Saturday, March 05, 2005

THE GAP BETWEEN HEADLINE AND STORY: So Britney Spears to quit pop for motherhood screams the headline, although, actually, what she said was she won't be pop star and a mother, which is slightly different - 'person considers putting career on hold at some point in the future' isn't quite as eye-catching, of course.

GOOD GOD, THEY MUST NEED CORSETS: It's nothing but yucks all the way down when you know Avril Lavigne - just look at her wacky April Fool's Day pranks:

"I always get everybody good on April Fools'," the singer told MTV Europe. "Last April I called up my mum and told her I was pregnant." She also called her manager and told him she had been in a terrible accident and was in the emergency room with a broken nose and black eyes.

Yeah, they must have been killing themselves. Lucky her manager realised she was joking before he blurted "that's okay, we've got you booked in to have your tits done in a couple of weeks, we can get 'em to give you Jennifer Aniston's nose at the same time."

A QUICK LOOK AT THIS MORNING'S FRONT PAGES: And both the papers owned by bonkers hyper-rich people have chosen to lead on the BPI downloading story:

- of course, it's so hugely unlikely that the Telegraph has any readers. Sorry, I might have missed the end off that sentence - it's so hugely unlikely that the Telegraph has any readers who download music themselves, they've gone for the "parents" angle; but we're a little puzzled by that headline: the BPI story refused to link any person to any of the money they've got out of them, and didn't even state that there were definitely parents paying off on behalf of their kids. And yet the Telegraph seems convinced that the largest payoffs were for children's misdemeanours. Curious.

No doubt if the Daily Star has been secretly briefed, of course: it's just made something up:

UNADULTERATED PILL: In a desperate bid to try and claw back the success she has never quite managed again ("to celebrate ten years since the original release") Alanis Morissette is reworking Jagged Little Pill as an acoustic album.

It's not, of course, the first radical reworking of the album, as five years ago, this happened:

Yes, it's a string quartet version of Jagged Little Pill
. And whereas the new Alanis one keeps her and throws away the instrumentation, we'd suggest you're better off with the one that keeps the music and ditches Alanis.

ECLECTICOBIT: The death has been announced of Pam Bricker, jazz-to-electronica vocalist. Probably best known at our end of the garden for the work she did with Thievery Corporation, Pam had been a familiar face on the Washington music scene for nearly thirty years.

Born in Richmond, Va, she had a musical upbringing - her father, although a scientist by calling was a part-time trombonist; her mother was to remarry, this time to a full-time trombone player. In a childhood scarred by her mother's manic depression, and as a self-described loner, music was a comfort and a solace - and later an inspiration: "The sort of perverse sexuality of that tune [Randy Newman's You Can leave Your hat On], for me as an 18-year-old, that was the cat's meow," she would say later. Overwhelmed wityh a desire to make music for herself, she attended singing classes and played a circuit of coffee houses and hotel lounges across the East Coast, before settling in Washington in 1981 with Gareth Branwyn, who would become her husband. A chance meeting in an oats and roast cafe lead to collaborations with Mary Chapin Carpenter: "We got together a few times to sort of jam and pick and grin, and then she became the world's most famous folk and country crossover artist," said Pam.

Her big break came when she hooked up with swing vocalists Mad Romance. There, she formed a partnership with Rick Harris, producing a number of albums together after the group splintered in 1987.

She also found time to teach jazz at George Washington University (yes, they apparently have a jazz department); her work with Thievery Corporation included a track on this year's Grammy Award winning Garden State soundtrack, Lebanese Blonde.

She was often at odds with the moronic nature of the music industry - at 25, she was told by an executive she was "a little bit too old" to start a recording career; the result was a nervous breakdown and a withdrawal. Happily, she fought her way back and proved him wrong.

During the 90s, she started to move beyond jazz: "I felt an urge to break out of such a straight-laced jazz frame of mind and repertoire. I said: 'Jazz, like crime, doesn't pay. You have to mix it up and modernize it.' "

In the end, though, depression caught up with her again and reports suggest she committed suicide on February 22nd. She is survived by her estranged husband; her father Peter; and her son Blake Maloof.

Friday, March 04, 2005

THESE VIDEOS'LL KEEP THE JURORS QUIET: There's been another day of films for the jurors to watch in the Jackson trial, this time with the prosecution showing the video it claims Jacko forced the accuser and his family into making. Apparently we're all calling him Gavin Arvizo now, like we've known him all our lives. Before, his sister finished giving evidence, saying that jackson was always kissing her brother, and that she saw him sharing wine with Gavin and some other boys.
More case to come.

HOW THE RECORD COMPANY ENSURES ITS ARTISTS GET THEIR DUES: Badly, judging by the number of singers who feel ill will towards their paymasters. Cher and the descendents of Sonny Bono are suing Warners claiming breach of contract. The lawsuit claims that when Warner took over Atlantic, it breached the contracts Sonny and Cher had signed with the smaller label. They're looking to scoop back a quarter of a million bucks.

Of course, not paying royalties is akin to, you know, stealing music off the internet or something.

THEY REALLY DO THINK THEY'RE THE POLICE, DON'T THEY?: Who's that knocking at the door? It's our chums at the BPI, giggling and spraying themselves with champagne as they celebrate pocketing cash from filesharers:

UK record companies’ trade association the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) today announced that 23 UK internet users have agreed to pay thousands of pounds in compensation for distributing music illegally via peer-to-peer networks on the internet.

The BPI said it will also bring 31 new cases against filesharers from across the UK as it steps up its campaign against illegal filesharing. And in a broadening of the campaign the new actions will span eight different filesharing networks. Further cases will follow.

Ooh, don't you love their firm slap of their black leather gloves. They know where you live, they do.

BPI Chairman Peter Jamieson said, “Unauthorised filesharing is against the law. It effectively steals the livelihood of musicians and the record companies who invest in them. We will not hesitate to protect the rights of our members and the artists they represent.”

Do we need to go through the basics of this again? Unauthorised filesharing of some copyright material is against the law, not all unauthorised filesharing, all the time. It would only "effectively" steal the livelihood of a musician if the files shared result in a lost sale; it's equally possible it could generate sales and, thus, actively increase the livelihood of a musician. Record companies, contrary to Mr. Jamieson's assertion, do not actually have livelihoods - but then saying "it harms corporate profitability" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. Record companies do not "represent" artists; that is what agents do - record companies employ artists. But other than that, of course, we're in total agreement with what he says.

BPI General Counsel Geoff Taylor said, “We are determined to find people who illegally distribute music, whichever peer-to-peer network they use, and to make them compensate the artists and labels they are stealing from.

Oddly, there doesn't seem to be anything at all on the rather lengthy news release about how the money from the people they've caught will be passed on to the artists. Shouldn't, say, the Musicians Union be involved in distributing this bounty?

“These settlements show we can and we will enforce the law. No one should be in any doubt that we will continue to do so.”

Actually, you're not there to enforce the law. What you appear to have done is merely used the law. The BPI is not a law enforcement agency; it is not part of the criminal justice system. You're a trade body.

The 23 settlements announced today arise out of the 26 cases announced by the BPI in October 2004. Three cases are still in negotiation and legal action may follow.
The settlements include internet users from all over the UK – 17 men and six women. The average settlement is more than £2,000 – more than a month’s salary for the average UK worker. Two illegal filesharers are paying more than £4,000 each to settle their cases.

Let's not complain that the BPI sound gloatingly delighted at depriving people of two months' average income. Nor, come to that, eight hundred hours worth of work on the minimum wage. It's wrong, of course, to deprive artists of their livelihoods. But a bloody laugh when the BPI do it some other poor sod, isn't it?

BPI General Counsel Geoff Taylor explained, “We have no desire to drag people through the courts. So we have attempted to reach fair settlements where we can.

... but failing that, we just use our massive financial firepower to crush people into accepting any settlement at all. There is a hell of a reluctance to take these issues before court, where a judge might decide on slightly less enormous settelments, or, indeed, take a long, hard look at the actual issues underlying the claims of 'filesharing is theft.' You betcha they don't want to go through the courts. It's a little curious that the BPI is trying one minute to sound like a bunch of hardcases - "that's over a month's bloody earnings, that is"; the next like reasonable guys - "nobody wants to go to court..."

“We hope people will now begin to get the message that the best way to avoid the risk of legal action and paying substantial compensation is to stop illegal filesharing and to buy music online, safely and legally, instead.”

Interesting - actually, of course, the best way to avoid the risk of this is merely to not file share. Buying music legally has nothing to do with avoiding legal actions. It's like saying 'Don't go to court - don't shoplift; buy our products instead.'

The BPI announced that it will be going to the High Court today seeking orders for the disclosure of the identities of a further 31 illegal filesharers on a range of peer-to-peer networks, including KaZaA, eDonkey, Grokster, Soulseek, DirectConnect, Limewire, Bearshare and Imesh.

Although impressive developments in legal download services saw an estimated 9 million download sales in the UK in 2004, there are still millions of individuals in the UK who persist in trading files illegally.

Those swine! Those persistent, persistent swine.

Said Taylor, “If illegal filesharers think that they can avoid getting caught by staying away from the most popular networks like KaZaA, they’re wrong. We are going to continue bringing cases against people who distribute music illegally, whichever filesharing network they use, for as long as it’s necessary. Legitimate music services can only prosper if we continue to fight the theft of music on the internet.”

Really? There's no way, then, that legitimate music services can do rather nicely alongside shady filesharing? Then what is iTunes selling three hundred million songs?

The BPI’s action against illegal filesharing in the UK is part of a global campaign by the record companies who invest in new music, seeking to turn the tide on internet piracy.

Research shows that illegal activity on the once most-popular filesharing network Fast Track – on which KaZaA runs – has plummeted, with the number of users in January 2005 down 45% from its peak in April 2003.

While some more determined illegal filesharers are migrating to other networks, the combination of superior legal services and the threat of legal action means that despite increasing broadband penetration, authorised services are growing at a faster rate than illegal services.

Or perhaps they're all swapping Torrents now?

With thousands of cases launched against the users of other illegal networks, illegal uploaders are learning that there is no place to hide; the number of eDonkey servers is down by 61%, BitTorrent servers and users are down 66% while the Direct Connect network has also seen a decline in the number of servers.

There's some interesting and totally meaningless statistics - down what from where since when? How come bittorrent servers and users have magically declined at exactly the same rate?

Then there's some frequently asked questions - odd that the press release announcing all this had FAQs; who had been asking these questions frequently prior to the announcement?

If these uploaders were trading thousands of files £2,000 doesn’t seem very much.

For anyone on average earnings £2,000 is a lot of money – around a month’s salary. The amounts we settled for varied according to the number of files that were illegally uploaded and the specific circumstances of the case, but this action is about deterrence rather than compensation; the aim was to settle these cases where possible rather than sue people.

Ah, bless... rather than asking how the BPI can justify demanding 800 hours worth of wages from people - in fact, one of those caught was a student, so has been hit with an even more crippling bill - they think people might be outraged that the BPI isn't leeching enough cash without having had to demonstrate a single penny in loss revenue. Marvellous. And if the idea is "deterrence rather than compensation", what's all that in the press release about "mak[ing] them compensate the artists and labels they are stealing from" - is this about deterrence or is this about compensation? Does the BPI actually know why it's doing this; or is it just they got a call from the RIAA asking them to join in?

Were there any parents/children among those who settled?

Given that people have settled with us and undertaken to the High Court not to do it again, we don’t see any advantage in dragging them through the press. However some of the account holders were parents and – looking at the files they were distributing - it’s highly likely that they settled on behalf of their children. The alternative would have been to put their children through the ordeal of a possible court case. Most parents would not want to put their children in that position.

It’s true to say that some parents have been genuinely shocked to discover what their children have been up to.

This is just bemusing - why would saying 'yes, three of the downloaders were probably children' be "dragging them through the press"? And if the idea is deterrence, surely issuing a press release saying 'BPI takes cash off parents - kids had shared music' be a much better detterent than not? We can't help but be a little sickened by a trade body that seems to be well aware that the minor transgression has been done by a child happily piling in and demanding cash from the parents under threat of "dragging the children through the courts." Firstly, how exactly would the BPI go about suing someone under 18 anyway? Even if it did want to make itself look so unpopular? Secondly, since the parents have done no wrong, what exactly are they being punished for?

Still, there's a few more quid going towards Sony's bottom line. We shall all sleep more soundly in our beds tonight. Except the parents who've had to flog them to keep their kids out the courts.

CONFUSING 'SHARING' WITH 'SELLING': The conversion of Napster into a music industry stooge has been completed. Just as the name is now stuck onto a big label approved sales house, so too has Shawn Fanning become a drudge of the majors. He's getting them to sign up for his Snocap system, which is an attempt to make peer-to-peer a world that EMI et al can live with. In effect, it's ruining what makes p2p great by introducing a bloody great till at the end of every exchange, but it's the attempt to swindle the meaning of language in the interests of the labels which really hurts. This is supposedly about "sharing" music, but really it's about disguising selling as sharing. The idea is, of course, that Snocap allows the music industry to keep tabs on exactly what you're 'swapping', the better to present you with a bill at the end of it.

Fanning has more than a look of Ashley from Corrie here, doesn't he?

"The internet will become a much richer resource for music fans everywhere," said Shawn Fanning, commenting on the deal.

He added: "This is an important step toward the growth of a digital marketplace where consumers can discover, share and purchase music from massively deep, almost infinite catalogues."

Record labels view the technology as a way to turn peer-to-peer networks into profitable distribution tools.

The current model of online music distribution is expensive - relying on large, costly servers, requiring huge amounts of bandwidth to serve potentially millions of people.

Utilising peer to peer networks would be an inexpensive system of distributing music to customers.

So... hang about a minute: this is meant to be making the music experience better and richer for us, the consumers - and yet all it really does is allow the music industry to use the peer to peer systems they've been pursuing like harpies for the last five years to sell their music while we pay for both the music and the bandwidth? I don't quite see what we're getting out of this - unless, maybe, without needing to maintain "expensive" servers and shell out for telephony, and no longer requiring intermediaries like iTunes to take a cut, the cost of songs per track comes down to something like ten cents a pop. And that doesn't seem likely.

TIMBERLAKE INSISTS ON DRUGS, SEX IN RETURN FOR WORK: Justin Timberlake - and it seems so long since we've had to type that name; where have you been, boy? - is to play Elton John in a movie of Elton's life. But he insisted on there being scenes of animal-mad fucking, mountain-bashing drug snorting and stupendously bad hat-buying being added in before taking the role:

"Knowing what a wild existence Sir Elton has led I thought 'Wow, you're offering me that role?' but when I read the script all the wild stuff had been left out."

"I told the studio that it would have to be warts-and-all so that's what it's going to be. I can't wait to get started."

What sort of film would Elton's life story have been if they'd left out the drugs and sex? The only things we can think that would have been in that original script would have been:

Act One: Elton meets Kiki Dee
Act Two: Crisis at Watford - the shirt sponsorship deal falls through
Act Three: Diana's funeral

But why would Justin be so keen for there to be lots of gay sex and coke in the script itself? Presumably so the excuse "I was merely researching a part" doesn't ring hollow, is it?

THERE IS NO BABY: Jennifer Lopez has denied the pregnancy stories - and we'd be surprised if there was a kid in there:

She told the Today programme (American, this wasn't John Humphrys) that "I think I've been pregnant about 17 times." On the other hand, she could have been confusing "pregnant" with "married".

FRED DURST'S THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY: It's been a while since we went to catch-up with what Fred is thinking, and we were surprised to discover that his previous post on the limp bizkit blog had mysteriously "disappeared" - thank god we were able to salvage it for history. We'd better do a quick scrape of his current postings in case those, too, are lost to eternity. After all, we wouldn't want to miss this one:

Monday, February 28, 2005
only you know
two people were walking alone in the woods together....

they knew the air wasn't as clean as usual..

the sun barely found its way in the further they went....

they arrive...

one person turns to the next and asks if they are dying...

silence interupts for a brief moment before a willing response is muttered..

"____ __________ __ ______ ___ _______ _ ____________!!"

since neither of them have spoken since should we assume they are doing fine?

why would we ever think anything else?

music is art

art is expression

expression is needful
Posted by: fred / 7:34 PM

There would have been more, but Mom called him down to dinner at that point.

Then there's this:

Tuesday, March 01, 2005
question #1
if there was a rallying of the limp believers would you participate under any circumstances and by all means necessary?
Posted by: fred / 10:59 AM

f course, there's comments on the blog full of people going "wooo - yeah, Fred..." - although not everyone's got the hang of "all means necessary":

You long as I don't have to break the law...but that is negotiable too.

But most? It's all "how high?":

First rule of project bizkit is you do not ask questions!!! Fuck yeah!,I'm already there Fred!!! Limp Bizkit forever!!!! All yall haters eat a bowl of dicks!!!!
# posted by KrylonBomb96 : 11:46 AM
"I would for you!", I've been limping with the Bizkit since the start, now 2 babies, a minivan and a mortgage later, I'm still with you baby. You are my touchstone. I get in my husband's car by myself, open the sunroof, pop in the bizkit and I feel like a woman again; alive and full of emotion and sexual energy. Thank you for that.
# posted by Vic : 1:28 PM
If it was in my area, definately. Otherwise, I'm BROKE and can hardly afford to travel a hundred some odd miles for a demonstration, no matter how much I believe in the cause.
# posted by Meghan : 5:03 PM

The slightly scary thing about this is people are actually behaving like they're being rallied - "well, Fred, I might have to sort out a babysitter and a plane ticket..." - and you can almost hear the thought "Do we all get guns? Or knives, at least?" If ever you needed confirmation that the 'fuck you I won't do what you tell me' squad are actually more meek and following than a bunch if especially nervous lambs in the dark, there would be your evidence.

For the record: he's rallied about 230 souls so far - big enough to cause a disruptive queue at the automatic ticket machines in a medium-sized station; not quite of a size to seize power.

REALITY-FICTION INTERFACE 'BADLY TORN; MAY NEED VELCRO FASTENERS: It's a kind of tribute: the Georgia House has invited Jamie Foxx to celebrate his oscar for pretending to be Ray Charles by re-enacting Charles' visit to their Atlanta chamber in 1979. Which... yes, it's very nice, and very flattering, but slightly puzzling: the visit of the real Ray Charles was a key, important event; isn't it slightly diminished by inviting a let's pretend Ray Charles to recreate it?

SOME OTHERS, EMBRACE; PASS ME BY: The big Leeds Millennium square dates for Embrace have now got a full complement of supports. (Hang about - Leeds has a Millennium Square? Since when? Did they rename something five years ago?) The bands taking the stage include The Ordinary Boys, The Subways, Hard-Fi and Anechoic on May 28th; Thirteen Senses, Longview, The Engineers and Infrasound on the 29th. You won't get tickets now, mind.

EDITORS STRIKE OUT ON TOUR: Editors - the band who used to be Snowfield and with that member who looks like Kevin Eldon and Brett Anderson had a baby - are releasing a new single and going out on a tour. The single is called Munich and you can slip it in your Mac Mini from April 18th. The tour - unless there are any modifications - runs like this:

1st Bournemouth, Villa
3rd Oxford, Zodiac

Then, they join the Moving Units tour:
5th Birmingham, Club HQ
6th Cardiff, Barfly
7th Nottingham, Stealth Club
8th Glasgow, Nice & Sleazy’s
9th Stoke, Underground
11th Manchester, Bierkeller
12th Leeds, Joseph’s Well
13th London, The Garage
14th Cambridge, Academy at APU Students Union

And it's back to just Editors:
15th Liverpool, University
16th Hull, Silhouettes
18th Inverness, Market Bar
19th Aberdeen, Kef
20th Dundee, Reading Rooms
21st York, Fibbers
22nd Newcastle, Northumbria University
23rd Middlesbrough, Empire

See? Like Kevin Eldon/Brett Anderson. Are we wrong?

JAMELIA: FLOODED WITH LOVE: Jamelia has decided it's time to move in with her boyfriend Darren Byfield - seen here not actually being levitated - after a domestic crisis.

Darren Byfield

She was living quite happily elsewhere with her mum, but came home one day to find the house flooded. She seems to have taken this as a sign that href="">it was time to move in with Gillingham player Darren. There's a "source" on hand:

"Things have been getting pretty serious between them and it just seemed like the natural thing for Jamelia to move in with Darren.

"It took an emergency for her to realise she wanted to take her relationship with Darren a step further and live with him under the same roof."

The flood remains a bit of a mystery; rumours that someone had tried to flush a football boot down the toilet are unconfirmed.

HUQ OFF: We were doing our best to remain aloof from Fame Academy does Comic Relief, but last night we did catch Konnie Huq doing Kids in America. [You can make up your own Michael Jackson joke, can't you? You don't need us to spoonfeed you].

Konnie Huq

She wasn't very good, but we couldn't believe the po-faced judges, who were banging on about it like she was a desperate wannabe. Hello, David Grant, maybe Konnie isn't that arsed because she's got a dayjob? Have you thought of that? Kim Wilde was also called upon, and glorious Kim offered a tentative "I think she did my song about as well as I could present Kids in America" - somewhat generous, actually, as Kim's quite a good presenter.

There was also Colin Murray, turning up to "support" Edith Bowman - he'd brought her a sexy neglige. I'm telling you, they have a Charlie-Shelley Corrie thing going on there. He'll be waving around the Edith Bowman topless photos and suggesting she diets for Children In Need - you'll see.

Upshot was, of course, Konnie got voted off. Gina Yashere - who has a singing voice designed to keep ships colliding in fog - somehow survived another round.

CRIMEWATCH: Police in LA have announced they've got hold of a bunch of Ray Charles tapes. Terry Howard has been charged with grand theft after cops found the stash of tapes which they claim he stole by taking advantage of Charles being both blind and in declining health during the last years of his life.

Howard - who last month got a share of the Genius Loves Company Grammy action - denies any wrongdoing. His lawyer suggests that what the police believe are mastertapes are, in fact, nothing more than copies:

"He did not have original master recordings. He had copies, and he had every right to have them," [Steve] Cron told Reuters. "Sound engineers routinely take home material and work in their home studios, and that's what Terry did."

Apparently, it's people in the Ray Charles estate stirring up trouble.

The police, on the other hand, are certain the water-damaged and mouldy boxes at Howard's house are the real deal.

COUNTRYOBIT: The death has been announced of Joe Carter, part of the Carter Family.

The five month old Carter travelled with his parents, AP and Sara, to Bristol for the recording sessions that would become part of country folklore. It was the start of a life that would be dedicated to country music, at the heart of country's first family - although he also found time for a main career as a builder and carpenter. He built the Carter Family Fold in Virginia, which for thirty years has been part museum, part venue; he also helped fill the venue with his own performances.

Joe had turned 78 a couple of Sundays ago; last week he had been too ill attend the Leon Kiser Memorial Tribute Show ceremony in Bristol honouring both him and sister Janette Carte. The speech made by his niece Rita Carter at that event is being carried on the official Carter Family website as a tribute:

Uncle Joe and Mom have always been especially close, so he’s always been around us a lot. Many of my childhood memories include Uncle Joe and lots of laughter and good times. He’s a lot like Clinch Mountain—a solid and constant presence in my life. Both my brothers think the world of him and love spending time with him. Flo grew up in the same house with Uncle Joe, and she loves him dearly. Marty Stuart and others who love him call him “Joe Bull.” Joe truly is one of the most unique and amazing people I have ever known.

We love you, Uncle Joe.

A QUICK LOOK AT THIS MORNING'S PAPERS: Interesting new development as the Mirror plays through the keyhole:

We think that's the first time there's been use of the accuser/victim/elephant taunter's name. To be honest, there's something disappointing about the Jackson bedroom - it's nowhere near as grotesque as we'd been led to believe ("hoping") [Happy, Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells?].

It also appears that Kerry Kataona has been named Mum of The Year - which is interesting; are the organisers saying they couldn't find someone who hadn't used their family and its disintegration as a replacement for having a career? "I know Mummy loves me; she says so in Closer..."

The Star doesn't do Jackson the courtesy of putting quotation marks round 'pervy', but then... it is reporting a lifesize boy scout doll in uniform, so that's probably fair enough.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

SEMINAL STUDIO DESTROYED: Two simultaneous electrical fires at opposite ends of the building have destroyed the Easley Studio in Memphis. The studio, over the years, has seen recording sessions by the White Stripes, Wilco and Jeff Buckley. Amongst the records recorded there:

Pavement - Wowee Zowee

Sonic Youth - Washing Machine

Modest Mouse - Good News For People...

Cat Power - What Would The Community Say

... and that's just the top of the pile.

THREE FIFTIES: 50 Cent has made some sort of history, as he's the first chap ever to have three tracks in the Billboard top five, since records began again after the magazine took on Nielsen to do the numbers back in 1991. Cent's Candy Shop has also had more and more airplay than anyone else for five straight weeks. It's like he owns America, or something.

IT'S ALL WATCHING VIDEOS, INNIT?: The Jackson jury got another film today - this time, it was of the November 2003 raid on Neverland Ranch. The video focused on the search of the estate, showing pictures of jacko's bedroom and, according to the prosecution team, showing a "private world of alcohol and porn" - not that there was any porn in the footage. Must have been the 10 Minute Freeview version, then. The video came with a director's commentary, as Santa Barbara Sheriff Department photographer Albert Lafferty was on hand to describe what was going on.
The case is still rumbling away.

UPDATE: The accuser's sister is now giving evidence, telling the court that Jackson flew the family to Miaimi to avoid them seeing the Bashir documentary. Yeah, because they don't have televisions in Florida. Maybe he thought the Cuban broadcast signal jamming would stop the programme?

WHAT... YOU THINK IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A STUNT? ALL ALONG?: CBS chairman Les Moonves is still pretty pissed about Janet Jackson's tit popping out during the Superbowl; Les doesn't buy any of that wardrobe malfunction excuse, either:

“No. I felt double-crossed. She knew what she was doing. I don’t think this was an accident in any way.”

Interestingly, Moonves chooses the clean, fresh air of Playboy to make this claim, which suggests he can't be that buttoned up about nipples to think the fuss was in any way warranted - so why so angry with Janet?

WHO CARES ABOUT JUSTICE? THIS IS A MONOLOGUE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT: Jay Leno has thrown himself on the mercy of the courts after relaising that Judge Melville's bar on people involved in the Jaco trial talking about it in public could prevent him "doing his job" - in other words, because Leno might be called by the defense, he can't make half-assed gags about child abuse allegations on night-time TV. Leno is hoping that Melville will either make an exception for him, or else at least call Letterman as a witness.

PUNKS v THE ESTABLISHMENT - RESULTS JUST IN, ESTABLISHMENT WINS: Have the tabloids ever apologised to their readers for the suggestion that punk rock was going to destroy everything they held dear (the Queen, street parties, Tory majorities) and getting it so wrong? The aftermath of the punk party is not a glorious anarchy and a difficulty in obtaining property rights, but instead it's Blink-182 and Toyah addressing sales conferences.

Toyah recounted stories about her music career highs - including meeting the Queen Mother - and her lows - including a rubber dress with a mind of its own that "parted company" with her during a live performance. She also sang some of her favourite hits.

Meeting the Queen Mum being a highlight, eh? It's a long way from starring in this:

[Buyable, by the way]

Making the Daily Mail even more happy will be Glen Matlock complaining about swearing on TV. Yes, the Sex Pistol:

The bass player and father of two, who co-wrote The Sex Pistols' biggest hits, Anarchy In The UK, God Save The Queen and Pretty Vacant, hates it when his children, now 11 and seven, hear obscenities on the radio or TV. "It's pathetic when people just swear for the sake of it," he said in a carefully pre-recorded interview to be broadcast this Sunday.

We wonder if his outrage leads him to return any cheques he may receive from the likes of Never Mind The Bollocks, or if he has a moral workaround?

Thanks to Alan C for prompting us about Matlock.

IF YOU HAVE TEARS, PREPARE: The Tears - which everyone else is pretending don't have such a shit name and calling Anderson and Butler - are preparing to splash the recorded material around. Single on April 18th, Refugees, and then an album come May 2nd.

Meanwhile, Brett has some stuff to say:
“For years and years after Bernard left Suede it was me running the show, but now the stakes are raised. I feel like we are duelling with each other, in some kind of friendly competition. When we were at our best it was always like that, each trying to better each other.”

Brett - are you seriously trying to tell us that you had the power go to your head when you were left running Suede? Surely not? After all, with the drugs and that wouldn't the quality have become a bit iffy under those circumstances?


NELLY TOLD: PACK YOUR TRUNK: Jonesboro, Arkansas, is apparently like a latter-day Eden; a wonderful city where we still love lucy and communists are run from town on a pole. The Reverend Adrian Rodgers insists the place is so wonderful because they won't stand for no nasty business. Then look who decided to call in:

Nelly - a man who doesn't even own a shirt and is fond of the cussing and swearing (also: whoring and pimping) got booked for a gig at the State University.And they aren't having that. 20 Jonesboro Ministers have put aside their liturgical differences to call for the gig to be boycotted.

"Tear the tickets up," Mr Rodgers said. "Do not go and do not allow your children to go."

It's good advice, but for all the wrong reasons. The burning question, though: if Jonesboro is so nice, who have they sold 5000 tickets to?

THE END OF THE AFFAIR: Jennifer Lopez has written a jolly little tune detailing the snapping of her relationship with Ben Affleck. It's called Can't Believe This Is Me, and the lyrics will probably piss off her new husband Marc Anthony a bit:

I'm tired of running away from my fear and the day/
That our life has no meaning/
Without a word or a reason/
Like a coward, you're leaving/
Sitting here inside an empty room that was filled with us/
Only boxes to define what was left of what we used to call love/
It's sad that after all of this time/
you have nothing to say/
Ooh, and the only thing that you could've done/
you choose to walk away

I put up with the rumours/
the claims that you cheat/
It was worth it, it kept us/
On the front page of Heat/
Not sure why I'm moaning/
My heart's no longer free/
But I'm stuck with a genre act/
And he still outsells me/
I regret every meeting you/
You treated my heart just like shit/
f I'd waited just a few months/
I could have had a crack at Brad Pitt

ON THE WAY DOWN, YOU HAVE TO BE A LOT NICER: Kelly Osbourne has said 'sorry' to Natalie Imbruglia for calling her a cunt. Not that Kelly actually likes her now, you understand, but since she's hoping she might be able to get a job cleaning the leaves out of Natalie's pool, she figures a bit of politeness won't hurt.

The Ananova picture actually seems to be of some sort of Imbruglia-Osbourne morph, doesn't it?

AND YOU THOUGHT AFTER BAND AID 20 HE COULDN'T GET HIMSELF ARRESTED: Dizzee Rascal's attempt to get his career curve pointing upwards again has suffered a bit a problem: he was due to start a huge US Tour in Utah (Utah?) on April 8th; now, unfortunately, he's due to answer bail after police stopped his car and found pepper spray, weed and an ASP baton.

SONY THROWS WEIGHT AROUND AGAIN: It might not be high art, but the fusing of Metallica with the Beatles created by the band Beatallica would appear to be a fairly amusing parody of two acts. Harmless fun, right? No. Sony Publishing has decided that tracks like Leper Madonna and Got Get You Trapped Under Ice are harming its business. The band have, of course, had little option but to remove their website under the onslaught, even although parodies are protected under the US constitution. It's interesting that Sony have chosen to draw attention to their control of the Beatles back catalogue even while Ann Kite is in court suggesting there were shenanigans in how they came to control it.

LIL'KIM PROSECUTION CALL ON MAFIA: The trial of Lil'Kim isn't exactly going her way yet - Suif Jackson, currently serving twelve years for the shooting Kim says she had nothing to do with, appeared under court order to tell the court that far from not knowing him, he'd been mates with Kim for ten years. And the prosecution appear to have more former pals of the rapper lined up to dish. Case continues.

IN THE OLD DAYS, SHE'D HAVE HAD HER HEAD CUT OFF: Actually, the olden days appear to have a lot going for them, come to think of it: Geri Halliwell caused a major - oh, alright, piddling - storm when she turned up late to meet the queen. Apparently it's royal protocol that Elizabeth has to be the last person to enter a room - that'd be why everyone was so upset when Michael Fagin got into her bedroom that time; protocol demands he should have been in there waiting for her when she went to bed. To make matters worse, Halliwell was wearing - get this - trousers. They're trying to suggest all this was a deliberate snub, and we'd love to think that Halliwell is s secret republican, plotting the overthrow of the monarchy through inappropriate clothing.

But somehow we don't see it.

READING: AN EXPENSIVE POT LUCK: and are both already flogging Reading Festival tickets, for a hefty £137 (remember, according to OFT guidelines ticket prices should be quoted in full, not without their booking fee), and, in an little extra piece of money-grubbing, there's a ten quid surcharge if you want to get a decent camping slot by turning up before 11 on the Thursday. Which doesn't sound like much, but even a small gang of mates would virtually be buying an extra half a ticket between them just to make sure their pitch was perfect. All this money, and there isn't even a single name on the line-up. You feeling lucky, punk?

The ticket price, by the way, has gone up 9% - or nearly six times the rate of inflation.

A QUICK LOOK AT THIS MORNING'S FRONT PAGES: A slight difference of opinion over at the tabloids this morning: Is Billie kind of sympathetic and missing Chris Evans?

Or is she taunting him?

Interesting that the Ann Kite testimony, which is potentially more damaging than Bashir's tight-lipped performance, only makes that one appearance on any of the fronts this morning. But then California sucks for press times.

MORE KITE TESTIMONY: The defence team in the Jackson trial has attempted to dismiss Ann Kite's credibility as a witness, suggesting that she was hardly a judge of matters since she worked for team Jacko for a week before she left his employ. For her part, she claimed the Jackson aide's plan was to smear the family of the accuser:

She told the court that in the aftermath of the broadcast, a Jackson lawyer had told her the boy's mother would be made to look like a "crack whore".

Interestingly, Kite also suggested that the team of advisers might not just have been inept, but working to another agenda: she told the jury she'd heard one of the aides "may have been an agent of a record company"; working to try and get control of the catalogue he owned.

When the family managed to leave the Neverland ranch on February 13th 2003, she was told shortly afterwards the situation had been "contained":

Ms Kite told the court she had later asked Jackson's lawyer, David LeGrand, what had happened.

"I said, 'Don't make me believe that these people were hunted down like dogs and brought back to the ranch'," she said.

The case goes on.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

60SOBIT: The drummer of 60s Merseybeat act the Searchers, Chris Curtis, has died at the age of 63.

Although the band were part of the Scouse scene, Curtis himself came from Oldham and joined the others - Mike Pender, Tony Jackson and John McNally - in the band, taking their name from a John Ford western. They went on to have hits with Needles and Pins, Sugar and Spice and Sweets for my Sweet.

Curtis left the band in 1966, with his stool being picked up by John Blunt. He went on to record Let's go To San Francisco, as The Flowerpot Men, a number 4 hit on the edge of novelty; he then formed a band, Roundabout, with his brother Dave. They both quit, but the Roundabout carried on, turning into Deep Purple. Curtis kept a foot in the music industry for a while, producing other acts, before making a career change and joining the civil service. He returned to music after retitement, and recently was taking a role in the tireless charity combo The Merseycats.

Curtis - real name Christopher Crummey - had been ill for some time; he was found dead at his Liverpool home on Monday.

JACKSON: OUT COMES THE FIRE-FIGHTER, FANNING THE FLAMES: PR Expert Ann Kite was hired to herlp rebuild Michael Jackson's tattered image after the Martin Bashir documentary; she was, in effect, called in as a firefighter. Her plan was to try and move interest away from his "human frailities" and to focus on his genius as a musician. Trouble is, of course, he hadn't done anything decent musically for twenty years, and attempting to take the focus off the sex-with-children image would be a little like trying to sell Sellafield as a holiday destination by trying to downplay the glowing sea. Then, of course, The Smoking Gun got hold of the pay off to the last kid jackson may or may not have touched, and that, says Ms Kite, was "beyond disaster." You'll have noticed, of course, that Ms Kite has stopped trying to salvage Jackson's image and has now joined the prosecution case against him.

Towards the end of yesterday's session, Martin Bashir drove the defence to distraction by refusing to answer most of their questions. They now want him done for contempt; Bashir claims her didn't have to answer because he was protected by California's shield law. Up to a point, Martin - but really this line is a little shaky. The shiled law is a serious piece of legislation designed to protect proper journalists from having to reveal sources; it's a vital safeguard for a serious media. It's not really intended to make journalists above the law, and since in this case it's not clear who Bashir would be pretending to protect behind his big shield (his information came from, erm, the accused - the whole point of the programme was that it was Jacko invites the cameras in) there's a danger that Bashir could wind up bringing a positive democratic measure into contempt to avoid being asked awkward questions about his methods.

The case drags on.

ARE YOU SURE IT WAS DEFINITELY MUSIC?: Jimmy Chamberlain, once of the Smashing Pumpkins, nearly died in a heroin-strewn overdose. When he didn't he took this to be a sign that his services to music were still needed on Earth:

"The dark days were part of somebody's grand scheme. I have a lot of faith in the order of things. It's something I realised after people died in front of me. When I realised I was alive and able to make music I began to realise why I was here. I take that very seriously.

"I don't do drugs and I don't drink anymore. Those are things I used to do a lot of. I just don't see the glamour in it anymore. The things that are important to me now are honesty, music, my family and my friends."

We're not entirely sure where he saw the glamour in tying a bandana round your arm, slapping your skin desperately for a vein before injecting a mix of some heroin and godaloneknowswhat else. It's like saying "Yeah, I decided to start changing my pants; I didn't see the glamour in crinkling between my ass-cheeks any more..."

But is Jimmy sure fate saved him for the purposes of making music? It could have been that fate was saving him to keep Billy Corgan talking for as long as possible to stop him from writing any "poetry". Or maybe to take up a career as a stock car driver. That's the thing with fate: she sends her messages, but they're never that clear cut. We're just can't believe she was thinking "another couple of Melon Colies and the Infinite Sadness type albums is what we need..." Though they do say that fate can be cruel.

A NICE DAY FOR A WHITE WEDDING: They've not set a date yet, but Christina Aguilera and Ben Elton are already making plans for the big day. Christina's been thinking about dresses:

I don't have a date set yet. I'm working on my album but if I can make it all happen - and that's a lot - it would be cool to have a winter wedding. The dress will be conservative. Don't expect the sort of stuff that hangs off me on the stage. I want white and kind of traditional."

Actually, Chris, we weren't really expecting you to get married with the sort of stuff that hangs off you on stage - how would you get two guys in pimp hats and a bullwhip up the aisle smoothly?

THE END OF V: The chances are, you won't have really have had your lives touched by V - although you might have seen them hanging about on a quieter week on CD:UK, you'd have probably assumed they were the rough trade hoping to get a hop-on with some of the less-picky gay musicians.

But now, they've decided that it's time to call it a day, and in doing so, they've actually been more entertaining than ever they were when they were setting out to entertain us:

Hi ya guys,

It's a sad time for us all at the minute and not just because the snow won't settle - although that is obviously very frustrating.

Unfortunately, after the best 2 years of our lives, we've decided to call it a day as V. Words can't even begin to express how much fun we've had during our time in the band; meeting all you lot, performing to thousands upon thousands of people, making our own record and going to places we would only of otherwise dreamed of - it really has been incredible.

However, for whatever reasons, it just hasn't happened for us as big as we would have liked. It's no-ones fault, it's just that music at the moment isn't quite ready for an all singing, all dancing boyband. Blame Busted. Haha, just kidding. (But seriously - do :)

We'd like to say a huge thankyou to anyone who's ever supported the group - be it buying any of our records, travelled to a gig, or even clicked on to this very website, you're all fantastic and we're so, so, grateful.

We're sure you'll see more of us in the future as we take various career paths - Mark is going to travel to the moon like Lance out of N*Sync, Leon has set up his own Elvis lookalike agency, Antony can be seen flying harris hawks around various parts of Indonesia and Kevin and Aaron are going to live in New York with Sarah Jessica Parker.

But seriously, we've loved every single second of being in V and wouldn't change a thing. Well, maybe the album cover perhaps, hehe….

Take care of yourselves people,

Lots of love always,
x x x x x x

p/s Donations can be made to the V Foundation. Cash only please.

It's almost enough to have us welling up that they actually realised that they're just not cutting it. Normally there's the tired lies of "other things", promises of other careers on the stage or in acting. But V pretty much say they've got nothing else to do, it's just not worth the effort being a boyband anymore.

Farewell, then, Mark, Leon, um, the other one, and thingy. We won't actually miss you, but we'll always wonder if we should.

THEY'VE NOT REALLY DONE IT RIGHT SINCE JOHNNY MATHIS: Doing a Gap ad was once the 1990s equivalent of guesting on the Muppet Show - it wasn't exactly dignified, but it was an indication that you counted in the celeb firmament. Now, though, it seems to be the crutch for those with a hobbled career: Madonna, Missy 'now I am a game show' Elliot, Sarah 'no, I haven't actually ever seen someone who'd been slapped with a wet kipper, but then I've never seen you without a four month session of airbrushing, either' Jessica Parker. Joining the list, and presumably with the hope on both sides that it's not going to be another career gravestone:

Yes, Joss Stone. At least, unlike the others, she might at least have been in a Gap in the last few years.

EDWYN COLLINS UPDATE: According to his wife, Grace Maxwell, Edwyn is "as well as can be hoped for" following emergency brain surgery. All the good thoughts are being directed his way.

There had been a prospect of a new Mew album this May, but now they've decided to move it back until August

They statementented:

Dear frengers,

you may have already heard premature rumours that our album has been pushed back until August. This is something we've been contemplating for some time, ever trying to make it a May release. However, it has become clear to us now that we will not be able to make that schedule, hence the rumours have proven to be true. The mixing and additional mixing and organizing of the record has taken that much more time, unfortunately.

It has, however, made it possible for us to make the album even better and we've spent the time recording a new song that came up while we were in new york, which has turned out fabtabulous. In fact, I am listening to the finished mix of it right now, it's music to mine ears (and mice came to borrow rice).

And we shall have the pleasure of playing new songs for you in the upcoming shows, there will be shows prior to the summer festivals as well. We apologize for keeping you all waiting, but scheduling an album release is sort of like building rocket ships simultaneously in several countries. We're thankful for your eagerness to hear the new stuff as it is a perfect mirror image of our own eagerness to play it to you. Thank you for understanding.

You have our deepest gratitude.

Meanwhile, there'a always...

2003's Frengers still available

NME.COM TO CLOSE: Yes, it's true, it's been announced that will be closing this weekend... but only for a couple of days as they put in new servers and then they'll be back to normal. Better than normal.

STOP HOLDING YOUR BREATH: Indie kids of a certain tidy-haired stamp will be running up and down going "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod" with the announcement of Weezer dates in the UK. This June. Yes. 13th at Birmingham Academy, 14th at Brixton Academy, and 17th at the Glasgow Academy.

ANDRESPAWNWATCH: Eurovision wannabe and soon-to-be-mother of Peter Andre's kid (some browsers may not have displayed that in the correct 'shudder' typeface) Jordan said she was so shocked when she found out that she'd been knocked up Andre that she did nine pregnancy tests. Yeah, we were shocked to discover he had more than just a splodge of gloop and the odd dead tadpole to offer, too, love.

GLASTONBURY: FLOPPING OVER ALREADY: Hopes that Glasto might have learned and grown since last year's ticket selling disaster are looking to be a bit misplaced: yesterday, details of how tickets would be sold this year went online, and their server fell over. That's before anyone needed to put in any data or credit card numbers. The Inquirer reports:

The catch is that the server is already overloaded. The INQ managed to get on once @ 7.25 am but no information had bee loaded. Since then the server is complaining that it can't cope with the traffic it is receiving.

Uh-oh... But at least the information is now available, if you all just log-on one at a time. They sound very confident about their abilities this year, but it seems to be mainly that they've got a widget to keep people out when they get swamped - which isn't fixing the store, it's just getting a couple of extra guys in for security.

Anyway, Eavis writes: Last year buying Festival tickets was very difficult and a lot of people were disappointed. The same number of tickets will be available for us to sell this year - so if the worldwide demand for tickets is similar to 2004 unfortunately there will again be more people disappointed than successful.

"If" seems to be an almost insanely hopefull - "who knows, maybe everyone would rather go to V instead, I hear they have Prodigy playing..."

We have spent a lot of time looking at different ways of selling Festival tickets to reduce the problems that people had last year. We considered many radical options, but have decided that improving our existing system is the best way forward.

If there had been a few problems last year, that would make sense - but to be honest, last year was such a shambles, the radical option would have been to keep the system. The sensible thing to do would be to talk to other people and find someone with a sturdy system.

What I can promise you is that we will have tested and retested the improved online system, so people should not be left in limbo this year. You will be informed if you cannot enter the system, if it is too busy, and you will receive confirmation when the sale goes through. By having the sale on Sunday, I am assured the problems that the telephone exchange faced last year will not be repeated. I have arranged more than twice the number of operators to be there to take your calls.

I'm not so sure about this - moving to a Sunday won't actually do anything to manage the demand; I suspect BT pushed this so there would less disruption to other telephone subscribers on the exchange rather than because it would suddenly increase capacity.

Last year we attempted to tackle the number of people selling-on tickets for profit by requiring you to show some ID at the turnstiles. It was very successful, so we are taking the next step and requiring you to provide photo ID this year – but don’t worry - it need not cost you anything as we can arrange a free card for you. I really think this is a positive move forward to stop unscrupulous people and companies touting tickets.

"Free card" - in other words, something everyone is paying for as part of the more-expensive-than-ever ticket. And since when did a festival start issuing ID? How is this actually going to work? What's to stop me buying a ticket of Junky Mears, and then sending in my picture? Or will Michael Eavis require anyone sending in a picture to have it endorsed on the back by a pillar of the community? This is just lets pretend land, but its interesting that Eavis - who once stood as an MP for Blair's Labour Party - is touting the same won't work solution for what ails him. Doubtless if you turn up with a ticket from Ebay, you'll be put under tent arrest.

Please do not be tempted to try to buy from any unofficial ticket sites – you could easily find that you have paid out money and they do not have a ticket for you – and if the name printed on the ticket they provide does not tie up with your ID you will not get into the Festival, as happened to many people last year.

So be vareful if your cousin gets married instead and gives you his ticket...

I'M ON BBC TWO, NOW...: Terry Wogan giving his main employers a sound kicking is nothing new; indeed, back before newspapers were bunged together on computers, the Telegraph employed a man whose sole job was to typeset 'Wogan Attacks BBC Chiefs' stories. So there isn't anything that surprising about his latest whine about the corporation, that BBC Chiefs are stuck in "a rut", getting hold of an idea and beating it to death. Says the guy who used to preside over a three-nights-a-week chatshow and clearly had no plans to stop doing so until the thing had been lead through the streets of London in a glass carriage preceeded by a white horse. And, yes, maybe the BBC does tend to stick to things that have been tried and tested rather than taking a chance on something new and wacky - how many years running have you presented Children In Need now, Terry? - and there's quite a good reason for that: audiences seem to like it. You could have called the decision by Radio 2 to resurrect Wogan's breakfast show some years after he'd quit for TV beating an idea to death - why bring back ole' Wogan? why not try something new and fresh? - and yet Terry is now doing Europe's most-listened to radio programme. It's one thing to complain about management being conservative, but isn't at least part of the problem that audiences have a deeply conservative streak as well?

Oddly, he was happy enough with BBC bosses churning out a bog standard celeb autobiography...

COVER UNLIKELY TO FEATURE NAKED LADY COVERED IN BACON: After the death of John Peel, there was quite a lot of excitement about the possibility of re-releasing Teenage Kicks as a tribute; the idea was knocked back as being "totally inappropriate" by the band's manager Andy Ferguson. Oddly, though, it's not been deemed "totally inappropriate" to re-release a limited edition version to promote a compilation album. Funny that - the post-punky compilation is called Teenage Kicks as well (not to be confused with the 2002 post-punky compilation of the same name, of course.) (Or the 1993 post-punky compilation.) (Or, come to that, the 1995 compilation or its second volume.) (Not to mention the Undertone's own compilation.)

Anyway, the line-up of this new compilation is pretty standard, but good if you don't already have most of the stuff:
* The Undertones – ‘Teenage Kicks’
* The Jam – ‘A Town Called Malice’
* Blondie – ‘Hangin’ On The Telephone’
* The Clash – ‘Rock The Casbah’
* Dexy's Midnight Runners – ‘Geno’
* Elvis Costello –‘Oliver's Army’
* Squeeze – ‘Up The Junction’
* The Boomtown Rats – ‘I Don't Like Mondays’
* The Stranglers – ‘Peaches’
* Joy Division – ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’
* Ian Dury & The Blockheads – ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’
* Jilted John – ‘Jilted John’
* Splodgenessabounds – ‘Two Pints of Lager & A Packet Of Crisps Please’
* Toy Dolls – ‘Nellie The Elephant’
* The Vapours – ‘Turning Japanese’
* The Damned – ‘New Rose’
* Sham 69 – ‘Hersham Boys’
* The Skids – ‘Into The Valley’
* Generation X – ‘Valley Of The Dolls’
* The Ruts – ‘Babylon's Burning’
* The Alarm – ‘68 Guns’
* The Buzzcocks – ‘Ever Fallen In Love’
* The Sex Pistols – ‘Pretty Vacant’
* The Specials – ‘Too Much Too Young’
* Madness – ‘Baggy Trousers’
* The Beat – ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’
* The Undertones – ‘My Perfect Cousin’
* XTC – ‘Senses Working Overtime’
* The Lambrettas – ‘Poison Ivy’
* Secret Affair – ‘Time For Action’
* The Teardrop Explodes – ‘Reward’
* Jo Boxers – ‘The Boxer Beat’
* The B-52s – ‘Rock Lobster’
* Jonathan Richman – ‘Roadrunner’
* The Pretenders – ‘Brass In Pocket’
* Martha & The Muffins – ‘Echo Beach’
* The Barracudas – ‘Summer Fun’
* The Members – ‘Sound Of The Suburbs’
* Sham 69 – ‘If The Kids Are United’
* Stiff Little Fingers – ‘At The Edge’
* X-Ray Spex – ‘Germ Free Adolescents’
* The Damned – ‘Neat Neat Neat’

And, of course, it's all
available for pre-order

A QUICK LOOK AT THIS MORNING'S FRONT PAGES: Typical special spin at The Sun, with the implication that somehow it's Martin Bashir who is on trial in California:

There's also, you'll spot, a story about Charlotte Church (is it just us, or is she really only working in the entertainment industry in a 'having distracting sex' way these days?) who may or may not have "scored" with some rigby player called Gavin Henson. Scored, do you see? Do you?

Although the front of the Express might make it look like Delia Smith is about to launch a musical career...

...the only other front page pop story today is the Guardian's coverage of Bashir's court appearance.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

WE BET IT SUFFERED WITHOUT THE CORRIE LEAD-IN: The jurors in the Michael Jackson trial have been shown the Martin Bashir documentary which the prosecution believes lays at the heart of Michael Jackson's troubles. It's believed the Judge has refused them permission to watch the 2003 Comic Relief spoof with Lenny Henry and Rowan Atkinson straight after, but they did get the Bashir himself. All there was time for today was for Bashir to mention that he once interviewed Diana Windsor, you know before everyone politely made their excuses and left.

Earlier, the defence had sketched out its defence - Thomas Meserau made much of the lack of any DNA evidence at Neverland proving the molestation; although if you make someone cum in their pants, the place to look for DNA would seem to be in the person's trousers rather than in the bedroom.

He also embarked on the campaign to run down the accuser and his brother - far from being plied with alcohol by Jackson, the defence claims they broke into the wine cellar. In a further play for the jury's sympathy, Mesereau described how they ran amok, switching on the ferris wheel without asking and throwing stuff at the elephants. We can see that playing well with the jurors - which of us haven't had trouble when we have kids thirty years our junior to tea with them mucking about in our fairground and annoying our elephants?

Mesereau conceded that Jacko "does read girlie magazines from time to time" - although no matter how much he wants us to believe he looks at the pictures, everyone knows he's only really interested in the articles - but doesn't go round showing them to kids. That, of course, would be odd and wrong.

The case continues, and will for quite a bit.

WE THINK THEY'RE MISREADING HIM: Although we're not sure, we think that is underestimating the breadth of Bono's ego when they say he wants Dylan and Pavarotti played at his funeral - we'd imagine he actually wants the guys there, singing for him. Bono also reveals he wants there to be lots of weeping and wailing as his body is returned to the earth. That's not amongst the crowd; he means he wants Mullen and The Edge locked in his coffin with him. It's the only way to avoid an Ian Astbury/Doors style replacement scenario.

WE DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S QUITE AS FLATTERING AS IT SOUNDS: Jessica Alba got herself in quite a state when she had to play a stripper - "how can I stand about in tiny knickers in front of a camera?" she panicked. (Because, of course, she clearly has issues with near-nudity):

Anyway, Jessica found the inspiration for being a bit skanky: by watching Beyonce. Cheers, Jessica...

Buyable: Jessica having little or no problems with the fetish wear in Dark Angel series one

or season two
, come to that.

IT'S ON A PAR WITH MAX CLIFFORD SIGNING TO GET HIS TITS OUT IN THE PRESS: JMB Record$ (yes, they are called Record-dollar symbol, which is so Jonathan Yeah? of them) have frothily signed a new artist to what they believe is "South Florida's ultimate label". He is Chris Georggin, but no greenhorned newcomer to the brutal world of music is he. He has been part of the management team for Blink 182 and New Found Glory, but now, presumably having spent a while wondering why he just takes a cut of their cash when he could make an unpleasant din for himself and keep all the cash, he's decided to become a musician:

“I never thought that the songs I messed around with would one day lead to me actually signing with a label, and it is so unbelievably cool that JMB has the confidence in me and provided me with this incredible opportunity. I have known the Grushka brothers for a number of years and I couldn’t think of a better situation for me, my music and for living out my dream" he said.

To be honest, we would have thought he was more a fanboy than a manager:

THE CRUSHING OF SOULS: I've been trying to come up with something more soul-destroying than the thought of a bland, empty act playing an ugly, featureless stadium sponsored by a company which sells unpleasant, overpriced, pointless sports gear to credulous masses. And I don't think I can do anything to top Coldplay at the Reebok Stadium. It's part of their stadium tour, where their music - which struggles to fill the space if you listen on headphones - will attempt to fill a stadium.

The full tour dates:
London Crystal Palace Stadium (June 27-28)
Glasgow Bellahouston Park (July 1)
Bolton Reebok Stadium (4-5)

They'll probably play some stuff from the new album, and the hits. And there might be a 'wacky' cover version - or is that Travis does that?

A QUICK LOOK AT THIS MORNING'S FRONT PAGES: And how happy are the press, able at last to run Jacko-Paedo stories under the privilege of court reporting:

Oddly - by which we mean not that odd at all, what with how Murdoch's Fox Network is gambling on a Jacko aquittal, the Sun plays down the story a little; so despite Rebakkah Wade's single-handle whipping of hysteria over kiddie-fiddlers in the past, the paper seems to suggest that Jackson's troubles rank lower than a footballer getting punched and Hilary Duff having a burger. What, Rebakkah, don't you care about the kiddies any more?

The Mail, of course, has some hysteria to whip up about Muslims so can't give all its space to Jacko, but it does have a fairly restrained headline - terrible picture, though; it makes Jackson look like his face only occupies only the lefthand half of the front of his head. Curious that he's signalling for Victory, isn't it? It's impossible to see how he can come out of this intact, even if he doesn't get found guilty of the central claims.

And some nice work by the Mirror - 'sicko' jacko - geddit? I'll be they've been working on that since they heard he was on trial; they'll be keeping the 'Paedo Jacko' back in case there's a guilty verdict. Of course, Jacko and the Mirror have form: he took legal action against them when they suggested his nose was falling off, and although they'd appeared to have legally patched things up, no paper relishes having to make an embarrassing climbdown. They'll probably be the least sympathetic of the papers, at least until the verdict is decided.

SOMEWHERE ONLY BO-NOS: Rather than go the trouble of putting together a jaw-dropping stage show for their European tour, U2 have invited Keane to support them so that they'll appear to be dynamic by comparison

PRICE TICKETS ON HIMSELF: The Kanye West might get his cock out for Playgirl story isn't actually much of a story (Playgirl have said they'd like him to; we'd like Conor Oberst to smear himself in custard and titty-dance for us, but that's not really a news story); but buried in the report is something more fascinating - Kanye wants magazines to pay him for putting him on the front cover:

"These magazines make money from ads and subscriptions...So if you're putting me on the cover and people are buying your magazine because of me, why shouldn't I get paid to be on that cover? You are going to have to pay me to do magazine covers now!"

Erm... how about because they're promoting you to their readership and without exposure you won't sell any of your records, brainboy?

This sort of thinking is just a step away from record companies wanting to charge for pop videos; and only two paces from Universal insisting that magazines pay for the right to carry advertising on their behalf. Only one of these things has yet to happen, but it's a matter of time.