Saturday, April 16, 2005


Dark mutterings suggest that the freshly recorded Liberty X album will never see the light of day, if V2 have anything to do with it. And since most of the band seem to have returned to the reality TV machine which spat them into our faces in the first place, it doesn't seem likely anyone would be that bothered. Certainly not down in the record shop checkout line.


There's extra stuff been added to the Dinosaur Jr. reunion, with the addition of a huge slew of US dates in July:

Orlando House Of Blues (7)
Atlanta Variety Playhouse (8)
Norfolk The Norva (9)
Cat’s Cradle Carrboro (10)
Washington DC 9:30 Club (11)
Philadelphia Electric Factory (13)
New York Central Park SummerStage (14)
Boston Avalon (15)
Cleveland House Of Blues (19)
Pontiac Clutch Cargo’s (20)
Covington Madison Theater (21)
Milwaukee Eagles Club (22)
Minneapolis Quest (23)
Chicago Lollapalooza (24)

Meanwhile, Kasabian are also going to go traipsing about the US, for a couple of months:

Atlanta The Loft (May 10)
Washington DC 9.30 Club (12)
Philadelphia Theater Of Living Arts (13)
Boston Paradise Rock Club (14)
New York Bowery Ballroom (16-17)
Montreal Cabaret Music Hall (18)
Toronto Kool Haus (20)
Richmond 18th Street (22)
Chicago Double Door (24)
Minneapolis Fine Line Music Café (25)
St Louis Creepy Crawl (27)
Lawrence Bottleneck (28)
Omaha Sokol Underground (29)
Salt Lake City Club Sound (31)
Portland Doug Fir Lounge (June 2)
Vancouver Commodore Ballroom (3)
Auburn White River amp (4)
Mountain View Shoreline Amp (10)
San Diego KBZT Radio show (18)

Every man should live long enough to have a chance to see a band like Kasabian play Salt Lake City, surely? Let's hope they do better than Razorlight.


While Eminem is probably delighted that, after ages, a judge has thrown out an attempt to sue him by an old school bully, he might be less than flattered by the reasons the judge gave:

A Michigan appeals court dismissed DeAngelo Bailey's legal action because most fans would not take Eminem's story of a vicious attack seriously.

In other words, it's now official: legally, nobody takes Eminem seriously. Equally, though, nobody seems to take DeAngelo that seriously, either, not even his own brief:

Mr Bailey's lawyer Byron Nolen said he was not surprised by the ruling and would not appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. "I don't think [the justices] would even look at it to be honest with you," he said.


Oddly, Mariah Carey's new album - the one that's meant to show us the real her, of course - doesn't seem to be quite so honest when it comes to its artwork, according to Che Graham, professional photography retoucher with Lux Imaging:

"They shrunk her arm, have her a smaller waist, stretched her legs and even lengthened her fingers. She looks at least 30lbs thinner."

It's believed the shoes, at least, are genuine.


Whatever the Girls Aloud camp try to claim, it seems lukewarm reaction to yet another trudging ballad cover has lead to the scrapping of Wicked Games as a single. The Official line is that it's just too difficult to push a single while rehearsing for a tour:

"We tried to release a new single to coincide with the tour but it's just not going to be possible. It would have meant the girls taking time out of rehearsals to film videos and shoot the sleeve and then do promotion for the single on TV."

Hmm... they need so much rehearsal for the tour they can't pop in to do a CD:UK and a slot or two on Radio One? Either they're rubbish singers or... well, even if they are, it's clear that the mass internet going "Another bloody ballad?" has scuppered the single. Thank god for the power of digital.


Just taking a quick pause to mention that, astonishingly, the Kaiser Chiefs are in today's Morning Star:

The big theme in today's papers is that the major label's ban on tracks for free CDs is starting to have an effect - a couple of papers have just shrugged and decided to concentrate on giving away movies on DVD - the Times has got The Fabulous Baker Boys; The Sun is doing some sort of mail-on for a double pack. But the shrugging of the majors has just lead the Daily Star to rummage a little further afield:

Justine Frischmann on the front of the Star, along with a CD featuring Alabama 3's splendid Aint Goin' To Goa. From the Daily Star.


No, no, put your knives down, he doesn't mean like that. But young Trent has made available a new track designed for you to pull into Garageband and remix to your hearts content - add pig noises, the sound of naked arse slapping, some more drums.

(Obviously, this assumes you have a Mac and an up-to-date version of this


This far, most of the people targetted by the RIAA have looked at the size of the multi-headed beast attacking them and, understandably, elected to come to a settlement. This far. Dawnell Leadbetter has been contacted by a debt collection agency demanding thousands of bucks on behalf of the RIAA. Leadbetter is furious - not just with the RIAA, but also with Comcast, her ISP. Comcast had just handed over her contact details without her agreement, or, indeed, any court compelling them to do so. Leabbetter is now suing Comcast for violating her privacy. Even if she doesn't win her case, it's going to cause ISPs to demand more than just an email from the RIAA before they hand over details, which is going to make their attempts to sue everybody in America even more expensive, and even more pointless.

Friday, April 15, 2005


The Manics gig tonight at Edinburgh's Corn exchange was to be a small affair, just 2,000 people. A bunch of diehard fans were determined to get the best positions, so drove through the night from last night's Newcastle gig to get to the venue and sezie a place at the front of the queue. They turned up at two am.

And it was worth it - by eleven this morning, there were a whole, erm, sixteen people in the queue.

Police suggest there was no crowd control issues at this stage.

People queueing for something other than the Manics, yesterday


Being slipped Rohypnol while you're out is a terrible thing, and nobody would want to make light of it. However, having read the details of what Ananova are calling Michelle Heaton's Date Rape Drug Hell, we're not quite sure what to make of it all.

Because, it seems, she must have been slipped something - otherwise how could she have woken up the next morning not being able to remember anything after "just a couple of vodkas"?

"It was terrifying. I'm a Geordie lass and can take my drink. I've never been drunk on just two like that. But apparently I lost my balance, was dancing really strangely and then I collapsed. I know my drink must have been spiked for me to behave like that. It's all very scary and from now on I'm going to make sure I am never going to take my eye off a drink for a second."

We're not sure how you can be sure something was terrifying if you don't remember anything about it, and it's possible that her drink was spiked - in which case it's bloody lucky her boyfriend was there to pick her up and take her home.

On the other hand, if she can hold her drink like a Geordie lass, presuambly her groaning entry in the Befuddle drunk celebs archive must be full of snaps taken when she was tired.

We think the key phrase in the report makes everything a little clearer:

[...] said Michelle, who is set to star in new ITV1 show Celebrity Wrestling

It's certainly an ill wind that there's a juicy story just before the series launches, isn't it?


We're actually not entirely sure we can be bothered, but the lyrics to the great Limp Bizkit comeback have sprung up online. And here they are:

You can't sleep, you're restless
and slightly obsessed with falling too deep
and malfunction, you're a virus
who's intention is fucking up something
You're a crater
on the face of a problem much greater
It's the violence, or lack thereof control
Body and soul, digging a hole
Is the blood stainless?
Enjoy the pain with accepting your grief
Are you finished?
Dumb fucking question, don't let yourself fall asleep
Ressurect the intention
Once your vision is now mass-produced,
Imagine the insults a blessing
Imagine accepting the truth

Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth
Just imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth

The pendulum swinging
hypnosis is taking control, now you linger
on a shadow of a doubt
Have you really figured what you're all about?
Don't trust your instincts
Just open the chamber where you keep those darkest regrets
All the things you've done wrong
Rebellious at heart all along
Is your leader a voice?
Somehow you replaced all your game with a debt
Now the payback's a bitch
Why owe your life to a bitch?
Absolutely pathetic
and regret it when told you are made of mistakes
Imagine the insults a blessing
Imagine accepting the truth

Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth

Now speak to your leader!
Now speak to your leader!

Your father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name, deliver us from evil, deliver us from evil
Your father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name, deliver us from evil, deliver us from evil
Our father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name, deliver me from evil, deliver me from evil
Our father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name, deliver me from evil, deliver me from evil

Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth
Imagine accepting the truth

Phew. Stuff like that you can't just find opening up the school folder of any thirteen year-old, you know. Do you see what Fred's done? He's incoporated the Lord's Prayer into the lyric to save having to write another verse ("to make a sharp point about religion, man").

If you really want a giggle, you can apparently download the track in some sort of mp3 format from what we believe is a Polish website. Now, if you'll excuse us, we're going to open the chamber where we store all our regrets, as we think that's where put the charcoal briquettes at the end of last as well.


At long last, Pat Kane has got his rewards for the notorious page three story in NME about the link between sex and chocolate: the Hue and Cry singer and former journo has been named Britain's first Thinker In Residence. His residence is going to be the At Bristol Centre, and his thinking will be... well, we're sure it'll be very good, whatever form it takes. Perhaps these will be included in his thoughts:

- If I phoned ITV and offered to do Looking For Linda, would they let me on Hit Me Baby One More Time?
- How are they going to tell I've been thinking? Will they want some sort of proof before they pay me?
- Was Shattered Dreams us or Johnny Hates Jazz?
- Perhaps they're monitoring my thoughts. My god, perhaps they've got some sort of brain-reader
- I really don't think I look like Jimmy Carr, that seems to be a bit unfair
- Oooh... schoolgirls, flakes, Catholic uniforms, Mint Aeros, forbidden, black tights
- Damn... I hope they didn't hear that

Next week: Muriel Gray to be put on display in a cage at Chessington World of Adventure.

Still available:

The Best of Hue and Cry


We'd dragged JJ72 to our mental trashcan following their long absence and the rumours that the interesting one, Hilary, had quit. But we're dragging them back to the desktop as fast as our overstretched metaphor will allow us: they're back, with a tour:

May 6th Cork - Cruisin Lan
7th Waterford - TEN
8th Limerick - Dolans
10th Galway - Roisin Dubh
11th Castlebar - Royal Theatre Ruby Room
12th Belfast - Spring & Airbrake
14th Glasgow - King Tuts
15th Leeds - Cockpit
17th Manchester - Academy III
18th London - 93 Ft East

They're back with a download-only single (She's Gone - aptly, on May 23rd).

They're back with a proper single (Coming Home - oh, how the aptness extends itself) for July 4th.

They're back with an album in September.

And most of all, they're back with a new bassist, who has an even more Ian Flemingesque name, Sarah Fox.

And, apparently, Nick Rhodes is in the band now:


One of the team at Blogcritics realises those 'get a free iPod' offers are a scam. Luckily, he's able to console himself that when that money from that Nigerian widow hits his bank account, he'll be able to buy all the iPods he wants.


Yes, for whatever reason (probably to try and take everyone's mind off the howling coming from Celine Dion day in, day out) Las Vegas has declared today Diddy Day, in honour of the many names of Sean Combs.

Is it Happy Diddy Day or Merry Diddy Day? I can never remember.


This week's chart battle makes Blur versus Oasis look like a catty slap bitchfest. (Oh, it was, wasn't it?) indie representative group AIM are calling on the government to ban this week's 40 outright.

They're still smarting over the way the downloads are being integrated into the chart and are calling on the Office of Fair Trading to step in and crush the listings. Alison Wenham, Chief Exec explains why:

"There are serious commercial consequences of publishing a chart which is a barometer of public taste, which guides playlists, television, scheduling, compilation activity, and international licensing, and which disadvantages the independent sector."

It's interetsing that the Official Chart Company are keeping a ghost chart without downloads in, presumably just in case. It means they're able to reject claims that indies will be hurt by the new format:

"Midweek figures indicate that the combined chart for this Sunday is likely to figure eight titles from independent labels, two more than would appear in a physical format Top 40," the OCC said in a statement.

It's not clear if that includes anything that Gut are trying to cheat into the chart to prove the weakness of the new system.

We're not expecting the OFT to crush the chart, though.

What does concern us - as someone posted in the No Rock comments box earlier this week - is the claims that the Official Chart Company are somehow able to "check credit card numbers" to avoid fraud. Even if there wasn't a huge data and privacy question over why the OCC should be allowed access to credit card numbers of people buying downloads, it's surely unacceptable from a security point of view for a third party to be allowed to access this supposedly secure data? And, erm, what's to stop people buying those Napster prepay cards to purchase downloads and thereby hide the purchaser's details altogether?


The rather nasty lawsuit between Sony-BMG and Rosa Parks, arising from Outkast naming a song after her without permission, has been settled. Sony BMG admit no wrongdoing, but have agreed to invest cash "to enlighten today's youth about the significant role Rosa Parks played in making America a better place for all races."

Outkast had been dismissed from the suit by a judge earlier; we're still not entirely sure what possessed Sony-BMG to not just say "sorry" and settle back then. Now, though, Sony are positively brimming over with joy about the chances this settlement are giving them, to judge by their solicitor Joe Beck:

"We think it will go a long way towards teaching a new generation about Rosa Parks and her accomplishments, and we appreciate Mrs. Parks' and her attorneys' acknowledgment of the First Amendment in protecting artistic freedom."

- which does raise the question: if Sony thinks this is such a great thing to be involved in, why did it take a lawsuit to make them decide to do it?

We're also wondering if an Associated Press sub saw this bit before they posted the story to the wires:

The settlement ends a legal dispute that some of Parks' own relatives had criticized, saying she wouldn't have minded the use of her name in the song "Rosa Parks" had she not been mentally impaired.

Now, we know they mean that had she been able to speak for herself, some of her family believe she wouldn't have had an objection to the song. But the way it's written makes it sound like her relatives were going "she only complained because she was nuts."

But don't wait for Sony to teach you history:


Dane Bowers, who had a hit about three decades ago with Victoria Beckham doing the vocals, and then presented Smash Hits TV on Sky One and, um, you know, stuff like that got himself arrested after a touch of the Dohertys. Six foot barman Matt Goss (not, we think, that Matt Goss) was enjoying a drink with Dane's manager after hours in a hotel when... well, Matt picks up the story:

"When Dane arrived with two girls and another guy he just went mad. He started screaming and shouting and told me to get the fuck out. I got up to leave and had almost reached the doorway when he punched me three times in the face. I didn't get aggressive or hit him back."

Apparently Dane stays at Novotel these days. When he's not down at the cop shop. Bowers was released on bail.


The band have had to re-arrange their current tour due to illness - presumably the thought of being warm-up act to Charlie Busted's rock wank fantasy band struck them low. The internet rumour was that Justin Schlosberg has snapped his neck, but that (of course) is an internet rumour and we know what they're worth, eh?

The tour now flows like this:
Leicester Princess Charlotte (April 17)
Sheffield Fez Club (18)
Leeds Cockpit (19)
Wrexham Central Station (20)
Birmingham Academy2 (21)
Manchester Academy3 (22)
Gloucester Guildhall (23)
Milton Keynes Woughton Centre (24)
London Mean Fiddler (25)


With the Isle of Wight and Eden added to Glastonbury over the last couple of years, the festival axis seems to be shifting southwards again. Now, Hall for Cornwall are doing a festival as well, Springloaded. Echo and the Bunnymen, Billy Bragg, The Music and Fightstar lined up for the three-day indoor business, from May 26th. Yes, Fightstar. Headlining (over Hell Is For Heroes, which must delight them).

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Reggae star Junior Delgado has died. Although he was only 46, Junior had a career spanning three decades, working with nearly all of the giants of reggae.

Junior was born Oscar Hibbert in West Kingston, Jamaica in 1958. A lot of his early work was recorded at Lee 'Scratch' Perry's studio. As Delgado remembered:

"Well, the first producer I worked with was Upsetter, Lee Perry, Scratch. That was like magical, because that was when I was very, very young, you know. I was 17. Scratch, he was a man I could remember. Bob Marley was there, Peter Tosh - but they were like big men - and Family Man (Aston Barrett), and Carlie (Carlton Barrett), and Reggie were there. And Junior Byles and Max Romeo and a lot of people. That's where I saw Chris Blackwell the first time."

At this time, Delgado was working as a member of Time Unlimited, but he also did work on the side for Rupie Smith under the contractually dubious Heavenly Brothers. After both bands petered away, Delgado was persuaded by Dennis Brown to go solo. By now it was the mid-70s, a period which saw Junior recording Tricksters and Storm Is Coming Taste of the Young Heart, his debut solo album, was released in 1978; its success persuaded him to launch his own label, Incredible Jux.

In the 1980s he'd add Sly and Robbie to his illustrious list of collaborators for Fort Augustus and Merry Go Round, building a reputation worldwide.

Spending time split between Jamiaca and London, Delgado brought the same social conscience that lead him to create Tition with Dennis Brown to the track Broadwater Farm. When his predictions of tension boiling over on the estate proved to be correct, the single found itself out of favour.

In the late 90s, Delgado produced Fearless, with a mix of guests stretching from Jerry Dammers to Maxi jazz, and joined the On-U Sound family of acts, working with Adrian Sherwood for his Reasons album.

Although unexpected, Delgado's death is believed to have been from natural causes.


We know people in the US feel obliged to act as outraged as possible whenever a person with a clipboard asks them a question ("quick... better be moralistic in case it's a Bush administration spy - don't want to be sent for re-education in the tunnels under Denver International Airport"), but we're still a little surprised that a majority of American parents think Britney's too young to start a family. She is 24, you know. It's like she's destined to remain a perpetual preteen in the American psyche.


Something that ruins both the concept of the chat show and whatever remains of the image of Fred Durst: plans for My Life with Fred Durst. Yes, apparently an American TV company are thinking of pitching a "hybrid talk/docusoap" anchored by the middle-aged teenager.

Durst says he wants the show to be as far from a tabloid as possible and show sides of him not covered in the press. "I just want to have a spontaneous platform to have good conversations with people, who aren't necessarily on the show to sell a movie of product," he said. "I'm not interested in being controversial and pushing envelopes."

Bischoff was so impressed by the singer that he pitched him the idea for the talk show soon after their first meeting. "Fred can engage you in a conversation about classical music or films and then shift gears and bring up to speed on the world of extreme sports," he said. "His sense of what is on the horizon of pop culture is uncanny."

It's a pity that this side of Fred has never come through in any of his postings online, or his lyrics. Or his interviews, all of which make him seem like a pitiable cretin. We're also struggling to identify anyone who would want to tune in to watch Fred Durst. And when we do identify them, we can't see why they'd want to hear about classical music from him. It's like giving Jeremy Clarkson a fashion programme.

Meanwhile, the man himself has made a couple of posts to the Limp Bizkit blog, and we can safely assume that Letterman won't be rushing to put together a CV for a little while yet:

so a lot of the news about the new album i am hearing is true. i love the truth. that's what it's all about. the defintion of what gospel is. the unquestionable truth. no bells and whistles. no sugar coating the truth. for some it could be a bit too much to comprehend. fuck'em.

Oddly, despite his astonishing sense for what is on the radar of pop culture, Fred hasn't quite twigged that its a little hard to create an air of mystery over release dates and album titles when Amazon is already carrying the information.


Mogwai are returning to the studio to record a new album. The band's official statement reads:

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

Cheer yourself up in the last few days:


It turns out the shooting of Dimebag at the Columbus Damageplan gig wasn't the first time Nathan Gale had disrupted one of their gigs. Gale had previously attempted rushed the stage when the band played Cincinnati in 2004:

Gale, 25, jumped on stage and caused about $1,800 worth of damage to lights and other equipment during a struggle with club security, according to Cincinnati police reports. The band continued playing as Gale was removed from the stage, witnesses said.

Officers who responded to a 911 call labeled Gale's actions as criminal damaging and endangering, but no charges were filed because band members did not want to return to Cincinnati for court hearings, The Columbus Dispatch reported on Wednesday.

In other words, the band had had an opportunity to take action against Gale but elected not to because it would have meant a short interstate flight. Obviously, they didn't know what the consequences of that decision would be.


Apparently Lee Ryan's nodules are healed, and now the Blue tour is able to go ahead. With him singing, and everything.

Image hosted by

Oh, brilliant.


We've always had a degree of respect for Benjamin Zephaniah, but that's being tried a bit with the news that he's written a poem to "mark" the ending of The Osbournes on MTV. Pam Ayres territory, surely? Or maybe Andrew Motion. Ben tries to jusitfy the work:

"I thought it was only fitting to put pen to paper and write them a fitting ode. The challenge was to write a poem about a family that has become an alternative institution without it sounding too worthy. Ozzy's not just the Prince of Darkness, but he's bona fide Brummy royalty too."

Doubtless he'll be knocking one out when Sharon makes the next Asda Mums commercial.


D'Angelo has had his driving licence takern away and been given a USD250 fine - complete with a 90 day suspended sentence. He pleaded guilty to traffic violations after he was stopped in January, soused and carrying dope while driving.


Ol Dirty Bastard is about to launch his new album, about six months after he died. It doesn't usually take dead rappers that long to get their work out. Slacker. Anyway, it's complete with a quasi-religious title ('A Son Unique'). There's a nasty little legal battle between Bastard's wife and his mother, so I guess the album not being called A Husband Unique tells us something right there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


The death has been announced of Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry's creative partner.

Born in 1925 in Fairmont, West Virginia, by the age of four Johnson was playing the piano. After the Second World War, Johnson moved first to Chicago, and then to St Louis, playing in bars and clubs and eventually creating his own trio.

New Years Eve 1952 brought a small crisis for the Johnnie Johnson trio - saxophonist Alvin bennett called in sick for the biggest gig of the year. The band managed to drum up a young bloke to fill in; it was the start of a collaboration with Chuck Berry that would shape the sound of rock and roll for a generation. Berry was a useful member of the band - not only was he a strong guitarist, but he had a car and the drive to hassle for gigs. It was Berry who got a tape of the act to Chess Records, claiming an audition slot and lifting the pair to a new level of working.

The partnership worked smoothly: Johnson would write a tune on the piano; Berry would then adapt it to guitar and add lyrics - a method which produced Sweet Little Sixteen, No Particular Place To Go and Roll Over Beethoven. Berry's Johnny B Goode was a tribute to his long standing partner.

Their working relationship came to an end in the early 70s, and it wasn't a happy split: Johnson tried to sue Berry for cash and credits in 2000, failing when a judge ruled there had been too much time passed since the songs had been written. Johnson had been a chronic alcoholic at the time, and was happy with a spot of cash in hand, while Berry, a sharper mind, was able to secure the glory and much of the cash for himself. (That was why the Johnnie Johnson trio auditioned for Chess, but the contract ended up under Chuck Berry's name).

While Berry continued to tour, Johnson had to find other ways of supporting himself. In 1987, Keith Richards set himself the task of putting together a backing band for a Chuck Berry tribute. Knowing his rock history, Richards set out to find Johnson, discovering him working a bus driver ferrying pensioners about. Despite all the upset, Johnson maintained he wasn't actually bitter; Berry and Johnson would often play together when their paths crossed. After the publication of Travis Fitzpatrick's biography of Johnson, Father of Rck and Roll, there were rumours that Berry was pissed off at suggestions that he diddled anyone out of their credits, which nearly wrecked plans for them to play together in St Louis, as Fitzpatrick recalls:

“Right about that time, the promoter came upstairs to the dressing room and said, ‘OK, Johnnie, there’s been a change in plans here ... you’re going to play your songs and then get off and Chuck is going to go on with his band,’” Fitzpatrick said. “Which is really unusual, because if they’re ever in the same vicinity, they always play together. So, obviously, it had to do with this controversy.”

As directed, Johnson played his set and left the stage. Berry followed with his band, but according to Fitzpatrick, things weren’t going well.

“It’s not sounding good at all .. all of a sudden, in the middle of his set, he kicks his piano player off the stage and says, ‘I need Johnnie,’” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s calling him a genius and my partner and all this stuff in front of the governors.

“He brought him (Johnson) on stage and really catered to him and actually stopped playing a couple of times just to point at Johnnie and let him take it,” Fitzpatrick continued. “It was really bizarre and I don’t know if it was him (Berry) admitting what happened (with the songwriting credits) or he just needed him to save the show.”

Johnson died on Wednesday morning at home. He had recently been in hospital with pneumonia, but had performed live a couple of weeks ago. The cause of death is still uncertain.

WHAT THE POP PAPERS SAY: Catch-up edition

As has been pointed out to us, we missed last week's pop papers, which we always blame on the Royal Mail. Which is a pity, because it was a rather good issue. Despite the cover looking like the sort of tossed-together one you would get in the mid-90s - a picture of Jack White off a milk carton, an odd competition (win a year of beer) and a strange, almost mystical pointless claim (725 gigs listed!).

The best thing of all was an interview with Bono, fresh from the San Diego launch of the new tour, talking a mixture of rubbish ("the new album is innocence regained" - what does that mean? Surely the only way you can regain innocence is to lose all your knowledge and experience? Is this the U2 Alzheimer's album?) and a stance which couldn't be self-effacing if the starving millions depended on it: "The first album is becoming a bit of a cult for bands like the Killers who talk about it... San Diego is a naval town, they've lost people in the conflict and I felt for them. It was important to mark it." And how did they "mark it"? By playing Bullet The Blue Sky. That'll make the Bush widows feel better, Bono.

Elsewhere, Damon Albarn passed the Britpop baton to the Kaiser Chiefs - apparently he hadn't noticed that Graham Coxon had picked up the baton and taken it with him when he left; what he actually passed to the Kaiser Chiefs was an engraved tankard from the Good Mixer; Shaun Ryder was given a chance to clear up his homphobic statements of the past by Peter Robinson (resuting in desperate "Shaun, wind it up now" cries in the background). The Radar band was Snow White - "we are a Pop band" - who come in easy-to-shag pieces.

And, a quick glance at last week's reviews (Garbage's Bleed Like Me got a six - "stuck on the same synthetic treadmill"; TOTW was - no, really - Oasis' Lyla) and we bound onto this week.

Inspired by the news that George Bush has only 250 tunes on his iPod, the Daily Telegraph pokes about to find what British politicians are listening to: Tory shadow arts and media spokesperson John Whittingdale is a big fan of Judas Priest (one dinosaur to another). Lib Dem Sarah Teather claims Kylie and Ella, and then goes and spoils it all by admitting to a fondness for Robbie Williams' version of Somethin' Stupid. And Labour's Peter Hain just sucks up to his Welsh voters by pretending to like the Manics and the Stereophonics.

This week's NME has got Bloc Party on the cover and a report from the Franz Ferdinand date at Daltrey's cancer trust gig: new songs ahoy; and there's a first hearing of Blue Orchid, the start of the new White Stripes campaign - "other lyrics, most of which are inaudible... could be a sideswipe at the Von Bondies Jason Stollsteimer". Not that again, surely?

Carl Barat turns up to talk about what he's been up to - retuning himself, apparently.

Howlin Pelle Almqvist wrestles Peter Robinson, naked - remember when the Hives were pretty much all we had to cling to? And now they're a throwaway bit. Pelle suggests that Eastenders is "basically Jesus in the UK", but frankly, nothing could be more bemusingly funny than his terrible, terrible moustache.

The letters page turns up another problem with the Glastonbury ticket sale this year: They boasted a nice, shiny, international phone number, which people excitedly called at nice, shiny international phone rates, only to be asked for a UK debit card to be able to buy tickets. That's a fine level of planning there.

Barry Nicolson suggests that young NME readers who wish to do well should forget the revision, skip university and go form a band or start a label. Clearly, the staff at Kings Reach Tower are looking forward to the prospect of having to pull together another student special this year as much as everyone else is looking forward to reading it.

Why does one of VHS or Beta look like he's been misdirected on his way to a film set for 'Adventures of a Randy Plumber Number 6'?

"I don't think" suggests Gordon Bloc Party "we have people who specifically are after our bodies."
"I think we've already prevented that with our reputation as being shy geeks" agrees Russell.
Oh, boys, that only makes you cuter, dammit.

The Cribs are pulling in a lot of celeb endorsements - or rather Blazer Boy from Kaiser Chiefs likes them, which doesn't count in our book.

Returning from wherever they've been, it's Hot Hot Heat. Paul Hawley denies being a miserable bastard - "it's a question of being realistic." The question being, of course, if HHH are ever going to sell enough records to recoup the half a million bucks they've spent making the new album. That's about 250,000 grand. You could make a hell of an album with that sort of cash. Hawley doesn't give a glow of confidence that they've spent their money wisely.

Hard-Fi snarl that they don't see Razorlight as their competition; they see "fucking U2 as competition." Yes, we'd imagine that Bono is quaking in his boots right now.

system of a down and nine inch nails' astoria shows are pitched against each other: Trent Reznor "reclaims Hurt from Johnny Cash"; SOAD "come over like a Viking pre-sex ritual." Victory to Trent, then
joanna newsom - queen elizabeth hall - "a rare joy to watch a visionary at work"
the departure - glasgow barfly - "what's exciting is imagining what they'll sound like a year from now"

hal - hal - "for many, a dose of sugar too far", 7
mariah carey - the emancipation of mimi - "the most shocking thing is how ravaged her voice sounds", 2

totw- the rakes - retreat - "the rakes' progress aint over yet"
chromeo - needy girl - "like a two man UN peace treaty"
forward, russia - nine - "among many ace things to come out of Leeds right now"
the tears - refugees - "guitars perfrom the aural equivalent of a turkey twizzler" (no, we're not sure either - we think he likes it, but since a turkey twizzler is made from the bits of turkey they steam of rotting beaks and some lard, we're can't be certain).

Happy now?


A bunch of self-appointed "Glastonbury Crusaders" are hanging about Ebay, sniffing out people flogging tickets for the festival and reporting them. Which, of course, is pitched midway between selfless dedication and self-righteousness. Why are they doing this? Woodland Maiden tells the BBC:

"The festival is about charities - very few people make money from it and the touts damage this."

Er... how, exactly? First of all, lets not lose sight of the fact that over a third of the festival is owned by Mean Fiddler, soon to be part of the Clear Channel dream-crushing conglomerate; although they'd probably love to claim charitable status that doesn't seem likely.

Second, yes, a portion of the cost of the tickets does end up going to charities - but selling that ticket on doesn't do anything to wipe that donation out, does it?

Third: if the implication is that selling tickets on is somehow depriving charities of money which "belongs" to them, then surely the charity-maximising option would be to sell all tickets through Ebay and raise the maximum possible.

Fourth: "very few people make money from [Glastonbury]"? Kylie's playing for free, is she? All those food stalls are barely breaking even? The increasing, but disguised, corporate presence is there solely as a loss-leader?

"If the sellers are genuine and not touting then they should ask for a refund. If you make a profit, you're a tout."

Well, not always. If you bought a ticket and can't use it, and choose to sell it on for a modest profit, why is that so bad? The tickets agencies recognise there are costs involved in selling tickets - that's the only ethical basis for a booking fee. Why should a private individual not reclaim a small fee for his or her time in obtaining a ticket?

"Many sellers have co-operated and removed their auctions. When questioned on how bidders might be able to get round the issue of photo ID, some sellers were willing to provide fake ID."

See, what would make me get angry is that Glastonbury - supposedly the left-field in a big field - happily introduces a checkpoint and demand that anyone wanting to give them a hundred plus quid should prove who they are with photo ID in the first place. I can't really get quite as worked up by the thought that some people might - gasp - tell lies to Michael Eavis's guards.

"Others advised people to arrive at the festival during busy times, when they were less likely to be checked."

At this point I wondered if Woodland Maiden is actually pulling everyone's legs, pretending to be patrolling the Ebay world but actually pointing out all the security flaws in the Glasto plan. "You could also catapult yourself over the fence, if you wished."

Do you think the Sun will send one of their writers down to see if they can breach the border security?


Billy Joel has bounced back to happiness and left the Betty Ford Clinic, which means either he really doesn't want a drink right now; or he wants one real, real bad.

Apparently now he's accepted that the vinegar that sliced beetroot comes in is a preservative and not an aperitif, he's going to set himself to work writing a couple of children's books. Right. Another bunch of crappy kid's books from washed up pop stars who don't even have any addictions to conjur up something imaginative. Maybe the world would be better off if he went down Hooters for an evening.


So it turns out the reason why Alicia Keys chose to make a success of music was because she didn't want to become a prostitute. She'd seen the girls working in Times Square when she was really young.

Wearing next to nothing; skinny to the point of illness; having to give large chunks of the cash they earn to "managers" who have little interest in them beyond how much cash they can pull in; a seedy little world where drugs are often used as a means of control and where most people are on something all the time.

But Alicia thought despite those failings, at least with the music industry you don't have to stand around in the cold outside all night. And so she learned to play the piano.


No sooner has Britney confirmed that, actually, it's not one too many plates of nachos, and she is going to have a lovely little baby, than bookies are taking bets on what its going to be called. For some reason, William Hills think she's going to turn her back on the celebrity habit of giving babies stupid names and will go with something like William or Harry (20-1 joint favourites) although Trailer is getting some action at 250-1.

For girls, Elizabeth is on the starting blocks at 3-1 (an untimely death of her majesty in the next few months would surely see the odds on that shorten considerably).

There's no indication from Hills as to why they believe Britney wouldn't have a stupid name for her child - we can only assume that they don't want people guessing she'll go for something totally random as why would you bother to place a bet on a name if you believe she'll just open the OED at random and pick a word?

Now, we always thought that bookies refused to accept bets on tragic events, which is why we find it odd that at the same time as taking bets on the child's name, they're also offering odds on Kevin and Britney getting a divorce - 4-1, in from sixes before the announcement. Either they feel the strain of having a kid will crack the marriage; or else they're thinking she was only interested in Kevin's hugely fertile testicles.


The dance music world is paying their own tribute to John Peel, by holding this year's SonarLab in his memory:

Peel maintained close ties with Sónar following his first visit to the festival in 2001 in search of emerging artists in SonarLab. This became his favourite venue, one which he never failed to visit in subsequent years, like a fan seeking out the latest bands and most interesting acts on the international scene.

For this reason, this year’s SonarLab is being held in honour of John Peel and his tremendous relevance in the music world. People who were close to Peel, like Rough Trade collective, will drop by the stage, as well as representatives of newly formed labels to present their catalogues. Peel never missed the occasion to see new bands that he would later broadcast on his show.


We'd hope not, but their General Counsel Geoff Taylor does seem to imply the latest thirty-three legal actions the UK music industry cartel is engaging on are being done to promote legal download services:

“We have warned people time and again that unauthorised filesharing is against the law. Anyone who is engaged in this activity faces having to pay thousands of pounds in compensation. It’s now easy to get music online legally. We will maintain our campaign until the message gets across.”

Although... if all they're interested in is "getting the message across" - actually, Geoff, I think people know. They just don't care that much.


Indie labels, who feel that the current plans to introduce downloads into the UK chart from this week are open to abuse, intend to make their point by rigging this week's big top 40. Guy Holmes, from Gut Records, explains:

"It's not a slight problem - it's a huge problem," Holmes told BBC News. "I know of two different labels who are considering buying records online because they believe it's the only way they can teach the chart people that the security of the chart is no longer there."

The UK Chart people reject this, of course:

"We're pretty confident on the security front and obviously haven't taken that issue lightly," said its director Omar Maskatiya, adding that any cheating will be dealt with. "We will treat hyping in the digital world in exactly the same way as we do for physical formats."

In other words, they'll turn a blind eye. A while back - many, many whiles back - we asked them if they'd be taking any action over the story in the Louis Walsh biography about the time he showed Boyzone that their "fans" was a large pile of singles in the back of his car. They never even replied.

Of course, the most amusing thing about all this is that there are still people who believe that the charts have any integrity at all. The only real difference made by allowing downloads into the chart is that if people want to rig the chart now, they won't have to ruin their rear axle by buying physical records. Ever since they started introducing rules about what actually counted as a single, there's been nothing approaching a fair, equal chart.


Kevin Federlin's one man mission to repopulate the human race ("like, dude, I know it hasn't been decimated yet, but it doesn't hurt to get a lap of lead") continues apace with the official confirmation that Britney Spears is pregnant. At least according to Britney:

Dear Fans,

The time has finally come to share our wonderful news that we are expecting our first child together. There are reports that I was in the hospital this weekend, Kevin and I just want everyone to know that all is well. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Britney & Kevin

Mind you, she might not be. Perhaps she's just believing what she reads in the tabloids.


No matter how much time, effort and money she spends on her look (like this, from her Elle photo shoot) she always looks like an eight year old trying to look grown-up in Mummy's clothes (while Mummy is down doing her shift at WalMart):


The long wait for a new Helen Love single is nearly over: Bubblegum Killers is scheduled for release May 2nd. Go on; you know you want one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


We're not the sort to be excited by the news that a once-famous act is turning up at G-A-Y, or "a step ahead of celebrity wrestling", but on April 30th they're hosting Daphne and Celeste and Lolly. Both of whom were a lot older than they were meant to be in the first place, and they're still pretending to be the same age. Hurrah!

We're also delighted that there's still, floating about online, a video capture from the time Daphne and Celeste were on hand to seranade Huw Edwards as he left TV Centre from BBC Choice's much-missed RDA. (Actually, can we have this back now? Please?) [RealPlayer link and, be warned, also features Jim Davidson]

Go on, treat yourself:

We Didn't Say That ("includes lyrics")

Lolly - My First (and indeed only) album


There's something so sweet about Britney Spears going 'alright' when a schoolkid - fourth grader Veronica You - pushed a note under her door asking for an interview, we feel our whole day is glowing a little.

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Mind you, when she got a piece of paper slipped into her room written on school paper, in the childish scrawl of a fourth grade kid saying 'can i talk to you', she probably thought it was Kevin Federline trying to set up a meeting.


Nick Lachey, who plays Darin in Jessica Simpson's Newly Weds programme, is keen to know when all the rumours of their marriage coming to an end will stop.

Dunno, Nick. When are you thinking of getting a divorce? End of season three? Round about then, then.


So, we have a name for the new White Stripes album - Get Behind Me Satan - and Amazon are already taking orders. And they're confirmed for Glastonbury.

So why doesn't it feel exciting?


We don't want to knock a fine-sounding idea, but Radio One's introduction of a new playlist category sounds to be like the introduction of extra codification where none is needed.

The 1-Upfront list will contain five songs from "emerging" artists (we don't know, but we'd guess it means whatever they damn well want it to mean). These five tracks will be guaranteed between two and four plays across the week.

The principle is good - guaranteed slots for new artists, hurray - but the question has to be: why, exactly, does Radio One need to have this sort of Soviet-era system?

Radio One head of music and live events Alex Jones-Donelly said: “In Radio One’s daytime output, we’ve never got the opportunity to play all the records we’d like to play."

But... but... if you'd like to play them, and they're worth playing, why aren't you playing them anyway? Have Virgin broken in and stolen them? Is there a secret BBC ban on playing certain records unless they're on a list? The only thing that, surely, stops Radio One playing what they want is the existence of a playlist at all. Trust your DJs, trust your producers, Radio One: don't introduce another mini-playlist - just scrap the list altogether. Then you can play all the records you'd like to play. All day. And forever.

If you haven't read The Nation's Favourite, by the way, you really should.


If we lived in Detroit, we'd probably vote for Martha Reeves, who is running for council there at the moment. Even if her platform is, well, a little vague:

"I think I've had a very good opportunity to travel the world and to observe things. I've always been a good team player and I figure I'll be an asset on our city council in Detroit.

"I'd like to start with the schools and have them, you know, sort of scrutinised and have them get a better understanding of how to educate our children."

Rumours that Michael Howard is now wishing he'd added "Sort of scrutinise schools" to the front page of the Tory election manifesto are frankly made up; really, they don't want to be tying themselves down to that sort of pledge at this point.

But it's no good being Martha Reeves if you can't work in the song title, is it? Luckily, on the stump, her inspiration didn't let her down:

"I think that our city council could probably get along better if they had a little music. And I'll get them to dance in the streets."


There's a wee slap-fight going on between Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Page was upset that Plant couldn't be arsed to turn up to the Grammy Awards; Plant has basically suggested that Page really should try and find himself a hobby to fill the post Led Zeppelin void in his life:

"Jimmy had a bit of a go at me for not being there, but what can you do? What I'm doing now is more important to me.

"It's great to look back and smile. But middle-aged self-congratulation is very dangerous."


Our new favourite band, The Priscillas, are apparently about to do a quick jaunt to America (there the better to kick The Donnas' butts, we presume); they're scheduled to do a few gigs in New York and New Jersey, plus (on the 19th) they're doing a WFMU session. They nearly won the BBC Somerset competition for a slot on the Peel stage at Glastonbury, but somehow they were beaten by the Mad Staring Eyes. We bet Peel would have given The Priscillas first place.


A further indication that Oasis have more or less given up being treated as a proper band: they've granted first review rights for the new album to, erm, Victoria Newton's tits and tattle Bizarre column in the Sun. Nice to see Noel cosying up to the Murdoch press, but it's paid off:

I'm the first journalist OASIS have let hear their new album Don’t Believe The Truth – and I’m amazed how much I love it trills Victoria.

By which we guess that she means she liked it even more than she was contractually obliged to under the first listen agreement.

Congratulations, Noel: you're now so washed-up as a creative force you're reduced to launching your album in a gossip column.

HERE WE GO, TOM: Electo-pop

Tom Morello said that if he had a vote in the UK elections, he'd ask Billy Bragg how to use it. Happily, Billy Bragg is prepared to do just that. He's organising a tactical voting campaign to try and shift Oliver Letwin out of his Dorset seat; none of the parties seem that impressed. What is amusing, though, is that the Tories seem to think the landslide which swept so many of them from power in 1997 was a result of tactical working:

"It is quite clear that the tactical voting that was around in 1997 is falling apart and if anything we might even be seeing tactical voting against Mr Blair."

Monday, April 11, 2005


This years nominations for the Ivors have been published, and it's a mix between the truly good (The Streets), the truly awful (Limp Bizkit covering The Who) and Natasha Bedingfield. This is what's up for what:

Best song musically and lyrically:
Dry Your Eyes Performed by The Streets. Written by Mike Skinner.
These Words Performed by Natasha Bedingfield. Written by Stephen Kipner/Andrew Frampton/Natasha Bedingfield/Wayne Wilkins.
Everybody's Changing Performed by Keane. Written by Tim Rice-Oxley/Tom Chaplin/Richard Hughes

Now, we have a soft spot for Keane, and we know that's more or less akin to saying you enjoy weeing on babies or actually masturbating while watching one of Richard Desmond's porn channels, but there you are. But natasha bedingfield? Under whose ordinance? Still, this really should be a sweet victory for the Streets, don't you think?

Best contemporary song:
For Lovers Performed by Wolfman Featuring Pete Doherty. Written by Peter Wolfe/Peter Doherty/Julian Taylor/Edmund Scott/Matt White/David Banks/Matt Scott.
Blinded By The Lights Performed by The Streets. Written by Mike Skinner.
Take Me Out Performed by Franz Ferdinand. Written by Robert Hardy/Alex Kapranos/Nick McCarthy.

Ah, and here are Franz Ferdinand - once again, they and the Streets dominate all another awards ceremony with a dose of Doherty and/or Libertines; these things have been converging for some years now, but has there been a year before where the same bands lead the Mercurys, the Brits, the NME awards, the sales charts and the Ivors? We are all indie kids now, it seems.

Most performed work:
Amazing Performed by George Michael. Written by George Michael/ Jonathan Douglas.
Toxic Performed by Britney Spears. Written by Cathy Dennis/ Christian Karlsson/Henrik Jonback.
Thank You Performed by Jamelia. Written by Jamelia Davies/Carsten Schack/Peter Biker.

Did the George Michael song really get played that often? Thank You we did hear being drummed to death, and Toxic seems to have been on in every shop and every planet-bursting we've been to this year.

International hit of the year:
Behind Blue Eyes Performed by Limp Bizkit. Written by Pete Townshend.
Do They Know It's Christmas? Performed by Band Aid 20. Written by Bob Geldof/Midge Ure.
Vertigo Performed by U2. Written by Bono/The Edge/Adam Clayton/Larry Mullen Jr.

Good god, what a shambles of a category - and why is Band Aid 20 "international"? Sure, Geldof is Irish, but Ure isn't - and very few of the stellar cast (you bet your arse we're being catty) weren't from the UK. But then, any judging system which chooses Limp Bizkit as one of the three best songs not from the UK last year obviously has a serious flaw in it.

Best selling UK single:
All This Time Performed by Michelle McManus. Written by Wayne Hector/Steve Mac/Lorne A Tennant.
Do They Know It's Christmas? Performed by Band Aid 20. Written by Bob Geldof/Midge Ure.
Call On Me Performed by Eric Prydz. Written by Steve Winwood/Eric Prydz/Will Jennings.

Hang about... all of a sudden Band Aid is UK again? What's going on here?

Best original film score:
Deep Blue Composed by George Fenton.
Man On Fire Composed by Harry Gregson-Williams.
Enduring Love Composed by Jeremy Sams.

Best original music for television:
Fallen Composed by Paul Leonard-Morgan.
North And South Composed by Martin Phipps.
Blackpool Composed by Rob Lane.

We'd go with North and South, ourselves. Out on DVD now, too, you know:


They've not taken full control yet, but already the influence of Clear Channel is starting to be felt at the Mean Fiddler - they've announced plans to try and increase the numbers attending Reading by 10,000 - over 18% more people coming into an already overstretched area. Residents in the area aren't particularly thrilled, although the Mean Fiddler's Melvin Benn tries to suggest that there won't be a traffic impact:

"We also have the ability to sell the additional 10,000 tickets on a combined package of either rail and ticket use or national express and ticket use. The impact on the local community, such as traffic, will be negligible because the only method of buying the ticket is through purchase of a combined package."

Because, of course, nobody is going to buy a ticket with a cheap add-on for coach travel from somewhere nearby - say, Oxford - and turn up by car anyway. Are they?


Like the Conservative Party, Girls Aloud have confounded everyone's expectations (and, lets be frank, hopes) that they'd just disappear quietly. Like the Tories, though, they just seem to take the attitude that since they've survived against the odds, they might as well push things a little harder and stack the odds against their survival a little bit more. In other words, their plans to do a cover of Chris Isaak'as Wicked Game is their election of Michael Howard to leadership role. It might not be the longest suicide note in history, but it is the most cloth-eared rendering the word "Help Us" in Number 7 lipstick on a bathroom mirror that we can think of.

When on earth did they make this decision?

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We really had wondered if Michael Bolton could make himself seem any more dull, but he really has pulled the stops out for us. He loves going on tour, he says. Why? The chance to sample new cultures, see astonishing new sites? Maybe it's a good excuse to nip down to the local shops and pick up some fresh influences in the local record store? No, it's because touring means he can play a new golf course. Good grief.


Our ears did prick up slightly when we heard that oh-so-sweet Christian rock act Amy Grant is going to make her fans' dreams come true for a new TV series.

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But it turns out it's just going to be a Jim'll Fix It type affair rather than making those dreams come true. Yes, even if you supply the catsuit and swimming pool full of chicken soup yourself.


Big Boi from Outkast is having to expand the parking slots in his new home to 17, due to a habit of stopping and buying cars he sees with a 'For sale' ad in the window.

Mind you, if you're thinking that could be the way to get rid of your beat-up T reg Fiesta, he does seem to prefer Rolls Royces - which makes us wonder who, exactly, would try and sell a Phantom by sticking a card in the window with a mobile number? Boi reckons loads of people do this in his neighbourhood...


So, you're writing Good Charlotte slash fiction, but you feel a bit queasy whenever you make Benji and Joel get off with each other. The solution? you just decide to not make them twins. There's always an ethical workaround.

But can anyone explain why there's quite so much Good Charlotte fanfic on the web?


The CPS have confirmed that the Doherty-Wass charges have been dropped, which presumably means that Pete will be relieved of the need to operate under strict curfew terms and conditions.

Pity; that seemed to be the only way to guarantee he'd turn up on time to play a gig.


This would be your Glastonbury 2005 line-up, then:


+ White Stripes
+ Coldplay
+ Kylie
+ The Killers
+ New Order
+ Doves
+ Elvis Costello
+ Brian Wilson
+ Van Morrison
+ The Zutons
+ The Coral
+ Ash
+ Kaiser Chiefs
+ Goldie Looking Chain
+ Jools Holland
+ The Thrills
+ John Butler Trio
+ The Undertones
+ The Subways
+ Taj Mahal
+ Hayseed Dixies
+ Garbage


+ Razorlight
+ Kasabian
+ Ian Brown
+ Fatboy Slim
+ Royksop
+ Bloc Party
+ Interpol
+ Rufus Wainwright
+ The Bravery
+ Futureheads
+ Echo And The Bunnymen
+ Athlete
+ The Dears
+ Cooper Temple Clause
+ Hot Hot Heat
+ Soulwax
+ Cake
+ Thirteen Senses
+ Brendon Benson
+ Martha Wainwright
+ Tom Vek
+ Black Bud
+ Dead 60's
+ KT Tunstall
+ Modey Lemon
+ Engineers


+ The Tears
+ Go Team
+ Bright Eyes
+ The Earlies
+ Willy Mason
+ Mia
+ Secret Machines
+ M83
+ Your Code Name Is Milo
+ Maximo Park
+ Nine Black Alps
+ Jem
+ James Blunt
+ Dresden Dols
+ The Subways
+ Be Your Own Pet
+ Rilo Kiley
+ The Rakes
+ Art Brut
+ Hard Fi
+ Longcut
+ Morning Runner
+ Infidels
+ Outset
+ El President


Broadly, of course, we're in agreement with the article Chris Martin has signed - sorry, written - in today's Times, where he sets out his big election issue. Yes, we need to sort out the African debt crisis and free trade. But does Chris really believe that this is the key issue at this election?

It is often said that ordinary people don’t care about issues such as Africa, but I don’t think this is true. Look at the £37 million raised by Comic Relief this year. Look at the 6.5 million people who have signed the Big Noise petition to make trade fair

Mmm, people do care about it, but the issue which will guide people's hands at the ballot box? That seems unlikely. More to the point: if it is, shouldn't Martin be suggesting what strategy those concerned about Africa should be adopting at the polls? But advice there comes none (although, frankly, we can probably all work out for ourselves that Oliver Letwin as Chancellor isn't going to be news they'll be hoping for in Sub-Saharan Africa). There's not even advice about things to look out for, questions to ask local candidates. In effect, Martin's big piece about the election isn't about the election at all.


He's deleted all the posts on his Limp Bizkit blog again - probably just as well, the April 1st stuff was so lame even we looked the other way and pretended it wasn't happening. Now, all there is this entry:


How totally gnomic. The bizkit diehards fall into two loose groupings, to judge by the comments: those who think that this is just about the smartest thing they've ever heard (like... it's just the music, man) and a larger group who are getting pissed off with all this Nancy Drew level mystery bullshit and want to know the release date of the album. To us, it we're reminded of the bit in Heathers where the priest goes "Eskimo."

Of course, all the mystery about what the album will called and when it will be released is sort of pointless as Amazon is already accepting pre-release orders for the album The Unquestionable Truth Part One, shipping from May 3rd.

And you've gotta love that "part one"; this stylish move adapted from Listen Without Prejudice Volume One, we suspect.


Michael's Mom, Katherine Jackson, has explained that her not being in court to hear a security guard tell the jury he'd seen Jacko giving a blow job to a thirteen year old wasn't because she was alarmed at the prospect of hearing details of her son having sex with a teenage lad, but because she hadn't been able to get back in after a toilet break.

The defense, meanwhile, reckons the former guard has made up the story because he lost an earlier lawsuit against Jackson. It's increible the number of times they've been able to suggest a negative witness is claiming revenge after some other battle with Jackson - he doesn't have many friends, does he?

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Good grief - Madonna's acting is now so rotten that even when Guy Ritchie's in charge of the movie, her efforts end up being melted down and ploughed into the ground. If even Guy thinks she's so poor that he's prepared to risk sleeping on the sofa, where will she ever find a producer insane enough to let her have her way on a filmset again? In the mirror, that's where - she's planning to turn producer.

Her first big idea is a backstage movie following Madonna around the world on a tour - yes, the idea does sound familiar; that was the idea behind the rubbishy Truth or Dare ("look, here's Warren Beatty again... my big friend has apparently been date raped but, nevermind, look, it's ME!"... and here's Warren beatty again..."), but at that point at least there was a degree of interest in Madonna behind the scenes. Now it's going to be Kabollocks and no close-ups on the hands, the prospect of spending ninety minutes watching carefully chosen image bolstering is even grimmer.

Apparently, the idea is to get this movie shown at Cannes, which will give her an in to line-up directors for her next big idea. Material Girls, which is a film that seems to exist purely because it's one of her song titles. The plot is about a pair of cosmetic company heiresses who lose their family fortune." In other words, Madonna's two big ideas are remaking the last movie she appeared in that anyone paid to see, and half an idea stolen from The Simple Life.

Meanwhile: Apparently she's still too busy with all this to issue a response to the bloke from the Kabballah Centre's claims that the Jews who died in the holocaust had brought it on themselves. Her phone must never stop ringing.


If Mariah Carey is really so very worried that being born to a famous mother would ruin a child's life, why doesn't she just stop putting on the push-up bra and making records? Indeed, Mariah says she's so worried, she's prepared to wait until her career dwindles before embarking on starting a family. So, that's about two years ago, then. Here's how Mariah explains it all:

"For me, it's a very big commitment to have a child. Even just as a famous person, to bring a child into the world, you have to think about how to explain it to them, because they're not choosing to come into the life of a celebrity, they're going to be born into it.

How terribly difficult it must be, being a famous person. And to think most mothers on the planet think they've got it tough trying to make the food and money stretch - they should try raising a child with a busy OK Magazine schedule to keep to.


We'd suggest that when you reach the point where, like Hilary Duff, you're spendinhg fifty dollars buying your dog a dress, it's time to acknowledge that you don't need any more money.


What's perhaps the most puzzling thing about the report of a Metallica computer game is that Lars Ulrich chooses the same point to sniff dismisively about the possibility of there being a greatest hits album - as if the thought of doing that would be somehow worse than letting yourself be pixelated and zapped into the heads of game-players.

Mind you, at least its a shreweder adaptation of new technology than their Napster war: this week, Nielsen announced mens spending on computer games overtook their spending on music in the US; and a quarter of gamers are over 40, so that's right in the Metallica market. (Music now is third bloke purchase each month, behind video games and DVDs)

Thanks to MightyPie for the link (which they sent me ages ago...)


He's unlikely to be the next Prime Minister, but it's possible he could have a kingmaker role, if there's a hung parliament. But is there any Kingmaker in his record collection? Here's what Charles Kennedy chose when he was on Desert Island Discs:

1. 'The Cameron Highlanders'
Performer Ian Kennedy Composer Trad.

Well, there's one for the constituents...

2. 'Young Americans'
Performer David Bowie

3. 'Vissi d'arte' from Tosca
Performer Maria Callas with Paris Conservatoire Orchestra

4. 'Fly me to the Moon' (in other words)
Performer Frank Sinatra

5. 'Praise my Soul the King of Heaven'
Performer Choir of Christ's College, Cambridge

6. 'Waiting on a Friend'
Performer Rolling Stones

7. 'Nimrod' from Elgar's Enigma Variations
Performer Simon Rattle & the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

At this point, it's all going so well, you can almost hear Peter Snow gasping as his virtual Commons chamber fills up with little golden men. But then, Kennedy blows it:

8. 'Dancing in the Moonlight'
Performer Toploader

Arrrgh! Why, Charles, why?

The other curious question about Charles' picks is that he asks for his luxury to be a CD player - but you get a solar-powered CD player as a given on the island (since they realised a wind-up gramophone wasn't going to work any more). So why has he blown his luxury on getting something he's already got? Is it that he's just incredibly cautious, that he hadn't mastered the brief, or was too shy to ask for the large crate of bottles that we all know he'd really much prefer?


It's only the News of the World which is claiming it, and we know how reliable they are, but apparently the charges against Pete Doherty are going to be forgotten. The NOTW quotes a source who says that Pete told a bloke down the pub who told a man who told his wife who said to him that Doherty's already been told informally the charges are being dropped - nobody seems to know why yet, but we suspect the Crown Prosecution Service had a feeling they were going to get caught up in a lot of silly bickering and walked away.