Saturday, November 13, 2004

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Gets later and later, doesn't it?
Some people have tickets on themselves; other people just sniff and say "if you need to ask, you couldn't afford me." Anastacia would be in that group, of course: it's hard to dislike someone who's had a massively awful illness and survived, and yet Anastacia does, indeed, manage to turn any goodwill you might feel right around. It's not simply the "trademark" glasses - anyone who uses glasses as their trademark is already struggling for a personality, of course (with perhaps the sole exception of Nick Robinson's "I am interviewing the prime minister through a letter box" narrow specs); Anastacia's unusual adoption of the specs worn by Dr. Jacoby off Twin Peaks marries a bum idea to a lack of taste. But beyond the glasses, there is the belief that she is on some kind of mission. This, of course, is demonstrated by her interview in Radio Times: "I immediately thought 'you have picked the wrong bitch, cancer. That's a big problem when she's got a worldwide ability and press at her feet'... [Elton John]'s a friend... he reviewed my album, he said he loved it; he's kind of the guy that's still your friend even if you don't speak to each other that often... every time we [Sharon Osbourne and me] saw each other, she was like 'I love you'" -and so it goes on...

It's Word's turn to remember Peel; Mark Ellen does the honours, which is appropriate as Ellen once filled in for Peel on Radio 1 - Peel told him that letting someone else do your show is like sharing a toothbrush or letting another man sleep with your wife (we don't remember Ellen on night-time ourselves, although we do fondly recall Ellen's stints when Annie Nightingale was elsewhere). Ellen is balanced, and honest - if only sleeping with Germaine Greer had been Peel's worst foot-wrong in the 60s - and draws an interesting parallel: Peel chose his records and sent them out convinced they'd be met with a cold shoulder; "it was a bit like the world weary view of Norman Stanley Fletcher trying to synthesise some fun in the controlled, unappetising surroundings of Slade Prison."

Also in Word: Lucas (The Scissor Sisters and Jacques Brel) and Walliams (Soft Cell; Nick Cave) are amongst the word of mouth sampling people - so are Felix Dennis (BB King) and Peter Bogdanovich (Louis Armstrong); there's a collection of worst album names ever (Listen Without Prejudice Volume 1 wins, although U2's Pop and Humans Lib by Howard Jones put in a good showing) and a balancing best album names (we love Kirsty MacColl - to the extent that we're refusing to go to Costco - but Electric Landlady is not, surely, a worthy winner; although the appearance of Achtung, Baby in the list suggests things could be worse). Caitlin Moran suggests that we need gossip so badly now, there isn't enough gossip to keep us going, before digging into a history of life before Popbitch. And do you wnat under-rated movies? Word suggests Election, Mr Holland's Opus and - hey, who let Kermode in? - Silent Running are better than the critics would have you believe. Mind you, you have to balance their pleas for recognition for these works with the equal plea for Sweeney. And not a word about the Likely Lads movie, neither.

One of the things we like about Word is that you can flip from a piece about the Nirvana box-set to a collection of gems of advice from David Starkey, who describes Janet Daley as "Anne Robinson with intellectual pretensions." And then you get an excited enthusing over the re-release of Lexicon of Love by ABC. Somehow, though, we can't bring ourselves to make a start on the sixteen page Pink Floyd feature.

Q has a fold out cover to mark its awards, but it's a lazy, useless fold-out without any real point to it, except to show off the people who got awards, but no matter how you fold it, you can't stop Bono being on the fucking front saluting, stood behind Elton John. No wonder the Q team decided to sling together a CD to cover up as much of the smugfest as possible (a CD which, we should add, caused the self-serve checkouts at Tesco to go into a blind panic; in the end we had to rip the thing off and slip it straight into the bag to shut the bloody machine from chirruping 'unexpected item on the belt' - which meant we were back to square one of Elton John smugging out of our bag. We rammed him face up to the cat litter in the end.) Tracks on the now-regular 'that was the year, that was, even though we put the album together at the end of September so missing out on three months of the year we're celebrating' compilation include Jamelia; The Clash and Jeff Buckley.

Ricky Gervais is doing Cash for Questions (he's in Word, too - new book and new Office DVD, innit?) and he reveals he fancied Soo. The panda.

As if the slightly smug 2004 Q awards hoopla isn't bad enough, the "great moment in music" is the 1996 Q awards photo, which is like boomerang smugness.

More interestingly, Chrissie Amphlett of the DiVinyls is tracked down. She explains, somewhat put out, that I Touch Myself was meant to work on lots of levels "but people only focussed on the dubious one." She's apparently writing a book now about, yes, her time in the band - it's going to be "really interesting" because they were "wild." How badly did Caitlin Moran reckon the gossip shortage has got?

In common with Harpers & Queen and GQ, Q has got Gwen Stefani popping in to plug the disappointing album, explaining that the whole point of the collection was to let her tick off ' super sexy dance album' on her to do list. Pity she didn't go to kill two birds with one stone and also get to put a line through 'decent solo set' at the same time.

Inspired by Goldie Lookin' Chain, (and that's not a phrase you get to use very often), Q assemble a panel (vicar, "little old lady" and a moral guardian - someone from Whithouse's potty right-wing stalking horse Mediawatch) to decide on the most offensive song ever. The best thing is the old lady takes on Mediawatch's David Turtle instead of the records - "Don't you ever say fuck? I'm a Christian but I still let out the odd fuck" but Turtle's distance from popular culture makes it clear why he's in no place to act as a moral guardian, self-appointed or otherwise: he complains that You're Mother's Got A Penis fails to deal with any of the issues of transgenderism. Yes, he really does.

So, those Q awards then:
Icon Award - U2 ("I think at a U2 show, people feel good about each other" says Bono); Classic Songwriter - Elton John ("the scene is good now with The Killers and The Kings of Leon"); Best Live Act - Muse ("Elton gave me his phone number" trills Matt Bellamy. If you were a couple of years prettier, love, it'd be his room number); Best Album - Keane ("I'm convinced there's been a horrible mistake" worries Tim Rice-Oxley and, to be honest, we think there may well have been, too); Best Producer - Mick Jones ("Amy Winehouse was absolutely fantastic"); Best Act in the World - Red Hot Chilli Peppers ("Thank you for being kind to us" says Anthony Kiedis via video); Best Single - Jamelia - See It In A Boys Eyes (no, really. We're guessing it was voted for on a machine made by the good people at Diebold) ("I'm the first black face of Pretty Polly" - Jamelia, honey, if anyone notices it in a bra ad, you'll probably be the first any face of Pretty Polly.); Lifetime Achievement - Roxy Music - we'll come to this in a moment; Best New Act - Razorlight ("I'd like to ask Bono about his hair"); Merit Award - what the fuck is a Merit award? Why don't they just have a Thank You For Coming Prize and be honest about it? - Shane McGowan ("Like every other award I've ever won. They're all the same"); Best Video - Franz Ferdinand - take me out (no words, just pictures); Inspiration Award - Pet Shop Boys ("Bono's given me a kiss" - Neil); Innovation In Sound Award - seriously, why not just leave an award on every fucker's table? The Ordering The Shrimp Award? - The Human League ("It's the best award we could have got" - Susan Sulley.

Ah, yes, Roxy Music. Bryan Ferry is asked "What's your highlight of 2004" and, rather than selecting the discovery of citrus flavour KitKats or the launch of ITV3, for Bryan it was "my son Otis's brave and courageous deed on the floor of the House of Commons. I've kept silent about it but since you ask, I'm very proud of him... I feel very sorry for Otis. I don't hunt and I'm from the working class so I know both sides. The whole argument of the people persecuting Otis and his friends is based on spite and that's a terrible indictment of the people who are running the country, although I accept that they might be doing well in other areas." So, you're proud that your son not only decided that, because a democratically elected chamber had voted against their animal-slaughtering hobby, they should attempt to change the law by breaking into Parliament and... what? The protest wasn't only boorish, but was a fine demonstration of just how empty the pro-fox killers are: they were able to get as far as the floor of the House of Commons and, with the attention of the nation thus arrested, had no message other than a chinless whine about how it's unfair. What Ferry pere et fils really don't seem to get is it's got nothing to do with class and spite. New Labour don't hate the rich and powerful - they only have to hear the rustle of Coutts chequebook cover and they're bending over rummaging in their red boxes for the KY. Trying to pretend that the cabinet are enemies of the elite is a little bit like trying to suggest that Dennis Skinner is a rabid anti-communist. Anti-hunting is, mostly, people feeling there's not a good argument for chasing a mammal before ripping it to pieces. It's not a class thing. Oh, and Bryan? Might want to stop trying to claim working class credentials, petal. You saying "I'm from the working class" is like me introducing myself to people as a member of Mrs Van Noort's first year infants. We're both long off those respective registers.

Not the best time for Q to be doing a 'What's wrong with Radio One' feature, although the fact it starts with "Colin & Edith's show" might answer the question in one go. Peel pops up a couple of times, to say that Chris Moyles is a nice bloke but he's "not as keen on his show" and, asked about the other djs, says that it's like working in a bus garage - "you don't know other drivers names, and you don't know their routes." Asked where Radio One will be in five years time, Andy Parfitt says, ominously, that it will be an "audio-visual brand." Couldn't we concentrate on having a half-decent public service pop radio network instead?

There's something for people missing the Melody Maker in Q this month, by the way:page 122 has that picture of Marilyn Manson showing his ringpiece that the Maker ran every week until it had chased away all its readers.

John Aizlewood gets to meet Avril Lavigne: its "like having your soul sucked out; her attention span is as tiny as she is."

Oh, and there's a claim on the front of the magazine that there are "one million free tracks for every reader" - except it's bollocks; it's Napster, so if you have a credit card and a PC running XP, and be prepared to use leaky ole Internet Explorer, you're in. Otherwise, no dice. I'm no expert, but I think the words "requires credit card and ropey PC set-up" should have appeared somewhere on the front page.

At the back, it's Sharon Osbourne, moaning that the Estate Agents flogging her neighbour's house "put a few thousand on the price" by saying "next to the Osboures" - I don't think so, Sharon: that sounds more like a full legal disclosure rather than an attempt to bump up the price.

Onto the NME, then: The Strokes are on the cover, with the unlikely words "first time ever" slapped across them.

The Scissors Sister's Halloween special is pictured in all its glory - they went as bloody Rocky Horror. How is it that a band who are visually inventive every day of the year fall back on something so hackneyed even fucking Andrew Marr's done it when asked to fancy dress themselves up? We'd have gone as Interpol.

More Peel: In a smart move, Burn It has dragged Peel's mix for the Fabriclive series out, so it's not even an imaginary mix CD, either - Jimmy Reed and the Kop Choir. And Teenage Kicks. Of course Teenage Kicks.

Morrissey's apparently written a piece for the NME Annual, which claims that The Libertines are better with Pete. Which is an unfashionable view, but is spot on.

Peter Robinson grills Katie Melua. He asks her questions he's been emailed - it takes three before she realises that they're spams, and even then she gets herself confused on the question of fucking the hottie next door - "No... the people next door are a family; and the girl my age, I don't think is a lesbian. And neither am I."

Oddly, the idea of giving more space to the letters, which we did sort of snicker at, is paying off, as they've not been so entertaining and engaging since the days when Stephen Wells would pretend they were all about Morrissey. A friend of Dominic from The Others writes in to slap him for his "stupid and immature stance" on drug-taking - "the fact is, taking coke makes you into a twat"; while others pile in to take him to task for suggesting that only people who've come from the arse-end of the working class are capable of feeling emotions. But that's nothing to the shoe-slapping the Manics get.

Devendra Banhart, Rufus wainwright; Joanna Newsom and Regina Spektor get a feature, although they have to share it amongst themselves, and also with an attempt to give a name to their "scene" - if, like me, you keep a list of these things, you might want to add "Quirky-somethings" underneath Camden Lurch and Raggle-Taggle.

what happens
for some reason, instead of being usual reviews, the longform pieces are split into "what happens" and "what this means"
what this means
it looks like a brave experiment to bring some sense of order to the live pages, but it basically means that you only read the last paragraph

the kings of leon - newcastle, northumbria university "a waifish, girl-haired Brad Pitt"
juliette & the licks - devil doll ball, LA: "frighteningly tight yellow spandex trousers"
the bees - camden electric ballroom: "good mainstream music for the people"

U2 - how to dismantle an atomic bomb - "a classic... preposterous... but also brilliant", 9
laibach - anthems - "Ho! Ho! Ho! Es ist alles seht kownik", 5
panda bear - young prayer - "sombre and occassionaly euphoric", 8

totw - graham coxon - time for heroes - "elder statesman on a wonky skateboard"
nick cave and the bad seeds - there she goes, my beautiful world - "masterly, gospel-tinged"

and, up the rear: they pull pieces of Hurricane Number Ones hits and rarities album (there is such a beast) sleevenotes, like wings off a fly: an overblown, many winged fly.

FRANZ FERDINAND MEET SIMPLY RED: There's plans afoot for the UN to promote a gig to help the people of Dafur - we kind of like the idea of the UN promoting a show; we'll be looking out for Kofi stood outside the Brixton Academy sticking fliers into the hands of people swanning out of a night there, or Camden council wondering if they could get away with taking out as ASBO against the flyposters: "I'm not sure if the blue beret does give them the right to stick adverts up..." Anyway, the good news is the Royal Albert Hall even will feature Chrissie Hynde, Franz Ferdinand (on a video link) and... um, will help refugees; the bad news is Lemar and Mick 'I'm only doing this in the hope that someone invites me along to band aid' Hucknall. December 8th.

ASSAIULT WITH A DEADLY PEPPER SPRAY: We haven't heard the last of R Kelly and his peppering, have we? This story is going to run and run, like, ooh, R Kelly with the underage sex business. Anyway, police have now charged Tryan Smith, part of Jay Z's entourage, with sparying off in Kelly's face.

LAID TO REST: Well, we cried about three times reading the reports of Peel's funeral - it was Gambaccini that really got us, though. Coverage, of course, is in the Peel uberpost.

On the same theme, this week has been the first time we've actually had much of a chance to listen in to Rob Da Bank's show - he's doing a great job in what must be really trying circumstances, a cross between being a caretaker manager and the owner of a listed building; the music is excellent (Tuesday had a session from Ballboy, as good as any of the others this year). We wish with all our heart he didn't have the sort of comedy name that even a breakfast show host on a GWR station would shun, but we think the signs are good. Our first choice would have been for Radio One to tempt Steve Barker back to Britain, but we're happy to endorse Rob. Maybe if you dropped the "Da", though?

I REFOUND THAT ESSENCE RARE: Possibly balancing out the reunion of Cream, a band that we'd really love to see back together have given in to "public demand" and announced their first tour in twenty-three years: The Gang Of Four are playing dates next year:

Manchester Academy (January 23)
Leeds University (24)
Bristol Academy (25)
Birmingham Academy (27)
London Shepherd’s Bush Empire (28)

If only songs about H-bombs were still relevant, eh? Pity that Tony and George's efforts to make the world a safer place have made songs about being wiped out in a nuclear blast more-or-less obsolete.

THE COURTS DON'T LIKE THE AULD GUYS: While Rod's having to find extra cash, the Rolling Stones have been rebuffed by the High Court. The Stones reckon that Decca diddled them out of cash on songs they recorded in the sixties and wanted to be allowed to audit the accounts of the label, now part of Vivendi. The Court said no, but it looks like the Stones, who believe they're owed millions, are thinking of appealing.

We must stress, though, that you shouldn't allow this to cloud your judgement when the RIAA and its yipping poodles around the globe insist they're only suing ten year old boys to ensure the artists get the money they deserve.

HAND IT BACK, ROD: The courts have decided that Rod Stewart had no right to keep hold of all the money for the gigs he never played - his argument had been the promoter had never completed the deal, so he was keeping the advance. The judge, though, has instructed Rod to pay back nearly half a miliion quid; Rod's lawyers and agents are going to chip in GBP800,000 for their part in it. We expect this means a fourth edition of the Great American Songbook will be required to make sure Rod's got enough readies to pay the milkman come Christmas.

Friday, November 12, 2004

KNIGHT CANCELLED: Another sicklist from the music world: Beverley Knight has axed her Edinburgh gig next week because a "key member" of her band is ill. So key, they don't even mention their name.

SHIRLEY MANSON QUESTIONS AMERICAN'S INTELLIGENCE: Not all Americans, of course, just the thirty per cent or so who voted for Bush. And realsing that they're a little skittish and, well, slightly less able to cope with processing complex thoughts1, she's attempted to explain it's possible to love a nation while not loving its president:

"I saw a chart detailing the average IQ of each of the 50 states and how they voted. All the states with the highest IQ voted for (JOHN) KERRY. All the states at the bottom of the chart voted for Bush.

"Right smack bang in the middle of the chart were Virginia and Wisconsin, each bearing an average IQ of 100. Needless to say one voted for Kerry (Go Wisconsin!) and one voted for Bush. Don't you think that's fascinating?

"A lot of Americans are so fearful that they refuse to take a chance on new leadership and that they are unable to distinguish the enormous difference between Al-Qaida and Iraq.

"I love America. It's a wonderful, beautiful country that has been so good to me. It changed my life and I love it deeply and unequivocally, but it is at times like these that I find it so very hard to understand."

1 - for example, a poll prior to the election found that 75% of Republican voters still believed there were WMD in Iraq, despite even Bush admitting that there weren't any

MUM... IS IT OKAY IF I RECORD WITH ONE OF THE CHESTERFIELDS?: Sweetly, it turns out that Polly Harvey asks her Mum and Dad what they think of her songs before she records them. Although Mummy apparently wanted her to change Who The Fuck to Who The Heck, which PJ refused to do.

In Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit style, Polly's Dad listens, but never passes comment.

HIS NAME IS RIGHT-CLICK: Apparently there was a limited-edition His Name Is Alive box set available just now, but it was really limited edition - as in fifty copies, rather than the more vague use of the phrase which usually means "until we run out of plastic".

In case you weren't able to grab one of these, HNIA is making one of the albums available for downloading; it's a 1990 set of cover versions with slightly skewed titles:

01 Seven (Peter Green - "Seven Stars")
02 Boy (Tiger Trap - "Prettiest Boy")
03 Jody (Masters Of Reality - "Jody Sings")
04 Jane (Jane Siberry - "Taxi Ride")
05 Silver (Leadbelly - "Bring Me Li'l Water, Silvy")
06 Affection (The Carter Family - "Fond Affection")
07 Young (Neil Young - "Harvest")
08 Night (Big Star - "Nightime")
09 Man (Charlie Feathers - "Man In Love")
10 People (origin confidential)
11 Long (The Beatles - "Long, Long, Long")

PINK HAIR UPDATE: We were watching the video for Just Like A Pill last night and wondering "Now that we're all far enough down the line to pretend that Try This never happened, it would be nice to see Pink back, especially if we could know what colour her hair is now."

It's black, it turns out.

HE SPITS IN ALL OUR ONION RINGS: Fox really seems to be cosying up to Michael Jackson, doesn't it? In the early days of his arrest on charges of kid-touching, the Murdoch empire seemed to be rapidly cooling on the man who they'd rallied round after Martin Bashir's documentary, but now they seem to be betting on Mickey being cleared totally of all charges and snuggling up with a view to future multi-media, cross-platform deals. So we've already had some commentary setting out to trash Aaron Carter's mum's recollections of the night her son stayed at Neverland, and yesterday, when most journalists were flexing brows over how many minutes closer to or further from armaggeddon the death of Arafat brought us, Geraldo Rivera (no relation to The English Riveria, we should point out) found space to cover some Jackson fans protesting outside MTV.

The fans were objecting to MTV's continuing use of Emeinem's Just Lose It video, which pokes fun at Jacko and the habit of having small kids over to stay in his bedroom. (The odd thing is, of course, that Eminem isn't actually portraying Jackson as doing anything that Jacko cheerfully told Bashir he did). And Fox News were richly rewarded for treating this small pressure group's dogged determination to feel slighted: Michael Jackson called up Geraldo for a chat.

It's interesting how Geraldo's career has progressed - a few years back he was little more than a sideshow promoter, allowing the freakish and wrong a chance to get a few moments of self-justification on network television, and yet now he's, um, taking phone calls from Michael Jackson.

Jackson attempted to suggest that this wasn't just him versus Eminem, but everyone against the Em:

"I think that it's demeaning and disrespectful," Jackson told Rivera, "and I also want to make it clear that it's not just about Michael Jackson but about a pattern of disrespect that he has shown to our community. He needs to stop it and he needs to stop it now."

The question is, of course, exactly what "our community" is - does Jackson side with The Source in their desperate bid to try and "prove" that Eminem is racist? Or is Jackson simply referring to the community of rich pop stars out of touch with reality, who do, quite often, get it in the neck from Em? Or does Jackson now side with other groups who have been targetted by Eminem - is it My Name Is that has so upset Jacko, and do we therefore conclude that Jackson is now identifying a lesbian? We may have to wait until the post-trial comeback show (on Fox, of course) before we get any answers.

ROPEY HALL OF FAME: The gossip suggests that the awarding of Madonna a slot in the pointless Channel 4 UK Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was a last minute decision, and that seconds before the production team were trying to scratch the words "Elton" and "John" off her award. Jo Whiley and Tracy Emin teamed up to give Madonna her gong - Whiley simpering that Madonna has "bigger balls than any man I've ever met", which is one of those things people say but isn't really as flattering as they might think - who has big balls, after all, but men who don't get much hot bed action. There was a worse back-handed compliment in store, though, when Gwyneth Paltrow and Stella McCartney showed a video they'd made of them dressed up as Madonna:

Yes, we know: they look like What Not To Wear Does Drag Queens.

Madonna is, apparently, an honorary entry while Robbie Williams - oh sweet Jesus - is in for the 90s (it was the John Major decade, after all) and The Rolling Stones sent Mick Jagger's butler ("Ronnie Wood") to pick up the 1960s entry. As Wood pointed out, he joined the band in 1975. The 80s was Michael Jackson (did not turn up at all, for some reason), Queen took the 1970s, and Cliff was lumbered with being there for the 1950s.

Another honorary winner was Bono. He tried to play it all down: "If anybody wants to know why I'm not playing at the Holiday Inn near Heathrow, the answer is simply that I'm not a solo singer, I'm in U2." But later, he told Reuters Television: "I really didn't want to come. Only respect for the people who were running the show has me here. I hate the idea of being in the UK Hall of Fame to be honest with you. We don't want to be in any Hall of Fame until we're retired or dead."

So... Bono only picked up the prize because otherwise Jamie Theakston and some TV researchers might have felt slighted. Not because he wanted the lights and the love. It's very important to not disrespect a variety show on Channel 4.

ALMOST AS GOOD AS BANANARAMA: Latest singer sashaying up and adding her name to the Band Aid 20 sign-up sheet is Rachel Stevens. But we do fear Rachel's star is waning even as she leaps on this opportunity: Ananova don't bother to stick a picture of her in her knickers up to illustrate the story.

WHERE DID THE PICTURES GO?: There's been a server falling-over again, and it until it returns, No Rock continues in mostly words only...

MP3DOM: The Sampler, which is kind of like those editions of Select in a box which came with loads of stuff, only without the copy of Select (and, presumably, the copy of Raw) is a pretty interesting concept - but, even if you don't want the full box malarkey, there's a page of MP3s. At the moment they're featuring Language of Flowers, a band you will collapse upon and scoop up into your teddy-bear rucksack if you ever felt your heart swell when you played Tallulah Gosh.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

NOT, PERHAPS, THE MOST SENSITIVE OF TIMING: We're sure the all-interactive drama-cum-red-button mystery thing from, Jamie Kane will be lots of fun and stuff. We're just a little concerned that having a whole heap of Nancy Drew style fun based around the mysterious disappearance of a charismatic pop star airing "early 2005" might just sit a little awkwardly with the tenth anniversary of the sudden vanishing of Richey Manic happening at the same time.

JANET JACKSON STOPS WORLD WAR II: In the spirit of remembrance day, ABC had planned to show American viewers Saving Private Ryan tonight, the movie very loosely based on World War II. However, with the FCC having expensive and expansive new powers to punish rudeness on US TV post-Jackson/Superbowl/Timberlake/Tit incidents, ABC have decided not to risk the movie's twelve fucks (we could use our Chris Moyles gag with Tom Hanks in the starring role, of course). The network is unable to replace the rude words with bleeps or dubbing over an actor saying "Oh, dear" because Speilberg has a contract refuses to let anyone mess with his work.

JACKSON SHOPPING TRIPS: INVOLVED SOMEHOW: So, amongst the piles of paper that will prove, conclusively, if Jackson did, or didn't, or might have, touched, grabbed or prodded young boys in an inapropriate fashion are a bunch of details about stuff he bought in shops. We're actually developing a prurient interest now: what the hell could Jackson have bought that prosecutors are going to use in their case? Small underpants? Vaseline?

AS WINAMP FOLDS: AOL is basically killing off WinAmp by shaking out all the staff at Nullsoft, one way or another, signalling the end for the plucky Windows player - I'd imagine if you've been doing the internets for three or more years, the chances are you'll have used WinAmp to play your first sneaky online music acquisitions. Steve Gedikian paints a fairly grim picture of how allowing your company to be taken over will lead, inevitably, to disappointment, disillusionment, and decline.

CATCH 'EM YOUNG: It seems that the RIAA is worried that its attack on preteens isn't working, so, having tried suing a twelve year old girl, the big record companies are now heading down a couple of grades and taking Antonio Morrell to court. Antonio is ten years old.

Obviously, this is part of the RIAA's plan to sue everyone in America, no matter how pointless, expensive or time-consuming that might be. Five year old kids are being advised to make sure their Leapfrogs are clear of any illegal files, while Cary Sherman is seeking advice from the RIAA legal team as to the technicalities of serving papers on stem cells, just in case.
[Found via Chromatic Musings]

ROBBIE WILLIAMS: LIT CRIT: Oh, bless poor the Robbie Williams, who sees himself as Bridget Jones:

"Neither of us can find anyone to love us. People keep telling me to stop looking so hard for love, but I can't stop trying."

Actually, Robbie, when 'people' say "Will you stop looking, love?" they're trying to make you stop gazing with a gooney face at their breasts.

Now, we know you're not the brightest intellect in the world, Robbie, but surely even you could have managed to get through the Bridget Jones books and will have worked out that Bridget, erm, does actually find people to love her. And, of course, she also has a whole bunch of friends who love and care for her, as well. Plus, she's able to write a coherent diary, in such a way as to keep people interested in her life; partly because she sometimes manages not to bang on about how everything is rubbish for her. You're not really that alike at all, are you?

LIFE TRULY IS A CABARET, ISN'T IT, OLD CHUM?: Terrible business for Liza Minnelli, who's being sued by her former bodyguard. M'hammed Soumayah reckons that Minnelli more or less compelled him to shag her and wants fifty-four million quid to make up for it - go alone knows how much he'd want if she'd made him join in while she was married to David Gest. Some of the damages are to make up for the injuries he sustained when, he says, Minnelli attacked him, although you'd have to ask how good you'd be as a bodyguard if you can be beaten up by the person who you're supposed to protecting - surely that's a bit like getting a reception class swimmer to be Ian Thorpe's lifeguard? Anyway, Liza is going to vigorously defend herself, claiming it's all a "quicksand of untruths and misstatements" and - as is usual - launching her own counter-claim for £124,000 for breach of contract (we think that refers to him not turning up for bodyguard, rather than failing to make good on his manly promises, which, we understand from those Pele adverts, happens to men on occassion).

WELL TONIGHT, IT SEEMS, IT'S THEM INSTEAD OF US: So, nice to see that Band Aid 20 is shaping up to be a battle of the egos - apparently everyone was keen to put their name down for the "tonight thank god it's them instead of you" bit, but Bono has made it clear that he's doing it. According to Robbie Williams:

"Everyone wanted it. But before anyone could start getting an ego about it, Bono just said, 'That's my line and I'm doing it - so their rest of you can fuck off.' That settled it!"

So, not quite before anyone got an ego about it. We wonder why Bono wasn't so quick to put his foot down when the line was being sung by Jason Donovan and Matt Goss out of Bros for Band Aid II? Wouldn't it be lovely if all three of them joined together to do it this time?

A RUSH OF BLOODLESSNESS TO THE HEADLINES: Having had to delay the little gig they were meant to be doing for KCRW in LA, Coldplay are now going to do a full-on gig for them on March 12th at the Universal Ampitheatre. Meanwhile, the band gave schoolgirl Sarah Sainsbury a big surprise, when they slipped her a triple platinum disc for her breast cancer care auction. It fetched four thousand pounds. They really are lovely, aren't they? It's just a shame their work is so... flaccid.

BEN FOLDS FOLDS: Further rock musician illness - don't these people ever wear vests when they go out in the cold? - with the news that Ben Folds is too sick to do anything much than watch Countdown and drink Complan. As a result, this month's tour of the UK has been put back until June 2005. Ben croaks:

"I am very sorry and disappointed to have had to reschedule my UK tour. Rarely in my career have I had to do this. I take missing a show very seriously, but in this case I had no choice, I've got a nice respiratory infection. I'm sorry I'm not there right now and I hope this whole thing doesn't screw up anyone's schedule too badly."

New dates will be thus:

1st London Barbican
2nd Brighton Dome
7th Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
8th Dublin Vicar Street
10th Southampton Guildhall
11th Manchester Lowry
13th Sheffield Octagon
14th Leicester De Montfort Hall
16th Cambridge Corn Exchange
17th Warwick Arts Centre

"HITS ALBUMS NOT RELEASED INSTANTLY" SHOCK: There's often curious postings over on Blogcritics, and while we'd not normally miss a chance to join in with kicking major labels, the complaint that Now That's What I Call Music (in the States) features records after they've left the charts just seems to be moaning for the sake of it. Oddly, record labels probably won't release tracks to be compiled by the all-hoovering Now series until they've at least had a decent run of getting a return on them. Good god, rants Chip Ross, there are tracks on Now 17 which came out in June. So, a whole five months ago, eh? It's practically a golden oldie. The other odd thing is that Chip doesn't suggest quite what he expects to be done about this.

DRIVE-BY AT MUSIC AWARDS: What's a little unfortunate is that the Urban Music Awards at the Barbican this week would have passed us by completely had there not been a shooting outside the event - although since the woman hit wasn't anything to do with the awards, and nobody knows who the shootist was, it's not entirely clear if it was anything to do with the awards at all. (The woman is described as "lucky to be alive" by Police). However, the Evening Standard is in no doubt exactly what it was:

The attack is the first time the City has witnessed a shoot-out involving Yardie-style gangsters.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

AND WHILE WE'RE ROOTING AROUND DAMAGED GOODS: We're undignifiedly excited that Shelley's Children are getting a complete posthumous CD round-up thing - they were the finest thing ever to come out of Reading; like a Chumbawamba with a sense of pop (back before Chumbawamba tried to get in touch with their innerpop, and without the signing to EMI). No confirmed date, but we hope they'll let us know when it comes out.

DAMAGED GOODS FIX YOU UP: If you spend any portion of your day wondering whatever happened to The Bristols - and let's face it, you probably have, you'll be delighted to hear that their vocalist Fabienne Delsol has got her debut album. It's called No Time For Sorrows, and it's pretty damn cool.

If you've never heard the Bristols - or, come to that, Budget Girls or Anorak Girl - there's stuff to listen to on the puff page for the latest Damaged Goods sampler - all the tracks can be listened to via Real Audio, but the album's only four quid so you might as well just buy one. As well bands-you've-never-heard-of, there are famouser acts like Thee Headcoatees, Helen Love, Terry Edwards, Holly Golightly and - of course - something from the Manic Street Preachers short period with the label.

ON ALL OUR TO-DO LISTS: BUY LARGE PILLOW: Michael Bolton has pledged that he'll keep singing until he can no longer breathe. Which is handy, as we'll know when we can stop holding it down.

"WEALTH OVERRATED" INSISTS RICH WOMAN: The next trite homily being knocked out in an afternoon by Madonna is going to be called Lotsa De Casha, about a rich greyhound who realises that money isn't everything. (Lotsa De Casha - do you know, i think there might be a clue in the name there...) Clearly, the high price of Madonna's childrens books (as much as thirteen quid for a picture book) has been chosen to ensure that the little people are able to relieve themselves of as much money as possible, so that they don't feel that terrible hollow feeling only the rich can possibly understand.

NOT I, SAYS LOVE: In an LA courtroom, Courtney Love has entered a plea on the charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Courtney's plea was "I never... I can't believe you said that, right..." Pretrial hearing is down for the 15th of December, with the trial likely next year.

MUSIC FOR 3: Latest 3Hive tip is pointing towards a Le Tigre MP3 download from the new album.

CAN SHE REALLY AFFORD TO HAVE HER FANS JAILED?: A bloke in the Netherlands has been sent to prison because he was too obsessed with Mel C. "He's clearly insane and a danger to himself; he must be locked away for his own good" said everyone, yesterday. Meanwhile, Melanie Chisholm herself is getting her career back on course - she's got a gig in Ukraine.

YOU WOULDN'T MISS ROSS: Access Hollywood scored a fairly major scoop by getting the first post-prison interview with Diana Ross, although they should have tried for a deal which would have had Diana answering questions. Instead, she was gnomic. For example, asked about Michael Jackson:

"Please, I can't go there. I just think it's such a painful subject. It's just so hard."

Oh. What about driving while pissed?

"A choice you make can change your life. Things can change your life just like that," Ross explained. "You're on top one moment…then you're not on top."

We're not sure what choice she's actually talking about - the decision to hop into the driver's seat, the choosing to try and pretend that she wasn't drunk; or maybe just choosing to a bit lax in how she added up her time inside. None of which really makes any sense, though.

Sadly, we don't get to find out if she was in charge of the big press during her time inside, either.

SHE'S GETTING ABOUT, ISN'T SHE?: And up pops Madonna again, like a wack-a-mole on a book tour, to slag off Pop Idol. She doesn't like the genre, because it suggests that even a half-talented ugly-stick can have a number one ("it's part of an obsession with 'other people's failures or heartaches.'")

Yes, why would anyone want to watch people having their dreams crushed on Pop Idol when, instead, they could watch one of Mr. Madonna's films with people having their kneecaps crushed instead. Much healthier.

IT'S NOT LIKE SHE'D BE SINGING OR ANYTHING: Two schools in Louisiana had won a competition - run by the satan-to-busshelters greyglomerate Clear Channel - with the prize of Ashlee Simpson coming to see them and do a performance. But just as the girls at the school were preparing for the great event - presumably planning a lot of hair-pulling and tape-swapping pranks - the Archdiocese of New Orleans issued an edict: No Ashlee Simpson in their schools:

The Rev. William Maestri, arch-diocesan spokesman, tells Us Weekly that insurance and security costs would be prohibitive for concerts at St. Mary's Dominican in New Orleans and Archbishop Chapelle in Metairie.

"We have a serious objection to that," Maestri says. "The merits of Ashlee Simpson's music is another issue altogether, and one I am not competent to comment on."

It's nothing more than insurance, right? Not a judgement on Ashlee from the Catholic Church. After all, we know for a fact that the Pope has been miming to Urbi et Orbi for years.

"JIMMY... WHY ARE DRESSED IN A SILK SHIRT AND AN ARMBAND? ARE YOU GOING DOWN THE NATIONAL FRONT DISCO AGAIN?": Some things are really better left as they are. For example, the music of Morrissey and Marr doesn't really require a staged setting, even one with string quartets and a cast of six. That won't stop Andrew Wale and Perrin Manzer Allen from producing their Morrissey stage show, though, will it?

RADIO ONE UNEXPECTEDLY EXCITED ABOUT U2: Sometimes, it's easy to forget that Radio One is a publicly-funded service with a remit to broadcast the best new music: sometimes, like when it overplays promo stuff for the new U2 album, it looks uncomfortably like an arm of Island Records. We can see that there might be value in having a live gig by U2 on air - but what's it doing in the Zane Lowe programme? And we're not sure about the value of taking Chris Moyles an Jo Whiley to Dublin - Moyles' show is going to be going out the day after the band have packed up and gone back home.

FEEDER CLOSET NANCI GRIFFITH FANS?: Probably not, although if we discover that their soon-to-be-released single Tumble and Fall is a cover of Nanci, we'll look at them with a renewed respect. It's the first track from Pushing The Senses, due on January 31st, and which will, as these things so often are, be supported by a tour:

Belfast Ulster Hall (March 22)
Dublin Olympia (23)
Manchester Apollo (25/26)
Glasgow Academy (28/29)
Birmingham Academy (31)
Brixton Academy (April 1)

LIBERTINES. OVER.: In the latest bumpy-humpy road trip that is the life of the Libertines, Carl Barat has said that the band are going to split. Yes, we know he more or less said this last week, but now there's detail on the broad policy. If Pete doesn't clean up and join them by Christmas, that's it: all over.

In other words: The Libertines will be all over by Christmas.

LANDMARK R-R-R-RULING: No wonder the US is finding it so hard to bring legal actions against all those turrists they say are just hanging around waiting for a chance to blow up Disneyland - the courts are just jammed up with music-related actions. Latest is the attempts by flautist James Newton to extract cash from the Beastie Boys. Newton's flute was sampled for Pass the Mic, and although the band paid for the sample, Newton also wanted cash for the whole song they'd sampled from as well. Three judges basically knocked him back with a "you've got money for the piping, that's all your due."

DOUBTLESS THERE'LL BE AN ADVERT WITH THOSE STUPID ANTS IN IT: We've already pointed out the tremendous problem with selling downloads in the form of a card which you have to leave your computer and head down to a shop to buy, before returning and putting in some sort of magic code - basically, why would anyone bother when they could just zip across to a file-sharing network without even having to put their boots on - but even more odd is the tie-up between Napster and the Post Office. Signing a deal with a company which is actively trying to close down as many of its outlets as the public will let them get away with? What sort of strategy is that? Added to which, if our area is typical, the queues at the few Post Offices which are still open (twenty minutes to renew Car Tax) are hardly going to fit in with the on-demand lifestyle promised by the click-and-own music services. Why not go the whole hog and make kids have to fill out a form and send it off before they can get their hands on that Khia song? That'll stop the peer to peer network.

IS IT JUST US...: Or did Renee Zellweger go to the Bridget Jones premiere in Sophei Ellis-Bextor fancy dress?

She's seen above... but, no, we can't improve on the caption from BBC News: Zellweger shared a joke with Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish.

GET A PIECE OF JOHNNY: Something we never knew about Johnny Ramone: He collected classic movie posters. Now that he's gone, of course, the collection is a bit superfluous so his estate is auctioning off the lot. There are apparently 125 on offer, dating back as far as a 1931 production of Frankenstein. That's the one where Bela Lugosi was offered first the role of Frankenstein, then was switched to playing the monster; only he went off in a huff when he realised that the monster didn't have any dialogue. He was replaced by Boris Karloff, who became the first man to play Frankenstein's monster with bolts through the neck. None of this detail appears on the poster.

MADONNA MAKES TIMELY INTERVENTION INTO US ELEC... OH, HANG ON: Madonna has issued a call for US Troops to leave Iraq, just days after the US election. Of course, it's a good idea, but we suspect she might have arrived at the conclusion that the US should pull-out through a rather woolly working through of the ideas:

"My feelings are 'can we just all get out? Global terror is everywhere. Global terror is down the street, around the block. Global terror is in California. There's global terror everywhere and it's absurd to think you can get it by going to one country and dropping tons of bombs on innocent people."

But actually, Madonna, the point is that global terrorism isn't in California or "around the block", is it? And by suggesting that the world is knee-deep in terrorists, you're merely doing the work of the Bush administration for it.

Speaking about the recent US election she said the idea that Americans had voted for George Bush because of moral issues was "spin".

She said American society was "becoming very divided".

"People are becoming very polarised.

"We have people who don't want to think, and who just want to guard what is theirs, and they're selfish and limited in their thinking and they're very fearful in their choices."

So... Madonna doesn't think that gay marriage and abortion played any part in determining the outcome of the US election with all the evangelicals voting in large numbers? Curious.

PAPA DON'T PREACH: Of course, the separation of Isaraeli tourism spokesperson Madonna and her manager Careese Henry after thirteen years may be nothing more than a simple parting of the ways. On the other hand, the announcement issued by Maddy's publicist seems slightly terse, if everything is well:

"After 13 extraordinary years culminating in this summer's mega-successful 'Reinvention Tour,' they have decided to part ways. Henry declined comment as did Madonna who is currently out of the country promoting the release of her new children's book "The Adventures of Abdi."

I THOUGHT THEY WERE JUST KNOWN AS INC NOW?: Gloomy news for Murder Inc, as bookkeeper Cynthia Brent is indicted on charges of money laundering and hiding Inc's cash from the IRS. Brent pleaded not guilty.

HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING: You'll have seen, of course, the adverts featuring Kim Wilde whoring herself in order to flog a few cod liver oil tablets in Holland and Barrett. (Okay, it's not exactly prostitution, but we wanted to sneak the phrase 'kim wilde whoring' in to tempt googlers) You might think they were as cheap and cheerful as they look: half an afternoon and maybe a couple of hours in post-production? Turns out the whole campaign cost six million quid and Guerilla Communications are really proud of it:

Mr Allen, managing director of Guerilla said: "We decided from day one that this treatment would be more ambitious than any commercial that had been made within the natural health sector.

"All of the effects and products are computer generated, this was no small task and for this reason alone we chose to employ the best animators we could find.

"The music was composed around the moving footage and we used live musicians to give it a quality feel. Kim Wilde was a great fit with Holland & Barrett's brand values and she was great fun to work with."

Like the woman said: it costs a lot of money to look that cheap. Don't bother clicking there, by the way, it's not a link.

MARC ALMOND COMES OUT: Good news that Marc Almond has been released from hospital after making a "remarkable" recovery from his bike crash.

DRIVE-BY WHIGFIELD: The number of celebs killed off by the Internet is always growing, but as far as we know this is the first Murder Whigfield: rapper Chino XL shot three times in the chest by a Tupac acolyte shouting "thug life." Except, of course, it never happened: Chino XL is alive and well, looking good and living in New Jersey.

Well, he's alive and well, anyway.

MEAT AND GREET: Is it just us, or is it extraordinary that Portland - a large city - can boast only one all male Go-Gos tribute band?

They're called We Got The Meat, rather splendidly.

On a similar note:

This is a female Marilyn Manson impersonator ("lookalike" might be pushing it a bit), Emma.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

... YES, BUT: You'll doubtless have read the headlines on the National Bureau of Economic Research study on downloading, which is being touted as Music piracy 'does hit CD sales'. Except, actually, we're not entirely convinced that that is what it says. It does say that (the very limited and affluent) group of students they interviewed claimed they'd have bought an extra fifth of a CD for each one they downloaded, but what this survey actually proves is not that the downloading cost the sales, but that being able to hear them before they bought them did. Which isn't the same thing.

In addition, for some reason the study only concerned itself with hit albums from the last ten years, which means it had no way of tracking if Joe Student decided, since he'd heard the latest Limp Bizkit and not liked it, he'd gone off to buy a Black Sabbath album instead. Something to remember when the RIAA try and "prove" stuff with this study.

YOU'VE BEEN FRAMED: I hope you don't think we're going through our inbox clearing stuff out or anything... but if we were, we might have discovered a link to A Hidden Cameras ecard supporting their single. Which, um, came out about a month ago. But I'm sure they wouldn't mind selling some more, and it is very good.

OBVIOUSLY, SNAKING AROUND THE COUNTRY: Out on tour from next Sunday will be the Detroit Cobras, supporting their new 'Baby' album. Not that it's a tiny album, it's full size, like. Anyway, they'll be there and here:

21 Nottingham Rescue Rooms
22 Manchester Roadhouse
23 Glasgow King Tuts
24 Leeds Cockpit
25 London Electric Ballroom

THIS IS A LOW-SHOW: Low are going to be playing The Scala in London on November 23rd, which is Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan. Two dates, then, for your diary.

IF ONLY WE HAD IT SO EASY: Oddly, after all the cries of anger when the US refused entry to Cat Stevens, there's very little in the way of recorded protests at the news that America won't give a work permit to Rick Astley. Apparently he was going to fly to New York and do what he was famous for in front of a small crowd last weekend, but Immigration refused him a green card saying "we've got Americans quite capable of making tea and sweeping up a bit, we don't need to import foreign labour for that."

CREAM WELL PAST ITS SELL-BY DATE: It's enough to make anyone curdle - after 37 years of dignified silence, Cream have finally decided to do a comeback. Sure, it's just a week for now, and it's all at the Royal Albert Hall in the Spring time, but we're now starting to wonder if there's anything from popular culture that can be allowed a dignified peace, or must everything be dug up, remade, reunited, and cranked around to help raise some cash for clear channel or whoever?

WILL SHE ADD THE JONES ONTO AN ALREADY UNWIELDLY NAME?: Congratulations to Sophie Ellis Bextor, just engaged. She's going to get married to Richard Jones and - according to The Sun could be about to put singing on hold to concentrate on the business of being pregnant and having babies and making soup and all those many other things that married couples sometimes do, before they start to fall out over what colour to paint the bathroom. The Sun, naturally, can't resist the opportunity for a gag about sticky-backed plastic.

CUTTING CORR-NERS: Apparently the Corrs are currently performing as three-piece, as Caroline Corr has just had a little girl and isn't yet up to all that standing around singing duff pop songs.

MORE THROATS, FEWER GIGS: Hotgwen, has Paul Weller been going round snogging all the singers? Now Keane's Tom Chaplin has gone down with a croaky throat and the band are suspending their tour. Bristol and Exeter have gone, the band are hoping they mihgt be able to pick up things in Truro on Friday.

Even if they do, we suggest you wear a face mask as a precaution.

HOW IT ALMOST CERTAINLY DIDN'T HAPPEN: Following on from yesterday morning, when Elton John said "fucking" during the Chris Moyles show, BBC DG Mark Thompson went storming into the Radio One offices.

"I was just driving into work, and I had Radio One's breakfast show on. How the hell did that fuck get on air?" yells Thompson.

"Well, he was working on commercial radio in Leeds when we hired him, and while he may be a fuck, he's put on six hundred thousand listeners..."

GOOD, NOTHING UNSEEMLY THERE, THEN: We've not had any access to core body temparture feedback, but we're guessing that it's fair to say that Peel's not cold yet and publishers are already having a spat over the books.

Transworld - who paid Peel GBP1.6million for an autobiography - are outraged that Orion are about to launch a cuttings and tuttings instant book about the DJ. Luckily, though, they realise that screeching like harpies in the week of Peel's funeral would be tasteless to... oh, hang on, apparently they don't:

Transworld spokesman Patrick Janson-Smith said: "Unlike those ambulance chasers at Orion, we have some sense and decency.

"John hasn't even been buried yet. We feel there should be a decent interval before discussing it with his widow, Shelia."

Presumably, then, the plan is to wait until the curtains have fully closed before buttonholing Sheila between the front and the main door to the cathedral.

COULD DO WITH SOME INVESTMENT ADVICE FROM JAMELIA: Mike Skinner has been dipping into his pocket quite heavily to feed alcohol-fuelled gambling sessions: at one point, the Streets tour of America was about to be pulled because he'd lost the tour float. Apparently, he's managed to work his way through all the royalties to date and has re-mortgaged his house to cover the debts he's run up; Jamelia keeps phoning up offering to buy his house off of him. He's stopped drinking now, though, so he reckons that's helping him keep off the roulette tables. Oddly, though, Mike says his problem was extending to doing spread betting, which surely is virtually impossible to do pissed?

JAMELIA CALLS FOR ACROSS THE BOARD PAYCUTS FOR MUSICIANS: Oddly, Jamelia seems to think that bands get paid too much money, on the basis that she was able to take two year's maternity leave:

"Singers get paid way too much. I was able to have my daughter and sit at home for two years - how many people are able to do that?"

We're sure the bands who are really struggling to scrape by on per diems (they're named in latin as most managers haven't changed the daily rate they pay since Hadrian's day) will be tickled pink at the suggestion that they're all living the high life - if Jamelia really believes bands are paid too much, she wants to stand in an M1 service area at half one in the morning offering free Ginsters pasties - there'll be starving drummers and bassists and singers crawling all over her.

Of course, Jamelia lives in a world where Usher is the norm. Not that she likes Usher, either:

She said that when Usher told her he had bought a £100,000 gold chain, she was less than impressed.

She said: "I was like, 'That's so stupid! You should buy a house, rent it out and invest it.'

Thanks for your investment advice, Jamelia: and you're right, what sort of moron would invest their cash in something like gold when they could buy a terrace in Oldham and get some students in?

Personally, I'm kind of glad Usher isn't investing his cash in property - first because it means nobody has to deal with having Usher come round to do the landlord checks every six months - "hey, the fur-covered bedroom walls are showing some mange... sort that out"; secondly, and more importantly, while Jamelia blithely advises all her friends to eschew bling in favour of bricks and mortar, that's sucking houses out of the market, artificially inflating prices and making it much, much harder for first-time buyers to ever hope owning anything. In effect, Jamelia's trying to encourage a world where nurses and fire bobbies are always forced to live in rachmann-rental-rated houses. But cheers, love, so long as your pension is sorted, that'll be alright, then.

BRUCE NIXES FLATS HONOUR: Asbury Park is busily building - condos and complexes going up everywhere. And, to honour its most famous son, they'd planned to call a waterfront apartment block The Rising, like the Bruce Springsteen song. Bruce politely requested that they didn't name a high-rise building after his song about the Twin Towers terrorist attack, and continued:

I respectfully ask the city fathers and developers to place both my and my song's names out of the running for any new buildings, streets, hot dog stands (well, maybe hot dog stands) as the city moves toward its exciting future.

So Born To Run Blvd remains just a crazy dream. But before we run away with the idea that Bruce is the anti-Bono, maybe there is just a slightly self-affgrandising element to this: the developer says that although they'll change the name, it wasn't actually chosen for the song anyway.

I WAS ALWAYS HOPING THAT THEY'D CHANGE THEIR NAME TO JFK BY NOW: Good news from the Idlewild camp: Roddy and the boys have finished their fourth album and are planning on doing a wee tour of acoustic dates on the New Year side of winter. The album - unnamed as yet - is out in March; and then there will be a proper, noisy tour.

TEARS FOR CHEERS: Here's a quick question: How are you meant to pronounce Brett and Bernard's new band? Is the tears, boo-hoo, or the tears, rippppp? Or is it meant to be pronounced in a poncey, tea-aaahs style? Anyway, they've announced their first two dates, this December: London Heaven (16th) and Barcelona (18th). Tickets will be flying out of the official website sometime this week.

THE CROAKING MAN: Even the not-especially-generous two songs in a two hour programme Paul Weller was promising as 6Music's Christmas treat are looking dodgy now - Weller's axed his entire tour as his tonsilitis gets worse. We would normally add a gag about how this proves there is a god, but it's actually quite serious - he's been admitted to hospital - so we'll just wish him a get well soon, albeit with a long, quiet convalesence period.

TEARS FOR CHEERS: Here's a quick question: How are you meant to pronounce Brett and Bernard's new band? Is the tears, boo-hoo, or the tears, rippppp? Or is it meant to be pronounced in a poncey, tea-aaahs style? Anyway, they've announced their first two dates, this December: London Heaven (16th) and Barcelona (18th). Tickets will be flying out of the official website sometime this week.

WE THINK THIS IS HOW RUMOURS START: Apparently, Ben Gibbard told this bloke who posted it to the web where Playlouder read it and told us and now we're telling you that David Hasselhoff is going to produce the next Death Cab For Cutie album. Yes, we'd like to believe it. No, not a word of it. Although Alyson Hannigan is going to be behind the desk for the next Yeah Yeah Yeahs album.

Monday, November 08, 2004

ALSO COMING UP ON 6MUSIC: It's one of the old standbys, of course - a feature on Women In Rock - but this one's being hosted by Justine Frischmann, so it might not be totally bad. It's slated for Wednesday 1st December, and there's a BBC Press Office interview to promote it.

MY WEEK WITH THE MANICS: Last year, Radiohead were given 6Music to play with for a week. This year, it's the turn of the Manics, who'll be playing controller and comparing girth with Phil Jupitus between the 6th and 12th of December. Slightly less glittery, 6Music spends two hours on Christmas Day with Paul Weller. Mostly he'll be talking about himself, but he will play live as well. Two tracks. We've done some maths here (working available on request) and make that one song every sixty minutes. Playing charades with an incontinent aunt never seemed so attractive.

MAYBE 'SKANKY HO' WAS A BIT UNFAIR... PERHAPS I SHOULD SAY 'HO-LIKE SKANK'?: Justin Timberlake has put his "auto"biography on hold as he wants to make a change or two. Apparently, someone gave him an executive summary to read and Justin decided that he'd been too harsh on Britney Spears. Or, in other words, he realised that if he slagged her off too harshly, she was in a position to let people know just how tiny and over-reactive his pee-pee is.

CHRISTMAS WITH JAKE AND DINOS: The line-up for the pre-Christmas All Tomorrow's Parties curated by the Chapman brothers has been announced - we think Glastonbury has been knocked into a cocked hat:

Friday 3 December

Stage 1
Throbbing Gristle - original line up
LFO (Live)
Lightning Bolt

Stage 2
Minutemen Duet
Wolf Eyes

Friday Club Night - hosted by Skam Records: Team Doyobi, Rob Hall, Skam Visuals, Skam Djs Freeform and Quinoline yellow

Saturday 4 December

Stage 1
Aphex Twin (after bands finish afx plays)
Mercury Rev
And You will Know us by the Trail of the Dead.....
The Liars
Miss Kittin - TBC
Bird Blobs

Stage 2
A Silver Mount Zion
Little Wings
+ 3 more - All TBC

Saturday Club Night - hosted by Mego Rceords Pita, Russell Haswell, Hecker, Kevin Drumm

Sunday 5 December

Stage 1
Violent Femmes
The Fall
Sunn o)))
Destroy All Monsters

Stage 2 - There will be a special Cinema, showing films like
Ramones film, MC5 film and Mayor of Sunset Strip

Sunday Club night: DJs Carl Craig, Cherry Stones, Spykid and NED and Tom from Warp records

AVRIL WATCH: You'll recall that we're helping Avril Lavigne who insisted that "I won't wear skanky clothes that show off my booty, my belly or boobs" by demonstrating, with illustrations, the way a young girl about town might choose to dress to live up to those ideals. The latest outfit Avril has chosen to avoid falling into the trap of selling her body rather than her talent...

That would be a Hooters uniform.

Thanks to Doug at Talent In A Previous Life for keying us in on that.

BOOTLEG-KILLER QUEEN: Who knew that Brian May would be more aware than many of the chumps drawing multi-thousand pound salaries for running record companies? Rather than sitting around bawling about how piracy is doing them down, Queen have got hold of bootlegs of their gigs and are going to flog 'em, a fiver a time to anyone who wants to download 'em. The result? Queen are making money they would otherwise have missed out on, the fans are getting live recordings they would otherwise have had to pay a fortune for, everyone's happy. Even EMI have given grudging assent.

MOMMA CARTER MAD AS A HORNET: Turns out that the night Nick Carter left young Aaron behind for a sleepover at Neverland their Mum Jane was hugely angry:

"It was 3 a.m. I was lying awake in bed, worrying sick, wondering, where the heck are they?" Jane Carter reveals

When she finally reached Nick on the phone and found out he'd left Aaron alone at Jackson's home, the mom blew her top. "I was furious with him. You should have heard me at 3 o'clock in the morning chewing my oldest son out. I was furious, furious!" she said.

We just can't help wondering, though: while you were on the phone chewing out your eldest son, was Michael Jackson... ah, but I see you're ahead of us.

HOLD ON, LEO... WE WERE ONLY JOKING ABOUT EMIGRATING OVER THE OASIS THING: With not a trace of bitterness about him, Leo Sayer is quitting Britain as a protest against the state of the music industry. He's going to live in Australia, where he seems to think things are better, somehow. Or maybe he just thinks he's in with a chance with Delta Goodrem.

Leo insists: "Because I don’t go to showbiz parties, I don’t have the right image. But my early records are as popular as they’ve ever been. I’m not uncool."

Of course you're not uncool, Leo. Of course you're not.

Mind you, I'll bet people in Worthing are pissed off, after they named a bus after him and everything.

PLACEBOVER?: Never minding the appearance of Robert Smith to do Boys Don't Cry with them, the announcement at the end of Placebo's London gig on Saturday that they're going away for a couple of years might presage an end to the band altogether.

Having shuffled the best of out in time for Christmas, the band have now tied up all the loose ends. So while Brian says they'll be back in a couple of years, we're not so sure:

"We’ve been on the road since March 2003 so now its time to go away and do normal, human things for a while. But we’ll be back inside the bubble in a couple of years. We love you. We have been Placebo. Good night."

Molkorific - for all your badly applied make-up and Placebo needs

WE'D CONSIDER EMIGRATING, BUT WE'D PROBABLY ONLY MEET THE BUSH EMIGRES COMING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION: Oasis add an extra date - the third - at Manchester after selling out everything on Saturday morning. At least 73% of ticket buyers were said to be "balding and paunchy."

LOOK WHO'S BACK: Now, remember, gang: If you can't say something nice, it's best never to say anything at all:

Yes, after two years the voices have finally suggested that Mariah record and release a new single and, hey, let's not be surprised if it blows our tiny little minds. Def Jam really think it's something amazing:

"Mariah is getting ready to shoot the video for Say Something. It is an amazing album that crosses all boundaries of R&B, hip-hop and pop."

So, um, like every record released by a female solo artist on a major label in north america in the last five years, then? Can't wait.

Carey is equally keen on her own work:

"The record is cool. I'm happy with it. We got ballads, we got uptempos, we got a lot of things."

- of which ballads and uptempos are only two. We're frankly staggered - who would have thought of releasing an album by a female singer that had some slow ballady love songs as well as some more up-tempo dancey numbers on it. The only thing that would amaze us any more would be if Mariah's waggling her tits about in the video, but surely she couldn't be that groundbreaking, could she?

MID-LIFE CRISES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS: Oh, sure, Larry Mullen is happy drumming away for U2, but he's got a secret dream: Larry wants to be an actor. But he's afraid to do it:

"I might take on a new challenge of doing some acting. I like the idea of going to it late.

"But the band is all I've ever wanted, and I get paid for it. I don't want to sound smug, but I've got the best job in the world."

"But different things come into play now that we've all got families. We don't have the freedom we once had."

The double but is puzzling us there - does he mean that he has to play it safe and if he took a role in the Bolton Octagon's production of View From A Bridge he'd be putting his family at risk of having no pies for the week? Or does he mean that he needs to find some extra work to help his budget stretch during the long periods where Bono's helping Bush get re-elected? Neither makes sense, as surely Larry must be so knee-deep in cash that he can afford to dabble in some side-interests? After all, Bono manages to swan about pretending to be the Prime Minister of Bonoland, and yet he doesn't seem to be fretting too much that it's going to wind up with the gas being cut off at his bedsit.

SCIENTISTS AGREE STANDARISED MEASURE OF "LIMITED INTEREST": There had been rumours, which we were prepared to dismiss, that Lisa Scott-Lee: The Series was going to go ahead. But it's true: MTV do believe there's a series in her life. Rather optimsitically, MTV describes the programme like this:

"It will be a classic, compelling show in the Osbournes/Newlyweds mould, as these stars and their loved ones expose real emotions and relationships. There will be laughter. There will be highs and lows."

The difference between the Osbournes and The Scott-Lees, of course, is that at least there was something compelling about the Osbourne family: 'rock god at home' is an interesting concept, even if when you tuned it you got little more than "confused old man and pushy, horrible relatives." We're not even sure MTV cares about the home life of Lisa or her "supporting characters", who would struggle to get their own caption in Heat magazine:

Stars set to appear on the show include Lisa's husband, Johnny Shentall, former star of Hear'say, as well as her brother Andy, who appeared in the second series of Pop Idol and his girlfriend, Liberty X's Michelle Heaton.

NOW, THAT IS A TOUGH GIG: Poor Guadalupe Madrigal. She was invited to run through the Mexican national anthem before a footy match in Guadalajara, but forgot the words. Not only is that a bit of a public embarrassment, but in mexico, it's illegal - Guadalupe could end up in jail for ballsing up the song. This sounds like an excellent idea to us. Bet it would have focused Ashlee Simpson's mind.

OH GREAT: THE ALARM IN SURROUND SOUND: Still slapping himself on the back for coming up with a cracking wheeze, Mike Peters has signed a deal with John 'Shrek' Williams to make a movie of how The Alarm "tricked" the music industry into letting them back into the charts under an assumed name. Except, of course, as we've pointed out before, there isn't really a story here: in a year when singles sales have fallen sharply as young people swap to downloads, albums, DVDs and ringtones, it's not unusual for auld fellers to turn up in the Top 20 or so - Status Quo had just such a hit a few weeks back; Depeche Mode made it back into the top ten a couple of weeks ago. This week, Elton John and Wet Wet Wet are selling - compared to their younger peers - strongly. In fact, while The Alarm got quite a good placing under their assumed name The Poppyfields, chances are they'd have got a higher placing if they'd done it under their own. Now, there would be a twist for the movie's ending, dont you think?

MUSIC FISHING AT TESCOS: Since they're already a kind of bank, an ISP and a mobile phone network, the entry of Tescos into the music download market isn't that unexpected. They're using Windows Media format, so if that isn't enough to make you lose interest, they're offering half a million tracks and - this is the non-Tesco bit - they've got no price advantage at all, matching iTunes 79p a hit.

Tesco said it expected demand to pick up as the price of digital music players, or MP3 players, dropped.

"As the price of portable digital players falls, customers will demand more choice," said Ms Gery.

"That is what we are delivering."

Oh, really? By offering the downloads in the same locked-up format as most of your rivals at the same price as your biggest competitor? How is that extending choice, exactly? The same thing in a different packet isn't a different choice at all.

The shopping chain said it chose to use Microsoft's Media Player as it is compatible with, and can be loaded onto, a large proportion of portable players on the market, apart from Apple's iPod.

A bit of a fib, surely? Wouldn't the reason they're using wma rather than aac be because Apple won't share? And if tesco really were interested in offering a format which can be loaded onto the most players, surely they'd be using the near-universal MP3 format?

THE CHILL WHEN DAMON ALBARN'S MEN COME KNOCKING AT YOUR DOOR: Footballer turned boot magnate Craig Johnston has been declared bankrupt - by a range of creditors including, oddly, Damon Albarn:

Shareholder Albarn demanded his money back after Johnston failed to get official backing for his scheme - which aimed to keep youngsters focused on sport and away from crime.

Yesterday the singer's spokeswoman said: "Damon was named on the petition for bankruptcy, but there is nothing further to say."

The bankruptcy looks set to bring down Craig's highly-praised scheme for using football as a positive force amongst inner-city kids.

WICHITA FINE, MAN: Blimey, a British musical success story in the US without the words "Franz Ferdinand" - can it be? Wichita Records is going to launch an American branch. Of course, it's probably too late to change American politics with a healthy dose of Brave Captain and Giant Drag, but... you can always hope.

SIMPSON LEAVING MAKE-UP BILLS UNPAID?: Jessica Simpson was quick to jump onto the make-up bandwagon, launching a range of products with names like Powdered Sugar Deliciously Kissable Body Shimmer - good cosmetics can help you looking fresh throughout a day, no matter how busy, as Jessica shows:

It now turns out, though, that whoever was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the jessica simpson range somehow neglected to settle the bill with the company that made them. Cosmojet reckon that they're USD200,000 in the hole and have launched an action against Jessica for the money. For her part, Simpson's spokepeople say that she didn't have anything to do with the day-to-day running of the company and she isn't responsible.

I JUST CAN'T GET YOU OUT OF MY MUD: Amongst the latest Glastonbury rumours: Kylie supposedly confirmed; Prince being sought; Outkast seemingly hovering between certain and impossible; U2 definitely not.

NOTTEENBEAT ANY MORE: Teenbeat records are leaving their teenage years behind them now, and to celebrate they're having a mini-festival:

To celebrate their twentieth anniversary, Teenbeat will be hosting a two-day event at the Black Cat Nightclub in Washington, DC., February 24 and 25, 2005. There will be reunion performances by Eggs, Tuscadero, Unrest, and Versus as well as shows by the label's current roster: Aden, Jonny Cohen, Flin Flon, The Fontaine Toups, hollAnd, Hot Pursuit, +/- (Plus/Minus), and True Love Always.

Good news from Washington? How often do you get that?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

IT'S THE NEXT BEST THING TO BEING THERE, APART FROM BEING ALLOWED TO LICK KIM DEAL'S FEET: If you missed out on getting one of the limited edition discs of any or all of the Pixies live gigs in the US earlier in the year, you can have a crack at downloading them now - although they're charging a slightly eye-watering USD12 for each. Which is more than enough to keep everyone in pies, I'd have thought.

DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ELEPHANT'S BOTTOM AND A POSTBOX?: Ah, but how about the difference between an indie band and a State mail delivery organisation? Furdlog reports that The Postal Service got a cease and desist from the US Postal Service for "trademark infringement."