Saturday, July 09, 2005


It's not immediately apparent why the BBC - which had some problems squaring public service and impartially last week to cover Live 8 - is so keen to give so much air time to the T in the Park festival. The whole thing is, after all, an elaborate advert for a brand of beer, from title downwards; more to the point, since all you're getting is a watered down Glastonbury bill, there's a question about who's hanging on for this show. We understand the value of the festival - being there, seeing the acts in the flesh; a second chance to see your heroes right in front of you if you missed the chance of seeing them at Glasto. But if you missed them on the TV at Glasto, surely all you need is a highlights programme or bittorrent?

Everything about this year's coverage feels a little tired - Edith Bowmann, coming after a fortnight doing fieldwork for Pilton and Geldofest looks like she's desperate to be inside a proper studio; she's supported by Dougie Anderson, a man who clearly could step into Patrick Kielty's shoes at a moment's notice; it's that fact alone which stops people wrapping Kielty's house in flypaper and trapping him forever inside.

The tiredness and the way festivals just swallow the music industry whole is apparent in the backstage interviews, too - everyone's tales are of other festivals: Peter Hook talks about watching people in a Belgian festival last week; Brandon Flowers recalls Glastonbury; and on it goes - a tented village moving from one field at the end of a motorway to another.

Brandon Flowers, it's worth mentioning, does his interview wearing really cheap looking Chanel sunglasses - exactly like Saira from The Apprentice; Tom Audioslave is also doing a Saira tribute, bellowing his between songs chats - although, Audioslave's taking of a sledgehammer to a song, reducing it to rubble and then rebuilding it in a well-meaning but largely forgotten good cause probably owes more to Extreme Makeover - Home Edition than The Apprentice.

The thinner bill means that a lot of bands get prime screen time on BBC THREE who at other festivals would have been tucked away behind press red, out of hours, and usually hidden by a secret code word on a distant page of CEEFAX. It's not always good news, as The Ordinary Boys are surprisingly off-form. Or perhaps down to their essential nature - wanting to be The Specials, they're at best more like Madness, but a Madness with more crazy dancing, less awareness and insight into the hopes and disappointments of everyday life. Striving for Two Tone, tonight at least, they're disappointingly monotone.

Since the reunion of the Pixies showed that not every burying of hatchets has to end in the sort of performances which are run through with the obvious torpor created by a remarriage of tax-bill convenience, there have been a slew of gettings together which have hoped to dip some beaks into the lucrative revenues offered by older, richer fans while still preserving credibility in the same way. The Las, to be honest, haven't quite managed it. It's not so much that John Power now looks like a Jim Henson tribute to himself, not that Lee Mavers years of smack have left him looking like a picture of Noel Gallagher drawn on Mick Jagger's testicle. No, the real disappointment is that they sound so ordinary and tired. They're so devoid of magic, when they play There She Goes, it sounds like they're doing a Sixpence None The Richer cover.

Sunday review


We missed this when it first broadcast a couple of weeks ago, and it's nothing you won't have noticed: the tape cassette is in its last few days.

Last year, sales of prerecorded tapes in the UK fell below a million units - and we'd imagine the only thing keeping them even just about alive is the number of cars which still have tape machines in them; audio books are also keeping the little spools spinning, but the sole reason for taped books remaining popular is, apparently, the place you switch off is the place you switch on again - but that's a slim advantage compared with the risk that your Agatha Christie is going to chew itself up before you find out whodunnit; even in the audiobook world, two thirds of sales are on CD now.

Low CD penetration in poorer countries means that, for example, 50% of music sales are still on tape in India - and, interestingly, that rises to 80% for Saudi Arabia, which shows how poorly shared the wealth is there, doesn't it?

America's main tape manufacturer has closed; and Third World demand will not last forever. Tape - the stuff that sustained us while we were waiting for digital music to be invented; the comfort to Tracy Barlow while her parents were fighting - is having its last dance.

Memorial Gift shop item:

Thurston Moore's Mix Tape: The Art of Cassette Culture


The tale of Omarion and the London Bomb Press Release is a curious and twisted one, and it's hard to see where the truth lays. PR Newswire carried a press release shortly after the bombings:

The release very simply stated that Omarion "was in London during the tragic bombings that struck [Thursday] morning. He would like his fans to pray that he has a safe trip and a safe return home. He appreciates your support."

Reuters picked up what seemed to be a typical piece of musician'e go missing the perspetcive, and tracked down the PR apparently responsible for the release:

AR PR publicist Shana Gilmore — who, when asked why Omarion needed to be kept in anyone's thoughts, was quoted by Reuters as saying, "He wasn't hurt or anything, but just the fact that he was there and all that" — claims she was misquoted. She added that she doesn't work with Omarion, and never has — even though, as her firm's Web site points out, AR PR handled the May 6 record-release party for his album, O.

Meanwhile, a curiously worded statement popped up on Omarion's official website:


According to representatives at the artist's record label, Sony Urban/Epic Records, statements and sentiments appearing in a Reuters-syndicated article (Thu Jul 7, 2005 9:22 PM BST) and attributed to the American R&B singer Omarion were never made by the performer.

Contrary to statements made in the article, Omarion is in no way affiliated with the pr marketing firm mentioned in the piece. The "publicist" quoted in the article is not a legitimate representative of the artist, is not known to the artist, and is not acting on the artist's behalf.

Omarion regrets any association with the article and hopes that fans will not be taken in by unfounded and unauthorized statements.

The curious thing, of course, is that this is Omarion's official site, and yet it's reporting the denial at at least one remove.

Equally curious is, right now, if you got, you're bounced over to Yahoo. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, though, they've not been able to do anything about the google cache of their pagewhich proudly reports:

TUG and Universal Presents The Ultimate White Party Omarion's Album Release "O" and Marques Houston Birthday Bash. Friday, May 6th in Hollywood California. For more information contact AR PR Marketing Firm Headquarters at 323-330-0555.

Even more interesting: PR Newswire claims the USD635 fee was paid by TUG/Sony and Reuters is standing by its story. Gilmore claims Reuters' quotes weren't made by her.

It looks like the attempts to reverse the negative press from what was either a rogue press release or a really, really poorly thought out attempt to hijack some coverage from a tragedy are making a bad situation much, much worse.


The death has been announced of Ray Davis, the founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic. The 65 year-old died on Tuesday in New Brunswick from respitory complications.

Davis was a member of Parliament from the start, wading in when George Clinton brought the group together in a Plainfield, New Jersey high school. Originally a barbershop quartet with doo-wop overtones, Davis provided the bass vocals and remained active as name changes, sister groups and the whole P-Funk/Funkadelic/Parliament/The Parliaments multiplicity rolled on, including appearances on Funkadelic's Free Your Mind Your And Ass Will Follow; One Nation Under A Groove - a Billboard Number One - and Flashlight.

More recently, Davis turned up for a brief spell in the Temptations and reprised his bass vocals for The Original P, a bunch of former Parliamentarians.

Friday, July 08, 2005


"And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win";
"But what good came of it at last?"
Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why that I cannot tell," said he,
"But 'twas a famous victory."

And so it seems that we're in a position where a really so-so settlement for Africa is being given a positive spin by the Live 8 team. Despite the posturing at Hyde Park and around the events of last weekend, giving the impression that if the G8 didn't bow to the will of the people, Bob and Bono would want to know why, tonight Bono was appearing on Channel 4 News to praise Blair and Brown for their famous victory in getting... well, not that much. As Oxfam lashed the G8 for still condemning 50 million children to death; as Christian Aid reacted in disgust to the "business as usual" approach to trade; as Kumi Naidoo from the Global Call to Action Against Poverty insisted "the people have roared but the G8 have whispered... the promise to deliver by 2010 is like waiting 5 years before responding to the tsunami", Bono was hailing the great success:

"If an Irish rock star might be allowed to quote Winston Churchill, probably shouldn't be, no this is not the end of world poverty but in Churchill's words it is the 'beginning of the end'.

Actually, Bono, Churchill's phrase was "now this is not the end. It is not even the begining of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the begining." He was making it clear there wasn't light at the end of the tunnel, not even yet - which might be where Africa finds itself, but not what you had in mind.

"As someone who's had a few doors slammed in their face over the past six months I do know this: Prime Minister Blair's involvement was critical in getting some essential last pieces to this puzzle out of the Americans and others.

"You have to give it up for him here - he delivered.

Last Saturday, we were told it was unacceptable that 50,000 people die every day; today, Bono seems to be thinking it's a massive breakthrough that - if all the promises made today are honoured - 37,000 people will still be dying every day in 2010. If he and Bob were meant to be our voices at the top table, it seems they thought the message we wanted to send was "make sure the communique portrayed the leaders in the best possible light.

We've just seen Bono pop up on News 24 - it's purple sunglasses today, by the way - and he's still doing his "hey, politicians aren't good at showbiz" schitck. But Bono, we don't want politicians to be entertainers. We want them to be just and fair and wise.

It's interesting the Bob has continued to play fast and loose with numbers - in much the same way that he was overcounting viewing figures, now he's overcounting effects. While Bono was suggesting that 600,000 people might make it through the next five years, Geldof was trumpeting ten million saved. Bob's comments so far haven't actually been those of a man outraged at a tiny gesture - indeed, he's adopted the sort of politician's bluster about 'the art of the possible' that twenty years ago would have had him raging:

To save lives is never a whisper. People were screaming before, a whisper is not a bad thing. Please, perspective!"

Something for the 37,000 corpses we can still be looking forward to be burying every day in 2010 to take comfort from, there: they need to keep their deaths in some sort of perspective.


The outcome of the G8 might not have been what everyone was hoping for, but at least Live 8 is going to leave a lasting legacy: it might not have made Poverty History, but it's certainly going to help keep EMI shareholders in bubbly and bath oliver biscuits: the DVD deal was stitched up in advance. And EMI is keen to suggest that it deserves to make a healthy profit off the back of the poorest people in the world, hinting that there wouldn't have been a show if it wasn't for their cash:

EMI spokesman Adam Grossberg declined to provide details about the DVD negotiations but said the label did pay a "multimillion-dollar advance to the Live 8 organization, which helped make the July 2 concert possible. Once we break even [after resulting sales], there will be future contributions. It was an exceptionally generous royalty rate."

Exceptionally generous, perhaps, but you'll note that EMI aren't actually doing this out the goodness of their dark little hearts. They're quite happy to swing by to make some money out of the misery in Africa.

Due out for Christmas, when there won't be snow in Africa, but there will be trebles all round in EMI's HQ.

The story also features some more figures towards helping us see if Bob came close to his two billion viewers he claimed. In the US, 2.2 million watched on MTV, five million for AOL and 2.9 million on ABC. We make that 10.1 million American viewers, which when added to the UK's nine million leaves quite a lot of ground for viewers in the rest of the world to make up to get to that 1,000,000,000 total.


It's pretty unusual to see an admission of a screw-up in any of the Live 8 coverage, but at least MTV has had the balls to admit that it dropped the ball with its coverage last weekend. Amongst the actions which left American viewers bemused and angry was the decision by the network to cut away to a honing VJ midway through the Pink Floyd reunion; in a bid to try and make up for it, MTV and VH1 in the US are going to rerun great chunks of the music this weekend.

Of course, this weekend is way, way too late.


Having had the fun of 'is she up the duff or not' stolen from them by a successful fertilisation of one of her eggs, the press needs something else to speculate over. So, the question now is: Is Britney having twins?

Image hosted by

We wonder if this rumour is based on someone overhearing her saying "I don't know what it's going to be like when I've got two demanding little souls sucking at me and crying and throwing tantrums..." - which could mean twins; or it could be counting Kevin as well.

Nobody in the Britney camp is giving any indication that she might have more than one foetus in her womb.


While there's nothing to stop J-Lo launching another perfume, bringing her range of over-priced toilet water up to four, we're not sure we're tempted by her description of her new stink: Live:

According to MTV the 35-year-old singer-actress claims that Live will "reveal the core of her inner being."

Now, I've sniffed what people have inside them, and I'm not sure that it's what I'd choose to mask a bit of sweat with.


The no-show of Babyshambles at Oasis' Southampton gig has cost them the Milton Keynes support - and when you're so unreliable even the Gallaghers notice, you're in serious trouble. The Zutons have been drafted in to replace them:

A spokesperson for Oasis' management said Babyshambles failed to show at Southampton without any warning or explanation.

"As a result they don't want to run the risk of disappointing fans with another no show for such an important event this Saturday."

We're sure Liam will have a word with Pete: "all this partying with famous stars is all well and good, but now look, you've let yourself fown..."

Meanwhile, as Noel and Liam fall out of love with him, Katie Lewis - a previous squeeze of Doherty's - has issued a warning to Kate Moss not to get too wrapped up in her dreams of being the cult couple:

Kate needs to realise there's very little that's
actually real about Pete. It's like he's trying to work his way through the 'How To Be A Rock Star' handbook - he's done the drugs, sex, groupies and now the supermodel girlfriend.

There's nothing very original about him. He copied JIMI HENDRIX's jackets, drew a star on his face like DAVID BOWIE and played a gig
right outside Buckingham Palace - like the SEX PISTOLS.

Pete has so much to gain from his relationship with Kate - and she has nothing. I've been there, Kate, and trust me, there has only ever been one love in Pete's life. Don't think it's ever going to be you."

Which is more devastating than merely complaining he left the seat up and didn't call when he went out getting smack.


Apparently aware that she was going to be unable to get to a studio for the near future, Lil'Kim had recorded a single designed to settle some scores for release while she gets shown how to use the big press in the laundry room.

In Shut Up Bitch - where do they come up with these brilliantly inventive titles? - Kim denies that she's anything as terrible as a penniless drug user. Which is going to be awkward when she meets up with penniless drug users inside, who might want to ask her what's so wrong with their lifestyle of choice. She also denies that she's had plastic surgery, which some of the girls down on D-wing might also choose to investigate more closely.

There's some disquiet in New York (manily amongst the tabloids) that Kim has been given a light sentence that hardly seems appropriate for lying to a grand jury. The sentencing judge, Gerard Lynch, explained that he would have given Kim a longer stretch, but since Martha Stewart only did five months for her crime, it didn't seem entirely fair on Kim, as a "young black entertainer."

So, it really does seem US justice is getting to grips with how you treat celebrities in court cases: according to different standards to the rest of us, and with kid gloves, it transpires.

And nobody can think that's a good idea, can they?

Apart from her.

ROCK SICK LIST: Hall laid low by a deer

Daryl Hall and his partner-in-my-pocket John Oates have put their touring schedule on hold after Hall falling ill with Lyme Disease. Apparently, at least according to Yahoo News, this is a disease spread by the bite of infected deer ticks. We can only speculate on how this happened.

July dates are axed, but they're hoping they'll be able to pick up their dates in August.


It's not just Johnny Borrell who will be excited at the news that the Georgia Institute of Technology have invented a robot which can play the guitar tolerably well. The other advantages of the machine, Crazy j is that he doesn't want to share the rider, the publishing or the groupies.

Of course, the drum machine never quite made drummers extinct, but drummers usually offered the added benefit of having access to a transit van.

If they add a voice chip which has some stock phrases ("Time to take your shirt off", "You're right, Johnny", "don't listen to the NME, they've all got needledicks"), the one-piece Razorlight will be just around the corner...


It's good news that Kylie is getting better with each passing day, but we can't help but raise a curious eyebrow at the way Dannii Minogue reported the news while opening an exhibition at the Natural History Museum:

"I heard she's going to be fine. She's really lucky her cancer has been treatable. She's going to get well and is getting better by the day. I can't wait for her to be back fully on her feet again."

Ah, yes... breast cancer. What luck, eh?


While we doubt that there's any terrorist group sat somewhere monitoring No Rock, waiting to calibrate the scale of their victory according to if we're doing normal service or not, we feel that if somebody is killing people in a bid to try and disrupt everyone's lives, the strongest message you can send them is to carry on as normal, as much as you can

So... the coming together of two generations of loose cannoning that had been promised in Southampton on Tuesday night, with Babyshambles supporting Oasis, didn't come to be as Pete Doherty got stuck in France. (According to tabloid gossip, the problem was a massive row between Pete and Kate Moss on a Eurostar, but who knows?)

Apparently, Pete had been in Paris for Hedi Slimane's birthday party. That's quite some circles he's moving in these days...

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Some of the more regular blogging musicians and music bloggers have turned their blogs in the direction of London today, as you might expect:

Bob Mould calls it a "difficult day"; while Moby offers a longer perspective:

as a new yorker who understands what it is to experience first hand the slaughter of innocents at the hands of terrorists, i would like to say to the people of london and the uk that i'm deeply sorry for your loss and your pain.

Over in London, Dickon from Fosca is safe:

I'm entirely safe and unharmed here in Highgate. Sorry to disappoint you, Unkind Reader. Woken up by a phone call from my father checking I was okay.

It's just as well that I'm in a not-going-out-in-London mood at the moment. After a series of bomb attacks in town, London Transport has been pretty much closed down for the time being (tempting the Dorothy Parker quote about the dead president - 'How can you tell?').

The bombs were initially reported as 'power surges' on the Tube. Later it transpires this was an accidental interpretation rather than a deliberate euphemism, but at the time I assume the latter, and muse if this is the 2005 terrorist equivalent of the theatre fire signal, 'Mr Sands is in dressing room 3.' Anything rather than shouting 'Fire!'

It seems silly at first, even insulting and deceptive, but when the level of panic alone can make a difference to casualties, one has to admit it makes sense. The only time I understand you are meant to actually cry 'Help! Fire!' is when you're being raped or mugged. The psychology of alarm. Two pictures on the news take me aback before I turn off. One is a dark, cave-like photo of people walking along Tube tunnels. The other is of splattered bloodstains halfway up the wall of the BMA building in Tavistock Square. The stains are level with the top deck of the exploded bus.

DJ Martian was on a bus, not that far from the one outside the BMA; while Tom at Indie MP3 makes the mistake of watching the hysterical coverage on Sky News. (We must mention, at this point, that we flicked on Fox a while back, and saw a good five minute chunk of them taking a direct feed from Sky of Charles Clarke giving an interview; they cut back to the studio where the fair and balanced anchor started with "there's obviously some sort of law enforcement official there...")

Pop Matters' Robert Collins captures the sudden shift from Olympic victory to exploding buses and suggests that the future might be a bit gloomy.

But over in the upstairs wing of the ACME blog, the London News Review has an open letter to the terrorists, which pretty much sums up the prevailing mood of the city and the nation at the moment:

What the fuck do you think you're doing?

This is London. We've dealt with your sort before. You don't try and pull this on us.
We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.

And that's because we're better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And we're going to go about our lives. We're going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we're going to work. And we're going down the pub.

So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your arseholes, and get the fuck out of our city.


It's interesting to watch the tensions between a desire to carry on as normal and a reluctance to make yourself a target - sure, it looks like the bombs are over, but nobody's keen to tempt fate; gathering in large numbers outdoors feels a little like it might be jinxing yourself. So, Queen and REM have cancelled their Hyde Park gigs - the dates for the 8th and 9th of July respectively are being put back a full week. Tickets remain valid; if you can't make it on the new dates, point of purchase for a refund.


Following on from the terrorist attacks in London this morning, a slew of gigs in London have already been pulled - Sum 41 at the Astoria, Nate James at Shepherds Bush Empire and El Presidente at the Underbelly; Queens of the Stone Age haven't yet made an official announcement about their Somerset House gig but, frankly, with very little moving in the Capital and the likelihood of no tube service at all, we'd be very surprised if they go ahead; indeed, any gig which requires more than a transit vans' worth of equipment and people doing more than a fifteen minute walk to the door is going to suffer from no end of logisitical problems, even if the band and fans are still in the mood.

Drowned In Sound are also watching the situation but, as in most offices across the South of England and beyond today, their minds are elsewhere.


This so isn't bitching about popstars: if you're having trouble getting details about the attacks in London: UK Indymedia is running a lot of grassroots coverage and wikipedia and Wikinews is also a good source of updates.

UPDATE: There's also a collection of Flickr images from the scenes.

There's an emergency line for people seeking information about relatives:
0208 358 0101
Obviously, only use that if you're really concerned about a relative or a friend.


Suddenly, Samantha Mumba is in the news again; albeit for being stopped driving a car on an Irish motorway without tax, insurance or a driving licence. In court yesterday, she was able to provide an insurance certificate but didn't offer a licence or tax disc.

In a bid to prompt people's memories, Ireland Online described Mumba as having appeared in a "recent" Hollywood adpatation of the Time Machine. As recently as 2002.


We've not even got the final G8 communique yet (they're debating if they can expalin away dumping of CO2 in Africa as a form of aid, we guess) and already the race to be the first to nominate Geldof for the Nobel Peace Prize has been won, with Jan Simonsen, a Norwegian MP, suggesting it should be Bob:

"Bob Geldof took the initiative in July 2005 to arrange a string of rock concerts to focus on the problems of poor nations, and pressure the world's leading politicians to take actions in fighting poverty."

Hmmm. How about, rather than focusing on one man, nominating all the people who contributed to the much longer Make Poverty History campaign - after all, it's the five billion, or two, or hundred thousand or whatever who were making the demands, wasn't it? Even before Live 8, this was a mass movement - indeed, before Live 8, it was a much more organic campaign without one messianic figure pushing their way to the front.

We're sure Bob would agree, although we're not sure what a Nobel would mean for what he could charge for his after-dinner speaking then. Just imagine...

There's an interesting part in the Scotsman report, too:

Geldof's attempts to return Africa to the top of the political agenda began last year, when he persuaded a host of pop stars to record a new version of Do They Know It's Christmas?. The single, which was released to mark the 20th anniversary of the Band Aid recording, went straight to No1 in the charts, with the proceeds going towards famine relief.

Apparently history is starting to change - at the time we could have sworn that it was Midge Ure who did all the persuasion; didn't Bob's involvement add up to little more than wishing the project luck and then swanning in at the last minute to pull off the 'here's an African I spared earlier' stunt?


It's disappointing to see Razorlight twisting in the wind when challenged over what they're going to do with the extra cash their Live 8 performance brought in:

"Razorlight have been involved in Make Poverty History for the past six months,” explained [Johnny Borrell]. “Make Poverty History is an awareness campaign, however if the band earn any money from increased sales we will donate it to charity."

Incredibly disingenuous - yes, MPH was an awareness campaign, but why does that make it okay to make money off the back of it? (After all, we didn't see Borrell standing up when Goldsmith and Geldof were lambasting people for making money from selling on their tickets saying 'don't worry, Bob, it's just an awareness campaign'). And let's not forget, of course, that Razorlight were one of the bands whose label scheduled advertising on prime time telly the next night.

Of course, it's really the labels who should be coughing up the extra cash they're making. And yet they seem to be very, very quiet.


Band fall-outs are quite often staggering things - simmering discontent, sniping, cold hard stares backstage, trooping onto the Murrayfield stage for Live 8 and not making eye contact with each other but still doing another album just because the last one sold. But they rarely end up with some of the band asking a judge to throw their former colleagues into chokey.

The Hollies, then, have set a new benchmark by going to court to have bassist Eric Haydock jailed for trading under the band name. They won a court order in 1998 forbidding him from playing as "The Hollies", but, apparently, Haydock has been overstepping what he's allowed to do (he could, apparently, still call himself an ex-Hollies). The band do wring their hands:

Stephen Glover QC, representing the band, told Mr Justice Etherton: "The view of the complainants is that British prisons are full enough and they wish no imprisonment to occur to any of the defendants but they know of no other means of stopping this."

This curious waste of everyone's times and the nation's precious resources continues.


Lil'Kim is starting a year in jail as her sentence for perjuring herself in front of a grand jury to protect her friends. Or people who she claimed she barely knew, actually. Her plea for leniency was a little weak, as having spent the whole of her perjury trial denying perjury, she suddenly went "oh, yes, I did do it - but I thought that lying under oath was the right thing to do":

"I testified falsely to the grand jury and during the trial. At the time I thought it was the right thing to do. Now I know it was wrong."

There's something almost biblical about the punishment being handed out for denying those who were fighting for you, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


You know, when you hear Susan Sarandon introducing Geldof in the sort of glowing terms that would start to suggest a personality cult forming, it does make you pause a while and wonder if maybe you're wrong. But then... probably not.

We understand from someone up on the protests in Edinburgh (we're not sure if they wanted us to attribute this) that Bob hasn't been getting quite the unquestioning applause we're being instructed to deliver - on at least one of the buses he clambered aboard to thank people for turning up, he was met by stony silence, and we understand that the PR team attempting to press people into forming a happy circle of greatful faces around him on a train were rebuffed more than once.

More astonishingly, there was this: Geldof's response to being asked a question (rather than being told how glorious he is) was to... erm, lick the camera.

There's been some suggestion that it's unfair to criticise Bob - that he got Africa onto everyone's lips and onto the front pages; and, we'll certainly agree, he does work tirelessly towards his aims. But just as Bono is a businessman who used to make music, let's not pretend that Geldof is anything more than a politician with his own media company and a past life as a singer. His aims in this case are admirable - certainly better than when he sets out to try and get teenage girls' magazines barred from talking about sex - but that doesn't mean he's right in his methods. However much he might try to spin it the other way, he's not acting as a conduit for our wishes, but merely using us to support his own. He might have got Africa onto the front page of all the papers, but he's not been keen to start any sort of debate.

Midge Ure, though. We have a lot of time for Midge and his work of quiet, self-effacing organisation.


Although the line-up is almost disconcertingly ropey in places, there feels to be a slightly better atmosphere with this concert - it seems to be more aware of what it's supposed to be doing, and not losing sight of what the business at hand is meant to be. Which might come from not having people in the front row who paid a grand to be there.

Annie Lennox seems a lot more comfortable doing Redemption Song at a teeny tiny keyboard than she did doing the whole "why" bit on Saturday (although she seems to be fighting the urge to do a cod-Jamaican accent); Sharleen Spitteri seemed to struggle her way around Say What You Want so much the BBC coverage appeared to give up and cut away to an interview with George Clooney. Midge Ure came across as passionate and a lot less messianistic than his mate. And if the appearance of most of Pink Floyd on the same stage was surprising, that was nothing to seeing all of the Sugababes on the same stage at the same time.

Oh, hang about, Annie Lennox seems to have started doing Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves - we'd like to think this is being meant as a tart observation on the way "eight men" are going to decide the futures of all of the rest of us, but we think it might just have been heeding the 'do the hits' rule.

We could have done without Bono, mind, coming on with a back to front baseball cap and a small box with everyone's names in; whatever his message was meant to be got more than a little lost in his clear desire to point out that he'd actually been to Gleneagles, where all the famous politicians and rich men were. He waved the box of names around, and insisted that it was the greatest mandate in the history of man - maybe, Bono, but I don't remember anyone being told that we were voting for you to be our representative at the top table...

Annie Lennox is just launching into a speech which is pretty impassioned, and much more sharply political than anything from the weekend - demanding rather than requesting; not hedging around the issue but insisting on change. It'd be hard to confuse tonight with just a rock concert.


McFly do a really, really ropey version of their charity single - we can't help but feel their presence on Saturday's bill might have made sense, attracting a whole different audience, and helping the viewing figures over the fifty per cent mark - here, though, they do little more than bring an air of a local radio station promotion to an event that needs little help to give that impression.

Eddie Izzard comes on stage to introduce someone or other, suggesting we make poverty history in the way we made slavery history. Actually, Ed, what say we try and do the job properly - what with slavery still being a nasty blight on the face of the earth, and all?


Lenny Henry, that is not a kilt; it's an S&M skirt, and that's hardly appropriate, is it?

The Proclaimers are doing 500 Miles - long walk to justice, you see? - but rather distractingly, there's footage behind them of Richard Branson pootling about off his planes. Which all means something, we're sure.

Tucked away on BBC TWO Scotland, chaired by Editn Bowman - considering this is meant to be the one last heave, it feels more like the protest that time forgot. The stadium looks to be slightly less than heaving at its sides, too.

Oh, good grief - it's like all the tossers you were glad hadn't turned up to ruin Saturday for tonight, isn't it? Jamie Cullum and Natasha Bedingfield doing Love Is All You Need - although we'd imagine people in Africa might argue strongly that more than a dollar a day might help a bit, too - and Wet Wet Wet (or is it just Pellow) doing their chairidee cover of A Little Help From My Friends (wonder if McCartney is going to be donating all this PRS cash as well?)


The death has been announced of Clancy Eccles. The 64 year-old dies following a stroke in Spanish Town, Jamaica.

Born in 1940, Clancy started to get work as a singer in his early teens, recording ska for the legendary Coxsonne Dodd. It was River Jordan which gave him his breakthrough hit, but as the 60s moved on Eccles shifted his attention to producing, most successfully being behind the desk for Lloyd Creator's Kingston Town.

Clancy was also active in politics; in 1972 he campaigned strongly for the election of Michael Manley.


We must have misheard - we could have sworn Bob had insisted that everyone march on Edinburgh; only in this picture it looks a lot to us like he's arriving in the city with his fabulously famous friends on a train.

Image hosted by

But doubtless he'll walk to Murrayfield. Or at least as far as the taxi rank.


As if listening to Coldplay records weren't bad enough, now there's a whole slew of mental images we could do without as a result of discovring Chris Martin was naked when he wrote A Message:

"I wrote it naked I actually wrote it on a guitar, sitting on a sofa And I made sure that all the right bits were warm. In the middle of the night I thought I was either going to be sick or go write that song. So the song just came up, then I went back to bed."

And I don't know about you, but I can't read that without the phrase "pale, pointy penis" drifting into my mind. You know the sort.


It's always nice to hear of what former pop stars are up, to and the reports from Lauryn Hill's recent Atlanta gig sound like something we'll all be a little sad to have missed:

"The reclusive singer emerged from hibernation to take the stage in 60s getup and an apparent mushroom wig to perform at the event. [...] Her band was distorted, and her usually full, soulful voice was unusually raw and weakened. [...] After plodding through three more “Miseducation” tunes and reciting a poem, Hill abruptly bounced to a round of silence. No applause. No boos. No anything, except perhaps stunned silence. The venue’s curfew was soon tossed around as a possible reason for the sudden ending."

There are few things more precious than a gig so puzzling the audience don't know if they should boo or if they're just missing something...


It's really easy to assume that just because they're rich and dense, people like Mariah Carey have no ability to feel empathy for those suffering hard times. We're sure, then, the stories that she repeatedly sent food back while backstage at Live 8 because it was made with parmesan from a jar can't have an iota of truth in them, can they? Because what would that make her look like, at a gig designed to focus people's minds on the plight of those without anything - food, shelter, hope - sending back plate after plate of food untouched because it hadn't had enough cash spent on it? God, that would make her seem terrible, wouldn't it? And callous. And heartless. And a stinking hypocrite who was probably only there to further her own career.


And, no, that's not meant to be a flattering headline, either. According to this week's Grazia (admittedly, the same one which featured photos of a concert that hadn't taken place when it went to press):

A source has told Grazia magazine that Kate [Moss] believes her friends are looking at junkie rocker Pete [Doherty] in a "shallow, judgemental way".

And Londoner Kate claims she and Pete are creating their own "cult of personality - defiant, rebellious and poetic".

Oh, jesus help us. We really don't know where to begin - does Kate actually think that "personality cult" is a positive phrase? Or are they really hoping to turn themselves in the Josef and Alliluyeva of Primose Hill? More to the point - do they really think they're viewed as some sort of modern successor to the Shelleys? We've always had a soft spot for Kate, and are quite fond of Pete's work supporting Carl, but this is overplaying their hand to a dangerous extent. You're not the Shelleys, you're a circus sideshow. There's nothing rebellious or defiant about doing coke; it's just going to turn you ever more shallow and self-obsessed. Which seems to be proved by statements like this.

You want to be a cult. Instead, you're a pair of dancing bears. Wake up to yourself or shut up. Please.


No release date as yet, but plenty more information of the next TV on the Radio album. Producer David Andrew Sitek has stuff to say:

"This has been a strange and incredible time for us and hopefully we will reflect that enough to make you feel like you are in the hotel rooms with us, on the plane with us, asleep in the grass with us, stomping your feet and shaking your fist at the naysayers with us, not answering our phones with us, staring at the future in disbelief with us, accepting the miraculous with us, giving it back with us."

They've only just packed away the instruments, though, so it might be a while before we can actually rub this onto our naked bodies.


Earlier in the week, there was a bit of worry that there might not be enough to keep people "entertained" (=not throwing stones at police) for protesters tempted to Scotland by Bob who were unable to get in to the Murrayfield Live 8 gig.

However, with a line-up which includes the Bedingfields. The Corrs and Texas, it's probably that there won't be enough to keep the people who do get into the gig entertained.

It's going out live on TV: BBC TWO Scotland from 8pm; BBC ONE Scotland from 10.45pm; and BBC THREE from 21.45. Viewers in the rest of the UK with Sky can see the Scottish versions of the main BBC networks by poking about in the top end of the channel guide, up beyond the porn.

It's also going to stream live across, which we guess means AOL has lost interest in the whole thing now.


It seems to be a bit more than the older generation tutting over the behaviour of the younger, as although Shirley Bassey isn't that impressed with Charlotte Church, it seems to be more in sadness than in fear of the coming of the future:

"Charlotte Church? She needs to take a long rest - a year off to go away and think".

Charlotte Church
Girls like Charlotte say, 'Let's go and see how many drinks we can knock back. I think it is dreadful
Dame Shirley Bassey

Dame Shirley, whose hits include Goldfinger and Big Spender, added: "Because she has made a very bad choice moving into rock music. She was once the classical voice of an angel. Not now. I think Charlotte has let herself down. When I was that age, there was no such thing as binge drinking. It was totally different. We had an adventure... We used to say, 'Let's go to a dance and see what gorgeous fellows we can meet.'

"Now, girls like Charlotte say, 'Let's go and see how many drinks we can knock back. I think it is dreadful. You know, if they live to 30 or 35, they'll know all about it then. You damage the liver and it is not good for the voice. Terrible!"

We especially like the idea that there wasn't binge drinking the olden days. Hogarth was a bloody liar, he was.

Buyable: The evidence where Shirley proves that she knows what she's talking about


Hopes that we might be within sight of an end to the Who Shot the Notorious BIG saga have been dashed as Judge Florence Marie Cooper says she's thinking of calling a mistrial. She's hacked off that police appear to have hidden evidence:

Judge Cooper said a detective's explanation that he forgot about notes on a prison informant "defies credulity".

"I do not believe it," she said. "It certainly looks to the court, at first blush, that this was a deliberate concealment of information.

"Some sanction at this stage appears very appropriate."

Oh, good. We can go back to the start, then.


The well-liked Sufjan Stevens has hit a bumpy patch, with label Asthmatic Kitty being forced to put the stop on sales of Illinois; it seems DC Comics weren't all that laid back about the appearance of Superman on the sleeve.

They should just call it a tribute.


How many times does a man walk down Oxford Road before he knows he's a man? We might never know. But we do know that Bob Dylan is returning to the UK in November:

Nottingham Arena - November 15;
Manchester MEN Arena 16;
Glasgow SECC 17;
Birmingham NEC 18;
London Brixton Academy 20, 21, 22


Of course, it's not making filthy money off the back of the poorest people in the world, but we were a little surprised to see amongst the first things on Bob Geldof's to do list after Saturday was to get a whole bunch of pictures of him at live 8 added to the page offering his services as an after-dinner speaker. It might be especially galling to note that amongst the photos, he's got one of himself stood on stage with Birhan Woldu - using a famine survivor to try and boost your private career as a speaker seems to be slightly dubiuous behaviour for a man whose CV leads off the word "humanitarian."

Maybe he could have at least waited until after the G8 summit was over...


After the scandal of the Milton Keynes Bowl taking water off teenage kids at the entrance to the Green Day gig and then flogging it back to them at GBP2.50 a pop, there's been a further flurry of anger over the Summer XS gig the weekend before last at the venue. What was sold as a family fun day event with Charlotte Church turned a bit sour for some groups - as not only were grandmothers relieved of their drinks as they attempted to go into the venue, but stewards also took picnics off families as well. Talking to the MK Citizen, a spokesperson for the Bowl explained this away as being for the gig-goers own safety, as plates and knives can cause injuries.

Luckily, all manner of greasy, unhealthy food was available inside the venue - at a small premium, but surely that's not so bad: after all, what's a few quid when you might otherwise be injuring yourself with your own plastic picnic plate. Thank God the Milton Keynes Bowl has been prepared to take a stand and say "enough is enough - no more picnic plate injuries", even although they know it might look like they were a bunch of greedy sods trying to force people to buy food from their concession stands inside. I'm not sure, but don't they give out Nobel Prizes for things like this?


Curiously, Pete Doherty's first appearance in the tabloids after Live 8 saw him explain away his ropey performance as being down to having had a row with Kate Moss backstage, not because he was cranked up on drucks.

Now, though, it turns out when he said "had a row with kate moss", he meant "had been starstruck meeting Peaches Geldof":

"I wasn't lost for words and I wasn't out of it on drugs.
Just before I went on stage Peaches squeezed my bum hard and
whispered something rather suggestive to me. It left me in such
shock I didn't know where I was.

"Bob Geldof has organised this amazing global event, I was facing
210,000 people, the cameras are rolling, and fucking Elton John is
dueting with me. And Bob's daughter has secretly made a pass at me.
It's all I can think about. It did my head in. I didn't think Bob
would be very happy."

Tomorrow: Ah, no, actually, now I remember; Gwyneth Paltrow had grabbed my knackers...


Did you miss any single, shining moment of Live 8? Want to watch the performances again? AOL Music has got it all for you:

On July 2, the world's biggest musicians converged at global concerts aimed at ending world poverty. AOL Music captured every note, and it's the only place you can relive every performance on-demand!

And it's true - London, Philly, Toronto; Paris, Berlin, Paris, Rome... everyone of the six concerts.

Oh, hang on... where's Tokyo and Moscow? And where's the grudging Africans-in-the-conservatory Cornwall gig?


The Mirror has followed Dave Gilmour's lead, although it's rather awkwardly trying to elbow its way to the front of the campaign to persuade pop stars to hand over the cash they may have made from Live 8 album sales:

So, that's the Who and Macca - certainly he can afford it - onboard then. Of course, we really need to see the record labels making a similar pledge - perhaps the BPI could try and show some of that fabled leadership it likes to talk about?

And, since the Mirror is so keen to ensure that the singers don't make any cash from their appearance on Saturday, when will we hear how many extra sales they put on for their celebration souvenier editions over the weekend - because, of course, they wouldn't be so cynocritical as to sit on that extra profit, would they?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


It turns out that Pete Doherty wasn't a waste of space, after all, because Bob Geldof says so, and we understand from some of our commenters that Bob Geldof is never wrong:

Bob Geldof said: "I think Doherty and Elton were fantastic. I know there's been a lot of criticism about Pete forgetting his words and stumbling around the stage, but it was undoubtedly a very memorable performance."

Meanwhile, Pete's been blaming Kate Moss for his performance: apparently, they'd just had a row before he went on, and so he wasn't wildly off his cake on cake at all. It's obvious - we know we stumble a lot when we're upset.


What musical to send Aunt Flo to for her birthday treat next year? The all-new UB40 musical, Promises and Lies; or the just-about to transfer to Broadway Color Purple musical.

Actually, Flo would probably prefer a pot plant, on balance.


Of course, there's something formulaic about each new interview with a major label head, as they say the same old wasp toss and we point out that they're, you know, wrong, that we could almost do it in our sleep. And it probably gets a bit boring to read the same thing over as we do writing it. So, in order to spice up our coverage of the Guardian's interview with Eric Nicoli, chairman of EMI, we're going to offer extracts of Jenny Fabian & Johnny Byrne's 1969 novel Groupie.

First of all, Nicoli was rubbing his hands with glee at the Grokster ruling:

The reason we are delighted with the Grokster decision is that it shows that in the world's biggest music market, the courts take a dim view of people who encourage or facilitate and turn a blind eye to online theft as a mechanism for promoting their own business."

It was good when people down at the boutique recognized him with me, though both of us stayed quietly with our backs to a wall, slightly stoned, while it all happened around us. Then I felt his arm around my waist and I thought no mental blocks around this one. We split. After a somewhat self-conscious meal we went back to my place and slowly felt our way into each other's mind

Up to a point, Lord Nicoli - the crucial point, though, is that the Grokster ruling took the dim view against people who encourage AND facilitate. The 'and' is a cruicial part of the ruling, and it's disingenuous to try and pretend that the judgement extended to, say, people who produce 'how to' file share guides; or people who produce peer to peer networks without saying "get free stuff" at the same time.

He then turns his eyes to what the major labels still believe is a PR war that they're winning (in much the same way that the US believes its winning the Iraq war, of course: it must be, all those resources poured in couldn't mean anything else, could it?):

Just as importantly, he believes the industry is beginning to win the PR war to convince consumers that downloading tracks for nothing is "theft"

This manage guy is calledJason Wylie. He's a young, charming hustler who's got himself into a good position. He's what you'd call a groovy guy, with long hair and a Procul Harum moustache.

Again, broadly Nicoli has taken a fact and hammered it flat to fit what he needs his shareholders to believe - the PR blitz and ugly lawsuits has, inarguably, convinced growing numbers of people that it's against the law to download without paying, it's far from clear that people treat this as being the same thing as theft - indeed, it's possible for people to do things that are wrong according to the letter of the law quite happily, because they believe that they're not hurting anyone. Mr. Nicoli will see that in the posh area he lives in when people tell their gardeners to carry on watering the lawns in the coming weeks.

"We're certainly making good progress. We're encouraged that more and more people understand why stealing is a bad thing. Our job is to make it more difficult as well as more dangerous to steal it. But more importantly, to make it easier and more convenient to buy."

Then suddenly Grant makes a very dramatic entrance and sits on a stool expectantly in the middle of the room. Everyone looks at him expectantly, and he says, very loudly 'I've got VD.'

We're not quite sure he's being straight faced here - surely he's not suggesting that before the BPI put up a couple of posters, there was a general ambivilance about stealing - we certainly were thankfull when EMI pointed out stealing was wrong; we returned the stolen jewels we'd been living on and resolved to go straight there and then.

"We want to allow people to access music however they want, whenever they want - as long as they pay for it. And if they don't want to pay for it, we'll be on to them. I think that's fair."

He'd watch silently while I went through my hustles, and when I'd got what I'd come for he would nod gravely at me, pleased at my ability to handle these tough experienced guys.

Except, of course, there has been a long, honourable tradition of ways of accessing music "wherever you want" without paying - through radio, for example. At least Nicoli does admit that the music industry was late to get to grips with the problem - but, wouldn't you believe it, that was everyone else's fault:

"It's really only in the last couple of years that everyone came on board. Some of the majors were owned by international conglomerates who aspired to be the gatekeeper.

"Early on there was a reluctance on the part of those companies to cooperate with everyone else. Because of some personnel changes and because of the crisis that the industry faced a couple of years ago, everyone has come on board. Now we're starting to see dramatic growth of digital distribution - and not just downloads but subscriptions, legalised peer-to-peer and all the mobile applications."

All the same, I wasn't too pleased at the thought if competition from a chick like this, and if this was really Grant's scene, what was I doing around? Or was London beginning to change his standards and did I fit in with his new scene?

He accepts the historical argument that because so many tracks were unavailable online, the only way to get hold of them was to download them illegally, hastily adding that it is no longer valid.

Then he'd had all thjese hustles getting out of the ledger clerk scene and working for Hit Maker. I admired him for this, I just wished his mind had come along too.

No longer valid? We spent a fruitless evening trying to find some not-very-obscure things on iTunes a few weeks ago: Dinsoaur Jr's cover of Just Like Heaven; anything by the Pale Saints; the Kitchens of Distinction; Bradford. Not a jot. We would happily have paid the overpriced 79p for these things, but... there was nothing. All of this stuff we found on Napster in the old days, mind; we were looking to replace our long-ago-wiped ill gotten gains with legal versions, but it's just not possible. If you have very mainstream tastes, you might find everything you want on the legal services, but to be honest, if you can find everything you want on the legal services, you probably don't really like music that much.

But he rebuffs the long-held argument that fewer people would download pirated tracks if CDs and downloads were cheaper. "That's bollocks. Are they saying that if CDs were half the price they wouldn't steal it? You can't compete with free," he retorts.

It all got very desperate, with him promising to come back because he loved me and me pleading with him not to go. He said he didn't want to go, but had to becasue he couldn't let the group down, and there were all these contracts he had signed.

No, Nicoli - that is bollocks. You're starting to believe your own industry's ridiculous claim that downloading without paying is the same as stealing a CD - it isn't, of course, because you're not depriving the seller of the chance to sell their product to someone else; it's even more stupid to say you can't compete with free. Of course you can: most people would rather click, download, and wander off listening to a song than spend time fannying about on a search engine, waiting for a bittorrent download to complete, if it ever will, hoping the quality will be okay. Of course, that doesn't mean that people will pay anything to avoid the hassle, but if you get your price point right, and charge what's perceived as a fair price, people won't bother with free but fiddly services. If Nicoli really doesn't understand this - if he doesn't understand why people buy bottled water when they have taps in their house, and buy prepared food when they could buy the ingredients for a tenth of the price - then he really shouldn't be in charge of a company. Luckily, EMI shareholders, he's just blustering.

Piracy is just one issue that Mr Nicoli, who is also chairman of the UK Music Forum, believes could be raised by a new music council quango recently suggested by creative industries minister James Purnell. "The fact that music has been raised in the minds of government in recent months is a very good thing," he says.

Envisaged as a lobbying body along the lines of the Film Council, Mr Nicoli believes that the traditionally divergent aims of the industry need a powerful voice to lobby on issues such as piracy and its campaign to increase the length of copyright beyond 50 years.

"It's a good idea for the industry to have a single, credible, powerful voice. We lobby by making credible arguments and explaining ourselves well and better than we have in the past," says Mr Nicoli. He is also keen, he says, to make the case for tax rebates on A&R.

I wouldn't have got vert much out of him, except maybe the clap.

Hang about a moment... why on earth should there be a Quango representing the music industry when there's already the BPI? Is Nicoli really suggesting that - besides the cartel - there should also be a body, paid for out of the public purse, designed to lobby the govenment in order to forward the interests of a few private companies?

And, far more to the point: Tax rebates on A&R? But haven't we been told for years that the ridiculously overpriced rates charged for records are so high because the industry subsidises the discovery of new artists out of the money made off successful ones? And yet now, it seems, they're trying to get the Treasury to redirect cash from hospitals and debt relief to underwrite the costs of sending people out to bars to try and find out what the competition are trying to sign anyway. They've really got to be taking the piss with this one, surely?

You can groove to Groupie, if you wish:


We're aware that Grazia - the tatty looking weekly glossy mag - has the strapline "impatience is a virtue", but even so, you'd have to be impressed that they managed to cover Live 8 in such glorious detail this week. Despite going to press on a Friday. The Guardian's mediamonkey picks up the tale:

Particularly enterprising was the double-page spread purporting to show an audience "gathered in London's Hyde Park" - in fact a 10-day-old photograph from Glastonbury, with the word "Glastonbury" having miraculously disappeared from revellers' tell-tale green wristbands. Even more impressive was the "Grazia exclusive" on the poignant moment when Peaches Geldof "looking eerily like her late mother Paula Yates" wound her arms round her father's neck. Mystic Meg has nothing on this lot.

And they call us the cynical ones...


The artist behind Primal Scream's Screamdelica logo and the Heavenly corporate bird, Paul Cannell, has committed suicide.

A long-term artist, after leaving school Cannell had bounced around various jobs, both obliquely related to graphic design (commercial priners) and not even obliquely related (he was a milkman for a while) before taking himself back to school to learn to paint as he thought it was a better option than "proper" work but couldn't do people. Through a chain of happy coincidence focused on the drummer from Flowered Up, he came to meet Jeff Barrett, who signed him up to produce work for the Heavenly roster; a more lucrative meeting with Alex Nightingale led to him being given studio space in the Creation offices.

Besides creating the legendary 'sun' for Screamdelica, he also produced the scattergun cut-and-paste of the Manic's You Love Us sleeve (often believed to be the work of Richey Edwards) along with work for the Telescopes and others.

Besides the work he did for the outside of Creation Records products, he was briefly on the roster himself, as a member of the band Crawl. They managed a single, but the album appears to have been lost in the collapse of Creation as the Oasis jet took off, leaving just a handfull of mp3s.

According to Drowned in Sound, until recently Cannell had been living in Cornwall.


We're not quite sure that all of Pink Floyd have announced that they're going to donate their sales bounce profits to good causes, as it seems to be only Dave Gilmour who's issued a statement (hope that doesn't cause trouble with the others; you know what the Floyd's like) but we're deeply impressed that someone has had the guts to break ranks with the rest of the rock stars busily counting their reciepts from the Saturday bonus:

"Though the main objective has been to raise consciousness and put pressure on the G8 leaders, I will not profit from the concert," he said in a statement.

"If on Thursday the G8 leaders tick the right three boxes at Gleneagles then the main objective will have been fulfilled.

"If other artists feel like donating their extra royalties to charity, perhaps then the record companies could be persuaded to make a similar gesture and that would be a bonus.

"This is money that should be used to save lives."

We especially love that he's thrown down the gauntlet to the record companies. We're waiting, BPI.


The one of the Libertines who kept his head, Carl, is preparing to reveal his new material fairly soon, at least that's what the NME heard on XFM, and XFM got it from the horse's mouth, so you know its kosher:

. “It’s so good to be writing on my own again, just to have the freedom really. Being in a partnership gives you the kick up the arse factor, and that’s what I’ve been overcoming recently. It’s been quite a slow process but I’ve started getting into that routine and got the confidence to do it as well.”

The other good thing about writing on your own is that when you have a good idea, you don't discover that someone's dismantled the biro to make a crack pipe.


So, we're reading the details of the forthcoming auction of John Lennon's Sergeant Pepper tunic along with other odds and sods, and we have an uncanny sense of that French thingy. Ennui, yes, but also deja-vu. Is it just us, or does it seem like there's an auction of Lennon related tat every few months now - is there a massive warehouse in Kirkby full of stuff ("okay, for autumn 2005 we'll do the underwear, pencils, and his old mouth organ, then at Christmas we'll flog his comedy specs, vinyl records F through to K, and a half eaten saveloy he nibbled while trying to think of a rhyme for 'possessions'")? Or is this just the same few items, in constant circulation?


Great news for the Greatest Living Humanitarian Bono, who's won the Dublin court battle to win back his trousers from former stylist Lola Cashman. Bono - who needed the trousers because otherwise he'd have nothing to wear when his main pair were in the wash - was not in court to hear the judge, surprisingly, side with the Establishment figure and Wall Street investor over Ms Cashman. And - we're not making this bit up, unfortunately - he refused to believe Cashman because he felt her story lacked credibility:

Judge Deery said he found Ms Cashman's version of how she had been given the items doubtful, particularly her description of Bono running around in his underpants backstage.

"It seems to me that Ms Cashman's version of events, the giving of the hat, is unlikely to have occurred," he said.

Yes, whoever heard of a person getting undressed backstage at an event? Most unlikely. We wonder if Judge Deery wears his robes all the way home.

The other great thing about the judge's verdict is that he can't believe that Bono and the band would have been bothering to bring the matter to court unless they were telling the truth:

"It would seem odd if the group were to make a provision to pursue a claim of this nature if the subject was not of importance to the band," he said.

Which we're sure should be adopted as a precedent across Europe, surely?


Yes, yes, we know there are at least fifteen delicious punchlines to that question, but apparently the answer is the next Starsailor album, according to James Walsh:

"[we're] more outward-looking, more influenced by what's going on in the world. You go into the vocal booth and think that this has got to be as pure and pristine as Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley - but with the aggression and rock & roll attitude of Liam Gallagher. Trying to find that balance can be like trying to achieve the impossible, but you've got to go for it."

Actually, Liam did have brief spell of wearing floral shirts, didn't he?


Signalling that he's noticed affection for his recent work (the pre-kid touching stuff) hasn't been entirely warm, and that when people gathered to shake their heads at his antics they always said "but Can You Feel It is a corking record, isn't it?", Michael Jackson has decided to start his journey on the road back with a Greatest Hits album.

Never mind in the last few years he's actually had more Greatest Hits albums than he has hit singles, people always like to experience the same thing over and over again. It gives them sense a well-being. Right, Dove woman?

The Dove woman says we're right.


We've not seen any figures yet, but we've not heard of huge crowds of people being spotted in the Little Chefs up and down the A1 as they march from Hyde Park to Edinburgh, so we'll assume that moist people have decided to interpret Bob's call of a march on Edinburgh as being a metaphorical march. Although they have got Richard Branson, Natalie Imbruglia and Eddie Izzard up there, so that's a start. (I'm picturing the Goodies Olympics, where Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden had to represent the whole of the rest of the world.)

Meanwhile, Midge is still clearing up Bob Geldof's mess - he's trying to talk down expectations of a million people:

"I will not say the number that Bob said - I have never said the number Bob said. But the fact that 220,000 people walked through Princes Street the other day with one arrest was amazing.

"Those people aren't going to go away, they want to be there when the G8 leaders come here on Wednesday, they want to see the concert, they want to be part of this."

Hmm... I really hope Midge isn't suggesting that the people who marched on Saturday - specifically not sitting at home watching Elton John - have been drawn to the G8 protests because of Live 8; while bickering over who inspired what might be unseemly, the people in the city at the weekend were so obviously putting poverty before pop music it's a bit of an insult to try and co-opt them into Bob's battle for success.

Meanwhile, Midge is also having to cope with the suggestions that Live 8 has invited all these people to the city, and not really thought what they're going to do with them:

Ure, 51, said his main job was organising the running order for the 42,000-ticket show at Murrayfield, but claimed there were "a variety of things happening in Edinburgh".

He said: "Edinburgh is a big place, Glasgow is only around the corner, it's not that far away. Scotland has got enough interesting stuff to keep people entertained until Wednesday."

Aha - so, a million people will come to Edinburgh tomorrow, but they can entertain themselves on Thursday by all popping over to Glasgow for the day. It's going to be difficult finding a seat in Edwards on Sauciehall Street, then.


Nobody seems to be wanting to draw too much attention to the viewing figures for Live 8, because even in the UK they weren't especially good - the audience peaked at 9.6 million and - stretched across the day as a whole - averaged 6.6 million. Which is pretty good for a Saturday - especially on BBC TWO - but not really skyscraping; it was about a third of the viewing public. On the other hand, both anecodotal evidence and common sense suggests that people drifted by during the course of the day - MediaGuardian estimates that 30 million people will have watched some of the concert, although we don't think they've got anything solid to base that upon. Even so, that's managing to scrape half the nation together for a bit in a country which was fascinated and keen - we're guessing they're going to struggle to have hit a billion worldwide, much less two.

An old Foyles War on ITV during the evening managed to find 3.5million people, and during the Wimbledon Ladies' Singles final, not only was Live Aid not the most popular TV programme ever, it wasn't even the most popular TV programme at the time. Maybe Bush will counter Blair's claim to have a popular mandate brokered by Bob by claiming his mandate comes from Venus Williams.


We're a bit bemused to see that the Daily Star thinks the massive, massive boost in CD sales for Live8 stars is an "exclusive" - bloody hell, it was even so obvious that it would happen it barely counted as news round our way. But perhaps they're calling the story an exclusive because they found out Will Young had taken part in the gig... oh, hang about...

... Robbie, is that you?

The Express, for some reason, chooses to conflate the Geldof gig with the Edinburgh riots - and while we understand that the Express would want to have a pop at the demonstrators, we're not sure why they'd want to suggest a link between Hyde Park and the G8 clashes:

Meanwhile, things are getting back to normal over at the Mail, when someone at the Beckhams realises it's nearly a week since Posh has been on the front page of any paper:

(For some reason, Posh was allowed to accompany David to push the British case for holding the Olympics; an excellent choice. We look forward to Paris 2012.)

And finally: tucked away in the corner of the Mirror - Martine McCutcheon. Bloody hell, it's like putting Lulu on the front page:

Monday, July 04, 2005


We'd not heard or seen sight of the rumour apparently sweeping the internet to the effect that Lemmy from Motorhead is bisexual, but apparently he isn't anyway. Or, rather, the interview he supposedly outed himself in wasn't genuine. It was all made up.

The noise you can hear is a hundred thousand boys sobbing themselves to sleep tonight.


While the individual record companies have been busy cynically trying to flog CDs off the back of Live8, their cartel organisation, the BPI, has also been trying to exploit a kind thought and a good word for their own ends, choosing to bounce an anti-Ebay rant off the back of the event.

No sooner had CD-Rs of Live8 performances started appearing on Ebay than the BPI had rushed out its press release:

UK record industry trade association the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) has urged eBay to step up its anti-piracy efforts after finding thousands of copies of the Live 8 Hyde Park concert illegally on sale less than 24 hours after the event.
With music pirates moving swiftly to cash in on the event, the BPI is working closely with the online auction site to have the illegal listings removed.
BPI Director of Anti-Piracy David Martin said: "There are too many people out there who believe music is for stealing, regardless of the wishes of artists and the people who invest in them. Sadly we are not at all surprised by this incident.”

How awful that pirates would attempt to cash in on the event - don't they realise that how disgusting it is to try and make money out of a consciousness raising exercise? (That's except for mobile phone companies and record labels, who operate to a different level of morality).

Currently, eBay sellers can be caught selling items illegally up to three times before their account gets suspended. Even then, there does not seem to be anything to prevent sellers starting over with the same credit card details, with the rules seemingly even more flexible for eBay-approved “power sellers”.

Online auction sites have become a piracy haven in recent years, and in 2004 the BPI arranged for the removal of 14,318 illegal auctions up from 5,649 in 2003. With more than 13,000 actions removed so far this year, BPI investigators expect the problem to double in 2005 as more and more illicit sellers try to sell online.

Martin added: “We would like to see online auction sites introduce far more effective methods to prevent the illegal sale of fakes. Three strikes and out is simply not good enough; it’s far too easy for these people to cash in, and if caught they get another two warnings. Auction sites must move to expel music pirates permanently, and with immediate effect.”

Of course, shortly before Live 8 Harvey Goldsmith used the event to grind his own axe against Ebay, while keeping very quiet indeed about the hospitality tickets being sold on for other amounts. The big music industry have had a grudge against Ebay for quite a while - they hate that users are able to resell their CDs and there's not a thing they can they do about it; they've been spoiling for a fight for the longest time. It's pathetic they're using something that at least pretend to be uncynical as Live 8 to further their own interests, but... sadly we are not at all surprised by this incident.


We're waiting to hear from Bob Geldof the merry thump of outrage he was quick to throw at Ebay in light of the news of the not-entirely-unexpected massive sales bounce after Live 8 - a bounce encouraged, of course, by the block purchase of advertising slots by record companies to push the bands who'd appeared. (And, we noticed, Howard Jones Greatest Hits, which can't have been harmed by HoJo's appearance in all those 'remember the Live Aid' clipfests).

Pink Floyd's Echoes sales increased 1,343 per cent between Sunday 26th and Sunday 3rd on the HMV chain alone. The Who saw an 863 per cent leap, Eurythmics Greatest Hits rose 500 per cent and Life For Rent by Dido shot up 412%. Coldplay, to be fair, only managed a 3% sales rise, but then X&Y was already doing pretty well under its launch momentum anyway.

But remember: it wasn't about the careers, you know. The idea was to raise awareness, and it certainly has: Floyd's back catalogue has really come to awareness in people's minds.

Thanks to Keith T