Sunday, November 27, 2005

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Cool is measured in inches

Of course, if anyone was going to give exposure to the Pipettes in the national press, it was always going to be Bob Stanley in one of his occasional pieces for The Times. Rose manages to alarm Bob: "Because of the way we dress we immediately attract a certain kind of attention. We want to stay in control of that, but we want to be feminine. We like Bananarama’s attitude." Stanley's piece - which also takes in the Dansettes and the time the Shangri-Las were stopped by an injunction from trying to reform under their old name - made a useful corrective to the disappointing BBC Girls and Boys series a couple of weeks back.

Girl pop of a different sort over at the Daily Record, where they interview Jem. We don't know if things are different when viewed from Scotland, but they seem convinced that she's a massive, global star (she did, after all, do the theme for Celebrity Love Island) even although the rest of the world does just think "isn't she that doll with the flashing ears from a few years back?"

Some gender confusion over at Top of the Pops: "Hey Boys" reads the strapline across a familiar Balkanised pop trio "The Sugababes show you how to get a date with that lad." Now, we think it's about time gay and bisexual lads got a bit of help from the teen glossies, but we suspect this might just turn out to be a poorly-thought out front page instead.

A new entrant to the music racks this week, with another middle-to-hard rock title limping onto the scene. It's called Zero, for reasons which it tries to explain inside: apparently, if you divide anything by zero, you always get the same answer and if you divide infinity by zero, you don't get infinity which, erm, makes it like no other number. All of which is true, but doesn't take away from the fact if you subtract everything from anything, you end up with nothing. It's the sort of magazine which will be thrilled by the return of the Darkness. Oddly, it's printed by Jazz Magazines.

Somebody takes the time to write to the Guardian letters page to reject the suggestion that pirate radio fills a demand unsatisified by mainstream radio. "There's BBC 1 Extra" says Jon Kempster. Which is true, and we do like 1Xtra, but to suggest that a single digital station is enough to satisfy every fan of music to the left of white boys with guitars is like suggesting there's no need to have a Radio 3, 2 and a Classic FM when there's already a perfecty functional Radio 1 playing amplified music.

The Sunday Mirror gets a bit confused by the appearance of Nikki Shadwick at a Status Quo gig, seeing the world between Coronation Street and real life collapse. It also suggests that Nikki isn't going to try and launch a pop career "despite" her performance at Children In Need, although we'd have said "because of" would have been more appropriate.

We were stood in Smiths yesterday when a bloke shuffled by, glanced at the front of the NME's Cool List 2005 issue and snorted "well, that's a load of rubbish" to his girlfriend. He's not right, actually, as the covermount CD is, itself, pretty good - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Be Your Own Pet, Forward Russia - and probably much better than the paid-for double CD available in shops and elsewhere. The cool list itself, though, is... well, come on: it's a list designed to provide a way of doing a review of the year rather than an actual, scientific survey.

This year's list is different from last years - it has women on it - but is also, of course, demonstrably bollocks. Danny Tourette from Towers of London is at number 35. Paul Smith is at 32, something he might just scrape if he wore a hat but clearly beyond him with that hair. Billie Joe comes in at number 15, but since he's only there because he looks like a hoppity spunk-puppy, he shouldn't be ahead of Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance (20) who is very similar, but looks like he wouldn't ask for your number after.

What's really odd about the 2005 list is all the people who were left off last year to stop it seeming old and boring have appeared this time round - so Damon Albarn is in at 12, for example. Which is a good choice, because the African music he's been quietly releasing on his label really does make the world a better place, but his citation makes no mention of this and suggests he's cool because he revived Shaun Ryder's career. But Liam Gallagher at number two? On this basis, my Dad would be expected to come in at number one, and Robbie Williams could probably expect to be given a special number glittering in the minus somethings. Why has Liam got this strange accolade? Because he's rude about makeweight bands. But surely that's the NME's job?

Most surprising of all Bob Dylan is at number seven. Clearly, they've not spoken to anyone who's been to his recent slew of gigs.

The Had It, Lost It list is curious: "Queens of Noize - run out of Camden by Club NME." Didn't they used to do the video page of a certain magazine?

Oh, Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys is the coolest man; last year's cool pair Pete Doherty and Carl Barat have fallen to six and nine. Oddly, the one who hasn't spent the year pissing away his talents living like the Playmobil Mick Jagger has fallen furthest.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Alan McGee appears to have become a columnist, taking up space to enthuse over Client - which is, at least, space well used. Although since Kate who used to be in Frazier Chrous is also Mrs. McGee, it might not be the most impartial use of the space. Client have apparently taken on Emily, off Make Me A Supermodel, which would be fine (anyone other than Jasmine) except McGee burbles"[Emily] spent Christmas with Pete Doherty ... you can just imagine how crazy the tabloids are going to go when they get hold of it." Which is a little bit like going down to see how Michaelangelo's coming along painting that chapel ceiling and saying "blimey, when people find out he's fond of cock, imagine how famous he'll be..."

the dakrness - one way ticket to hell and back - "easily worthy of Robbie Williams", 5
will young - keep on - "processed cheese", 6

totw - forward russia - twelve - "absolutely crackers, but ace as well"
him - vampire heart - "gutless goth-pomp melodrama"
princess superstar - my machine - "hits all the right buttons, but a C- for the ending"

the futureheads - les inrocks festival - "jerk rock played by real jerks"

Next week, it's the (will the lists never stop coming?) best stuff of the year issue. And we're still nowhere near Christmas.

WTPPS on the 2004 Cool List
Last week's Pop Papers