Saturday, January 29, 2005

YER CLASSIC LEAVE-EARLY EXCUSE: There's almost nothing we wouldn't do to see the Donnas, but asking for a Maroon 5 ticket might be pushing it. The Donnas are set to support the marketing-report driven bunch for a month of US touring; at least we can hope one or two Maroon 5 fans will stumble by accident on what music is meant to sound like.

TEENDEATHHITOBIT: The death has been announced of Ray Peterson, best known for his contribution to the teen-death-pop subgenre, Tell Laura I Love Her.

Born in Denton, Texas in 1939, Peterson had the then-common childhood disease polio. Although predictions he would never walk proved to be over-gloomy, he spent a lot of time in hospital receiving treatment. It was while in hospital that he started to sing - first for his own amusement, and then for others. After he was back to something close to full health (a slight limp the only outward sign of his battle with polio) he started to work the local clubs. He came to the attention of executives at RCA who signed him up, rush-releasing a cover of Little Willie John's Fever in 1957. The track had yet to find its perfect artist - it wouldn't be until the following year that Peggy Lee made it her own - and Peterson found it difficult to break through. Luckily, in those days record companies actually did support their artists as they were getting going rather than just pretending to do so, and eventually, single number seven found an audience. The Wonder of You went Top 30 on the Billboard Chart in 1959; Elvis Presley asked if he could cover it. "You don't have to ask; you're Elvis Presley" said Peterson; to which the then biggest name in music replied "Yes I do - you're Ray Peterson. (The song was to be a comeback hit for Elvis much later - in 1970).

Tell Laura I Love Her - the uplifting ditty about a kid being burned to death in a car-race crash as he tried to win the cash to marry his childhood sweetheart - was to be Peterson's biggest hit, making it to number seven in 1960; but it was to be a success that Ray could never quite live up to. A couple of other releases followed but RCA finally cut their losses.

Peterson took the chance to launch his own label, Dunes Records, in assocation with Hill and Range music and his manager. An early release paired Ray up with a tyro producer brought by Dunes to intern with Leiber and Stoller - Phil Spector. Although their work together didn't quite hit the heights of Tell Laura, the sales tickled in nicely enough for the likes of Corinna, Corinna and Missing You. Peterson burned through a procession of deals - leaping from MGM to Reprise to Decca - but it was quickly becoming clear that he was doing better business touring than in the record shops.

Peterson died at his home in Smyrna, Tennessee on Tuesday. He is survived by a wife, Claudia, seven children and nine grandchildren.

BLACK VELVETS BAGS PINCHED: In a reversal of the popular stereotype, a bunch of scousers had their bags robbed in London. The Black Velvets were in the capital for a videoshoot when Robbie and Nick's bags were stolen. They're appealing for the bags return, mainly because they've got sentimental value. And they were crammed with iPods and cash.

MARS ATTACKS: The whole Mars Volta tour of the UK has now been laced with extra dates:

March 9 - Birmingham Academy
12 - Manchester Academy
13, 16 - Brixton Academy
Frances The Mute
The touring activity is in the interests of flogging some extra copies of the soonly-come Frances The Mute album.

PROSPECTUS: We know that trying to turn Charlotte Church from 'screw-up who used to be a churchy girl' into rock star is going to be a challenge, but we're still slightly surprised to see her PR machine is already hailing the success of her first pop album:

"Charlotte can do concerts and TV appearances off the back of her name alone. That could all snowball. She's likely to be earning at least $1 to $1.50 for each album sold, more considering she's written and co-written some songs.

"If she sells two million records, which is likely with her high profile in the States, it would be a hit and three million would be seen as a great success."

Some astonishing degree of managing down expectations there, then - they're setting a fabulously low level of two million albums worldwide. For someone who has the profile of Church, that would actually be a spectacular disappointment - they shipped a third of a million copies of 1999's self-titled album for release week in the UK alone; she's well-known enough in the US to have appeared on Hollywood Squares and the late-night chatshows. That they're trying to suggest such a slow take-up would be great news shows just how little impact they're thinking her record will have.

TRULY, IT WAS THE ISSUE WHICH SPLIT AMERICA: It's too easy to think that everyone in the whole country thought that Ashlee Simpson at the Orange Bowl was all a bit of a joke. But Jessica Simpson didn't side with the whole of the rest of the nation. Unfortunately, Nick Lachey did. Big row. Lachey is also alleged to have uttered the words that will ultimately bring about his downfall:

"He kept telling her, 'It's all about you all the time," a source said. "Tonight, it's about me."

Nick, honey, it's never about you - nobody can remember if you're Nick Carter or Nick Lachey; round here - as in most places - you're "the dim one whose job is boffing Jessica Simpson."

KINGS NEARLY WHACKED BUSTED: Are we alone in thinking that Charlie Simpson would make a fascinating study of how every man has his price? Clearly, his heart wasn't in Busted for a very long time - he tells Attitude that he nearly walked out when made to dress up as the three wise men for prepube pop mag Its Hot at Christmas 2003 - and yet he stayed, and played. So: was there a point where the money and fame no longer became enough to compensate for the humiliation, or was it just that he'd built up enough in his pocketbook to be able to walk?

IMAGINE NO POSSESSIONS: Before he was rich and famous, John Lennon used to pinch books for kicks. Oddly, he targeted a Catholic bookshop in the heart of Liverpool (not the bit that the Duke of Westminster is currently ripping out, oddly enough; this store was on Manchester Street and got swept away in a previous bout of "improvements"). Still, it's not like God was that angry with him - it's not like Lennon got struck dow...

SHATTERING, SHATTERING NEWS: You might want to sit down for this one: Nickelback have lost their drummer, Ryan Vikedal. The bad news is that they're looking for another one and intend to keep going.

MORE TSUNAMI BENEFIT: Slightly edged down in scale from the original plans for two nights at the Astoria, Pearl Spam and Danny Goffey's benefit nights will go ahead at the The Garage on January 31st (Ed Harcourt and The Rakes, and Babyshambles if they turn up) and then at the Astoria on February 2nd with Alison Goldfrapp, Howie B, Roots Manuva and a pretty neat dj line-up of Felix Jaxx, Andy Weatherall, Erol Alkan and James Lavelle.

RAPPERS GET RAPPED: Two rappers have been given a suspended jail term and community service for circulating a rap making serious threats against Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The Somali-born writer had collaborated with the assasinated filmmaker Theo Van Gogh; the rapper's defence was that they were exercising free speech, which, oddly enough, is exactly what Hirsi Ali was doing when they got upset with her in the first place.

Friday, January 28, 2005

COVERING FOR THE BARELY-COVERING: Because it's the weekend, and because we're not in Norway: a rather fine remix of Siobahn 'it was all my idea' Fahey covering She's Lost Control for Agent Provocateur. Discovered via those awfully nice London News Review people.

THAT PETE AN' KATE THING: We're sure that that Pete and Kate Moss getting together seemed like a brilliant idea at the time - like a merger between two wobbly companies, intended to shore up both brands. Trouble is, of course, that it's working better for Kate than Pete. Although both have a bit of a reputation, it's clear the press is lining up Pete as a drug-ozzled villain leading the otherwise fairly blameless Kate astray. Notice that he's already been downgraded from rock star to little more than a shambling hooter-stuffer:

Even if the relationship doesn't fuck one or both of them up more, the crushing press can't be doing good things to the self-esteem of either.

DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?: More tabloid tattle, but there's something slightly amusing in the Mirror's report of Ricky Martin's desperate bid to be noticed in the Savoy Bar:

"He was playing for 30 minutes but being ignored," a source revealed. "So he thumped the keys hard and sang 'Livin' La Vida Loca'. People looked up - then went back to ignoring him."

In other words:
-Do you know who I am?
-Erm, no
-I am Ricky Martin
-Oh, alright.
-You don't care, do you?
-Not really

WE WON'T NIP DOWN ARGOS FOR THE GIFTLIST JUST YET, THEN: On Wednesday, Cheryl Tweedy was dropping hints about wanting to marry Ashley Cole. And Ashley? He doesn't seem too keen, shall we say?

PICK ON SOMEONE ELSE? OKAY. NO, HANG ON. NO: More pleading from Ashlee Simpson, the New Labour of the slightly pretty, fairly dim blonde singers, this time in a Us Weekly interview:

"It's like people are after me! The thing is, I've only been performing for a short time," Ashlee explained. "I'm not perfect and have never claimed to be perfect. But I'm learning - every time I perform, I'm growing. And I'm taking voice lessons. I am still very young, very new to this business. But one day I'm going to be exactly what I hope to be." Ashlee added, "To my fans: Thank you for sticking by me. To my critics: Please pick on somebody else!"

Righto, Ashlee, so let's get this straight: you've done high-profile gigs, live network telly, you're admitting that you're nowhere near good enough for that level of performance and you want us to not rip the piss out of you. Remind us why, exactly? It's only in the entertainment industry that you get this strange belief that it doesn't matter if you turn up to do jobs you're not qualified for - how would she feel if the next time she goes to get a spot of cosmetic buffing the surgeon said "I'm new here, and I've only ever done hangnails before, but I'll have a crack at poking about with your tits, shall I? You can tell those medical malpractice lawyers to go pick on somebody else..."

NORWAY JUDGES FINE STUDENT: The Supreme Court in Oslo has ruled that a student must pay the sixteen thousand (American) dollars compensation to a bunfh of record labels, upholding a finding in a lower court. The case was brought by the IFPI through Tono (the RIAA in Norway) - and some of those same multinational labels we love in the rest of the world; the accused had created a webpage offering links to mp3 files - 170 in all. This, the court decided, was violating the law by showing people how to break the law.

There's two things about the ruling. First, the damages - which, we reckon, comes out at about three hundred and fifty quid or so for every song linked to; a ridiculous level of compensation which - even at official download prices - implies that a lot of people must have been using those links. Which is the second point, really: the IFPI weren't called upon to prove either that they or their labels had really experienced any loss at this sort of level as a result of the activities of this kid, nor did they demonstrate in court that the tracks being linked to actually were being hosted illegally: it was apparently just generally accepted that they must have been.

In their original submission, the IFPI tried to argue it had made losses:

The Respondents have had a financial loss due to a reduced sale. Based on the numbers presented and the information on the number of visitors of an estimated loss must be set to NOK 40,000. The loss per download must be equal to the loss for marginal contribution of each non-sale set to NOK 15 per CD single. In addition must be added a loss per album not sold. The holders of the rights must as well receive a compensation for control costs accumulated due to the activities on the web pages of Bruvik. It is important to set a warning example for financial liability. The compensation should not be subject to mitigation.

... which is clearly something that needs to be seriously questioned in court. How can the record companies be allowed to have their claim that an illegal download represents one unsold CD single or one unsold portion of a CD album? Surely - if anything - it would be an unsold download; but even that is far from a given. Even more ridiculous is the claim that people merely looking at the list of links equals a lost CD sale. It's the height of the cock of the poppy. While we're sure the Norwegian Supreme Court is a bunch of great guys, they don't seem to have been able to grasp the finer details of this case.

LOSING MY PERCUSSION... AND ALL THE OTHER INSTRUMENTS: For the first time in nearly ten years, REM had to an axe a gig last night after their equipment failed to make in to St Petersburg.

"It was kind of odd" says a spokesperson, "the lorry was driving along the highway, then all of a sudden, there was this huge traffic jam, and a bloke walking about on top of the cars, and a preachery type guy tossing all these leaflets from a bridge. And everyone was having their thoughts displayed in subtitles... what? Oh, no, that was the Everybody Hurts video, wasn't it? Yeah, it was snowy and there were delays at the Estonia/Russia border..."

THE CLARKE RESIGNATION: The departure of Gemma Clarke from Babyshambles is starting to take on the appearance of a ministerial resignation, as there seems to have been an exchange of letters. has seen the letter that Gemma sent to Pete Doherty:

"I will not continue to work under the management that you have chosen for the band... I love you, the music, Patrick, Dru and Babyshambles. Please be safe and be careful. You are a great artist and have been a massive inspiration to me.

"Thanks for the experience and for a great time - keep safe and don’t forget to call me...good luck for the future."

Doherty was expected to reply, but then used his notepaper to make a wrap, so didn't.

TRAFFICOBIT: Traffic founder member and drummer Jim Capaldi has died. Jim was born in 1944 in the not especially rock town of Evesham, where Capaldi's father Nick had made a name as an accordionist on Radio Luxembourg, before the station and the Duchy had been lost to the Nazis while his mother Mariahad been a recording artist cutting 78s. It wasn't a great shock when Capaldi followed his parents into making music, starting a band when he was 14 and signing to Pye as part of the Hellions. After the Hellions came to a natural end, he found himself in an act called Deep Feeling, which also featured a young Dave Mason. Mason and Capaldi became common faces on the West Midlands blues circuit, and it was to be in Birmingham that jam sessions at the Elbow Room nightclub would quickly grow into Traffic.

Driven by Capaldi's songwriting partnership with Stevie Winwood, Traffic managed eleven successful albums before their eventual split in 1974. Capaldi had already started a solo career even before the band collapsed, scoring his biggest hit with Love Hurts, and adding a further twelve albums to his cv. In 1993, a mini-reunion grew unexpectedly from an invitation to collaborate with Winwood on what was meant to be a solo Stevie affair; in 1998, there was another reforming, this time at the suggestion of Dave Mason.

In a well-honoured career, Capaldi won the 'most played song in America' award five times, played Woodstock (the '94 disaster) and - just months before being diagnosed with the stomach cancer which would kill him - was induced into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

ABBA CLEAR SHELF SPACE, GAY MEN CLEAR DIARIES: Besides the sweet joy of the standard Eurovision this year, coming from the peaceful, sleepy nation of Ukraine, there's going to be an extra contest throwing fourteen of the greatest Eurovision winners against each other for a Champion of Champions Eurovision. It's not too early to start campaigning for a Diggi Loo Diggi Ley victory.

The best of the best search is going to take place in Denmark, because it was their idea - so it's just like in meetings at an office where you blurt out a brilliant, but labour intensive idea, and wind up having to carry out the infernal project yourself. We bet the Danish Broadcasting Corporation are wishing they'd just kept their beaks shut - or better yet suggested the idea to one of the pushier countries like Sweden during the coffee break so they'd have floated it as their idea and got lumbered with trying to persuade Nana Mouskouri to fly out to Stockholm.

We love, by the way, the caption on the BBC News Online story photo of Abba:

We love the way there's a hint that winning Eurovision might not be all it's cracked up to - see, they barely lasted another 3000 days... (Napoleon, of course, left the line-up in mid-1975).

I TOOK A STEP, AND THERE CONCLUSIONS WERE: An occasional series measuring the distance between a quote and the headline
Headline: Emma [Bunton] To Live In the US? [Ananova]
Quote: "I can't tell you how much fun I've had here and I'm actually thinking of phoning home and saying I'm not coming home! I really am having the most amazing time."

We wonder if the writers of the story really take 'wish you were here' on holiday postcards at face value in the same way, and turn up three days later at their mates' hotels in Mallorca.

THE LONG ROAD BACK: A sad ending to a sad tale - the 'Robbie dates "ordinary" person' story from the arse-end of 2004 is still haunting the 'ordinary person'. Probation Officer Lisa Brash says that having the odd spot of sex with the narcissistic cry-baby has ruined her life. Not only did he lose interest really quickly (and who could see that happening?) but all the attention has left her on anti-depressants, her car a target of vandals and her son being bullied at school. Of course, her response to the result of her loss of a private life is to give an interview to The Sun about it...

LIGHTS GO OUT OVER AMERICA: Razorlight's chances of turning themselves into a force in the US have been buggered by Johnny Borrell's throat. Or possibly not. Although the cancellation of dates is now being explained as because of Johnny's larynigitis, a post apparently by Borrell on the razorlight message boards gives a different reason for his leaving the stage in Denver:

apologies Reply with quote

hi i would like to apologise to any fans who were at the denver show last night, i can't explain why i wasn't capable of playing. i was gripped by an extreme stage fright.

i can't really explain it. I will play for free next time we come back here, which i hope will be in april.

thank you for coming out and i will see you next time

x johnny

i hate whingeing rock stars as much as you do


Compare with the statement given to now the tour has been pulled:

A spokesperson for the band told NME.COM that Borrell began to feel sick after the band’s show in Denver (January 22).

The singer’s condition progressively worsened as the group trekked through shows in San Diego and Phoenix earlier this week. After seeing a doctor in Phoenix, Borrell was diagnosed with laryngitis and prescribed a round of antibiotics to fight the throat infection. He flew back to Britain last night and under the advice of the physician has been ordered to rest his voice and not speak.

We're sure that that's what happened then, although we're really surprised at someone with such severe laryngitis taking a transatlantic flight, but then we're not doctors, are we? Still, it's lucky it's a proper illness as you'd be less likely to claim on your tour insurance for a stage-fright cancellation.

THE SLACK-FI STAKHANOVITE: In what we think is rather less of a release schedule, more a case of throwing enough shit at a wall in the hope something will stick, Ryan Adams is going to release two albums and a double album this year, which is almost as many albums as Elvis is sticking out singles. The double comes first, on April 19th, called Cold Roses and credited to 'Ryan Adams and The Cardinals' - presumably not the Atlantic Records doo-wop band from Baltimore. But then you never know.

ONE DAY, 3,500 GIGGERS, 40 BANDS, 15 QUID, 17 AND A HALF PINTS: To celebrate its tenth anniversary this coming November, there's going to be a huge special Camden Crawl. They're holding it in March, which seems odd; presumably they can't wait. It's not like the weather is going to be so much better in March, is it? Anyway, the date for your diary is March 10th (a Thursday, which is, of course, a school night) and amongst the names you can turn up just as they're finishing their set will be The Black Velvets, 10 Thousand Things, Amusement Parks On Fire, Art Brut, Clor, The Cribs, The Departure, Do Me Bad Things, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, The Go! Team, Gravenhurst, Hard-Fi, Hot Chip, The Infadels, Kaito, The Kooks, The Longcut, Ludes, The Magic Numbers, The Chalets, Maximo Park, Nine Black Alps, The Research, Sons & Daughters, The Subways and Towers of London.

It's like In The City, only much cheaper and nowhere near as wanky. Hurrah, but do take wet weather clothing.

LET'S PUT IT ALL BEHIND US AND DRAW A LINE IN THE SAND: There's a nice piece over on Blogcritics from Clyde Smith, which takes a look at Vibe's first post-awards bash (emphasis on the bash, of course) issue, and the somewhat lukewarm coverage they've given to the story. One interesting fact is that when the trouble broke out, the feed of events to the press room was cut straight away , which makes it rather hard for anyone to verify that the magazine's "this is how it was" report is totally accurate. Understandably, Vibe are keen to try and kick this story under the sofa, but their attempts to PR-manage the fallout aren't winning them many friends right now.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

SHAR MOANS: Poor Shar Jackson, moaning and moaning to anyone who'll listen that she's sick of being little more than the woman dumped in favour of Britney $pear$ by Kev, blissfully unaware that the only reason why anyone is in the least interested in listening to her is because she's the woman dumped by Kev. Still, it's time she was given her full due as more than just the ex-wife of Britney Spears' husband. She's also, for example, the mother of Britney Spears' stepchildren.

MADONNA SAYS NO: Madonna has refused to play a role in the new Ricky Gervais series 'Not As Funny As The Office'. Madonna said she'd only appear in the new series - which features groups of viewers muttering "Why doesn't he do David Brent again?" - if she had a character written for her instead of a cameo role.

Now, if we were married to Ritchie, writing bad music and worse kid's books and had found ourselves the public face of a confidence-tricking cult, we'd probably want to play someone else, too. On the other hand, having seen Madonna's acting, we can see why Gervais would say "Erm... actually, I'm seeing Cyndi Lauper later so I'll give you a call if we need you, okay?"

But then we've seen Truth or Dare - she's not even that convincing when she's meant to be playing herself.

COLDPLAY SHOCK: Chris Martin and the boys are calling in lawyers to investigate how tracks from their new album appeared to be available on the internet.

Our computer experts suggest there's two ways this could have happened without any human intervention. Apparently, if the new collection is as slight as the first one, the songs could literally have just floated away from the studio, perhaps being sucked into the internet when they drifted into a wi-fi network. On the other hand, if the new tracks are as wet as the second album, there's every chance they might have leaked out the bottom of a computer and got into the web "through the sewers or maybe some guttering."

As it turns out, the tracks claiming to be Coldplay listed on WinMX weren't at all, but the band are still investigating. After all, if a fan had downloaded these files and played them, they'd have had a bitterly disappointing experience - in other words, pretty much the same as if it had been the 'proper' collection.

IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PLANE?: What? That dull thudding noise? No, it's Ringo Starr, getting into practice for his new role as Stan Lee's latest superhero. No, really; they're making a cartoon Ringo in which he saves the world, and so on. Nobody can really work out why, but at least it's not as absurd as Yoko's ongoing campaign to turn John Lennon into a saint.

BACK TO HOT97: The trouble for New York's Hot97 continues to grow as the free holiday awarded to the team who played the awfully unfunny tsunami 'jokes' doesn't seem to be much in the way of a message.

What's odder is the 'apology' from Miss Jones:

I apologize to all who have been offended by my poor decision to go along with playing that insulting (to say the least) Tsunami song. I should have known better and I didn't. So I'm sorry and hopefully we can move forward from this, or I can move forward from this being a better hostess, because I am better than that, and I know better than that -- and you deserve better radio than that."

Note the subtle "my decision to go along with playing" - the attempt to try and dissassociate herself from the content of the programme that goes out under her name is pretty seedy stuff - it's thought the original plan had been to issue a statement that "a big boy did it and ran away."

But Jones isn't without support - E D Hill from Fox News Network has sided with her and her team on the basis that it was "free speech." Now, imagine that a song like this had been about, say, US troops being blown to pieces in Iraq: would Fox and Friends be so quick to applaud?

[The song mentions] "Africans drowning, little Chinamen swept away." It also says God was laughing and telling victims to "swim."

The chorus, sung by a Michael Jackson imitator, says, "So now you're screwed -- in the tsunami, You better run or kiss your ass away, go find your mommy. I just saw her float by, a tree right through her head. And now the children will be sold in child slavery."

Or does Fox News only supports free speech when it's mocking foreigners?

AS EXPECTED: The loose-lipped law enforcement guys might have spoiled the surprise, but they didn't stop the event: Irv Gotti Lorenzo has been charged with the money laundering.

CLARK GOES HOME: So that was a minor stroke, huh? six weeks on, Dick Clark finally goes home. His publicist was fairly circumscept, which is leading Clarkologists to suppose that his health has taken a serious knock.

IT JUST WON'T BE THE SAME WITHOUT THE CORRIE LEAD-IN: Latest... oh, it's not even a twist, is it? move in the Jackson case is a request to show Living With Michael Jackson to the jurors. The defence, of course, aren't that keen on the idea - for some reason they think all that stuff about sleeping with little boys in his bedroom might harm their guy. And that bit where he dangles the kid off the balcony. And making his kids wear the masks. And feeding the baby through the sheet.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Observer Music Monthly marked twenty-five years of hiphop - good god, I can recall when rock was that young - by asking: what do you do if you're from an "urban" background but don't have a hip-hop outlook? Not much, reckons Nelson George: "In so many ways, hip hop has become the establishment - a monolithic enterprise that stifles opposing voices and sustains the like-minded. This may be why hip hop culture has not yet seen a rival rise up against it." Meanwhile, Steve Yates picked his 25 greatest moments in hiphistory, unfortunately starting them in 1973, which we calculate as undermining the whole 25 year anniversary business.

Does the world need another piece about Motley Crue, and Pamela Anderson, and all the rest of it? We'd have thought not, but that's probably why we're not editing a Sunday supplement. More interestingly, Ben Thompson railed against the mispronunciation of band names, or at least the placing of stress on the wrong part of the name: although surely this isn't a new phenomenon, is it - Peter Powell was making a career out of it when rock was only 25 years old, surely?

The OMM Top Ten is the worst next big things evah - including space for Menswe@r, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and 21st Century Girls. Even bringing in the best songwriter they could afford couldn't help them, of course.

But, offering up this hostage to fortune, the OMM then goes on to pick the next big things for 2005: Annie (we'd love to think so, but it isn't going to happen); The Mitchell Brothers (who - inevitably - we have to respond to with 'yeravvvinalarfaitncha'); Stephen Fretwell (who's lovely, but not life-changing); Acoustic Ladyland (a pun does not a career make) and Performance, who might just pull it off.

Richard Desmond's confused-about-his-sexuality monthly Attitude (featuring a half-undressed Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, by the way) leaps on The Others - they reckon that Dominic Masters is "everything Brett Anderson teased us with - a bisexual figurehead who's experienced everything." Asked about the big NME interview, Dominic splutters that it's not appropriate to ask about his sexuality in a music magazine - "it's not the predominant fact about me." Although, erm, why does he think that Attitude wanted to interview him at all? It's not all thought through, yet, is it?

Back when hip hop was only fifteen, Richey Manic disappeared, which makes it ten years next week, so this week's NME is a memorial edition, although not he doesn't quite get the same lost voice of a generation treatment that Kurt did a few months back. Which is odd, because in some ways Richey was the greater loss by far: without Kurt, we got The Foo Fighters and Krist Novoselic's political career; without Richey, we got the 2005 model Manics.

U2 attempt to explain that they're not playing Glastonbury because "it's broadcast." Eh? The Edge mutters on that "it just makes life so much more difficult to get it right." Which doesn't make any sense at all - either you play a decent set or you don't, surely? Or do U2 only worry about really doing a decent set when there's the prospect of a sell-through DVD to make some extra cash off?

And, on the day the U2 ticket sales went ankles aloft, there's ominous news that Glastonbury are going to use the same ticket system as went so bad last year because - in what's clearly a week of lame excuses - "the new ticket computer wasn't ready." And, managing expectations down, Michael Eavis warns "that there'll still be problems." Well, yes, if you're running the same system as last year. Oh, and there's going to be "more security" - some sort of photo ID is going to be needed, which seems to be adding an extra layer of room for things to screw up. Still, it'll please the letters writer who suggested that Ebay is "a disease worse than cancer." Although cancer, admittedly, doesn't let you complete your Sarah 7" collection or flog that unwanted cheese fondue set.

Peter Robinson versus up with Taylor from Hanson, a man who by now must be realising he's never going to be able to leave his junior life behind. In fact, asked how the world would have been different if Hanson had never existed, he offers that there'd never have been the 'singer looks like a girl' jokes.

We're impressed with Ian Winwood's coming straight to the point with Roddy Woomble: does anyone, he asks, still care about Idlewild? After a spot of defensiveness, Roddy decides they do.

It's less clear if anyone really cares about John from The Libertines, but his Rosencrantz is rolling anyway: a band called Yeti. Yes, yeti.

The highlight, perhaps, of the Richeyarama is the unearthing of a letter about the Manics from 1997, pointing out that "with Richey went all feeble hopes of purity and guitars and profound grafitti." Ah, that letterwriter knew that the only way to keep a band together was to ensure that you let nothing split the team up. That letterwriter was Pete Doherty. There's also a 1994 interview with Mr. Edwards, but we've got a feeling that it's not quite as "never seen before" as all that.

And, yes, there's another run through of that Lamacq/4Real incident again. The man who did Little Baby Nothing, it seems, will always be remembered most for chopping his arm at the Norwich Arts Centre. Is the NAC still going? They probably have a plaque of some sort.

22-20s - belfast limelight - "too much lounge band, not enough rock & roll"
fighstar - dublin ambassador - "[charlie busted] does this stuff very well"

the others - the others - "still rock and roll band whose hands are worth placing your life in", 8
the beat up - black rays defence - "they don't just make a terrific racket", 7
midnight movies - midnight movies - "somewhere between Lush and My Bloody Valentine", 6

totw - bloc party - so here we are - "we'[ll] still be tipping them in 2006"
trick daddy - lets go - "a hiphop version of The Professionals film"
the*ga*ga*s - sex - "as predicatable as a money shot"

And finally: The Charlatans must have thought they'd got away with avoiding a ribbing following a third of their audience puking their guts up after last May's Aberdeen gig. Then the Guardian health page decides to run a story on winter vomiting disease, and cast about for an easily-illustratable advantage. Within 24 hours, it's all over the web - The Charlatans make you hurl. And they say there's no such thing as bad publicity.

WHY MUST THEY DO THIS TO US? WHY?: If someone finds themselves down Horseferry Road in the next couple of days, could they do us a favour and just pop their head round Channel 4's front door and scream "Nooooooo." Everyone has a soft spot for Bez, of course, and that was shown by his Celebrity Big Brother win. But try and turn Bez into the new Ozzy Osbourne with a witless "reality" show and he'll burn through that feeling of goodwill faster than Shaun Ryder going through the doves. The kindest thing would be leaving him alone to enjoy his rather long dotage; further shows would be little more than exhibiting a half-wit for the public's amusement.

Oh, and while you're there, if you also get a chance to fill Jimmy Carr's pockets with birdseed and take him down the vulture display at the zoo, we'd appreciate that, too.

THANK YOU, EVERYBODY: Many thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for us in the Best of Blog (BoB) Awards 2004; we managed a creditable third in the music category, behind 3Hive and Dogmatic. We think we can hold our heads up.

TURBULENCE: Aw, the poor boys from Keane aren't enjoying their first US tour because they're great big wussy drawers when it comes to flying. Tom says:

"I used to be really blase about it, but the other two were cautious fliers. But, as time's gone on I've really becoming a nervous wreck - I cling on to the side of my chair when we take off. Unless I'm drunk or asleep, which sometimes happens."

So, he finds it a lot less scary being on a plane if he's half asleep, then. Presumably he also has a fear of recording studios, which would explain the enegry levels he brings to his vocals.

ATTENTION STALKERS: Exciting news for those amongst you who are a bit stalkery but can't be arsed doing all the leg work - Epic Records and Access Hollywood are short-circuiting the process by offering you the chance to meet Jennifer Lopez. The competition couldn't be simpler - it asks you what your name is and where you live, and how difficult can those questions be? It doesn't go into too much detail about what the "meeting" will involve, but on her past history you've got to be at least in with a shout of getting a six-month marriage out of it, right?

THE NO-CHANCE-OF-A-WEDDING PRESENT: We're not sure if we were Emma 'I find women attractive but I'm not a lesbian' Bunton, we'd be quite to quick to tell people that Mel B bought us a vibrator. After all, when we got our Dad a new vacuum cleaner for Christmas it was because we knew his carpet would never get swept otherwise, so it's not like Mel B's gift wasn't more than a little bitchy.

Emma was being interviewed by Howard Stern, and you might find this hard to believe, but it was like Stern couldn't care less about her music:

Stern, who appeared more interested in finding out about Emma's sex life than the recording of Free Me, told the DJ she thought he was attractive, but wouldn't sleep with him. (sic, by the way, we think Ananova got so twitterpated with the thought of Emma Bunton's Battery Buffer that they weren't paying proper attention to what they were writing).

FOX EXEC MAKES MISTAKE, SPEAKS UNPALATABLE TRUTH: Last week we had Sony admitting, kinda, that it had really dropped the hairies with its avoidance of mp3 players; today, it's the turn of Fox Movies to suddenly admit there's been some crappiness going on. It's not the first time you'll hear someone criticising the music used on movies, but it's surely the first time President of Fox Music has criticised his colleagues in 20th Century Fox (and elsewhere) for 'crow-barring' songs onto soundtracks purely to flog the albums. Robert Kraft was speaking at MIDEM:

"After the success of 'Titanic,' soundtrack albums were made for every film, and songs were crow-barred into films. Soundtracks were bogus. Songs are often just marketing vehicles, and the music gets forgotten. The music must serve the film."

It might have taken him eight years to notice, but at least he's noticed. You think he might have spotted the trend before, perhaps by looking at his company's own website, which offers the crowbarred clutter of the likes of the Daredevil album (mmm, Hobbastank, Moby and Rob Zombie) and the "soundtrack" to The Simple Life 2, which we're sure didn't need any extra forcing to include Atomic Kitten and Kylie Minogue into the mix.

GOTTI GOT BY THE COPS?: Non-attributable sources have been hinting wildly that at some time today Irv 'Gotti' Lorenzo is to be indicted on charges relating to conspiracy to murder and money laundering. The sources apparently refused to say any more on the grounds that it's all still a secret, and, ooh, we've said too much already, and they made the Associated Press swear on their mother's lives not to tell another living soul about it. We're looking forward to Universal's official statement on the goings-on at Murder Inc. We're sure they're busily preparing it right now.

SHE ASKED FOR THREE THEFTS OF ROSE GARDENS TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT: It's not a happy time for Lynn Anderson right now - before Christmas she was caught drink-driving; now she's been accused of stealing a Harry Potter DVD from Smiths Food & Drug, Taos. It's also alleged she twatted a cop as she was being put in the police car.

We imagine it's all a big mix-up. Those RIAA ads did, after all, suggest that pinching DVDs and CDs was no worse than downloading music off the internet, didn't they... wasn't that condoning a spot of pickery-up?

WHILE THE CAT'S AWAY...: With Bono off in Davos licking the soft, gentle hands of the mega-rich, there's been trouble back at the office. U2 have happily been pocketing cash from their fans for ages for membership of, which offers very little in return for the forty quid fee, except a promise of exclusive first access to U2 tour tickets. Eighty US Dollars might seem a bit steep for little more than a chance to buy something else - like paying to join Sainsburys - but, presumably, the large fee at least shuttles you to the front of the queue and allows you to quickly and cleanly get your U2 tix, right?

Not right. As reports, The sale of tickets descended through screw-up to farce and then major, multiple ballsing:

One hour and 15 minutes of the online version of being put ‘on hold’

… then being told we ‘did not come via the right URL’

… then: sorry, page cannot be found

… then that our ‘code is invalid or already been used’

A glance at the U2 Holland mailing list at Yahoo tells us none of its members has been able to get tickets and only one member of the U2 Flanders mailing list has

Glastonbury were rightly flayed alive when their ticketing system hadn't been properly tested and crunched last summer, but at least they'd not had the cheek to charge people forty quid for the privilege of a system that couldn't cope. It's impossible to know how many people had paid their fee for the service, but since very little of it seems to have gone into the providing the infrastructure to make good the service people were expecting, it looks like U2 have pulled in a handsome profit.

Meanwhile in Davos, Bono leans forward as the ticket arrives - "Don't worry, Mr. Gates, I'll get this... I just got a really good deal on my credit card sales..."

The people who had managed to get tickets aren't entirely happy, either:

I was lucky enough to get through and purchase 2 seating tickets for Glasgow. Which was good.


Total price - £190.

"In fact, Bill, why don't we get another bottle of the vintage champagne... and some truffles..."

Most curious of all, while the ticket crisis was happening, the message board service over at U2's website was taken offline for "maintainence"

There's much more on the debacle over on the Interference message boards, including details of people who almost got decent seats only for the service to die on them, and then, when they logged in again, they found that they were being offered scalp-high costs for views where they'd even have trouble making out Bono's ego.

Part of the problem seems to have been caused by the use of some secret code business, intended to stop fans only tickets turning up on Ebay.

That worked, then.

BUMSNOGGER DO THEIR BIT: We know what you were thinking during the tsunami benefit at Cardiff: How come Bumsnogger hadn't turned up to help? Well, they're putting right their non-appearance by playing a keypart in Nottingham's a drop in the ocean benefit gig this Saturday. (Not too sure about the name there.) There's twenty venues taking part in the gig, including the mighty Rock City and Bluu. Besides Bumsnogger, amongst those taking part are Bent, six by seven, 22-20s and Sarah Bard's Little Brown Bag.

BONO'S FRIENDS: Not, of course, that we'd want to suggest that he's no more on our side than Bill Gates or Jacques Chirac, but it's still a little odd seeing Bono - and also Peter Gabriel - burning through the tax dollars at Davos. He really likes hanging out with the rich and powerful, doesn't he?

ALL THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW'S PARTIES: With the Slint event not yet started, much less finished, work is already getting underway on the April All Tomorrows Parties event - this one, curated by Vincent Gallo, is for Camber Sands on April 22nd - 25th. The first bands to sign up are:

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Olivia Tremor Control (original line up) - James Chance and The Contortions (original line up) - Prefuse 73 - Buck 65 - Lydia Lunch - Jayne County - The Magik Markers - Afri Rampo - Women and Children -The Tints

THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS: There's something very sweet about Norwegian death metallers Gorgoroth - they've just come to an amicable split with their label Season of Mist, but even so they're happy for SOM to continue with their process of re-releasing Satan worshipping, Christ baiting back catalogue which comes complete, bless, with a free guitar pick. Plans are well advanced for Beelzebub to join the band on a series of in-store appearances at Woolworths, we believe.

THAT'S SPRING RUINED: Good news if you've turned into your dad at some point in the last few years, as there's been a statement warning of a new Santana album. The document from the gurning guitarist fundamentalist, which the CIA has confirmed is genuine reads:

"Since the spring of 2004, Santana has been in the studio working on a new album, due out in spring of 2005. The album has some amazing Santana Band songs and some tight collaborations with guest artists that you will surely hear on your favorite radio stations this summer. After a holiday break, Carlos and members of the Band are back in the studio putting the finishing touches on the album. At this time, Carlos is also overseeing all aspects of the albums artwork".

The State Department has raised the terror alert for dinner parties and half-empty pubs in Camden during the afternoons to Red.

THE LAMEST CELEB WARDROBE YET: Considering all celebrity designers have to do is mutter "maybe pink or with a sheep on it" at the start of the design process, and then sign off the whole thing at the end, Fat Joe's cap for 59Fifty is a new low in musician-turned-clothing brand.

A cap. It's not even especially interestingly designed, despite attempts to try and talk it up:

Fat Joe's New Era 59FIFTY is a black faux suede cap that touts Joe's Terror Squad logo, "TS," on the front panel emblazoned in orange and blue on the front panel; in lieu of its New York Knicks theme.

We don't think they mean "in lieu of" at all. Joe, meanwhile, is excited beyond belief:

"I have been rocking New Era fitteds for as long as I can remember, so it was just right that we came together to work on my own design for a 59FIFTY fitted. For me it is about representing for Terror Squad, Pun, Steph and for New York of course! Once all that was taken care of, and it was stylish, it was all good."

It's a cap, Joe. Couldn't you at least have got them to do some sweat pants or something? Or a bib?

REM FOR THE SOLENT FERRY: The Isle of Wight festival is a curious bugger, isn't it? We bet if you were asked to name all the regular British festivals it'd be the one you'd be most likely to forget, but it's still plugging away, and coming around again: rumours are that the new Revolting Cocks-powered REM will be headlining this year, apparently on June 12th.

MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE: No, it's not about Pete Doherty and Kate Moss, but the band My Chemical Romance who would like you to ink the following dates into your diary:

April 6th - Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
7th - Glasgow QMU
8th - Manchester Academy
9th - London Astoria

THEY'RE STILL THE WORLD: Who knew there was a prospect more terrible than the re-recording of USA For Africa's We Are The World? But there is: The re-release of the original. Interestingly, while they're excited about who is on it:

The track, recorded by USA For Africa, featured over 40 superstars, including Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

... there's one chap whose contribution appears to be played down in the publicity:


The money the historical exercise rakes in will go towards AIDS relief and the tsunami appeal - although since the cash is being collected under the USA For Africa banner, presumably only for those affected by the wave in Somalia.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

MAX CLIFFORD IN ACTION: There's much more to Max Clifford than hawking women with multiple-foetus pregnancies round the tabloids and never-ending self-promotion, you know. The bread-and-butter work of Max Clifford Associates is waiting for a relatively topical hook on which to bounce out a dull-ish press release in the hope it'll be picked up and mistaken for news. Take for example the news that Kate Moss has had PD tattooed on her somewhere - a light goes on at MCA, and out pops a press release for clients Laserase saying 'ooh, she'll be needing that removed by a company like us. They might not be totally wrong - it wouldn't be the first time Kate came to rue altering her body by having a needle inserted under the skin - but it shows that they understand Kate rather less well than they do the demands of the modern journalist. If Kate splits with Pete Doherty, she'll merely seek out someone else with the initials PD to keep the tattoo up to date. Former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan is rumoured to going into hiding later tonight.

I'M DANCING WITH THE MAN IN THE MIRROR: A sign of impending bonkerybreakdownage from Justin Timberlake, who now has two assistants carry a giant mirror everywhere he goes to hide him from prying eyes.

It's unclear if he'll be using this giant mirror when he launches his giant wooden plane.

A SENSE OF PROPORTION: Nice to see that when Madonna was asked to appear on TV to try and help the millions affected by the tsunami, she didn't hesitate for a moment, and dipped straight into her own pocket as deep as she could - to, erm, ensure that the lighting on the TV wouldn't show her wrinkly old skin. Presumably she fears that if people could see her true appearance, they might start to wonder if the Kabbalah water is little more than ordinary water with a really high price tag on it.

MURPHY'S FOUR: Four records in a row to kick-start Roisin Murphy's solo career.

That's three limited edition EPs - one every six weeks - up until the album, which is due in May. If you buy all the EPs, you'll actually have all the tracks, but only on vinyl. We can't work out if this shrewd marketing or just happy shooting in own feet; we won't find out until the record comes out...

DEBBIE GIBSON FOLLOWS IN TIFFANY'S MISSING SHOES AGAIN: Debbie Gibson - or Deborah, as she likes to be thought of nowadays - is hitting the comeback trail the only way she knows how. Back when we were all a lot younger, she'd tease us with a glimpse of naked knee through her jeans. Now we're all a lot more grown up, she's going to show us the rest with a Playboy spread. It all makes sense, of course, because she's promoting a single called Naked - presumably, had she recorded a single called Violate Me With A Ornamental Marrow, the photoshoot would have appeared in Hustler.

Not all her fans are as thrilled as you might expect, as the early slew of posts to the Debbie Gibson Usenet group are rather alarmed at the prospect (although we suspect some regular posters to the group would have been thrilled by the news that they'll finally get to see if the pictures they made with Photoshop, the Out of the Blue album cover and a few back issues of Readers' Wives were as accurate as they hoped; it's just they might have found getting to a computer that bit more tricky under the circumstances). For example Darius Z is very grumpy indeed:

So Deborah is going to do Playboy... why am I no longer suprised. Deborah, you've signed the death nail to your own career, you will never be taken seriously again. Your words you've used in the past against artists who are so "sexual" and how you said that you should keep the imagination (so no pose in porno mags) will come back to haunt you.

We're very keen to watch someone signing the death nail to their own career, which isn't so much a mixed metaphor as a metaphor wedged into a smoothie maker set on its highest level, of course, but there's a lot of truth in what Darius has to say. Already, there's talk that such frothy business as topless posing could really harm Gibson's chances of winning the Shortlist Music Prize next year.

THE BACK CATALOGUE IN THE FOREGROUND: We don't want to be cynical, but the bidding war that we're hearing about for Oasis right now - fifteen million for a three-album deal? - sounds like figures made up by a beaten-out group desperately trying to barge the price up.

REQUIEM FOR LARGELY IGNORED YOUTHS: There's a nice piece over on Drowned In Sound at the moment marking, with the demise of Ikara Colt and McClusky, the end of the Scene With No Name.

WE'RE SURE THERE WILL BE HUGE DEMAND: Incredibly, Victoria Beckham has decided to become a songwriter. For other people.

"I would like to have my songs played on the radio, but if they are not being sung by me, at least this way I am still involved."

Do you want to tell her, or shall I?

WHAT HAPPENED TO DOT?: A working definition of 'misery attracts misery', then: Pete Doherty is Kate Moss' current beau. In one of the oddest friend's comments of all time:

A friend added: "Pete is in love and determined to clean up his act."

Yeah, because there's no way you could be on drugs and in Kate Moss' life, is there?

Pete, of course, is very touching about his position as the 79th rock star to date Kate this year:

"I've really found love with Kate. I think it will last. She's good for me because she's got a beautiful soul and I think I can trust her. I believe her when she says she love me and I know I mean it when I say I love her."

AND TONIGHT I'M ON THE TRAIN: Although the article is rather upbeat about the way he makes his living these days, we can't help feeling it's a terrible, terrible waste and an enormous comedown for Thomas Dolby to be writing telephone ringtones.

STIPEY STOLE MY STICKSMAN: After nearly eight years without a proper drummer since Bill Berry went off to build a giant replica of a garden in his back garden, REM has appointed a full-time replacement. It's Bill Reifin, who was drummer with both Ministry and Revolting Cocks - not quite as surprising a step as it would have been if he'd not played on Around The Sun, perhaps, but still quite a leap from the Cocks drumstool to the riser at the back of the international stadium stage.

ALL NEXT MONTH'S PARTIES: The line-up for Slint's crack at All Tomorrow's Parties is starting to firm up a little more - this is what you can do while the wind whips off the channel and freezes your testicles down at Camber Sands on February 25th-27th:

The Melvins - Deerhoof - Bad Wizard - White Magic - Slint - Mogwai - Matmos - Love as Laughter - Need New Body - Miighty Flashlight - Faun Fables - Spoon - Mum - Brightblack - Born Heller - Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters) - Neil Hamburger - King Kong - The Naysayer - Endless Boogie - Pearls and Brass - Rednails - Sean Garrison - Earlyman

Tickets at 120 quids still available, but don't forget that includes a proper building to sleep in.

NEW ADVENTURES WITH HI-FI: If you're in London on the 12th of February, you could do a lot worse than slap yourself on a tube and get over to the Notting Hill Arts Club. Rota are hosting an I Love Invicta Hi-Fi evening, with Pop Levi and the Emergencies, Snap Ant, the lovely eyes of Esa and Danny and Reuben from Ladytron doing things with records and turntables. Best of all, like a kind word from a pretty stranger or a poorly-guarded pie on a windowsill, the whole thing is free.

ODDLY, NOT THE 'MID-LIFE CRISIS' TOUR: If we'd been thinking of going to see Sting - okay, that's an unlikely opening, isn't it? But imagine we had - we'd be hiding our tickets as news of what he's planning for Sting Tour 05 comes in.

First of all, he's "ditched his large back-up band" because this, oh yes, is to be a "no frills rock n roll tour" (he's lived abroad so long, he probably won't realise the Kwik Save cheapo implication that now clings to the phrase 'No Frills'. Best of all, the tour is called The Broken Music Tour, named after his self-serving sobobiography. Seriously, we'd be making other plans:

"I was ready for a change," Sting, 53, told Reuters in response to questions submitted by e-mail. "The idea of going out and playing guitar-driven music coupled with performing at colleges, something I haven't done since the Police days, was extremely exciting... Certainly there will be songs that are guitar-drivenIt will be pretty raw and stripped down, different from anything I've done in a long, long time..."

In other words: He's sick of doing stuff nobody really cares about and wants to see if he can go back to when he was actually liked.

THERE'S POOR JUDGEMENT, AND THEN...: We're still not entirely sure how anyone at New York's Hot 97 could have thought a jolly song about the tsunami was worth broadacasting, much less acceptable:

The piece used racial slurs to describe people swept away in the disaster, made jokes about child slavery and people watching their mothers die. "You can hear God laughing, 'Swim you bitches, swim,"' was one line in the song.

You might wonder what senior management were doing while the song was broadcast. In the case of Hot 97's programme director, Tarsha Nicole Jones, she was actually presenting the show. Presumably she judged that once the death toll passed the quarter million mark, it became fair game for a bit of a snicker.

Monday, January 24, 2005

CLUNKY HANDOVER, DEAD AIR: It's good to hear that the BBC is showing even more commitment to its Radio Player, although a lot of the updates to the system merely allows listeners to use the player like the normal real audio player, and most committed BBC Radio fans online have long since been harvesting the stream address and pasting it into their player anyway. But we're a little surprised that in order to manage the handover, it's taken the service offline for 24 hours.

Still, a lot of the programmes which up until now haven't been archived will be (including, unfortunately, Vernon Kay) so it should prove to be worth it in the end.

In other BBC archive pleasure - as part of the Newsnight 25th anniversary celebrations, you can enjoy once again Mark E Smith on the Peel memorial programme. Remember: his Mum thought he was "very self-assured."

IF CURTIS HAD LIVED...: We're sure that the new New Order is going to be an interesting record at the very least, but it's funny to see the only band who can truthfully claim to be heirs to Joy Division's crown jostling for position in the Waiting For The Sirens Call press release:

Noone else is so spiky, so startling, innovative and inspirational; noone else makes pop music for clever people that hits the heart as well as the head. In 2005, when every other up-and-coming band cites Joy Division and New Order as inspirations, it’s fantastic to have the real deal back – and on such blistering form.

To be honest, Order, hardly any band cites New Order as an inspiration, it's always Joy Division - this is like pretending the forthcoming Ian Curtis biopic is The Life of Hooky as well. And to be even more honest, the current New Order aren't the same sallow Mancunian youths, even allowing for the loss of Gillian on this album, as the glimpses into the tracks demonstrates quite clearly:

I Told You So (New Order)

Bernard: “I was on holiday on my boat in the Caribbean, tuning in a shortwave radio into all these mad stations...

And with all these bands pretending to be Joy Division, who are New Order citing as influencing this album?

"It reminds me of Primal Scream, the sentiment and the rocky Stones-y vibe"

In other words: Rocks/Give Out But Don't Give Up era Primal Scream; making New Order a band cloning a band following their own creative blind-alley behind a band at their worst. So, pop didn't eat itself; it just hung around waiting for itself in the dark before smashing an old wine bottle over its own head.

Still, the press release suggests it isn't all as horrific as that...

IF CURTIS HAD LIVED...: We're sure that the new New Order is going to be an interesting record at the very least, but it's funny to see the only band who can truthfully claim to be heirs to Joy Division's crown jostling for position in the Waiting For The Sirens Call press release:

Noone else is so spiky, so startling, innovative and inspirational; noone else makes pop music for clever people that hits the heart as well as the head. In 2005, when every other up-and-coming band cites Joy Division and New Order as inspirations, it’s fantastic to have the real deal back – and on such blistering form.

To be honest, Order, hardly any band cites New Order as an inspiration, it's always Joy Division - this is like pretending the forthcoming Ian Curtis biopic is The Life of Hooky as well. And to be even more honest, the current New Order aren't the same sallow Mancunian youths, even allowing for the loss of Gillian on this album, as the glimpses into the tracks demonstrates quite clearly:

I Told You So (New Order)

Bernard: “I was on holiday on my boat in the Caribbean, tuning in a shortwave radio into all these mad stations...

And with all these bands pretending to be Joy Division, who are New Order citing as influencing this album?

"It reminds me of Primal Scream, the sentiment and the rocky Stones-y vibe"

In other words: Rocks/Give Out But Don't Give Up era Primal Scream; making New Order a band cloning a band following their own creative blind-alley behind a band at their worst. So, pop didn't eat itself; it just hung around waiting for itself in the dark before smashing an old wine bottle over its own head.

Still, the press release suggests it isn't all as horrific as that...

CASH SCOOPS VIDEO LIST: We're so surprised that Johnny Cash's almost unwatchably brittle Hurt has come top of 3's best video poll that we're almost not bothered enough to throw slippers and shoes at the rubbish premise for the list in the first place. It's meant to celebrate music video history, yet because they're 3, they had to work the number three in somehow, so its marking "over three decades" of music videos - which is both arbitary (why not 'over three hundred thousand videos made', say, or 'more than 3,333,333 hours of music videos shot') and wrong. Or at least, accurate but misleading, since this year is probably the 75th anniversary of the pop video, if you measure from Bessie Smith's Saint Louis Blues; or over sixty years, if you start from the Soundies produced for the visual jukeboxes in the 1940s.

CHOICES, CHOICES: Ah, how truly are we spoiled in this country, with The Stereophonics planning a series of "secret" gigs this week - follow the sound of the wailing cats - and Alanis Morissette issuing fair warning of gigs in London and Manchester. So many great reasons for going to bed early with a cup of cheese and a book.

WHEN I'M SIXTY-FOUR... THIS YEAR: He's been thinking about retirement, apparently, but Ringo Starr has decided he's going to keep drumming. All the while he can just about hold the drumsticks and knock out something resembling a rhythm, he'll carry on. After all, it's a style that's served him well for forty years, so why change now?

This joke, Ringo Is A Poor Drummer, is on temporary loan from the Rock and Roll Jokes Hall of Fame. It is believed to be somewhere in the region of 300 years old.

GREAT HEADLINES OF OUR TIME. A BRIEF SERIES: Britney Takes Her Mind Off Getting Pregnant - yes, if we were trying to do it with Kevin, too, we'd find ways of trying to take our mind off that too - perhaps by closing our eyes and pretending he was Justin, or maybe just staring really hard at the ceiling until Kev had managed to keep his end of the deal up.

MY DRUG HELL: While we're fascinated that Lee Ryan once took so much cocaine he thought he was going to die - how much would that be, exactly, Lee, we're kind of puzzled that he's going public about it in a bid to warn The Young Peoples off the drugsmackcrack bandwagon. Ryan warns:

"I've seen what cocaine can do to people and it is bad. My message to young fans is 'Don't take drugs, it can ruin your life'."

Some of The Young People consider Ryan's warning

But Lee has said he took a portion of cocaine when he was fifteen and his life is somewhat sweet: a steady job, a modicum of fame, access to groupies of all shapes and sizes - all achieved with the minimum of brain power and on a wafer-thin talent ('looks good in jeans'). How, exactly, did snorkling drugs ruin your life, Lee?

Having said which, there is a clear signalling of the danger of the overblown ego which coke abuse can give you:

"I realise I am a role model for young people..."

Another snort and he'd have been the King of Fuckin' Rock, too, La.

MEETING OF MINDS: There's something pleasing about the potential transfer of Andrew Lloyd Webber's theatre holdings to P Diddy, representing a transfer of assets from a man who has mainly thrived by coasting his repetitious ideas off the back of more talented collaborators, with a reputation for the trophy girlfriend and a love of tacky ornamentation and populist drivel to... well, another.

WHEN PRESS OFFICES HAVE NOTHING TO RELEASE: Remember a couple of years back when Oasis were so thrilled that someone had heard of them in America they rushed out a press release trumpeting how they were being featured on the soundtrack of a programme? Birds of Prey, it was. Nope, we never did, either. Well now, they're reduced to bothering newsoutlets with "stories" that their songs are being covered by clodhopping acts on The OC. If things get any grimmer in the Gallagher camp, it'll be "Copy of Be Here Now sold in South Dakota" bulletins soon.

BAD NEWS FOR THE KABBALAH CENTRE: Although the comfort of a high-profile endorsement from Madonna may help the KC push their standard Canadian springwater and red string, they should be aware of what happened to one of Maddy's previous fads: the chiuahuas she grew tired of ended up beaten and abandoned at a California Animal Rescue (not, we should stress, beaten by Madonna). Let's hope she realises a cult is for the afterlife, not just for not doing Christmas.

THE WRITMAN AND HER: There's trouble brewing for Pete Waterman: His PAL productions is being sued by Kylie Minogue. Kylie claims that Waterman's Australian company has paid her short on royalties from her 1992 Greatest Hits compilations. Kylie sent in auditors who discovered a AUS$830,000 shortfall; a payment by PAL of half a million has left her still hungry for costs, damages, interest and some money for something fluffy for herself, so they're all heading courtwards.

AFTER THE WELSH, IT'S THE TURN OF THE SCOTTISH: Another Home Nation, another Tsunami benefit. Although they've set a target of a quarter of a million, which is more modest than the Welsh effort, the Scotland gig has a far better line-up: Franz Ferdinand, Belle & Sebastian, Mull Historical Society, Mogwai, Idlewild, Teenage Fanclub and Trash Can Sinatras. Okay, there's also Deacon Blue, Travis and Texas, but that'll give you a chance to pop out for lollies and a drink. February 19th at the Glasgow SECC, and now Northern Ireland, England: we're waiting.

BIGGER BLOC: Bloc Party, the band who'll save us all, have added an extra couple of dates to their April tour... and, even more excitingly, are going to be on CD:UK on the 29th.

Them tour dates would be:

April 13 London Astoria; 14 London Astoria; 15 Glasgow Barrowlands; 17 Manchester Academy

Sunday, January 23, 2005

GOODIES!: Like a spark of joy unspotted by the midweek listings, Ciara has bounced over the Chemical Brothers to rescue us from Elvis hell. Oh yes, her Goodies has crashed up into the number one slot, depriving dead Elvis from the third number one of his planned five-month stranglehold on the UK charts. We'd guess the sudden change of fortunes from Wednesday would be down to Elvis fans being the sort to rush out on day of release to get their single to go into the singles box as soon as possible, while other records can benefit from time for people to get used to hearing them on Heart across the week. In other words, by midweeks, Elvis has shot his load, and has nothing in revserve.

Meanwhile, Simon Tyers writes with the following observation based on chart figures:

In light of everything that's been said about how downloads need adding to the singles chart to stop its perceived decline, I was interested to see BPI figures released last week about the popularity of downloads. While numbers of download sales have indeed overtaken single sales, with up to 60,000 songs to register every week the best-selling download track of 2004, Vertigo, sold a total of 40,000 in fourteen weeks to the end of the year (nine weeks at number one), about twice the amount numbers two and three sold together. The total top 20 made up about 10% of the total market (the equivalent for the singles chart takes up about half). No wonder BMG are so smug about Elvis' pre-eminence.

TSUNAMI GIG REACTIONS: Obviously, the headline figure - £1,248,963 for the tsunami appeal - is the main thing, and you can't really quibble about the sound so many quids hitting the charity bucket, even if the spectacle itself will live forever in the collective memory as things we wish we'd never seen. As Soundgenerator reported it,Eric Clapton and Jools Holland were joined by many of the day's acts for a collaborative rendition of 'Shake, Rattle and Roll'. Truly, you have not enjoyed yourself until you've seen the Goldie Lookin' Chain peering out from a crowd of the boogie-woogieng superannuated. Or, indeed, the shots of GLC rehearsing that cropped up on Breakfast 24 of the Rap Wurzels going through their motions in their daywear of Peacocks sweaters and jeans.

BBC News Online found the organisers in buoyant mood after a succesful day: Organiser Paul Sergeant, the stadium's general manager, said the evening had been "phenomenal". He said: "The crowd have left singing. Everything has gone - for the whole three weeks - so smoothly. We have shown that this is Wales, we are capable of delivering . If the opportunity came round we would do something again." Yes, let's hope that the Millennium team don't have to wait too long for another quarter of a million deaths for their next opportunity, shall we?

We were also taken with the caption BBC News provided for this picture of Brian McFadden:

Brian McFadden, who has only recently launched a solo career, came on after Aled Jones - it's not recorded how Aled responded to this coming on.

Worldwide, it was Eric Clapton who was the main attraction - The Associated Press coverage was hung off old' Creamyhands shoulder, despite the competing demands of Lulu and Lemar.

It wasn't all best faces for the day, though, Digitalspy reports the Sunday Mirror's coverage of the negative reactions: The crowds reacted badly to Eric Clapton, Craig David, and the Manic Street Preachers, according to the newspaper. As Charlotte Church was about to be brought on-stage, she received a similar treatment, prompting presenter Edith Bowman to plead, "Come on, she's Welsh. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were also in the crowd's bad books - by allowing their feud to continue and sending separate messages of support." - although, to be honest, we're not sure how the Mirror feels able to tell the difference between standard booing for politicians and booing over specific reasons. Maybe the crowd chants of "Goodness, Gordon, this isn't the time to be scoring points over the ongoing fall-out of the Granita dinner agreement" were faded down by the BBC.

Actually, the Mirror seems to have got it slightly wrong - Jessica of All Hail Commodore Powee - who should know, cause they were they, records Tony Blair sent a video message and got booed. Serve him right, the useless goit. Gordon Brown didn't, though, but then again he wasn't only spouting the usual "OMG SO SAD MUST ALL STICK TOGETHER VOTE FOR ME KTHXBAI" nonsense Blair was. Hurrah; obviously everyone hates Blair. Mind you, Jessica also claims that the pianist from Keane plays piano like he's having sex. One-handed?

Still with the blog reaction, Charlotte Church failed to delight A Little 2 Frank: i thought she was awful...there was a particularly cringe-worthy moment half way through where she told the audience to 'clap, clap, clap'...oh've either got stage-craft to pull something like that off, or you havent...she...didnt!.... and managed to separate out very-wrong-thoughts about Kelly Jones from his dull performance: he was looking the hottest he's looked for a long time coz he's cut off his hair etc..his voice sounded great, but he took everything so Local Boy I was watching the flippin 'clock going back'...he had all this lyrics out as well on a stand...i think Kell's losing his way...must've been hard for him with the band splitting etc, but it seems he's turned to something that was certainly taking him well out of this planet....shame Kell....he's better than that...still...he's a demi-God and i'm sure he'll come round and find a better way to face his hot, so hot!

Mark My Words spent the whole day watching on S4C, and entertainingly details the events, from Craig David's Jamie Oliver lookalike guitarist, through Snow Patrol's sound problems and past Heather Small. Apparently there's a massive gap before the Manics come on during which we are treated to comperes Alex Zane (of MTV movie reviews fame) and Fearne Cotton (of children's television fame) struggling to entertain the crowd with some unscripted 'I can't hear you' crap during the delay.

Oddly, the Manics play before Heather Small, Feeder, Lulu and Liberty X, which would normally lead you to assume that the order had been decided by drawing lots. Maybe Nicky wanted to make sure he caught a train home before the engineering work kicked in? Heather Small had been on Breakfast 24 in the morning saying that she felt it was "a duty" for her to be there, although I'm not sure there's a music lover alive who would have worried had she been excused that duty.

The one thing we can be thankfull for, I guess, is that neither of the big charity singles so far (Tears In Heaven nor Grief Never Dies) were used for the big singalong at the end. Even if it did mean that the end to what everyone is calling "the biggest benefit gig since Live Aid" (although we'd have thought the Mandela gig would have claimed that title) seemed more like last orders at a Dock Road pub on a Saturday.

It raised lots of money, but more can never hurt: DEC will gladly accept funds.

TREADING ON JOURNEY STARTS WITH A SINGLE STEP: The feeling that the Walk of Fame in Hollywood is starting to run low on people to grant the special star-shaped paving slabs to can only gorw with Journey unveiling their square foot of pavement.

"Who could have imagined, so many years later, a star on the Walk of Fame"

The Associated Press report is a bit vague on who actually said that - it's written in a way that impplies is Steve Augeri who expressed the sense of wonder, but surely someone who joined the band in the mid-90s wouldn't be quite so amazed, would they?

Rather sweetly, Steve Perry - the original singer - turned up, even though he hadn't been invited ("wasn't scheduled to appear" as the event organisers described the snub), and snorted over the whole thing:

"No one ever mentions the unsung heroes, the road crew who ... made us look good."

Wouldn't worry, Steve: the way they're starting to cast around to find new people to add to the walk, they'll be adding roadies and sound engineers by the end of next year.

There's a couple of interesting things about the event photo - Augeri is dressed all in white, while Perry is dressed all in black (the Brothers Grimm couldn't have orchestrated that one better) and, although they weren't expecting him, they still had a framed star thing to give to Perry. Do you suppose they produce them for all the ex-members of bands just in case they turn up? We'd like to see the lorry lugging framed certificates if The Fall ever gets one.

THE AMERICAN DILEMMA: DYLAN VERSUS ROTH: The shortlist for the American National Book Critics Circle prize is going to cause some difficult decisions for people of a certain age, as it pitches Bob Dylan against Philip Roth. Chronicles, Volume 1 is taking on The Plot Against America, and by pitching the Thinking Midlife's musical hero against the Thinking Midlife's literary hero, the NBCC have almost created a "can a man swim faster than a shark" or "could Hercules defeat Darth Vader" cross-category battle. All the other competitors seem to be convinced that Dylan's going to romp home:

"Who can possibly compete with Bob Dylan?" fellow finalist Ron Chernow said with a laugh. "But the reviews have been so uniformly interesting I'm not surprised."

"I'm of Dylan's generation, so it's a thrill for me," said nonfiction nominee Stephen Greenblatt, a leading Shakespeare scholar who at age 61 is two years younger than Dylan. "I had never thought I would be competing for an award with him."

Philip Roth was last seen drunk and snarling in the middle of the city shouting "C'mon Zimmerman, if you're so hard... I'm gonna make a freakin' rock album... see you at the Grammys, Bob..." before being lead home by Tom Wolfe. Wolfe was carrying a big bag of copies of I Am Charlotte Simmons with their covers torn off put an arm round Roth saying "we're all a little disappointed, Phil..."

ISN'T THAT WHAT THE PROSECUTION IS MEANT TO DO: We're not sure what Jacko is hoping his defence team will do for him, but we hope he's not putting all his faith in them as they don't really seem to have very much idea how a trial works. They're now objecting to the plans by the prosecution to call a child abuse expert on the grounds that if they explain the way abused kids sometimes "demonstrate affection or even love for the person who does the offence" that might bolster the accuser's credibility. In other words, they're objecting to an expert witness filling in the background to the case. Next it'll be "ooh, sir, that witness implies Michael is lying." It's not the behaviour of a confident defence team.