponent in the campaign to represent Texas' 32nd Congressional District, Republican Peter Sessions, was making hay with claims that Frost was bringing kiddie-fiddlers to town to build his campaign funds. Frost withdrew the invitation to Yarrow, and removed all traces of it from his website.

Only problem is, he hasn't cancelled the event, and apparently has no plans to return money for tickets sold with Peter out of Peter, Paul and Mary as an attraction - which means he's apparently not prepared to share a stage with a man with a child molestation in his past, but he's happy to raise funds off his name. In addition, Frost accepted a USD1,000 donation from Yarrow last year, which he doesn't seem to be keen on returning.

AND IF MEL ETHERIDGE'S FAILS...: American TV is also lining up a sitcom "loosely based on" and starring Toni Braxton. Apparently The WB has been trying to get Braxton to agree to make a sitcom for years, but its only now that her hits have dried up enough ("the right vehicle has come along").

MCCARTHY RIDES AGAIN: The American Civil Liberities Union is hosting an all-star extravaganza including Patti Smith, Paul Simon and Philip Glass. The event on Monday in New York is intended to call for the repeal of a government plan to enforce charities in the US to clear its employees with the terrorist "watch list". You know, the one with Ted Kennedy and Cat Stevens on it.

SOME BAD, BAD PEOPLE ON THE RIGHT: Nasty news from Minneapolis, where the Anti-defamation League reports that the stinking Panzerfaust Records label is planning to distribute 100,000 sampler CDs of "white power" music to school kids across the USA. Byron Calvert, the brains - well, not so very much brains, of course - behind the label picked up a bunch of mailing lists for teenagers who'll be bombarded with charming songs like White Supremacy, Hate Train Rolling and other grunting nonesense of ill-thought out bile dressed up as a philosophy. If you get one, we'd suggesting taking it to the police.

BLAIR WON'T LISTEN. unsurprisingly: Fatboy Slim has been trying to persuade Tony and the Labour Party from using Right Here, Right Now as a soundtrack to their campaigns. Labour have refused to be bothered by Norman's objections to the war, and, since they're not mucking about with the tune in any way, there's precious little Norm can do about it.

Of course, on the other hand, they could just make it difficult for Labour to carry on using the song - a few high profile news stories headlined "Labour Anthem Man Finds Labour Anathema' (or, 'Boy Blasts Blair' at the other end of Fleet Street) might put them off. Or they could perhaps start to associate Blair with the tshirt from the video - "clearly, now Blair's at Number One, he's decided he really isn't going to try any harder..." If Labour won't accept a polite request to stop pretending it's got the endorsement of a musician, the musician surely is more than entitled to use Labour's adoption of his work as a platform for criticising the government?

STROKING YOUR CONSCIENCE: The End Has No End, the next Strokes single, is getting an early electro-release, through the War Child download service. The 99p download fee is apparently going to go to charity in its entirity. It all becomes available October 7th; the non-charity single will be out on November 1st. Be interesting to see what effect the prior download has on physical sales.

POWER FADES: Vince Power, the man who built the Mean Fiddler organisation up from a backstreet shebeen into a music business, uh, Powerhaus, is stepping down from the helm of the company. He's sold his GBP12million stake in the plc but will remain - for the time being - as a non-executive director in charge of the Festival arm of Mean Fiffler. Dean James, chief operating officer, will replace Power as Chief Executive. He's getting options worth GBP1.1million for his troubles; part of his strategy will be making the Fiddler's move into music downloads work.

ITCHING TO GET BITCHING: The BPI is, according to a report floating round via The Times and The Register, on the point of getting all litigious. Here come the UK lawsuits...

Friday, October 01, 2004

"OF COURSE, IT WOULD HAVE TO BE AN HONORARY KNIGHTHOOD, WHAT WITH MY BEING AN IRISH CITIZEN": We haven't actually mentioned Bono's speech to the Labour Party Conference yet, so we should probably get round to that. It wasn't a bad one, actually - not that staggering, nothing very unexpected, and mildly amusing in parts (Bono's confession to having had a mullet the last time he was on stage in the Brighton centre.) Something interesting is thrown up by comparing the speech as it was distributed to the press before it was made (the "check against delivery" version) and the various reports of the speech (such as Simon Hoggart's in the Guardian) is that the already slightly conceited gag "Excuse me if I appear a little nervous - I'm not used to appearing before crowds of less than 80,000 people" turned into "less than 100,000" in the hall. An upgrade of conceit, then.

We're amused that he fell back on the Blair/Brown as the Lennon and McCartney of social democratic politics - a couple whose bitter hatred of each other split the band into pieces and prevented them ever working together again. Whenever someone suggests they're the new Lennon and Macca, there's always a flurry of wondering who's who - and although at the moment Blair is looking more like the Stuart Sutcliffe, the answer is pretty simple: which looks like the man who would do the Frog Chorus? (clue: imagine the phrase "Frog choruses, certainly. But also choruses of frogs")

Its hard to disagree with Bono's claims that we should be doing more about Africa, and the problems faced by some the countries there. It's more interesting to watch him trying to perform acrobatics to explain why he's taking the stage to prop up Blair after Iraq:

And I know that on certain issues this room is already divided.
I know many people - and I include myself - were very unhappy about the war in Iraq.
Still are.
But ending extreme poverty, disease and despair- this is one thing everybody can agree on.

Well, yes... although, surely, the whole point about the differences over Iraq boils down to a fundamental difference in the belief about the best way of ending poverty, disease and despair in Iraq - do you do it by dropping depleted uranium encrusted shells more or less randomly on civilian heads, or do you find some other way? Part of Bono's speech is counselling Blair to use next year's stewardship of the G8 and the EU wisely, but here is a man who lead a war the head of the UN describes as illegal - surely Blair has already harmed the concept of international agreements and done more damage than he can put right in the ordering of biscuits and blotter pads for other groups? Indeed, by helping Bush demonstrate that the UN only counts when it gives the answers America wants to hear, Blair may well have done more to undermine the process of global consensus than ever Thatcher managed.

But like Bono says: he's just a rock star. Odd, of course, he didn't mention his growing role on the international finance markets.

We're betting, by the way, that Bono will get his knighthood in Blair's resignation honours list.

GOOD GOD, MAN... HOW BAD CAN IT HAVE BEEN?: Marilyn Manson is claiming he trashed a recording of Personal Jesus he did with Shirley Manson because it "wasn't good enough." Having heard his re-recording, we can only shudder at the imagination of a worse reading of the Depeche Mode song.

Unless, of course, Manson dumped it because working with a proper singer showed up his lack of any real musical talent at all?

ADMITTEDLY, THAT WASN'T ONE THAT WE'D THOUGHT OF: So, it seems, our summation of the reasons for Robbie poo-pooing a Take That reunion missed out the crucial, and apparently clinching: VI) It's a done deal, but Robbie Williams wants to make it look like it was his idea, not Gary Barlow's.

SONY JAPAN ANNOUNCES PLANS TO TREAT PEOPLE LIKE ADULTS: The era of the copy protected CD seems to be coming to a close, as labels belatedly realise that selling people CDs which simply don't work properly isn't the best approach to customer care. Latest to drop the hobbling of their products are Sony Japan [That's a machine translated link, by the way], who are offering a bluster of "People know that copyright theft is wrong now, so there's no point in putting protection on" to try and make it look like it wasn't a giant descending bollocks-up in the first place.

COUNTERPOINT: To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, so it was that the Black Music Council turned up to protest at the MOBOs that the nominations for the homophobic acts had been withdrawn.

It turns out the Black Music Council is an organisation which has formed itself mainly to complain about Outrage's campaign. Council leader Blacker Dread insists that songs like Buju Banton's Boom Bye Bye don't really call for the murder of gay men at all, and it's all a terrible misunderstanding:

These words are metaphors, and whoever translated those lyrics and the Metropolitan Police needs to look into what they're actually saying and doing," Blacker Dread said. "I think they’ve been misled in the terminology of these words.

"There's no way in Jamaican culture that says Boom Bye Bye means 'shoot the queer in the head'," he said. "I don’t know where you get that from."

It's odd that, if his ostracism from the music venues of London and the States is based on a huge error of translation, Buju Banton hasn't himself said so - and it's hard to see quite what else the line "Shoot dem no come if we shot dem" could mean.

LOVE TRIAL HELD OVER: The whole clusterfuckage of court actions facing Courtney has lead to a postpoenment of the illegal possession of painkillers trial being knocked back until November 3rd. Meanwhile, her lawyer claims to be "unaware" of any financial problems facing Love: well, of course she's not going to tell you she's potless, is she; not with the huge bills she's running up at your offices.

Courtney - who was bullish last time, and just bizarre the time before - is apparently recorded as saying "I'm scared" this time round.

WHITEST MAN EVER WINS MUSIC OF BLACK ORIGIN AWARD: Jamie Cullum picked up the Mobo for best jazz artist at the MOBOs, which is a slap in so many faces it's hard to begin to enumerate them. Jamelia picked up three awards - the New MsDynamite Award, the Most Likely To Actually Turn Up Prize and the Award For Just Being Lovely, sponsored by Mastercard. (Artist of the year, shared with Dizee Rascal, single of the year for Thank You, and - ahem - video of the year.)

FREE GIG NEWS: ArtRocker magazine, the latest entrant to the music press, is announcing its presence by hosting a free gig at the New Marquee in Leicester Square this coming Monday (October 4th); amongst those playing are Kaito, Art Brut, French Kicks and the splendid Help She Can't Swim.

DID WE KEEP THE BUY THE BOOK SET?: It wouldn't have been our first choice to cast Melissa Etheridge in a sitcom, although when we hear the pitch ("a reversed Will & Grace with a kid") we don't suppose it much matters who appears in the three episodes that will be aired before its yanked.

KHAN'S SON IN THE CLEAR: The Los Angeles District Attorney has decided not to file charges against Chaka Khan's son, Damien Holland. A seventeen year old was shot and killed during an argument at the house of Holland, but the DA believes there's insufficient evidence to make a prosecution viable.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Getting up to Slash
Yes, 24 hours late. Post Office again.

An unlikely contributor to the Labour Party Conference edition of the New Statesman is Heather Mills McCartney, suggesting that something must be done about landmines, they simply must. And it's hard to disagree with her, of course. But here's an interesting idea: why not spend some of millions swilling round your family buying up shares in arms manufacturers? Even if you couldn't afford to buy them out totally, you could become a seriously difficulty to them continuing to manufacture the weapons. Or why not buy up the companies they rely on for their supplies? How about that?

It's nice to see that the change of ownership in the Telegraph stable hasn't altered some of the fundamental - they're still happy to run stories of the lightest piecrust provided they can drape a picture of a pretty young lady on the top. So it is they're delighted with the return of Wendy James: even lapping up her tales of how she's been living in New York with people "in the slipstream of the arts; the freelancers of the world" - which we're translating as the sort of people who sit in coffee bars talking about the exhibitions they've not quite got round to making.

The Sunday Telegraph delved back even further, although the pictures on its Bob Dylan exclusive weren't quite as gorgeous. All designed to plug his autobiography, Bob's tales of how his life was made unbearable by fame at least has the benefit of something he's sat and considered these things with the benefit of age. Unlike Robbie Williams, who wakes up in the morning, feels a bit cheesed off and so knocks out a book about how bad it all is in time for the evening post.

Attitude has got a picture on the cover of Geri Halliwell, dressed as a "sexy" nurse, threatening to put fun back into pop. It's the prospect of the sort of fun which you get at Butlins - a lot of well meaning energy and a strong grasp of the theory, but just not executed in any sense.

Gareth McLean met the Scissor Sisters for Guardian Weekend, and suggested that the band get compared to the Village People for bad reasons: "partly due to rock nerds' outrage at the Comfortably Numb cover, as well as homophobia in the music press, where there's a suspicion of bands not consisting of angst-ridden, greasy-haired, guitar-wielding indie kids." Or it could just be because they're gay and American and make some bright, fluffy pop songs which is all that some people will need to make the link, do you think?

There's a free CD with the NME, part of the fruits of the NME-MTV-XFM link-up, offering tracks from X-FM live sessions (this time last year, of course, this would have been a covermount with X-Ray), It's a pretty nice line-up: Bloc Party, Stellastar* and Charlotte Hatherley making up for The Bees.

Razorlight are on it, and on the cover. And on the cover of the inner-NME, the one for overseas editions as well, making it a re-run of the Andrew WK cover. Although not quite as absurd, although it does feel pretty discombobulating.

The NME has somehow got hold of a copy of the new U2 album. The verdict is very mushy, almost as if it had been written as part of an agreement to be nice to the album in return for the exclusive: "For fans looking for that classic U2 sound, How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is well worth the wait. Some strong tracks - particularly on the early part of the album - guarantee this will be a massive-selling record and will set them up for some monster live shows next year. Will this do?" It actually makes the reviews in Tesco Magazine ("This new gem from Faithless marks a bit of a departure... a substantial body of work) seem like the work of Ken Tynan.

The Others make up some magic CD: Dylan, Joy Division and Curtis Mayfield.

He did Ryan Adams (we think), now it's Peter Robinson versus Bryan Adams: Adams announces - and we think its an exclusive - that there will be no bagpiping on his forthcoming world tour.

There's a handy report from the frontline of In The City, where bands still technically unsigned are wheeled out before turning over their schoolboy papers to become fully made up. The names we're probably going to be hearing over the next year are: Tom Vek, The Longcut, Towers of London, and Fear of Music.

"I'm going out there and not coming back until I'm King" - America, brace yourself for Johnny Borrell and Razorlight. The more cautious might mutter he'd be better off securing a minor earldom in his home country before setting his eyes on head of state for another, but you've got admit it's always better to have a singer who believes in his band than an "if other people like it, it's a bonus" chap. Unless we're talking about Bono, of course.

The Dead 60s' Matt claims to be out on their own, with a mix of "dub and ska", which on paper comes out curiously as if he's claiming to be the Bad Manners of our day.

Interpol whinge a little about having to make a record, but just a little whinge, which is actually even worse - "we are very humble and never feel comfortable pulling rock star diva attitude, but sometimes we do have to express irritation." Mmm. How much great art has been born of mild irritation? Are we to prepare ourselves for a Daily Mail letters page set to music?

The posters section is "classic band logos" - and the Kasabian and Goldie Lookin' Chain logos are in there as well for some reason.

As a tribute to Johnny Ramone, they re-run a 1977 Roy Carr Ramones piece, or as much of it as will fit in the 2004 layout.

It should be mentioned that in one of those pieces of unfortunate timing, the gigs are judged on a scale of Otis Ferry to P&O Ferry, which would have been funny had P&O not announced after the paper went to press that it's struggling so badly it's laying off loads of workers.
babyshambles - leeds blank canvas - "not a clean break, but not a car crash, either."
green day - los angeles henry fonda music box theatre - "nobody really knows what the story is"
the thrills - new york irving plaza - "they don't exactly put on a show"

rem - around the sun - "too many of the songs slide past in a controlled daze", 6
the wonder stuff - escape from rubbish island - "they're back. or rather Hunt is", 4
marilyn manson - lest we forget - "perhaps he just lucked out and he really is as much of a dullard as the people he winds up", 6

sotw - tv on the radio - new health rock - "as chilled as a cocaine heart attack"
the paddingtons - 21 - "essentially black rebel drowning in a bucket of custard"

And, finally, the Why I Love is genuinely surprising: Radiohead is the band chosen by... Slash. Yes, that Slash.

LIGHTS ON FIRE: Elvis Presley gets in touch with us again, prompted by the nme's coverage of a fire alarm going off during Razorlight's Keele University gig:

This Razorlight story is/was the frontpage of the NME homepage

Jesus christ. This sort of nonsense was (semi-)understandable with The Strokes and the whole Rough Trade/Warner/Time Warner/IPC relationship but what have Universal got on them, simply that they're the biggest label with the most acts and biggest advertising spend? These days the paper's not even trying to hide the fact it's being lent on and turning even further into an advertorial rag for the majors. Stories like this and other stunts (like the stunning over-promotion of a certain festival-sponsoring beer) are making me feel grubby just picking the thing up.

... or it could just be that Razorlight are on the cover of this week's NME and it helps to give them an extra push? Talking of which...

AS MONKHOUSE SAID: SINCERITY IS EVERYTHING - IF YOU CAN FAKE THAT...: Almost as if nobody believed her when she said she was still Jenny From The Block, Jennifer Lopez is taking lessons in how to appear to be normal. More curiously, she seems to think that might make people not treat her movies like clanking great oildrums filled with bile-water. Wouldn't hold your breath, Jennifer.

WE KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN, BUT...: We were interested to learn from the good people at Contact Music that Brighton is not only homosexual, but apparently it's replaced London as the capital - clearly Blair loved the place:

Dance music star FATBOY SLIM is regularly visited by naked gay men at his English beach home. The PRAISE YOU star, who lives in Britain's homosexual capital, Brighton, often finds nudist gay men occupying his stretch of private beach.

We presume they mean that Brighton is the gay capital of Brighton. Not sure where they've got the idea that Norman Cook has a private stretch of beach, though...

FALL DOWN THE STAIRS, DID YOU, SON?: Pete Doherty regrets his non-appearance; and claims he fell down the stairs and was unable to attend the gig. The gig in Dundee tonight is certain to ahead, unless he "walks into a door".

HE'S A BRUISER: Oddly, it turns out that when Chris Martin said that photographer had tripped while he was chasing a taxi with Martin and his much more interesting wife in it, what he meant was "I punched the photographer." He's now admitted the attack, and been cautioned. He's not apologised to the photographer, which is all well and good. What bothers us, though, is that Martin's original lie to the police has resulted in a costly and time consuimg five-month police investigation - time the police could have spent on muggings, rapings, theivery or even just investigationg crimes. Maybe Martin owes all the people who pay the Metropolitan Police an apology, and perhaps compensating the police for the time they've wasted would be an excellent way of doing so?

YUP, IT'S ABOUT PETE DOHERTY NOT SHOWING UP FOR A GIG: This time, 550 people turned up at the Aberdeen Lemon Tree. Pete Doherty didn't. A mini-riot ensued. But surely it would be more disappointing if Doherty actually did show up for a gig, wouldn't it? It would be like a sober Ollie Reed, right?

CHEER UP, MISERY GUTS: The drop in sales globally of music has almost bottomed out - down just 1.3% overall in the first six months of the year. Likewise, in North America, sales rose by 3.9%. And this is usually the weak half of the year. Good news all round, eh?

Unless, of course, improving sales weakens your hand in demanding ever stricter copyright rules and legitimises your playing cops and robbers.

I HAD A DREAM, BUT I FORGET WHAT IT WAS: Oh, sure, 3Hive, you seem like you're nice, but we've got you rumbled - your consistently useful links to fabulous mp3 bounty likeclassic Camper Van Beethoven stuff is little more than a plot to force us to buy more and more hard-disk storage, isn't it?

FOR THE MOMENT, WE'LL CONTINUE IN SOUND ONLY: Some sort of problem serving up images this morning, so we've stripped them out for the time being...

VENUEWATCH: Its not just the British and Americans who tear down perfectly good performing arts venues in the name of progress - Australians do it too, and at the moment Melbourne's Palais theatre is under threat. Built in 1926, it and its sister nightclub the Palace have played host to dates by Springsteen, Nirvana, Radiohead, Prince and... well, you get the idea. Of course, the big idea is to replace the buildings with apartments. People who'd rather have a venue capable to attracting top-flight acts to Melbourne than a bunch of houselets for solicitors are invited to sign an online petition.

WE'RE DOING IT FOR THE ARTISTS... IT'S JUST A COINCIDENCE THAT WE'RE KEEPING THE MONEY: Ah, bless the little hearts of the RIAA, they really care about the artists. That's why they created SoundExchange to collect and distribute royalties from digital sources to performers. Of course, they actually make no effort to contact the performers to let them know there's this cash waiting for them, and if the performers don't get in touch, the money reverts to the RIAA. You could perhaps argue that a system where the organisation which handles the money gets to keep the money if the people don't claim it, and yet has no compulsion to find the entitlees, could be inherently corrupt. Perhaps the leftover funds should be put towards something other than the record companies' profits - how about healthcare funds for musicians? After all, the cash is meant for performers, not putting potted palms into the RIAA's luxurious HQ.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

THEY'RE FROM GLASGOW. THEY'RE USED TO IT: So, Franz Ferdinand are in New Orleans, and they head out for a spot of lunch. Aligator sausage or some such. Suddenly, there's police everywhere. It turns out there's a guy holding someone hostage in an apartment upstairs. It didn't spoil their lunch, says Alex:

"Rob and I went for lunch in the French Quarter. There was a hostage situation going on in a flat above the restaurant.

'We didn't realise until the cop cars and loudhailers appeared.

'Some guy had decided he didn't like his landlord any more,so he was holding him at gunpoint.

'The waiter in the restaurant kept popping in and out to keep us posted.'

SADLY, HE'S LOOKING FOR IT: It's been a bad week for pompous rockers in Germany - not only did Ginger Fish fall off a stage, but Slayer's vocalist lost his voice mid-set in Munich. Tom Araya managed to get a couple of songs through before being reduced to gesturing from the stage. Apparently, nobody with a voice had the wit to grab the microphone and explain to the paying audience what was going on.

KHAN'S KID IN KUSTODY: Damien Patrick Holland, son of Chaka Khan, has been arrested following the death of a man in a Los Angeles apartment. Police believe Holland murdered the unidentified 17 year old during a fight.

IT'S USUALLY BEST TO SIT QUIET AND NOT MENTION IT: Apparently, Jentina had a thing with Matt Jay from Busted; after they split, she went round telling everyone he was sweaty and fat, a crap kisser and had no idea how to arouse a woman (come on, he's a teenage boy - he probably didn't even discover that it's possible yet). We wouldn't have known, had Matt not drawn attention to this listing of his shortcomings for himself.

Still, on the bright side, Matt, she didn't suggest your old fella was shy of the target. That's gotta count for something.

DO WE NEED TO RUN THE SKANKY CLOTHES, FLASHING BOOBS QUOTE AGAIN?: Apparently, Avril's been whacking them out at the Crobar Club in New York:

A shocked witness says, "She seemed to be in a really good mood and was having a lot of fun. We didn't expect to see her boobs though. Avril was ecstatic."

I'm not quite sure what to make of the phrase "we didn't expect to see her boobs" - surely that goes without saying? It's not like the Wedding Present doing Blue Eyes on the Peel Session last week, is it? "We hadn't seen her tits in so long, it was a nice surprise..."

JOEY IS PISSED: Formerly famous pop star Joey McIntyre has got a solo album coming out soon, and since nobody really noticed he's trying to give it a bit of a push by leaping on an issue. Sadly, he's so out of touch he thinks that people are still talking about the Madonna/Britney kiss - which McIntyre thinks 'embarrassing' and believes "pissed off a lot of people" (who? Apart from Christina?). That's great, Joey, good to hear from you. And who do you favour out of Gore and Bush?

ITS ALL ABOUT SEX AND GENDER ISSUES: Yes, that's why Eminem has dressed up as Madonna in the video for Just Lose It. It's playing with ideas of gender that fascinates him. Not the excuse for pulling on a dress.

JACKSON WEIRDNESS: So, Michael Jackson's got a seventeen year old son. Apparently. He knocked up a Norwegian fan, and then sent two mysterious employees to Oslo to raise the boy as if he were their own. The other explanation is that Jacko met the family when the boy was nine, and "adopted" them into his circle. I guess the tale you find most plausible depends on what you believe the outcome of the court case will be.

DON'T LOOK BACK IN GRANITA: We were reading some of the Labour Party conference coverage in the papers yesterday, and were struck by a dull ringing when we read that there were rumours that Blair and Brown were getting on so badly that they wouldn't even share the same hotel. Why did this sound so familiar? Two blokes who came together about a decade ago, full of promise that quickly got pissed away, settling instead into a dull, conservative-tinged plod, at war with each other and the world in general, but both in need of the other; the faces in the background coming and going but the two upfront carrying on regardless; the pair now not even hanging out backstage together? Can you see where we're going with this?

Now all that's needed is for Blair to scrap the next manifesto and start again from scratch, and it'll be clear that the Cabinet ARE Oasis. Of course, this might mean that Robin Cook has to be Bonehead, but no theory is perfect. There's even the dodgy Beatles connection, what with Cherie singing old Macca songs again this week...

...and the possiblity that Ringo Starr is going to guest on the new Oasis album when it finally gets finished.

AFTERLIFE: As well as the previously announced Eliott Smith record that was being lined up, there's also going to be a DVD and a book. We're also betting on the BBC FOUR documentary and the three-part Radio Two retrospective being announced any day now.

MOBO NOSHOW: Insert cod Wildean piece about losing two presenters seeming like carelessness here. Following Naomi Campbell's pull-out, the Mobo Awards have suffered a second disaster with her planned co-presenter Pharrell Williams quitting the show because he hasn't heard of most of the nominees. But surely the point of awards shows are to allow people who've done well to get attention for what they've achieved, rather than to merely drape prizes round the famous simply for being famous? And besides: Pharrell, if you're such a shit-hot producer, shouldn't you be trying to find out about people who you've yet to have heard of? In fact, shouldn't you have heard of these people anyway?

STRANGE CHOICES: All we ever hear from the BPI, RIAA and IFPI is how hard it is being a poor, benighted record company these days; it's a constant struggle against pirates, terrorists, gangsters and schoolkids trying to put them out of business. It's enough to make you wonder why they still bother.

And yet: lots of perfectly sound and well-run comapnies figure that they're able to make money out the industry. Cicrque DU Soliel, for example, last week announced they're starting a label, and presumably they'll have done a business plan that shows them they're going to be making enough profit to make it worthwhile hiring a sexy intern to drill the little holes in the back of the review copies.

Likewise, Nickelodeon. Part of the Viacom empire, you wouldn't expect them to make a move without first having run it through Excel a couple of times. So, if the music industry is such a harsh place to be, why is Nickleodeon starting a record label?

TOGETHER AT LAST: JOHNNY VAUGHAN AND DAVID MELLOR: Like blushing virgins, GWR and Capital have been giggling and staring into each other's eyes a lot recently; this morning they ripped each other's bloussons off and got down to it. In other words, Capital and GWR are to merge, creating a huge local radio company. Capital will be the daddy, holding fifty two percent of the new company. MegaRadioCorp of whatever they choose to call it will have fifty four old style local and regional stations, including Capital, XFM, Leicester Sound; one national network, the plum Classic FM, and quite a few digital networks. A few raised eyebrows will be working themselves into a frenzy over the level of control of some markets that CapiWR will be controlling - there wasn't a patch of dry land in England, Wales and Scotland that didn't already have a Capital station of some sort broadcasting to it - and it's almost certain that the merger will trigger a whole bout of merging and takeovers: EMAP and Scottish Radio Holdings being next. Presumably, Clear Channel will be watching with interest, a big sack of cash and a tranquilliser gun.

THE TURRISTS HAVE WON: Following Alicia Keys' lead, Alanis Morissette has pulled a Jakarta gig over fears about terrorism. We're not often able to say something positive about Blue, but you've got to be fair to them: they didn't hitch up their skirts and pull their date in Jakarta a couple of weeks ago. Mind you, it is Blue. They were probably told they were going to be playing in Kidderminster.

MY EYES ADORED YOU. PAST TENSE.: Apparently, Frankie Valli is divorcing his Randy wife - erm, his wife, Randy. According to the reports, the couple separated on Thursday and Valli filed for divorce on Friday. Well, at least he gave it a night to think things over.

LOOK INTO MY EYES... MY EYES, DAMMIT, NOT DOWN THERE: Uh-oh... we did wonder why we were drenching ourselves in the new Britney Spears fragrance, Curious. And our cat, too. Apparently, she's hypnotised us all. No, it's true. Or at least, so says Joe Vitale, a marketing expert and a doctor of some sort. So he should know:

Vitale says the TV commercial featuring Spears begins with images that seem to be a soap opera, but then quickly become a forbidden intimacy fantasy come to life. The ad almost dares you to buy the perfume, he adds.

"People begin watching the commerical because they are attracted to the unknown," explains Vitale. "They're not sure who the cute woman is, or what she is doing. Their minds are being drawn in. Then, when they learn that it is for a new perfume, the name of it gets lodged in the brain, almost without your thinking about it. This is truly hypnotic."

Although to be honest, Joe, when people see the commercial they won't go "Who is that?", they're much more likely to go "Oh, that's britney spears. I'll bet the shirt comes off quite quickly."

But let's just assume for a moment that he's right, and Britney has found the way to control all our minds. Even allowing that Spears would be unlikely to use her powers for a higher purpose, wouldn't by now everyone be so over Aguilera?

I'M SEEING A NAME... IS IT COWBOY MOUTH?: Not quite - the Flaming Lips have named their next album, which is, unless there's a few bits of last minute rejiggling, going to be At War With The Mystics. Encouragingly, Wayne Coyne has expressed the hope that its "not too far out of the realm of what's listenable."

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A MOZ IS FOR LIFE, NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS: - having said which, you can get your fill of the Mozzerworth just before this year's Christmas holidays.Mozzer is playing three big dates this December - Glasgow SEC on the 13th, Birmingham NIA on the 14th and Earl's Court on the 18th. Now, if you have an office looking for something a little different for your Christmas party... well, there's your suggestion.

NOT ON THE BANDWAGON: Hang about, we think we might have found someone who's at least spotted the marriage bandwagon Christina was talking about... Gene Simmons out of Kiss has seen that bus, and he's staying off it. Women - well, they're not like men:

Women are a different species. They have a biological clock, they want to nest. A man produces thousands of sperm every day and a woman thinks it's all for her, but it's not.

"Always be honest with a woman. It's not beneficial for a man to marry. The worst thing a man can do is get married because he has to give 50 per cent of his gross pre-tax dollars to a woman who has given him nothing, apart from companionship.

"That's more than the taxes you pay to the government which gives you nuclear armed forces, military, police and infrastructure."

Gene Simmons is from 1872. He's currently playing a tour of Musical Halls and is throwing his support behind Ulysses S. Grant in his bid for re-election

... MAYBE VANILLA ICE OUGHT TO CONSIDER THIS GIG: Presumably having to sit through a Puddle of Mudd concert would make being used for target-practice by less-than-thankfull Iraqis seem less unpleasant, one way or another, although we're a little surprised that troops in Tikrit, when asked 'what band would you most like to see play Iraq?' chose Puddle of Mudd. The Mudd were flattered enough to actually go out there and play a gig, which - regardless of the rights and wrongs of the war itself - does show a certain degree of comitment to playing a date.

Of course, we can't help but have a sneaking feeling that the troops actually chose Christina, followed by Britney, and... so on, down until they came to Puddle of Mudd. The top of the wishlist who didn't actually snort and say 'yeah, right' when offered the gig.

AND THAT'S MAG1C: Whoever thought you'd be rooting for Paul Daniels? Even if it came to a face-off with Vanilla Ice? Actually, whoever thought that there'd ever be a face-off between Vanilla Ice and the man who excels? Obviously, this is all something which is taking place down on the Channel Five celeb-poker The Farm (didn't Jonathan Creek satirically suggest this would be where reality TV would leave us a series or two back?). Daniels and Ice clashed over Iraq - apparently Margi Clarke and Stan Collymore were suggesting that there could be negotiations over Ken Bigley's release (no, he's not on the programme, he's in real life); Vanilla Ice kicked off sounding like, well, the sort of person his president will approve of:

"All Britain cares about is publicity. That's why you're going to negotiate with those weak-ass terrorists. You can't negotiate, that means they've won. We are the protectors, the superpower, and we will win!"

Paul and Van had a bit of a spat over it, and in the morning Paul decided he'd had enough of hanging out with half wits and quit - although the Lovely Debbie McGee elected to stay put on the show. Sadly, nobody had the good sense to ask Vanilla how if you can't negotiate with terrorists George Bush came to be lifting sanctions against Libya.

THE WIND BLOWS RIGHT THROUGH YOU, IT'S NO PLACE FOR THE OLD: We like being warm ourselves, so we have a degree of symapthy for Siouxse out the Banshees, who marched off stage twice during a San Fran gig complaining that the air conditioning was making her too cold.

If we might be as bold, though, one of these might have helped:

Choosing the correct clothing can be so important. Apparently, despite the stop-start nature of the gig, the band still went down really well.

For the last time... go and put a bloody jumper on.

LIFE IN PLASTIC'S FANTASTIC: What the hell has happened to Christina Aguilera's face? Looking at this shot of her turning up at, oh, somewhere, would you be able to have a stab at how old she is?

Without wanting to be too inappropriate, is anyone else having the caption "If JonBenet had lived" flashing into their mind?

And while her face looks hand-buffed by technicians, her interviews are starting to sound so samey as well, as Ananova's coverage of the Sun's exclusive shows - Britney's wedding was trashy, I'm so inspired by Marilyn Monroe, CTRL+ALT+DEL to reboot the interview. And what does this mean:

"I think everybody tries to jump on the bandwagon of marriage. If it's right for them, then it's right for them. But I'm not going to do it like that."

Eh? Everybody tries to jump on the bandwagon of marriage? What bandwagon is that, exactly? "Hey, hipsters, you need a set of towels and an excuse for a party? Why not get wed, it's what all the groovy kids are doing..."

Better get back onto your make-up, Christina - surely your image is something you know about?:

I like to play so this look probably won't stay forever. I like to evolve and try to encourage people to push boundaries and not to play it safe. I have been portrayed as bad but that was never really me. I think I am a good girl and always have been. I see my persona as one of a strong, aggressive female who had every right to be outspoken in her sexuality."

Right... you don't really know what you're doing, are you? How is one "outspoken in their sexuality", exactly? If you mean "dressing a bit slutty", surely that's a different thing?

IT MIGHT NOT BE OVER YET: Gloria Trevi may not be quite out the woods yet, as Mexican prosecutors are filing an appeal against her acquital on imprisonment and abuse charges. If only the Mexican authorities were quite as dogged in their pursuit of the truth in the killing of Kirsty MacColl.

POOR MICROSOFT: As it prepares to fight the EC ruling that it detaches Windows Media Player from the Windows Operating System, Microsoft is claiming that it will suffer "irreparable damage" if the original EC ruling stands. Which is utter bollocks, of course - what it's facing is losing its position to exert monopolistic control over the digital media market, which, erm, is exactly the point of the Commission's ruling. It's hardly likely to bring Microsoft to its knees, and it's absolutely absurd to suggest it will. We're expecting their presentation to show people logging on to Linux machines and screaming "Is this what you want? A world without extra coffee breaks when your system collapses? Is it? IS IT?" In another part of Microsoft's wailings, it claims it's had to spend millions and millions creating a version of Windows without WMP built-in. Yeah? Well, if you hadn't wedged it in the middle of the operating system, all you'd have to have done was a quick delete, surely?

VALUE JUDGEMENTS: The people who refused to allow Ring of Fire to be used on a pile cream commercial (despite pretty much the same gag having been made in a jeans commercial during Cash's life) apparently have no qualms about turning Cash into a musical - or turning cash through a musical, to be more accurate.

SPECTOR INDICTED: Well, his hunch turned out to be correct: the reason Phil Spector was recalled to court yesterday was to hear he was being indicted over the murder of Lana Clarkson. He's still free on his million dollar bail bond, and claims the prosecution "reprehensible and despicable" - which actually makes him sound like he should be wearing a top hat and cloak and twirling a moustache, to be frank.

LIBRARIES GAVE US POWER... THEN BURTON CAME AND MADE US FREE: Labels, darling, labels... now he's got married, James from the manics is being taken clothes shopping by the wife and getting spotted carting out Prada and Burberry stuff. It's not like he was that scruffy to begin with - if he was still wearing the spray-can tshirts at his age, we can see that someone might need to get involved. And Burberry? To be honest, we'd rather he stuck to the boas...

IT'S LIKE A CROSS BETWEEN BIG BROTHER, AND THE NEXT BIG THING. AND POSSIBLY INSTAPUNDIT: Well worth a look-see is the The Living Rockumentary project, an on-going blog project (has anyone called them blogjects yet? Good, let's keep that one uncoined then.) documenting the life of School For The Dead. As you join them today, they've just launched a new CD...

Monday, September 27, 2004

LET IT BE: The Beatles have been a bit slow to come to the download market, and that's probably because they reckon their music is worth a bit more than anyone else's. It's not, of course, but they like to put tickets on themselves. In fact, they've now decided to offer an exclusive on the Apple catalogue - if you want to sell the Beatles, it'll cost you fifteen million dollars for a six-month window. Working on these figures, Undercover calculate it would need the lucky purchaser to shift 375 million tracks to break even - in other words, you'd need to be having about twenty-four tracks being downloaded every second before you could even start to dream of paying off the fee.

But after all, Yoko and Paul really need the cash.

WE GUESS THIS MEANS VERNON KAY WAS LIKE A MOLE: Times have been tough for a while at Horseferry Road since Channel 4's digital plan started to go a bit wonky - they're actually regretting not keeping the horse ferry when they moved in now - and the murmuring about merging with Channel Five seemed to be about as nuts as it was going to get. But then at the weekend the Guardian carried a report that Channel 4 is offering to take Radio 1 off the BBC's hands. I'm sorry?

There have been plans about for a while about TV Four moving into radio, but the smart money had been on a takeover of Oneword, the struggling spoken word digital station. The thinking behind this plan seems to be that Channel 4 can't be arsed to build a radio brand of its own, and thinks that the youth it flatters itself it's great at talking to don't want to listen to talk radio anyway, so it would make more sense just to take over Radio 1. Of course, as Five Live, TalkSport and even Radio 4 demonstrate pretty well, there is a demand amongst people with their own hair and teeth for speech programming - and if Channel 4 is so good with youth, it should be able to provide that, shouldn't it? Although it's not clear that young people really are Channel 4's natural constituency anyway - E4 was meant to be aimed squarely at young people, but its hits tend to cut across the age range quite a bit: ER, The Sopranos, and so on. Probably a better fit for Radio 2.

You might wonder what would be in it for Channel 4. They'd expect to receive the cash from the licence fee that is currently spent by the BBC on Radio 1. Which might seem fair enough. But although they wouldn't seek advertising - the current commercial radio operators wouldn't wear that - they would seek to exploit "sponsorship" opportunities, says the Guardian. We're not sure the commercial radio guys would be happy about that, either - "Ah, it's okay, they're not taking the big companies' marketing spend by selling advertising, just selling sponsorship. That's alright, then" - and we're not sure anyone else would be, either. Why would Channel 4 get licence fee money and be allowed to flog off airtime to the highest bidder, whether in the form of adverts, sponsorship or tattooing brand names on Chris Moyles' head?

It's a frankly bizarre idea, which, without even thinking of the hideous practicalities - how would the regional Evening Session opt outs work? Newsbeat? How would the Radio One archive fit in? And what about 1Xtra?

On the other hand: Discovery Channel and 6Music - surely made in heaven?

SWEET JOY FOR A MONDAY AFTERNOON: Surely there are few phrases more delightful than there's a new Helen Love single, and its a download, and it's for free, are there?

ART FOR ARTS SAKE: Last week, we had to send an email to someone we know who works for Liverpool City Council; it made mention of a recent conviction in a rape trial. The City Council server had a fit of vapours at the mention of the "r" word, quarantining the mail and insisting that someone vet the email as it had a bad word in it.

It's curious that this attempt to protect its staff from the horrors of the modern world isn't apparently extended to protecting the general public. Now, we like naked people. We like looking at naked people, and touching them. But we're aware there are lots of people who don't, and amongst them are parents who might be at least trying to keep their children away from the nether regions until they're, you know, six or seven. Which is why we were surprised that the City Council agreed to allow Yoko Ono to cover public buildings with fannies and tits in the first place.

Now, John Lennon's sister has objected to the artworks, too:

"The work is called My Mummy Was Beautiful. John's mother was beautiful and she was my mother too. She would have been offended, as would John, by the public display of gratuitous female nudity, particularly on the frontage of St Luke's church."

In other news, fans who loved John Lennon and embraced his views about peace are busily pledging to slaughter Mark Chapman if he gets parole next week:

"A Finnish fan writes on one site: "Chapman should be executed. I would gladly get rid of him myself."
Another has started a petition to have Chapman's parole turned down. A message posted on the petition site reads: "If Mark David Chapman is let out of jail, he wouldn't last a day. There are too many people who want him dead."

Ah, so that's what's so funny about peace, love and understanding, then.

NO, IN ALL HONESTY: IF SHARON OSBOURNE CAN DO IT, ANYBODY CAN: Having said which, we're not sure quite what the pull of a Vanessa Williams fronted talkshow will be. We think she's trying to move in to head off a move from Tyra Banks. Banks - who last year attempted to bounce herself into a music career off the back of America's Next Top Model (her single was infernal, and catchy, but went nowhere) - is now trying to land-grab her own chat show as well; we're imagining Vanessa Williams is merely trying to fight for territory.

QUICK, FLIP! GO FOR THE POWER PILL...: Namco America is suing Sony Music (and their artist Lil'Flip) over uncleared samples from Pac Man and Ms Pac-Man on the track Game Over. Odd that Sony - part of the RIAA and therefore part of the copyright cops - should have allowed some uncleared samples to go out, and - worse - a song that Namco says breaches their copyright on the phrase Game Over. Namco are reported to be seeking somewhere around five million quid in damages and, while we'd normally snort and ask "this cost you money how?", since it's Sony, and Sony are so stringent about poking their noses into other people's use of copyright to check it's all legitimate, surely they should be made to pay double or something?

HOW LONG A HIATUS DO YOU WANT?: This news will probably come as no surprise to everyone but the two rappers: Method Man and Redman's sitcom Method + Red has been dumped. The rappers-out-of-their-depth in a white neighbourhood comedy (Yo! Love Thy Neighbour?) had been put into a long hiatus, a hiatus now extended until the twelfth of never, and that's a long, long time.

VOICE OF AN ANGEL, TEETH OF AN ALSATIAN: Ah, that poor Charlotte Church - one minute she's trilling away for the Pope and Bill Clinton, the next she's having a drunken brawl in the middle of Cardiff. According to the Sun, which might mean it's not entirely true.

Eyewitnesses reckon she went nuts when the police arrived to break up a big fight in the middle of the capital; as police tried to drag her boyfriend's brother out of the melee, Charlotte screamed "fucking get off him" and weighed in herself. Although, as any journalist student knows, choirister bites cop is news; choirester bites cop's jacket... well, maybe less so.

PLAYING GIGS. THAT'S WHAT YOU DO BEST, BONO: We're delighted to hear that U2 are embarking on a massive European tour next year, as it'll probably keep Bono busy during the UK general election. U2 in Europe will start with two - maybe three - gigs in Dublin. June 26th and 27th (with an extra on the 28th "if the demand is there") at Croke Park.

Apparently Croke Park is sixty-six million quid in the hole at the moment, so they'll probably hope Bono will attempt to get them reclassified as a third-world country to have their debts set aside.

WATCHING THE DETECTIVES: In the US at the moment, there's that silly tendency for all CDs to carry threatening messages from the FBI on the back, warning that lending a CD to a friend is on a par with cramming a child with heroin. Elvis Costello, however, has insisted on adding a rider to the FBI piece:

"This artist does not endorse the following warning. The FBI doesn't have his home phone number, and he hopes that they don't have yours."

Although, actually, Elv, we're betting they do have your number. And probably, round about now, they'll have opened a backdoor into your PC, and will be questioning your friends, and looking for anomalies in your past. Selling Hank a dodgy car may come back to haunt you.

WELL, THAT'S THAT, THEN: The tabloids attempts to create a new Posh and Becks after they'd broken the first one in the form of Brian and Kerry McFadden has fallen apart, as the Westlife-Atomic Kitten union is no more.

Max Clifford has got himself involved, suggesting that the split is all because Kerry never got over Brian doing it with a lapdancer. In 2001. He also suggested "The chances of getting this sorted out? Having had lengthy conversations with them, if I was a betting man I would be betting against it." As he slid a large cheque into his back pocket.

As ever, it's the kids who suffer at a time like this, and the McFadden kids really are. The papers reckon she's got them places in Warrington schools.

WHEN YOU'RE DOWN, THERE'S ONLY ONE WAY TO GO: Actually, while we'd think that getting mugged and then getting a singing phonecall from Liam Gallagher would be the very working model of the addition of insult to injury, the person who he crooned to was an Oasis fan, so Liam Gallagher cheering up mugging victim is actually quite sweet. It's not recorded if Noel told him what song to sing, but chances are.

FURTHER EVIDENCE: Following on from The Quo doing well last week, this week Donny Osmond has got his first top ten hit in three decades. Never mind the Alarm pretending to be a young band, at this rate teenagers are going to have to pretend to come from the sixties to stand a chance of chart action. Oh, so that's what The Others are up to...

THE MARCH OF IDIOTS v EDUCATORS: The RIAA is about to make a bid to divert much-needed funds from teaching to pleasing the RIAA by launching an attack on an independent university in the US. The Pacific Lutheran University has received a threatening letter from the music business cartell warning that it's about to have a subpoena winging its way to help the RIAA find out names of students who might have put a Hank Wangford song or something onto a hard drive.

We're sure this isn't merely an attempt to bounce PLU into signing up with one of the shiny, record-company approved official services - services, of course, where the labels are raking off up to twice as much as when they offer those old CD thingys for sale.

FRANZ SELL OUT: Even with some promoters seeking special licences to increase capacity at some venues (and how does that work, exactly? Surely a safe limit is a safe limit? Or did we miss a paper in Nature suggesting that fans at popular events evacuate more quickly in the event of an emergency?), Franz Ferdinand have sold out their US tour. See, America, it's not just The Darkness...

KLF? NA-U, NA-UH: Jimmy Cauty himself has taken up his Amstrad Em@iler and sent out a denial to try and put an end to fevered online speculation that the KLF are about to release a couple of albums. Aint going to happen, although apparently a german label has put together a bunch of covers for an album coming out later in the year.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

SWEET BABY JESUS: It's been a couple of years since James Taylor's last record, October Road. Some of you might find it surprising that he's decided to make a comeback with a Christmas album. All of you, I'm certain, will be shocked to hear that the james Taylor Christmas album will only be available in Hallmark shops, alongside schmaltzy cards and last year's beanie babies.

It's not a totally bonkers concept - Taylor is between labels at the moment, so we're writing this off to an interesting way of testing out alternative routes to market. We wonder if John Kennedy will be popping in to pick up a copy alongside his Christmas Globes and plastic santas for his IFPI office?

THE PRICE OF A MARKET DEMOCRACY: We know it was all in aid of a charity but even so, isn't playing a huge gig at the Great Wall of China sort of supporting the not-very-pleasant Beijing regime, and also not particuarly good for the Great Wall itself which is meant to be falling to pieces and probably doesn't need very much in the way of amplified rock music to make it go the way of the buddhas? On the other hand, perhaps sending Alicia Keys, Cyndi Lauper and -oh, the inhumanity - Boyz II Men to China was some sort of musical shock and awe strike.

SLIPPERY WHEN WET: We hope that Ginger Fish is alright - after all, falls that his age can be a lot more serious than when you're young. Nobody seems to know quite what made Fish fall off stage while boss Marilyn Manson was doing his run-through of Personal Jesus at a German awards show; we'd guess it was boredom.

Incidently, if Manson's such a disturbing, scary - what was it? infectious boil - what's he doing turning up at video music channel awards shows? Would Osama ease himself into a chair on Fox and Friends?

I DON'T WANNA GO TO THE CHELSEA: Finding time in-between a busy court schedule, Courtney Love and her new, really poorly named The Chelsea band are heading out on tour of the American continent:

Oct 24th - San Diego 4th & B
28th - Santa Cruz The Catalyst
29th - Ventura Majestic Theatre

Assuming, of course, she's not in chokey.

But let's just kick that name some more. The Chelsea - talk about hoiking your boat to the misery mooring. We can only hope that someone will call their band Kurt's Garage in response.

BOOK, AITKEN AND WATERMAN: We don't know if it's available in a glossy 12" remix format yet, but Mike Stock, once of the Stock Aitken Waterman triumverate, has written a book, and is currently doing the promo work related for it. He is starting to sound a little bitter, it has to be noted:

"Nowadays you only need to sell a couple of thousand records to get into the top 40," says Mike. "The charts are not news anymore, they are just a marketing and promotional tool. You have got to question whether the BBC is acting in the public interest by continuing to broadcast the top 40."

Jesus, that's something that Hutton missed. We can think of lots of things you can complain about with the current chart show - not least Wes dropping his surname in the mistaken beleif he's got Beyonce-like fame - but who knew they were acting against the public interest? Presumably, then, Top of the Pops is little more than a fifth-columnist attempt to sap our national pride and soften us up for the inevitable invasion of Someone Foreign and Terrible. Sadly, Stock doesn't elaborate on how this national slap in the face from the BBC fits into the wider picture, as he's got to moan about not being give no respeck:

He is furiously opposed to the opinion that the tunes are throwaway hits churned out without any real thought. "I was just romantically in love with pop music in general from a young age. I was writing pop songs as a kid and I am always looking for that elusive perfect song," he says.
Aitken and I played all the instruments and we had plenty of fights and arguments. Believe me, the passion was there. It could look formulaic or contrived but we would not have had those accusations if we were seen as a 'proper' band like Oasis or the Beatles. Well, we were a proper band. It is just that we had younger singers fronting for us."

Although, to be fair to Oasis, Noel hasn't quiet yet fallen back on getting some pretty dolly bird in to knock out the songs for him, has he? Mike, why on earth would you be worrying about credibility? You made some ace pop songs, you made a stack of cash - who cares if you're not seen as a serious artist? If you claim to love pop as much as you do, surely you realise that it's in the nature of pop to be treated as disposable. You sound like someone who fucked the taxi driver to clear the fare complaining that the cabbie doesn't even send a birthday card.

He also seems to have a slightly wonky rear-view mirror when it comes to facts, too:

"Really nobody knew Kylie when she first came over to Britain," he says, freely admitting in the book that nobody at SAW gave her any special treatment during their first meeting. In fact they kept her waiting so long that the smash hit I Should Be So Lucky was squeezed out in a 45-minute session - and then shelved for months. "You have to remember that even Neighbours itself was only on at lunchtime in those days. It actually moved to a peak slot when we had that hit, so nobody really knew her."

We were tempted to dismiss this as a bit of self-aggrandisement, especially with the implication that it was the hit that made Kylie that made Neighbours; although the essential facts are true - I Should Be So Lucky was number one when Michael Grade made the switch from repeating Neighbours at 10 am to 5.35 pm. But to suggest that nobody knew who Kylie was at that point is just stretching the point a little far - as is hinting that Michael Grade moved the show in response to the pop charts rather than the ratings. But, anyway, Stock has some more bile rising:

He rejects the notion that "real" bands like Nirvana, Blur, the White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand are any different to his own music. "Very often talking about 'real music' is just another image, it is all part of a scam.

"Sometimes you do get a scene like the 'Madchester' era in the early 90s, but that was more about chemicals than music as far as I could tell."

You can just bet he's got ideas about technology and all of that business, too. You can just bet:

"They are selling ipods and MP3 players and then blaming the internet for record sales. But if something that people actually wanted to own was being produced, then people would still go and buy it. It is like when Sgt Pepper's came out by The Beatles. Everybody actually physically wanted that record; they wanted to hold the cover and put it in their collection. People do not want to own most of these records anymore and certainly do not want to pay for them. A great pop song will cross cultural, generational, language barriers. And the songs you hear now are very inferior. They are boring and middle aged. I may have been 32 when I had my first hit but we put young people who looked like pop stars in front. We really did not do things like they do now. We were a band ourselves and we put excitement and passion into every chord."

So, in summary: The formats didn't get smaller, the songs did.

THE GREAT SOUND OF CLOWNS COMES TO CD: There are some unlikely organisations getting into the record label business these days, but at least there's a certain logic to high-end circus act Cirque Du Soleil creating their own label - we actually tend to think their shows of juggling and clowning-as-art-form work best if you close your eyes, so the idea of soundtracks is actually quite a tempting one. And they also plan to release stuff from new artists, too. Anything which stops them creating new shows of tumbling and clowning is fine with us.

WE'RE NOT: Teen pop star amazed at lack of advances from single men. It's Joss Stone. That'd be why, then.

TAKE ME OUT... AND, I DON'T SUPPOSE YOU COULD PAY FOR DINNER, COULD YOU? I SEEM TO HAVE LEFT MY WALLET IN MY OTHER TROUSERS: Although, of course, it appears to have been an "accident" that Franz Ferdinand's drummer Paul Thompson and his new wife Esther left Andy's Frocks without paying. It's a restuarant, apparently, and a spokesperson says it's all a bit of a mix-up; he's been busy and hasn't been able to keep track of his bank account. That's the only reason why he's not paid. We're not quite sure how not being able to open your bank statements would lead to you being unaware that a restauranteur is pursuing you for an unpaid bill, but then we've never spent six hundred quid on a meal so it's not an area we can claim any expertise in.

THE NOISE MADE BY PEOPLE: A different sort of music blog: Music thing gives a glorious canter through various items of what people with more confidence would describe as studio kit. Tom, more accurately and interestingly, describes it as "trying to capture the feeling I always get walking down the street and looking in the windows of all the music shops."