Saturday, October 23, 2004

BASTRO BACK: We've not heard much from Bastro recently, but apparently there's going to be a new album and a live album released early on in 2005. The live album dates back to 1991, which means it was probably in that suitcase which got robbed from Bono.

A TERRORISM LAW REALLY IS JUST A CATCH-ALL, ISN'T IT?: Okay, we can just about see how his support for Republicanism might put him on some sort of a watchlist, but why exactly did anti-terrorist police feel the need to pull Christy Moore and interrogate him for two hours? Moore was travelling through Holyhead on the way to play Liverpool when he and his driver were detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Now, maybe police really did believe that asking him questions about his lyrics and family was neccessary to stop a terrorist outrage - in which case they're merely thick; if we assume they're not stupid, however, the incident starts to smell a little of harrasment.

GLITTER AND BUSH - SERIAL OFFENDER: When we first pointed out that George W was happily glad-handing to the great sounds of Gary Glitter, we assumed that it was on a basis that the Republicans just had no idea. We were a bit surprised when Have I Got News For You had a question last night suggesting that the offending Glitter tune had been dropped from the Bush soundtrack - mainly because they were using it on Tuesday in Florida, and since HIGNFY is taped on Thursday, that would have had to have meant the Republicans had axed the song sometime on Wednesday. So we did a quick Google, and discovered that, actually, HIGNFY was referring to the 2000 campaign when they said the song had been dropped. Yep, last time round the Republicans were told Glitter was a kiddie-fiddling type, and, embarrassed, they dropped him faster than an porn-downloading office-working hitting the 'close window' button when the boss comes round:

"Most of our people don't know who he is, but now [that] his background has been explained to us, you will not hear it again at a Gov. Bush rally."

So, this time round, the campaign both knows that Bush is pumping up his crowds using the songs of a paedophile, and doesn't care. Interesting.

SOME HAVE FUN, OTHERS BEAT-UP DATUSNS: The return of the Datsun has less-than-stellar: reaction has been somewhat like a relaunch of the Cherry would have got if the car company tried to re-introduce that marque. That said, you may or may not be interested in the next single's video, A Girl's Best Friend.[Real Player version]

NON-EVIL THING DONE BY MAJOR LABEL: We're quite pleased with the new-look to the Mute website; it's not dragging web design off in any unexpected new direction, but it does feature exclusive Miss Kittin and Liars videos.

UNEXPECTED KIDDIES: Just when you think you've done all your Christmas shopping, your husband rememvers he's got a fifteen year old daughter he's forgotten to mention. No wonder Gwen Steffani's pissed with Gavin Rossdale over his sudden recollection that "up and coming model" Daisy Lowe is his daughter - not olny is this an extra place to lay at Thanksgiving, she's precisely at that tricky age when they're so difficult to buy for. Spookily, Rossdale has spent the last decade and a half as his own daughter's godfather. The mother, of course, is Pearl Spam from Powder, which makes Danny Goffey of Supergrass, her current partner, the father of Gwen Steffani's stepdaughter's siblings. Maybe everyone should just stay at home for the holidays this year.

DAVE MATTHEWS ATTEMPT A BLAIR APOLOGY: Following from the incident where the Dave Matthews Band's shit got dumped on a bunch of people enjoying a pleasant boat ride the Band are attempting to make things right while simultaneously refusing to accept any responsiblity for the driver of their coach, in their employ, opening the sluice gates and dumping the shit across the river. Despite it not being their fault, they've sacked the driver, donated fifty grad to local parks and a river group and attempted to make contact with affected passengers. It's not persuaded the Attorney General that it's time to put all this business behind them:

Melissa Merz, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said the band's latest action would not affect ongoing settlement talks.

"We certainly, along with all Illinoisans, appreciate the gesture of goodwill, but legal negotiations are based on evidence and legal procedures and we have not yet reached a resolution in this case," Merz said.

Friday, October 22, 2004

MORE MUSE: The busy Christmas gig schedule makes space for some more, with the addition of an extra Earls Court date on December 19th and the 20th. You'll need to be quick, mind, as the tickets go on sale tomorrow:

Tickets go on sale to the general public for both dates at 9:00am on Saturday 23rd October and are available from the following outlets:

BY PHONE (EARLS COURT BOX OFFICE: 0870 903 9033/WAY AHEAD: 020 7403 3331/TICKETMASTER: 0870 5344 4444/STARGREEN: 020 7734 8932/PICCADILLY: 020 7434 2222 / 0161 832 1111/CREDIT CARD TEL: 0870 400 0688 (24 HRS) / 0871 220 0260


SURELY IT CAN'T BE TRUE: New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer has served subpoenas on RIAA mainstays EMI, Universal, Sony-BMG and Warner Music as part of an ongoing investigation into payola style activities. Surely the RIAA - who are keen to drag twelve year old girls into court to make sure they learn the importance of laws - can't be involved in wrongdoing? (Again, after all that price fixing unpleasantness).

BABY GOT BACKSTORY: Something cheering for an autumnal afternoon: MusicThing considers the history of Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot.

COX BACK ON? DON'T COUNT ON IT: Despite what you might have been lead to believe, the return of the talented one to Blur isn't in the bag - Graham Coxon is insisting that the professional problems between him and Damon haven't been sorted, even if he no longer gets the urge to see what would happen if he made Damon sit on a giant sized lemon squeezer while spinning him around.

Like that.

OH... WE'D FORGOTTEN ABOUT HER: The Avril Lavigne with a piano that is Vanessa Carlton is about to release a second album.

The new one, Harmonium, has an added joy; she's dating Stephen Jenkins of Third Eye Blind and he's had lots and lots of input into the recording. Yes, thought that would entice you.

Not that it's not really Vanessa's album, of course:

"I really learned just how important it is to follow your instincts and stay on your own path and kind of not submit to the forces around you that are constantly--without meaning to--trying to move you into a more mediocre direction."

It actually scares us, deep down, that there might have been a direction from the first album that was any more mediocre.

ELTON JOHN: THE BIG DOPE: Elton's been doing another round of interviews, telling Canadian TV that in the 80s he was smoking so much dope it nearly buggered his voice for good, and he had to have an operation to save his career. It's odd, though: we can understand that Elton's performances in the 1980s may have been undermined by dope, but does that explain why he wrote Nikita as well?

AND IF YOU BELIEVE THAT...: For reasons we can't quite fathom, John Lydon is making a programme for Channel Five about sharks. Anyway, since its due to air in about a week or so, we're now at the stage where they're trying to get us interested, hence a story about how Johnny Rotten scared off shark. Hardly. He didn't present a danger to the shark, so the shark swam away. Probably bored. The idea of anyone being "frightened" by Lydon in 2004 is hugely implausible. Even the 1970s editors of tabloid newspapers by now see him as little more than a funny, cuddly old shoutbox, like everyone's grandad but without the smell of pee.

THE ASSOCIATION WITH SUN CITY IS SO HARD TO SHAKE: The not-dead members of Queen and Brian May have run into a massive hurdle as they attempted to stop a German label from flogging a live version of We Will Rock You. The German court simply wouldn't believe they were British citizens when they attempted to use their right to sue under EU legislation.

Oddly, rather than do something like show their passports, the trio had attempted to prove they were British by printing some stuff off the Internet - like that's going to prove anything. Look: Brian May was born in Canada, and has lived all his life in a small hedge in the borderlands of Paraguay. Even if you print this page off on a laserprinter, Brian, it doesn't make it true.

You do have to wonder why the boys didn't just send their passports over to prove their citizenship - surely the only reasons could be either they don't hold passports - unlikely, since they would have needed them to go off and play music for the Aparthied government of South Africa, or else they don't hold UK passports.

TAKING A CONSOLING SWIG FROM THE TEEHEE MUG: Mike Read, who seems to spend his entire life trying to find something for history to say about him than "the guy who got upset about Frankie Goes To Hollywood on radio one", has broken a West End record. His musical based on the life of Oscar Wilde closed after just one performance. The musical - called, erm, Oscar Wilde the Musical, opened on Tuesday at London's Shaw Theatre, and promptly closed. The Telegraph review of the event reckoned it was "hard to feel anything other than incredulous contempt" for the work.

We bet Blue Tulip Read had bought tickets for the entire run, as well.

BO: NO TOE, NO SHOW: Following an emergency amputation of his toe, Bo Diddley has cancelled some live dates in California. Diddley needed the op following hypoglycemic complications as a result of diabetes.

OCTOBER RECOVERED: Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Bono - who back then wasn't BONO - had been making notes and plans for the second U2 album. He stuck all this ideas in a suitcase, and was distraught when the case got stolen. There has been some suggestion the theft was an act of a music lover from the future, who had stolen a time machine in order to try and save the world from the Zoo TV experience and the other outcomes of a famous Bono. He failed, though, because U2 patched together the missing ideas on the fly, while they were in the studio - although it wasn't a happy experience, they clearly got the taste for knocking together any old shit as it occured to them, as it would form the basis for most of their work after 1990.

Now, though, Bono has had the suitcase returned to him. Supposedly the case turned up in a basement some years ago, but we all know the truth: it had been dropped as the time traveller passed 2004 on his way back to see if his actions had managed to stop Bono from becoming head of the United Nations in 2017. The disappointed time traveller is believed to have said, or will way, "well, if I've had no luck there, I'm going back to 1981 and see if I can't head off that Beatles reunion, then..."

We'd love to have been there when Bono opens the case, discovering his original idea for October had been a concept album about singing animals. Or something.

THE LATIN MUSIC AWARDS: MTV have done their annual Latin Music Awards; Bono turned up to spoil things ("get things underway"). Amongst the winners were Avril Lavigne, the Black Eyed Peas and Maroon 5; local prizes went to Diego Torres, La Ley and "Argentinian rockers" Airbag. Biggest winner was Julieta Venegas, who took three prizes - best Mexican, best video and best solo act. She picked up one of her gongs from Lenny Kravitz:

Clearly, Kravitz has at long last got over his belief that he's hendrix, and has moved on to deluding himself that he's Ray Charles.

ROMEO IN COURT: So Solid Crew's Romeo made a court appearance yesterday linked to his alleged knife-fight in a car park; he's going to be back in court on November 22nd.

AND THERE'S THE WHOLE 'THEM' AND 'US' NATURE OF THE SONG AS WELL: It's going to happen, isn't it? Noel, Damon, Dido and, um, Beverley Knight are all jostling to get on board Band Aid III. Oddly, Albarn says he's going to do as part of Gorillaz - what does that mean? He's going to turn up as a cartoon character?

OW... OW... OW: Offered a chance to appear before Prince Charles at the Trevor Horn gig, Holly Johnson said "no, thank you" - presumably afraid the Prince's kid would be there and the evening would end in fisticuffs - not that that's put off the rest of Frankie Goes To Hollywood; they're merely going to get a ringer to take Holly's place. Now, without wanting to be cruel to Paul, Ped and Mark, but while any of them could be switched for anyone else and nobody would mind, doing Frankie without Holly is a little bit like Tatu turning up, only with Jay Aston and David Van Day in place of the two non-lesbianic lesbian schoolitas.

LUDACRIS CUTS O'REILLY SOME SLACK: In the US, Bill O'Reilly is one of the crazy cast of characters from the spoof Fox News network - the shctick is that this is a channel which keeps claiming to be "fair and unbiased" while pumping out eyeball spinning neocon propaganda; there's a side plot where their attempts to protect the purity of American families their owner is simulataneously pumping out programmes about people shagging on islands and so on. It's all quite funny, though a little overblown: no real news channel would use all the onscreen graphics and stabs like that. Anyway, O'Reilly has been on the wrong end of a lawsuit suggesting he's been attempting to put the sexual sauce on some of his co-workers. You'd expect that the people who he's made a career out of ripping to shreds would be lining up to give some back, wouldn't you? Except it's not happening like that - in a lesson we hope Fox News might be able to understand, Ludacris has been swift to explain the distinction between 'allegations' and 'facts':

“I’ll be real, I always give somebody the benefit of the doubt,” Ludacris told “He’s just being accused. It’s innocent until proven guilty. Its just bad press for him now.”

Not that he's not enjoying it:

“The fact that there [might be] proof that he said ‘certain words’ is really killing me,” Ludacris laughed. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say it brings a smile to my face. These are words that I say and this mother fucker is saying the same words that I say and is criticizing me?”

I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER: A little while back, we mentioned the James Diamond who was bringing legal action against Jack White claiming he'd been cut out of the White Stripes pie.

Paul Duane got in touch:

Tried to 'add comment' but it obviously doesn’t work with my web browser (Safari 1.0.2 if its of interest) so here goes instead: the 'chap called James Diamond' is Detroit rock'n'roll legend Jim Diamond (no, not the skinny-arsed eighties one-hit wonder Jim Diamond) whose work alongside Mick Collins in the Gories and the Dirtbombs created the arena in which the White Stripes found their sound. Whether or not this court case is wise is another issue, its the first I've heard of it, but anyway the man deserves some credit for his long service...

... which we just love because it mentions Jim Diamond, who was, of course, one half of PhD, a band who attempted to out Yazoo Yazoo.

This might also be an excellent point to mention Paul's blog, It Came From Memphis, a record of an attempt to film Robert Gordon's book of the same name. There's going to be a series of gigs based around the project at the Barbican around Easter time, so it's well worth keeping an eye on.

OH GOOD. AS IF FEBRUARY WASN'T SHIT ENOUGH ALREADY: The arse-end of winter is now going to have to contend with the release of a new Ocean Colour Scene album. The working title is Hyperactive Workout For The Flying Squad and, since it's ocean colour scene, that's probably what they're going to wind up calling it as well. Simon Fowler says the new album is "all about change and progression" - we suspect in the sense of change which Paul Weller meant in The Changing Man (extra hole in the belt, a few minutes longer picking hair out of the brush in the morning, strange twinge in the thighs when you run for the bus) rather than change as in trying something new and exciting.

However, we might be being unfair - Folwer reckons it'll be great:

"Not only do we have two new members in our band, we've also collaborated with some of the music world's finest rock and pop artists who have all added a new dimension to the Ocean Colour Scene sound."

BUSH IS SO OUT OF CONTROL, EVEN PEOPLE YOU THOUGHT WERE DEAD ARE RECORDING SONGS AGAINST HIM: It turns out that Bobby 'Boris' Pickett, who recorded Junior Choice favourite The Monster Mash back in 1962 is not only still alive, but so outraged by the Bush White House's granting of rights for commercial exploitation of American forests that he's reworked The Monster Mash as The Monster Slash, complete with video showing Bush chopping down trees.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Yes, we know, but sometimes we just can't help ourselves.

OH GOD, HE'S GOING TO BE INSUFFERABLE: As if to prove that nobody ever went bankrupt underestimating how incredibly stupid some people can be, not only has Chris Moyles grown the Radio One breakfast show audience, but he's jumped over Heart to become London's second-favourite music breakfast show. Radio One as a whole has managed to poke its head back above ten million listeners, which suggests that the less challenging daytime fayre has started to pay results.

Meanwhile, all the BBC digital services are on the up, even with the shortcomings of the current measuring system: 6Music has a ten per cent rise, albeit from a fairly low base.

We cherish MediaGuardian's attempt to spin the figure for Five Live Sports Extra downwards, though:

5 Live Sports Extra has put on 110,000 listeners in the last year with an audience of 424,000.

However, the size of the digital increase over the summer months will be disappointing for the BBC, which enjoyed a massive rise in radio and TV audiences because of Euro 2004 football and the Olympics.

In the three months to September 12, the BBC station that offers extra coverage of sports events increased its audience only by 9,000.

So... people only listen to the network designed to carry overflow sporting events when there's a lot of sport on. Who knew?

WALLER PULLS DATE: Poor Rik Waller, comedy stooge from one of the series of Pop Idol, has dropped the Torquay date from his current tour after selling just two tickets. And it was to a couple, so you can bet one of them was only going as the other had agreed to watch Torquay United in return.

SOMEONE WITH SOME BALLS: Hats off to Missy Elliott, who rebuffed Madonna's attempt to sign her up to Kabbalah - not only because any "religion" which requires you to buy a piece of string for the price of a good lunch has to be wonky, but because she's actually got her own beliefs which she believes in, rather than has adopted because it's a super-fun craze.

RICKY MARTIN AGAINST SEX TOURISM: Hip-swivelling Latino Powerhouse Ricky Martin has declared 'war' on sex tourism and has joined forces with the United Nations to do his bit.

(Oddly, George Bush is meant to be very hot on the idea of western nationals travelling to the developing world in order to sexually exploit kids, and yet, as we observed yesterday, he's quite comfortable using Gary Glitter as a campaign anthem, even while Cambodia is trying to kick Glitter out.)

BLOG RELOADED: Nice to see that the rub is back up and running.

BUT PLEASE, DON'T HAVE NIGHTMARES: Turns out that Camper Van Beethoven have had their stuff nicked:

I just got this message from Jonathan Segel - and confirmed by phone with David Lowery as they were headed down to the police station. Get the word out about all this as fast as possible!

If you have info, email me: john [at] cursion [dot] com. Or better yet - contact the Montreal Police.

Message from Jonathan:

all of camper van beethoven's guitars and violin and our merch got stolen last night in montreal. if anybody has any contacts up here, tell them to look for our stuff in stores. or hunt down the robbers and kill them.

jonathan's violin with stickers all over it
jonathan's 1971 strat (sunburst) (with a couple stickers, etc.)O
victor's 1969 precision bass (natural finish)
david's green charvel surfcaster
david's black jackson surfcaster
a couple ibanez acoustics
johnny's black eric clapton strat
greg's frankenstein strat (black) and tele (tobacco sunbusrst)
plus mike duclos' precision bass and ezster balint's gibson sg and
danelectro semi acoustic.
a few tshirts and a road case of cds.

Of course, if we're to believe the BPI's Matt Phillips who says that "law enforcement is never popular", we'd have to assume that everyone hopes that the stuff remains stolen. In the real world, though, we hope someone can help.

BUT OF COURSE: The sleevenotes to the Nirvana Box set are, fittingly, being supplied by Thurston Moore. Less fittingly, the whole thing is called With The Lights Out, which is such a lame-assed obvious title we can't think why they didn't just call it Heart Shaped Box.

A CD IS FOR LIFE, NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS: Adopting the judgement that a carrot is always preferable to a stick, Eminem hopes to entice people to buy Encore, the new album, by offering a Willy Wonka style competition where people could end up winning stuff. Okay, a lot of the stuff is just horrible - platinum plaques? - but at least the idea, of making the record more attractive than the illegal download, is a step in the right direction.

BE A SLAVE: No, this isn't a pick up from the bondage thread further down the page - anyone who's in Edinburgh is being invited to take part in Aida.

You'll be made up, forced to wear a short skirt (men as well), put in chains and marched around for the delight of others... okay, maybe this is slightly picking up on the bondage theme.

AND WE BANISH SHADE: With charity already suffering at the hands of Chris Moyles, a further blow to good doing comes from the now seemingly unstoppable march towards Band Aid III; a remake of Do They Know Its Christmas with - heh - a new generation of "stars" including Coldplay, The Darkness and Travis doing their bit.

Now, of course, if it all raises money to help people, it can never be a terrible thing, but why do Do They Know... again? 20 years ago, the song was fine - the whole point of the project was a sudden response to a terrible situation, so it didn't matter that the song was written in ten minutes on the back of an envelope. But boy, did it sound like it was. However, after twenty years of thinking about it, surely even Bob must see that there's a need for a total overhaul of a song which doesn't really make any sense. From the title, which always seemed a little odd to us (are we going to be sending life-saving aid or advent calendars and tinsel?) the lyrics are riddled with phrases which were fine on a song thrown together, but don't make much sense when you've had time to sit and think about them: there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime? What, not even in the mountains? We let in light and we banish shade? But isn't shade a good thing? It's not the same thing as darkness, surely?

Could we make a small suggestion? At the same time as the original Band Aid, the Two Tone bands and their affiliates came together to record a cover of Starvation (that's why Madness turned down Band Aid). It's a cracking song, it sounds brilliant, and while Bob's song is all "poor starving Africans need us to save them", Starvation's lyric is much more about how we're all part of the same world. It's a snappier message, a better sound, and surely would make a far better subject for the Third Band Aid than resurrecting a song which did its work twenty years ago?

KEEP YOUR MIND FIXED ON THE CHEQUE: This week's picture of Lauren and her celebrity guest from the Brrrring! Brrring! Orange Phones show suggests that Lauren might be thinking that the money isn't enough, not for this:

Her latest guest is Paul Gascoigne, talking about music. He's no stranger to the pop charts himself, of course - The Fog On The Tyne and The Gazza Party Album thingy; he reveals his favourite song is You Can't Hurry Love by Phil Collins. Apparently, gazza is planning on changing his name, possibly to, um, G8. Either because he's convinced he's actually a gathering of the leaders of the major economic powers, or because he thinks he's a gate. We're not sure which.

JAPANESE POP: THE SERIOUS ASSAULT: We're usually told that bands who we assume have disappeared and broken up are actually still alive, working away in Japan to still adoring audiences; Shampoo, we're asked to believe, are as big as Will Young in Tokyo. It's become the equivalent of wives telling the neighbours that their husbands are working on the oil rigs instead of doing a five month stretch for aggravated robbery. That said, American and British acts do clock up some extra earnings in Japan, but - a few geeky boys who love the anime apart - there's been precious little transport in the opposite direction. Utada Hikaru wants to change that.

Hikaru isn't the first Japanese pop star to attempt to leap into the US charts, but she does have an advantage in that she was born in New York, and has spent her life swapping between America and Japan. She's also not that dumb - she dropped out of Columbia University because it wasn't challenging enough (this at a time when she was also selling squillions and oodles of records in Japan). Which makes her official biography - all Hello Kitty and Three Amigos - seem a little at odds with her interview persona, where she talks of Poe and Tolstoy. We hope America takes to her; she could be an interesting figure to have around.

JAPANESE POP: THE SERIOUS ASSAULT: We're usually told that bands who we assume have disappeared and broken up are actually still alive, working away in Japan to still adoring audiences; Shampoo, we're asked to believe, are as big as Will Young in Tokyo. It's become the equivalent of wives telling the neighbours that their husbands are working on the oil rigs instead of doing a five month stretch for aggravated robbery. That said, American and British acts do clock up some extra earnings in Japan, but - a few geeky boys who love the anime apart - there's been precious little transport in the opposite direction. Utada Hikaru wants to change that.

Hikaru isn't the first Japanese pop star to attempt to leap into the US charts, but she does have an advantage in that she was born in New York, and has spent her life swapping between America and Japan. She's also not that dumb - she dropped out of Columbia University because it wasn't challenging enough (this at a time when she was also selling squillions and oodles of records in Japan). Which makes her official biography - all Hello Kitty and Three Amigos - seem a little at odds with her interview persona, where she talks of Poe and Tolstoy. We hope America takes to her; she could be an interesting figure to have around.

WHY? WHY? WHY?: Who knew, there is something less amusing than the Goldie Lookin' Chain stretching their half joke into a career. Chris Moyles has formed a "tribute" band called - and if you have a heart problem we suggest you seek medical advice before reading any further - Mouldy Lookin' Stain, and in the name of charity (of course, in the name of charity) has recorded a track called Dog's Don't Kill People, Rabbits Do. Which manages to remove the only thing vaguely amusing about the original in the name of a comedy remake. If you must re-record a supposedly funny version of a song that's already supposedly funny, could we suggest you try Young Steve and The Afternoon Boys' I'm Alright instead?

Children In Need will "benefit" from all of this, although we spoke to a twelve year old crack-raddled prostitute living in a shed and having to rely on a machine to keep him alive because he was born with no internal organs. He said that, compared to people who have to listen to Chris Moyles, his life isn't that bad, actually.

COURTNEY COUGHS: We're losing track of exactly which charges Courtney has changed her mind on, but we're sure her sudden guilty plea on the New York microphone stand charge is a complete 180 spin that Tony Hawks would be left queasy after. She's been ordered to pay medical expenses for the woman she clobbered, and has to stick to her earlier pledge to no more eat her body weight indrugs.

SHARING THE GLORY: There's been a little oddity over at Aguilera towers - her song Make Over, previously credited to her and Linda Perry, has suddenly sprouted a whole slew of extra composers in its ASCAP listing - Jonathan Lipsey, Felix Howard, Cameron McVey and Paul Simm, in fact. If you're thinking "bloody hell, you could write a Sugababes song with that many people", you'd be spot on - they're the writers of the not-entirely-dissimilar Overload.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

BLOGGERTATION: As we remove our Pop Papers hat for another week, this seems to be a good point to mention the Dissertation Blog, which is - as the name would imply - a dissertation published in blogform, by featherboa. It's the first - as far as I know - academic study of music weblogs, which includes this one as one of the case studies. It's really worth a read if you're interested in the future of the music press.

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: The NME reinvents itself. Again.
Belly-warmer and occasional Brian Molko collaborator Asia Argento simmers off the front of the current Dazed & Confused; apparently she told one critic who'd been bitchy to her that she wanted to stab him, which made him fall in love with her.

D&C also reveals that The Subways' Billy Lunn used to be the best breastroke man in the UK. Swimming, that is.

Plus, Thurston Moore remembers his first meeting with Kim Gordon: he was scared to kiss her, but really wanted to.

It's interesting that Tim Jonze has chosen these pages to predict the demise of the current London rock scene: simply everybody's doing crack, and he reckons that the same way scouse pop in the 80s collapsed under the weight of too many smack problems, London 04 could be going to hell in a pipe. Jonze also points out the bitter twist of a scene supposedly about community and warm, cuddly leftish ideals choosing the drug that's smashing the heart out of working class communities across the country. (Let's hope nobody in Liverpool reads the remarks about scouse pop, though, otherwise Tim'll be forced to make a pilgrimage a la Boris to the North West. Has anyone else spotted that the Liverpool reaction to the Spectator piece is, erm, exactly the sort of whiney stereotypical over-reaction you'd have expected?)

It's Observer Music Monthly week, and can you guess what the chart is? Number one - 911 Is A Joke by Duran Duran; Atomic Kitten's The Tide Is High at 8 and Strawberry Fields Forver is down at 9. Yep, it's worst cover versions, but any such list which doesn't include this:

is no comprehensive round-up of bad cover versions.

Liza Tarbuck - god, yes, and if you wouldn't, you probably need viagra or something - goes to see the record doctor. For some reason - we can only assume it's animus against the whole family - she's prescribed Swing Out Sister, which is the sort of thing that would get you struck off in the NHS.

We're delighted to report there's several pictures of Robbie Williams, and he looks like a smug, UHT preserved self-licking tossboot in every single one of them. It's made better by his commentary on the pictures - he calls Wayne Rooney "the George Best of our generation", which is interesting not only because its so, so wrong - where is the style and panache? - but because Williams clearly hasn't noticed that he's from the generation before Rooney's.

Band Aid was twenty years ago, you know. Oh, you did? Oh, you're already heartily sick of the anniversary? And the way that the Live Aid celebrations have kicked in almost a year before the 20th anniversary proper? You don't want to hear Francis Rossi telling how he and Rick were "the drug centre" during the recording of Do They Know Its Christmas? Even although there's something a little disturbing that the people singing to raise cash for starving Ethiopians were simulatneously consuming - in Rossi's words - "shitloads of coke" at a time when the bulk of coke in Europe came from Columbian and Chilean sources, and as such was propping up General Pinochet's murderous regime?

Emma Warren has selected Black Wire as the Flash-Forward band. One of the looks like the young Martin Gore - back before he turned up in leather, that is.

The OMM has an extract of Alexis Kiedis' autobiography, and if we might extract an extract: "My priority that fall was to get into a good junior school. I was supposed to enrol in Bancroft, but when we went to check it out, we saw that the building was in a shady neoghbourhood." We expect the stuff about property prices and neighbourhood watch is being kept back for the book proper.

OMM gives a handy heads-up about Claire Teal: she's being groomed and promoted by "proper journalist" Michael Parkinson. That one fact saves you a lot of time in forming a judgement, doesn't it?

Clearly, after the level of guests she's been lumbered with on The Orange Telephone Company Company Programme, Lauren Laverne must have jumped at the chance of a talk with someone who has answers - Paul Heaton. In the course of their chat, Heaton reels off the old address of Smiths Crisps (121 Kings Road, Reading, Berkshire, if you're interested.) Can you honestly say any of McFly would be able to remember the Walkers HQ location in twenty years?

Kings of Leon are on the front of the NME; it's like a shot from Extreme Makeovers, albeit one where the production team have decided to abandon the programme halfway through. Matt Lucas appears to have joined them, dressed up as Kim deal. We're guessing the extreme makeover thing is a nod to the redesign of the paper - Conor McNicholas introduces this revamp (we think it's number seven in the last three years, or something like that) as being in response to public demand: apparently people wanted "more letters", which is a bit of a surprise. The best news is the poster pull-out has gone, making the NME the first magazine to survive the curse of the glossy pull-out section, normally something that comes up towards the last six months of a magazine's existence.

The Big Picture has survived, despite its sometimes wobbly status; there has been a tendency to choose better pictures recently, though, and this time round its a collection of images from the Johnny & Joey ramone tribute nights. There's also coverage of Franz ferdinand's kids matinee special and an interview with Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler: Brett says he feels "reborn"; Bernie says it reminds him of back in 1991 when nobody cared what he and Brett were doing. Yes, 2004 is a lot like that, Bernard.

The BPI's gorgeous, pouting Matt Phillips is slipped into a skintight tshirt to react to the NME poll on the BPI's decision to issue legal actions left, right and centre. Comparing the current poll results with the last time they asked the questions, back in March, is interesting: people are slightly more bolshy about downloading - 92% think it will carry on regardless compared with March's 89%; 77% will continue to download (73% before). Indeed, the only thing that's surprising is that only 70% are angry about the BPI action; before it started, 75% were pissed off. Not that GP Matt is pleased to hear that nobody thinks it's going to make a difference and hardly anyone supports the BPI's moves - "law enforcement is rarely popular" he sniffs, which is just rubbish. Do people really tut loudly when the police catch a rapist? Have small groups taken to trying to get up petitions to stop the cops hassling the guys who steal old people's life savings?

It's a good week for the NME to be relaunching an opinion column: Julian Marshall lands some tight punches - not least pointing out that being lectured on being evil by Pete Waterman is a little unfair. There's also an opinion offered by Kele Okereke from Bloc Party who suggests we should all start our own bands. Handily, you can win Justin Hawkin's guitar on the next page, which will not only let you make music, but stop him making it, too. (Unless he has another guitar, we guess).

Unchanged by all the furniture shifting is Peter Robinson Versus... it's Segre from Ksabian this week; Serge thinks watching V dancing on Top of the Pops is like doing LSD. Only if you're having a very bad trip.

Kings of Leon bemoan that they never had the chance to play normal gigs - where the audience consists of "seven drunk guys in Denver who couldn't give two shits." Instead they wound up having to fend off Kate Moss and Liv Tyler. Yeah, that must suck.

The Zutons are still going; their response to a question about the war is to string some Phil Collins album titles together. They do suggest that Kerry looks like Deputy Dawg, although that's wrong as well; he's surely much more of a Huckleberry Hound.

Radar band (just a single page now) are Maximo Park - the wee Franz Ferdinands are starting to arrive, it turns out. They want people to come and release their pent-up sexual frustration at their shows; which sounds like a good idea until you have to mop up the floor when they've gone home.

live - all expanded! all new!
ordinary boys - edinburgh - liquid rooms - "here to pick up the pieces"
the boyfriends - london metro - "better than buses"
mortiis on tour (from their diary) "I'm not a big fan of the English breakfast"
bloc party - camden lock 17 - "the band of next year, no contest"

elliott smith - from a basement on the hill - "saddled forever with a stereotype he abhorred: a doomed, tragic hero", 9
the eighties matchbox b-line disaster - "Black Francis-cum-Mortis", 8
the cramps - how to make a monster - "bad music for people who love good music", 7
placebo - once more with feeling - "cross dressing controversialists who've never done anything shocking", 4

and so here's the revamps big idea - Tracks. Singles is still there, hanging on as a sidebar but that's enough, and they're still supplied by one writer. It's just enough for those of us who can't quite remove our stove pipe hats for long enough to accept the death of the single; however much we accept that moving from reviewing lumps of music on plastic heading to shops to catching songs as soon as they appear on the horizon makes sense, a pop magazine without some sort of singles review would feel like it was lacking something. We're not sure how the idea of giving the same number of words to every track is going to work out, though: is there really as much to say about the new Snow Patrol (pianful poignancy) as the new Graham Coxon (time has not withered)? And, with no more sotw, the totw is The Strokes, Clampdown (live), a download from The Strokes as the pick? So, that's what a brave new world looks like, eh?

The gig guide has doubled in size, which is something that should have happened ages ago. And Peter Robinson is in charge of the new Thrills, which is actually more like that bit they used to do in Select and is pretty amusing, and called Backstage. But mr. Robinson now controls the bantery pieces in the back of OMM and NME - isn't there meant to be a Government Department Inquiry triggered at this point?

All in all, then, the NME has done a bit of a u-turn and developed a lot of bottom. It feels like a much more substantial proposition than it did seven days ago, and seems to have finally started the comeback from shrinking down. We've lost the posters and gained extra editorial - that's got to be a good sign.

MEGADEATH LOSE ONE: Their drummer, Nick Menza, is out of the Megadeath line-up for the current tour and probably all of recorded time.

PRIZES FOR EVERYONE: madonnalicious? Oh well, there you go... the winners have been announced of this year's Dotmusic Awards, erm, DMA awards. Here's the winners:

Best Web-based Music Gamed
Muse Space Fighter game

Best Music Video sponsored by Launch UK
The Streets – Blinded By The Lights

Best Radio Station Online
Virgin Radio

Best Download Music Service

Best Artist Download sponsored by BT Rich Media
Coldplay – 2000 Miles

The People’s Choice Award for best music website – unofficial site

The People’s Choice Award for best music website – official site
Official Westlife site

Best Use of Mobile supported by the Mobile Entertainment Forum
Orange Fireplayer

Best Use of Broadband
Video-C Broadband Chart

Best Digital Promotional Campaign sponsored by IPT

Best Innovation
LAUNCHcast and Yahoo! Messenger integration

Best Pop Artist sponsored by
Girls Aloud

Best Rock Indie Artist sponsored by
Paul Weller

Best Dance Artist

Best Urban Artist sponsored by the Mean Fiddler Group

The Artist of the Year award sponsored by Metro
Will Young

Yes, we're a little puzzled by these - Will Young? The Official Westlife site? But best of all... Paul Weller as "best indie rock artist" - how on earth did that happen?

We're also more than a little puzzled by the prize for Virgin as "best radio station online" - frankly, it'd struggle to be best radio station broadcasting on Medium Wave (and FM in London).

Still, it's a useful warning of why the government needs to think very, very carefully before allowing the public the chance to vote online in a general election.

COLIN MURRAY'S DIARY: It's like the Dales, only we've yet to be put out of our misery. This month, Colin muses on the death of the single:

So, the single is dead. Surely that's bad news for radio. Hold on a second, that's bad news for me ...

Neat opening, although since many, if not all, Gold and album format stations manage quite well without the single, it doesn't really follow.

I can always go back to McDonald's, given my two years' experience, and there's a monthly radio diary I do for a newspaper called the Guardian. It doesn't pay much, but it's a start. Still, I'll have to sell the holiday home in St Lucia and the Winnebago. Trust me, if that was the truth I wouldn't be writing about it today. Here's the story ...

We never really liked the idea of Colin taking over the Radcliffe slot; we liked the idea of him filling Eddie Mair's radio diary slot in G2 even less. But if it keeps him out of making the drive-thru in our local McDonalds even slower than it already is, we can live with that.

Last Sunday, Call On Me by Eric Pridz went back to the top of the official UK charts, despite the fact it sold fewer copies than a stall punting anti-war T-shirts at the gates of Downing Street.

Wouldn't that be a lucrative spot, though? Since many people turn up at Downing Street to protest the war? Don't you mean something like Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers in Texas?

Now, it was a very slow week for releases, but it's probably a taste of things to come. However, to quote Lance Corporal Jack Jones, "Don't panic!"

Surely it would make more sense to quote the Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy's advice, which is delivered in a clear, calm manner, rather than Corporal Jones', which would always be stuttered out in a blind panic?

Back in the day, you could buy six singles for the price of one album, whereas today most singles cost £3.99. Therefore, it makes sense to spend a few more quid on albums, sales of which are thriving. Record companies (and supermarkets) have cottoned on to this and are selling remarkable, ground-breaking new long players for a tenner, or thereabouts. Three years ago, you'd have been lucky to bag Black Lace's Greatest Hits for that.

Does Colin really think that record companies have reduced the price of albums? After all their defence of the high prices of recorded music in the UK?

Above all else, though, it's the untapped and out-of-control Download Generation that's decimating single sales.

Is it? Suddenly, Colin is signing up to the BPI line here. We're not sure what he means by "untapped" in this context - it could be an indication that he believes this "Download Generation" (didn't he call them the iPod generation the other week?) have yet to be treated as a market, but then - who's buying all the albums?

CD Burners are now standard with new PCs and the likes of iPods and iRivers (don't ask) are commonplace on the hip of today's youth.
On Radio 1, we have special album chart features and the first ever official download chart, but it's the stuff we're stealing from the net that's really damaging the legacy of the single. Personally, I'll be glad to see this wave of virtual theft curbed, but the rebel in me quite enjoys seeing the big record companies squirm. To quote that man again, "They don't like it up 'em.'"

Eh? This is a bit like, if you will, Corporal Jones saying "I'd hate to live under a Nazi occupation, but I really hope the Nazis do well." Now, we wouldn't expect Murray to come out in the press and praise the whole world of shady downloads, but it's a little disappointing to see him trying to simultaneously be on the side of the Kids ("stick it to the Man") while churning out the Man's words ("downloading is theft... killing music... we must stop it.")

It's a difficult issue but you shouldn't leave your car door open if you want to hold on to it and, at the moment, it takes serious morals for a teenager to resist the temptation to click that mouse.

Surely not, though? If you accept - as Colin appears to - that making an unauthorised download is theft, doesn't that boil down to one of the most simple pieces of morality there is: Thou Shalt Not Steal. Unless, of course, Colin believes that the issue really is more complicated than he suggests - God was a little vague with Moses on the exact status of a Twa Toots Peel Session track and what it means to download that.

So, with all this in mind, is there a point to singles any more? In short, yes.

Blimey, that's lucky.

This format is still the shop window for any new band to be discovered. They, along with their record company, decide on what track they'd like to represent them. The public fall in love with music in a second, after turning on the radio and hearing an outfit for the first time. The single remains the ultimate promotional tool.

Does it? But haven't the really big selling singles of the past couple of years been made by the likes of Cowell and his chums? Isn't a lot of prime-time telly exposure a much more effective marketing tool?

And even if the single is such a great piece of marketing fluff, and you can get round the question "Why, then, don't great singles acts tend to do well in the album charts?", why does the existence of a physical CD single need to happen before the tracks will be heard on the radio? To play devil's advocate for a moment, if people aren't interested in buying singles, but like to discover new bands through tracks getting played on the radio, why not just release the tracks straight to the radio? Surely Radio One plays songs because they're great and fantastic and fab, not because they're available for purchase in the shops? (Think carefully on that one, Colin, during Charter Renewal.)

People are not losing interest in singles; they are just attaining them in different ways.

I think you mean obtaining. But now let me get this straight: are you suggesting that downloads are singles - in which case the decline isn't anything like as severe as you suggest, when you add in the numbers of illegal and legal tracks collected off the web - or are they not, in which case what "different ways" are you referring to?

And anyway, if Radio 1 didn't play the best new music before anyone else, then how would the kids know what to steal from the internet?

Well, presumably, through the playlists of their mates, reviewblogs, samples of songs emailed to them, and off The Box, I'd imagine. What do you think?

LAZIEST GOOGLE SEARCH EVER: We know there's no way you can actually prevent competition entrants from firing up Google as soon as they get a question, but the person who was searching on 'what is the answer to the franz ferdinand competition' might want to wonder if they really deserved the help.

LAND OF THE FREE: There's lots of ways of getting in trouble, but losing your job because you went to see a Springsteen gig seems a little harsh. Two reporters from the St Paul Pioneer Press have been suspended for going to a Vote For Change concert - apparently, their editor believes that this has thrown their impartiality into question.

INDIEOBIT: The death has been announced of Doug Bennett, lead singer of Canadian indie legends Doug and the Slugs.

Born in Toronto, Bennett moved to Vancouver in 1973 and formed the Slugs at the height of punk in 1977, choosing to buck the trend by settling on "light hearted R&B" - kind of like a Canadian Darts. Although largely unknown outside of Canada, at home they had a string of hits during the 1980s. Bennett also briefly tried a spell as solo artist on the album Animato.

SO... IT'S JUST A TINY CD, THEN?: Of course, these words could come back to haunt us in five year's time, but we can't see the preloaded memory card for phones with Robbie William's Greatest Hits as anything other than a promotional stunt for the album rather than the launch of a new version of digital music's future.

As it's a shit format - won't actually work on anything other than a mobile phone or similar piece of equipment - which makes the trumpeting of "CD quality sound" a bit of a joke; you'd need a different card for each album you want to take around with you - which doesn't compare well with a digital music player which can hold thirty five billion songs or whatever; and it's supposed to appeal to people "without internet access." So, that's aimed at a market of people who have bang-up-to-date mobile phones but don't have access to the internet. Who would that actually be, then?

FRANZ EXTRA: What with their SECC Glasgow date on the 18th December selling out so quickly and all, Franz Ferdinand are adding another night, same venue, on the 19th. Tickets selling out now at

UTAH AINT'S: Presumably as a knock-on from the dropping of the Kansas date, PJ Harvey pulled their Salt Lake City (there is only the one in Utah, right, Matt?) gig scheduled for last night.

DID ANYONE THINK THIS THROUGH?: We were a little surprised to see coverage of Bush's public appearance in front of the faithful of Florida on the Ten O'Clock News last night: there he was, the President Who Will Keep Your Family Safe bounding around the stadium to the sounds of Gary Glitter.

Now, we know that Glitter's fall from grace and exposure as a habitual user of child porn hasn't affected the popularity of Rock & Roll at American sports events, but you'd think the Republicans would have had a better handle on their organisation than to allow Bush to appear with the apparent ringing endorsement of a paedophile playing proudly behind him.

AND NOT A LORD MCDONALD IN SIGHT: Silent Words Speak Loudest has got their third round of Right To Reply online now, looking at what the future might hold for recorded music. We're in there, but there's also people who know what they're talking about.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

CRAZY IN LOVE: There was a sketch on the Fry and Laurie Bit Of series a few years back where Hugh played a woman on a Right To Reply style programme who was complaining that a show would have been horrible for her children to have seen, and it was only through the luck that they hadn't yet been born which saved them. Meanwhile, Beyonce has decided that her children will be protected from the ugly glare of publicity, protection she is currently offering through not having conceived them yet.

OH, GOOD FUCKING BLOODY MERRY HELL: We used to enjoy Bridget Jones' Diary back during the days of Andy Marr's Independent. It was a nice, light fluffy piece of nonesense which added a small extra piece of pleasure to pop papers day. Had we known, however, that it was eventually going to lead to Sting and Annie Lennox recording a song together, we would have taken Helen Fielding to one side and begged her to stop.

NUMBER CRUNCHING, SUCKING, AND NIBBLING: The Register has got some analysis of the latest trends in music downloads and the Microsoft v Apple war acoming. Some of the tastier figures are:

Apple has now sold two million iPods, and 150 million iTunes downloads. This works out as an average of every iPod owner buying 75 songs, then, which - if we take at face value the claims that Apple clears only a couple of cents profit on each download - still makes a healthy return in anyone's books.

The number of MP3s on people's computers is falling, as people are deleting faster than they download. There was a drop of 742 million mp3 files in the US between summer 2003 and 2004. Which means that all that RIAA panic about losing sales? Proven again to be bollocks, as if they had sold those tracks on CD, they would have been returned to the store. Illegal downloading, in short, isn't stealing sales, it's just putting the Customer Services desks of Virgin Megastores out of business.

MP3's share is starting to slip - 72 per cent of all PC stored music against 82 per cent a year ago.

I'M NOT TALKING TO THEM, EITHER: Interesting spin on a story that Pete Doherty has "ruled out" rejoining The Libertines because they're not responding to his attempts to make contact. We'd suggest that's a little more like they've ruled out your return a little more strongly, Pete.

THEY COULD CALL IT, I DUNNO, THE STATE THAT I AM IN, OR SOMETHING: Plans are afoot, as so often they are, and this time the idea is to turn Belle and Sebastian and Stephen Duffy songs into comic books, although it's not being indicated yet which songs will get the treament. Presumably not the clunker that Duffy has just written for Robbie, the briefly number one hit Radio. Actually, while we're just kicking Williams, why has he remade Ash's remake of the Smells Like Teen Spirit video? Is he really so dried up for ideas?

SHAME AND PRIDE ON THE FAMILY NAME: Oh, good god, Rufus Wainwright, is it basd enough you have to record a duet with Dido at all, much less use your mother's I Eat Dinner as the song? Your father would be turning in his grave, were he dead.

Thank god we can rely on your a href="">sister Martha Wainwright, freshly signed to Drowned In Sound Records and about to release a UK debut.

Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole will be followed by an album in the new year. So she's released a song called Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole, while her brother's just worked with one.

DANTE QUITS THE INFERNO: Hot Hot Heat are now a guitarist down; DeCaro had made a decision to leave but appears to have worked out a period of notice allowing the band to complete the prep work for the next album.

BLEEDING STAUNCHED: Trent Reznor has scrapped plans to call the new Nine Inch Nails album Bleedthrough - apparently while he was working on the record the title became less and less appropriate. Expect it - under whatever name - March 2005. The new title is currently a secret, but we're guessing it will be something like Blood Fist, or Heavy Slap, or Chained By The Testicles.

STONEY BROKE: She may have already earned nearly five million quid, but her parents aren't letting her touch any of it until she's twenty five - so Joss Stone claims she has less ready cash than her friend Emily. Emily works in a Burger King (which means there may be a slim shady lurking inside her, itself a disturbing thought). Her parents have been persuaded to think about reducing the age where Joss gets her hands on the cash, but they seem reluctant for her to have it just yet. We'd imagine the words "Charlotte" and "Church" are etched in their minds.

PROBABLY MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF ELVIS: Yeah, Elvis recording for the first time was quite important in the development of rock, but without the transistor radio - which turned fifty yesterday - there would have been no rock and roll. At all. And, in fact, by stimulating the development of other consumer uses for the transistor, which lead to the microchip, there wouldn't be any downloading or iPods or anything much today, either.

Sigh. We loved our little Boots TR75. Made us the slightly odd man we are today.

BUY MARTHA REEVES: Martha Reeves is pissed off with Ebay following an item offered through the site which featured her social security number and signature. The information was on the contract she signed to take part in Saturday Night Live; it's the sort of thing sold all the time by autograph shops but at least, we guess, in the past you couldn't just copy the numbers without buying the item.

THE SEX LIFE OF THE POTATO WOMAN: Is it just us, or does Christina sound increasingly like those people who appear on Channel 4 and 5 documnetaries convinced their rather tame sex lives are fantastically outrageous?:

Pop star Christina Aguilera has revealed her kinky sex secrets and fantasies, and also admitted that she loves 'bondage sex'.

"If a lover wants to experiment with handcuffs, then that's fair enough for me," News of the World quoted Christina as saying.

"What's the point of holding back that side of your personality if it's horny and turns you both on," she added.

The belief that "experimenting with handcuffs" is on a par with bondage sex is like confusing Anne Summers with a sex shop, of course. Ooh, Christina, you're so daring. If only there was some vague sapphic-lite about you, too... Hang on:

"I must admit the idea of two women getting it on does do it for me as well. Women are beautiful creatures and the sight of them kissing or caressing each other is horny."

Everything's horny, huh?

If you need any further proof that Christina is actually a lot of talk and mostly tame, there's this:

"I've spotted guys in the crowd and thought, 'Wow, I like the look of you!' You do fantasise about inviting them backstage after the show," she said.

Surely someone who was really dirrrrrty wouldn't just stand there thinking "Ooh, imagine if I took him for a vimto after the show"? Wouldn't it make more sense to be sending the roadies out into the crowd?

Monday, October 18, 2004

NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE: PJ Harvey was due to play a gig in Kansas last night, but the band got stuck in Toronto and couldn't make it. It's going to be refunds rather than rescheduling.

AND THEN KYLIE SAID TO JASON: Let's hope he can get time off from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as it's claimed Kylie has invited Jason Donovan to appear on the greatest hits tour. Singing Especially For You, we presume, rather than just as a dancer or something.

Stefan Denis is currently requesting all other callers leave his phoneline free in case he gets offered the support slot.

LUNA LANDINGS: Dean Wareham has told Pitchfork the reasons for the announcement that Luna will cease to exist early next year:

"It's an interesting question. People are always like 'why?,' Wareham laughed. "I'm still doing interviews with people who are asking me why did Galaxie 500 break up. You know, that's just what bands do, and I think that is sort of the basic reason. You start a band, it's not going to last forever, and at a certain point you've got to stop... unless you're Metallica, or R.E.M., or the Rolling Stones, where they're not just bands, they're like multi-million dollar corporations, and if they were to quit then all sorts of people would stop making their huge paychecks. We've been around a long time, and I think it's different in your twenties than when you hit forty. In your twenties you don't have a care in the world, and you're out there sleeping on someone's floor, but you're like, 'Hey, isn't this great!' And after awhile..."

We wonder if they'd stick together for the support slot on the Kylie tour?

CHARLIES ANGELS THEME CHANGES JAPAN FOREVER: It's hard for Beyonce Knowles to overstate her influence on the world, but she has actually managed it: apparently Independent Women Part One apparently changed Japanese women's self-image overnight:

"This Japanese girl came to us and said, after Independent Women, that a lot of Japanese young ladies started being more proud to have their own jobs.

"Because before, they didn't, you know.

"That's culture we changed. In our own little way. A little bit."

What we like about this is you can actually spot the point where Beyonce realised she'd completely overstated her case and started to try and rein it back in.

SAY NO TO DRUGS, KIDS: Joe Walsh, former member of the Eagles and a man who did so much cocaine that his decision to quit sent shares in the companies which make credit cards and mirrors tumbling, has funded his own tour of New Zealand to encourage people to say NO to drugs. It's all good and great of him, and well intentioned, but we do wonder about his claim that "If I have come all this way and anything I say saves one life, then my trip has been worth it." Really? But the cost of mounting the tour, and the time and effort of flying over to New Zealand, would it really be made worthwhile by saving just one life? Couldn't the costs of the tour equally fund more direct intervention for, say, a dozen people, and if the aim of the trip is to save lives, wouldn't that be a more worthwhile use of funds? Or should you just set your sights on what you want to do a little higher?

FIRST, JOHN HOWARD WINS ANOTHER TERM, THEN THIS: e've always felt Australia to be something of a magical place for music, from the Go Betweens via the Sugargliders and Lucksmiths even unto Kylie. Then we see the results of the ARIAS, the Australian music awards, and we shudder - have things got so dark for the lucky country they really believe Jet to be not merely something of which to be proud, but worthy of sweeping a board?

Album Of The Year – Jet ‘Get Born’
Single Of The Year – Jet ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’
Best Group – Jet ‘Get Born’
Breakthrough Artist Album – Jet ‘Get Born’
Breakthrough Artist Single – Jet ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’
Best Male Artist – John Butler
Best Female Artist – Kasey Chambers
Best Pop Release – Missy Higgins ‘Scar’
Best Rock Album – Jet ‘Get Born’
Best Dance Release – Infusion ‘Girls Can Be Cruel’
Best Urban Release – Koolism ‘Part 3 – Random Thoughts’

MARC UPDATE: The latest news on Marc Almond's condition following the motorcycle accident: he's stable; his family are requesting privacy, according to a hospital statement.

WE'LL STILL KNOW IT'S YOU, LOVE: Almost as if she knows how bored we all are of her now, Geri Halliwell is attmepting to fool people into buying her next single by dropping her surname. Even more amusingly, she's no longer going to use a dot on the i in Geri, but she's going to use a star instead. Which would look a little sad if a nine year old girl did it, never mind a 45 year old woman.

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE: Jesus, if Ananova are running "Delia Smith baked the cake on the cover of Let It Bleed" as a news story, what will be tomorrow's headlines? "McCartney barefoot on Abbey Road cover: Believed dead"?

ANOTHER MILLION IN THE BANK: Elton John has had one of his periodic auctions, selling off USD900,000 worth of photos. We don't think this one was included in the sale:

ROCK SICK LIST: Bad news to kick off the week, I'm afarid: Following a motorcycle accident in the City of London yesterday, Marc Almond is critically ill in hospital. The bike he was riding pillion on was hit by a car at the junction of Cannon Street and New Change. Fingers crossed and good wishes.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

DEWAR'S DREAM DERIDED BY MANSON: Shirley Manson ain't happy with Hollyrood House: she thinks it's ugly and too expensive:

Rumour has it that it is absolutely beautiful on the inside.

'Let's hope so, because it looks like a dog's dinner on the outside. 'It really breaks my heart whenever I look at it.

'Edinburgh is one of the most architecturally stunning cities you can ever hope to see.

'The city is a treasure, so why have we sunk so much money into erecting a building that fails to acknowledge the history and the beauty, the mood and the grace of its surroundings?'
It was supposed to have cost £40million. It is totally beyond my comprehension how the estimates could have possibly been so far off the mark.

'That all said, at least this monstrous squandering of public funds has now been put behind us and there is nothing else for it but for the elected politicians inside our Parliament to begin to truly justify the expense.

'My country deserves nothing less.'

Oddly, the Sunday Mail thinks this is Shirl "changing her tune" since she played at the festivities to mark the winning of the devolved Parliament - lthough complaining about architecture is surely not the same thing as dismissing the concept of what goes on inside, is it?

Vixen2 Garbage YahooGroup

IS IT JUST US...: Or is there something wrong about Goths giving interviews to complain that their public image is being tarnished by assocations with death and vampires and blood. It's like punks hiring advertising space to complain at being linked with bondage trousers and spitting.

CAN'T SOMETHING BE DONE TO STOP THIS SORT OF THING?: Even although surely even Heat has lost interest in her by now, Nadia from Big Brother has recorded a single.

Apparently she wants to "make an impact on the charts." So far, thank god, she's not had anyone foolish enough to offer her a deal, so we may yet be spared the blight. Just in case, though, here is a warning from history:

ROBBIE AND THE PROBATION OFFICER: We normally wouldn't give much consideration to a claim in the News of the World that Robbie Williams is dating a probation officer called Lisa Brash, but we were tickled by "a source's" observation:

"Lisa's job is far from glamorous. She deals with drug dealers, robbers and proper criminals."

So, she won't be out of place when she's hanging out with Robbie's music industry friends, then.

IF YOU BOOK HIM, HE WILL COME...: Okay, he might come... unless it's Pete Doherty, of course. He failed to turn up yesterday to take part in a European Social Forum discussion in London yesterday.