Saturday, August 20, 2005


There had been a spark of a hint that KT Tunstall might have something other than the cold, meet-and-greeting heart of a vapid cabaret turn somewhere down in her soul last week when she sniffily dissed Dido.

That spark has been extinguished, though, as she's now apologised for being rude to her fellow 2D trill-tosser:

"I don't subscribe to this whole thing of being offensive to other artists. I know she is a musician doing what she really believes in."

It might still be faint praise, but it's a clear attempt to get back onto diplomatic good terms. Let's go back to pretending she doesn't exist, then.


It's taken nearly eight years for the investigations into Michael Hutchence's finances to conclude that he was actually not worth very much at all. Before he tied himself up and died, he'd also tied all his property and earnings up in tax-dodging front companies and tax avoiding trust funds. And so effectively had Hutchence put this money beyond the taxman's reach, it was also firmly beyond his Estate's reach, too. So what is his kid going to get? A big fat nothing.

What's not clear, though, is what does happen to the millions of pounds worth of property held in all these front organisations strewn across the world.


They know how to do a decent statue in Dublin, and to an already fine array of the often good and the sometimes great, they've added a brass of Phil Lynott. And, as you might expect, his Mam is really proud:

"It is the proudest day in my life. For over 20 years I have been looking forward to it.

"I am happy with the statue, I love it, I spent many days down at the foundry advising him. We walked in a few times and we took a chisel out to make sure he got his chin right."

She added: "I love him forever and I will miss him forever. Life is awful without him but knowing all these people are loving him the way they do, they are like a big woolly cloak around me. "


This is more like the Gennaro Castaldo we know and grudgingly respect - he might have been quiet for a few weeks, but with Eminem in rehab, he's swung back into action. Today, he's taken a deep, deep breath to bring his - and, by implication, HMV's - perspective on what it all means to the Guardian:

Gennaro Castaldo from HMV said: "While he may not be in the place he was three or four years ago, he has been following to an extent in Dr Dre's footsteps.

"He may have had a bit of a setback, but he is still incredibly well placed and he could take his career any way he wants to go. It could well be that he feels he has achieved everything he possibly can and he is looking to apply his talents to other things.

"I think he has been so busy and under a lot of pressure that he has been talking about stepping back, but it is difficult to believe he will walk away. This is an opportunity for him to back off a bit - but you can bet he will come back bigger and better than before.

"The latest news about being in rehab just adds to the mythology of an icon anyway - you can't be in rock'n'roll without the odd addiction and affliction."

So... let's just boil that down to its barest essentials: He could be feeling that he's gone as far as he can, and it's time to do something else, but it's hard to believe that he would quit. Righto. So: you don't know either, then.


If you didn't know who it was, you might allow yourself to get excited if someone announces their new album is going to sound like this:

"We took Nineties rock, mixed it with Eighties pop like Depeche Mode, the Cure and Bauhaus and smashed them together. It's fuckin' driving beats and walls of guitars."

You'd probably be putting your hat and coat on, ready to stride out to the shop to make an impulse purchase.

Hold on. It's Chester 'Cheeto' Bennington talking about his solo debut album. Suddenly, the prospect seems a lot less exciting, doesn't it?


We're going to wait until it hits DVD so we can just fast forward to the motrobike accident, but apparently we won't have to wait very long. Because either the voices in Billy Idol's head have started to leave him answerphone messages, or someone really is planning on making Billy Idol's lifestory into a movie. Billy thinks that Brad Pitt might play him:

"We have a deal already but ideally I am looking at someone like Brad Pitt to play me on screen. He has stolen my look of late but it remains to be seen if he has the rocker in him and can sing my songs. But that is the plan and we know he is keen on the project too."

Bradd Pitt? Surely this is the part James Marsters was born to play, isn't it?


The White Stripes have seemed to be a bit confused about who they're aiming at these days: now, we've finally got some sort of indication of their masterplan: They're going after the kiddies. The US debut for the My Doorbell video is going to be on Nickelodeon.

It does make a certain sort of sense - the irritating, sing-songy lyric does sound like something you can picture The Tweenies bounding through. And, hey, you've gotta love the purchasing power of those pestering toddlers. We wonder if this means that Jack is giving up on grown-ups altogether?


There's very little to celebrate for anyone (besides Gath Brooks and Wal-Mart) in the news that Garth and the supermarket-cum-empire have cut a deal which will restrict sales of his entire back catalogue to Walmart, Sams Club, and

It'll put the fear of god into other high street music retailers - if this sort of thing starts to happen a lot, HMV, Virgin and Tower might find their already stretched shops starting to look more and more threadbare; it'll unsettle online retailers like Amazon; it'll do consumers no good - if you want Garth Brooks records, you've now got no choice but to give trade to Wal-Mart.

And it reflects really badly on Brooks that he's happy to get into bed with such a dubious company. Not that it would bother the multi-millionaire much, but the rapidly-expanding chain is a bad neighbour. For example, it threw a hissy fit in Canada when its workers exercised their right to form a union, and closed the store in a huff. In another charming move, the company allowed a charity in Logan County to put a box by the doors to collect toys for underprivileged youngsters. As soon as the box filled, Wal-Mart manager Brad Barritt told his staff to remove the toys and place them back on the shelves because he had "no video proof" the items had been paid for. And so on. That's the corporate ethos that Garth has now delivered control of his art to.

Still, we imagine he'll do alright out of the deal. And he does have a wedding to pay for.


Actually, we guess than when he ordered Courtney Love to head back to rehab after she fessed up that she'd been taking drugs in violation of her parole terms, the judge didn't really mean he was sentencing her to total collapse - but it did sound like it:

The judge in the matter told her, "I think that you need to hit rock bottom before you make a decision about what you're going to do in the future." He also wanted to make sure she knew she is violation of probation in three separate cases. She answered, "Yes, your honor."

The rehab is part of the original sentence; Courtney will be back in court on September 16th for sentencing for the probation violation itself. And it doesn't look good for her:

[The judge] told her, "I think you either need a long-term drug program or a long term in County Jail."

Friday, August 19, 2005

PUNKOBIT: Randy 'Biscuit' Turner

Randy 'Biscuit' Turner, singer with punk band The Big Boys, has been found dead at his home in Austin, Texas.

Alongside Tim Kerr, Chris Gates and Rey Washam, Biscuit's Big Boys attempted to throw off the increasingly dogmatic tone of US punk between 1978 and 1984; creating a funkier, less uptight branch of punk which would eventually lead to the likes of Fishbone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and crystallising a punk scene in Austin which remains active today:

It's hard to overstate how huge they were in Austin," Butthole Surfers drummer King Coffey said Thursday evening. "They weren't just a punk band. A really wide spectrum of people would check out the shows. It was due in a large part to Biscuit. Everyone in the crowd would be dancing and having so much fun, and Biscuit was like the ringleader of this band that would sometimes have a full horn section on stage. The band's motto was 'fun, fun, fun,' and that was Biscuit to a T."

Austin's love for Turner was reciprocated. On the day his body was found, he had been interviewed in the local paper, the Chronicle, and described how the city had felt like a spiritual home:

"Austin opened me up to the vastness of other people like myself, people I could really trust artistically and with my soul. People who would reassure me that I'm not crazy, that who I am is okay, and that the most important thing is to be happy. And I think moving to Austin showed me that right away.

"I had grown up in a horrid little backwater East Texas town and been earmarked almost from day one as resident weirdo. I remember I had to tuck my hair under my graduating hat in high school so that they'd let me graduate with the other students. I had a peacoat mod outfit and a little John Lennon hat I would wear that would freak people out. It was pretty weird, and that sort of leaves an impression on you. Even now I equate things like this: If it's not at Wal-Mart, it doesn't exist. And that's what I think all these small-town Texans think. If it's not at Wal-Mart, it's not real."

His nickname had come from the effect of just-dyed yellow hair peeking out from under a chef's hat, which made him look like a biscuit. The American sort. Apparently.

After the end of the Big Boys, Turner moved on to the sort-lived Cargo Cult and then the eight-member Swine King, while all the time developing a second career as a cut-and-paste artist. His art was inspired by the obvious reference points of Mark Ryden, Alexander Calder and Dali, but also Frank Lloyd Wright and Henry Moore. Asked by the Chronicle to describe his work, Turner eventually came up with "If clowns had art shows, then Biscuit would have the biggest red nose."


Apparently, things are so quiet in Poland at the moment police there have nothing better to do than try to ensure the purity and integrity of Depeche Mode's new single. They pulled on their raiding trousers in order to arrest a bloke from Kielce who, they claim, had made the Mode's new single Precious (and the video for the track) available online.

Jeremy Banks, head of IFPI's Internet Anti-Piracy Unit said: "This action shows just how seriously the record companies view pre-release piracy.

"Pre-releases can be illegally posted, downloaded and distributed worldwide within hours. So it is crucial for the recording industry's cycle of reinvestment to prevent initial sales being lost to internet piracy."

We're not sure that anyone who is actually still so keen on Depeche Mode would be put off buying the single just because they'd downloaded a version of it - wouldn't that be like a drug addict saying "No thanks, had some yesterday"? But we're not entirely sure why Polish police are quite so concerned about ensuring Dave Gahan can buy a new hat - according to The 2005 Crime and Safety Report they're quite busy enough:

Crime has remained a problem in recent years with understaffed, under-funded police departments and slow, inefficient legal systems that are not effective at attacking criminal incidents.

We're sure the residents of Kielce will be delighted to hear that their overstretched force is putting the issues of international record labels first.


Franz Ferdinand tour dates, anyone?

Cardiff Arena - November 14
Brighton Centre - November 15
Birmingham NEC - November 16
Aberdeen AECC - November 21
Glasgow SECC - November 22
Hull Ice Arena - November 25
Manchester MEN Arena - November 26
Newcastle Arena - November 27
Nottingham Arena - November 28
London Alexandra Palace - November 30th & December 1


There's nothing big and clever about digging around in people's recorded statements to find what they were saying turns out to have been bollocks, of course, but that doesn't stop it being fun. So, let's dig out Mark Feehilly's contributions to a CD:UK chat:

worldpop: Is it impossible to date fans?

Mark: No, not impossible. Some of us actually have dated fans, but it's never been a serious relationship. It depends on which level they are fans. Say level one is a girl who has our album and likes it and level 10 would be a girl who sleeps outside our hotel. We could date, like levels one to three. But I wouldn't date anyone for the wrong reasons. A lot of girls like me just because I'm in Westlife. That's not enough to get me out on a date with them

Yeah, a girl would have had to have something extra about her to interest Mark...

worldpop: It must be a great feeling to have girls chasing after you?

Mark: I know we have the tools; power, fame and a bit of money, to get girls, and there's a lot of guys who would take the chance. For a lot of girls money and power are enough for them to go with a guy and I think it's sad to see that happen.

worldpop: Are you afraid you'll never find true love?

Mark: I'm a big believer in destiny and what's meant to happen will happen. If I'm meant to find the girl I'll love and want for the rest of my life, it will happen. Too many people go out there and try too hard to find love and it can turn out so wrong. I just sit back and let destiny take its course. I don't sit at home waiting for her to knock on my door, but I don't try to look for that special somebody.

worldpop: Have you been in love?

Mark: I haven't been in love, really. There's been few times when I though I was, and we dated for a few months but it never worked out. In a relationship, I'm very honest. You can never lose if you tell the truth. But I haven't had so many girlfriends, maybe seven or eight.

Meanwhile, what to make of this from Smash Hits?:

Shane: Mark's even started going out with a girl and actually seeing her again the night after. There's something strange going on!
Mark: I'm really broody, but I haven't got a hope in hell at the

I wouldn't be so sure, Mark - they're working on it at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority even as we speak.

And then there's this from Sneak:

Mark: "I miss meeting girls and they're being no celebrity thing attached to it – just me being normal Mark meeting a girl."

Obviously, he didn't miss it overmuch.


We'd assumed when we were told that R Kelly had got hold of Gayes licence it was some kind of workaround paperwork - you know, like when the other members of Westlife say what a hit with the ladies you are. But it turns out that all it is that Marvin Gaye's widow has given Kelly her husband's old driving licence.


We've got a soft spot for Rachel Stevens, who does have the knack of delivering a pop song really well. But we're really disappointed that she manages to make her new album sound about as exciting as ITV2:

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I'm really proud of this album, ever since I started working in music it's been about releasing great pop tracks that everyone can dance and have fun to but this time I also wanted to express more of myself and give people a few surprises along the way.

"Although I've matured I still want to keep pop fun but a little naughtier!."

God, we hate people who try to talk about sex and shagging and snogging and filth and rude, rude touching and describe it as being "a little naughty." It's such a mimsying word.

And we're not entirely sure we want songs with more of you in them, Rachel. No offence, but stage-school girl turned underwear model isn't really a background which is going to turn you into the new Debbie Harry.


The death has been announced of John Loder, founder of Southern Records.

Loder's enthusiasm for music saw him build up the Southern network - label, distro, studio and a share in the establishment of Dischord Records - often losing his shirt and much cash on deals. Each setback he took on the chin, and just worked around it. In a long run of successes and setbacks, Southern gave a home to a number of bands, including Jah Wobble, Chumbawamba, Therapy, Carter and Silverfish; while their distribution arm got records into the public's hands from labels including Adult Swim and Kill Rock Stars. Loder wasn't just a passive supporter, though, and got his hands dirty - very dirty - producing and engineering for bands including the Jesus & Mary Chain (he engineered You Trip Me Up and Just Like Honey, amongst others), Crass, Shellac and PJ Harvey.

We probably can't sum up his importance on indie music in the last thirty-odd years any more effectively than the warm, enthusiastic messages left for him online.

Writing on the memorial blog, his daughter Natasha said:

As far as I am aware, the last word my father spoke was on Wednesday, was the word "blins". This is a made-up family word that is an expression of happiness, satisfaction and either comfort or delight. He said it after eating a Krispy Kreme donut with white icing and raspberry filling.


So, you're pregnant, you fancy throwing an intimate baby shower for just you and your closest friends - naturally, you call in a party planner to do all the arrangements for you. So it was that Britney Spears came to be having an "African themed shower" - yes, all grasshuts and barefoot shuffling, with all the sensitivity and world vision you'd expect from a member of the actual royal family. Because they don't have shoes or bricks in Africa, you know.

The centrepiece was, apparently a cake in the shape of a Moroccan pot with a baby peeking out.

So... a heavily pregnant woman is chopping up a jam and cream filled effigy of a hiding child? Even if you don't believe in karma, there's something slightly disturbing about that, isn't there?

Britney got lots of gifts:

Presents included a white wrought-iron bassinet from her mum, Lynne, a car seat, a stroller, an infant bathtub and lots of stuffed animals.

Which is great, because when you're a young couple with only a couple of platinum selling albums behind you, that first kid can really put a strain on the family budget. Especially when you're shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars to sign your kid up to some sort of cult. It's great family and friends are able to help out.

“Everyone really outdid themselves,” the singer told People magazine. “Even the packaging on some of the gifts was heartfelt."

The packaging? Blimey, that's a hell of an instore giftwrap service - "would you like that wrapped, madam? And would you like that to be heartfelt or not?"


What's worse than Slipknot? Very little, apart from possibly contracting ebola and rabies simultaneously, or being trapped in a lift with Noel Edmonds. And, of course, an angry Slipknot. And angry they are, with Burger King, who have created a band a little like Slipknot to promote their chicken-like strips and dripping sauce. Slipknot do what any bunch of disaffected rejectors of society would do: they;re threatening to sue.

Yes, Slipknot are afraid that the general public might confuse a hugely commercial proposition purely designed to shift unpleasant product to a gullible and undiscerning audience with... oh, okay, they might have a point then.

What they may have missed, though, is that this sort of thing really plays into the hands of Burger King, as it's giving their what-bit-of-chicken-is-that products much more publicity than they ever could have dreamed of.


My brother knows Karl Marx, he met him eating mushrooms in the people's park. He said 'What do you think about my manifesto? I like a manifesto, put it to the test-o." Took it straight down to meet the anarchist's party; I met a groovy guy, he was arty-farty. He said "I know a little latin - man a cus man a kai"; I said "I don't know what that means"; he said "neither do I."

Yes, I'm afraid it's true: The Sultans of Ping are playing gigs again this Christmas.


Well, it's no wonder Eminem had to cancel his European tour due to feeling exhausted: he's been necking sleeping pills down left, right and centre for months - that sort of addiction is bound to make you feel a little drowsy. Anyway, young Marshall has checked himself into a rehab clinic and is getting the care and treatment he needs - presumably, as it wouldn't be much good sedating him, they're chopping out lines of speed for him.

In a bad time for Em, he's also getting sued by his own aunt and uncle. Jack and Betty Scmitt claim that Em had agreed to give them 100,000 bucks a year (what for?) and give them a house (why?); perhaps because he's been in a Nytol-scented funk, Eminem has been forgetting to send cheques and - although he built a house for them - he didn't put the building in their name. Fancy. What's prompted the legal action, though, is that Eminem has now decided to kick them out the house.


Surely it can't be... a boyband member gay as a hat, as a window, as a stock cube? But it's there in black and white: Westlife's Mark Feehily, coming out to that well-known pro-Gay, safe place, The Sun:

Speaking to the Sun, he said: "I am gay and I'm very proud of who I am. I'm not asking for any sympathy or to be a role model to anyone else."

Feehily, 25, from Sligo, north west Ireland, is currently in a long-term relationship with singer Kevin McDaid, 21, of boy band V.

Hang about... Kevin McDaid is gay too? Blimey.

We've got no way of knowing for certain, of course, but when someone who has been firmly in the closet for so long suddenly decides it's "time for people to know" and mutters that they're not looking for "sympathy" (why, exactly, would you offer someone sympathy for their sexuality anyway?) it's usually a sign that they've been bounced into an exclusive coming out before a paper outs them anyway.

Because one of Westlife. Who would have ever guessed?

Thursday, August 18, 2005


In this week of Britpop's something or other anniversary, nice to finally (finally) here a sceptical viewpoint of all the hoopla, in the shape of Martin Carr from the Boo Radleys (at the time) and Bravecaptain (now):

"I was gutted when Creation signed to Sony, I'd never wanted to be on a major label and we were under much more pressure after that. It was also a chance for everyone to get away with more jingoism than usual.

"American music was great then, I loved all the Wu-Tang stuff and Pavement and Richie Hawtin."

And he shudders at the idea that the Boos had anything to do with Britpop anyway:

"I didn't like most of the new bands or the flag-waving. I didn't like New Labour or idolise Paul Weller and I hated media-generated movements within music."

Has he ever let us down?

Thanks to Jona for the tip on this one.


The uncomprising, butt-kicking, face-pulling angry Hellfest planned for New Jersey this weekend has been cancelled, as invoking Satan is one thing, but facing down insurance bills is quite another. The planned event, due to feature Public Enemy, Killswitch Engage, Hatebreed and Smelly Old Uncle collapsed after a spat between the venue and the organisers:

"It was going to be a great event and it had a lot of potential," arena general manager Eric Cuthbertson told the Trentonian newspaper. "Unfortunately the event promoters failed to comply with the contractible obligation of the arena's lease agreement. They failed to meet schedules and deadlines which forced us into a corner where we had to cancel the event."

Ah, mortals. If only ye could cancel the planned return of the antichrist (sometime next June, according to an email we've received about six-six-six times today) so easily...


Archie Comic Publications is looking to raise the stakes on copyright a step further - it's claiming ownership of a girl's name. That's right - apparently being named Veronica is an infringement of their intellectual property.

A pair of twins from Brisbane, Jess and Lisa Origliasso, are about to launch their pop career in the US. They're calling themselves The Veronicas and, yes, they did say they were inspired by the Veronica from The Archies. Yes, the cartoon band who had the hit with Sugar Sugar. But is that enough to make the owner of the Archies copyright growl. There's that idea schlepping around that The Archies are due for a comeback as (high Josie and The Pussycats concept time) a human band; and so the Archies people are claiming that a band travelling round calling themselves The Veronicas would, erm, confuse people. Now, although they might have borrowed the name from the Archies cartoon, it's not as if it's a name you only find in the cartoon - it's not "R2-D2" or "K9"; we even seem to recall that Madonna's confirmation name was Veronica, wasn't it?

However, we can happily put an end to this nonesense - however much Archie Comics might like to think they have the rights to the name Veronica as a musical act, they don't; as someone got there first. Almost a decade before The Archies started pushing up sugar consumption around the globe, Ronnie Spector has released two solo records under the credit Veronica. The comic book company might want to say the Australian twins don't have the right to use someone else's name for a singing act; fine, but then neither do they, surely?


When you're Morrissey, you don't exactly have to rush to work; and so it is that he's promising to sort of wander into a studio oooh, next month or sometime. But there will be a new album. Of that, there is no doubt.


Most people would be delighted to get an invite to a glitzy awardy thing and not have to do anything more than flounce down a red carpet and pick up a couple of gongs. But not Gwen Steffani, oh no. She's miffed that the MTV awards don't want her to do anything from her solo album, and so she's refusing to go. The refusal seems to be a bit of a bargaining position rather than a definite, non-negotiable postion - MTV really need her there, as she's got a lot of nominations; but they've also got a pretty packed line-up of middling talents already (Mariah Carey, Coldplay, Ludacris, Kelly So Help Us God Clarkson) and so it'd be hard to slot her in. Unless she gets to duet with Ludacris.

She probably won't mind; it;s all about getting her awful clothes line screen time, isn't it?


There's unliklely to be much gloom in the proper music magazine offices up and down the country, as only Uncut, Mixmag and The Fly see a drop year-on-year, and Mixmag, certainly, can't be that surprised at their fall. The NME has managed a 5% sales increase since the same period last year, while arch-rival Kerrang also saw its readership boosted by just over three per cent. Kerrang, though, may be less concerned at the NME increasing its lead again, as its own nemesis, Metal Hammer, has put on an extra twenty per cent over the course of the year:

Q – 160,310 – up 6.3%
Mojo – 114,626 – up 14.2%
Uncut – 110,015 – down 2.5%
The Fly – 107,519 – down 0.9%
NME – 73,640 – up 5.2%
Kerrang! – 64,554 – up 3.1%
Mixmag – 46,470 – down 7.9%
Classic Rock – 44,349 – up 15.2%
Metal Hammer – 40,236 – up 20.9%
Word – 33,376 – up 11.1%

In the fluffier end of the music mag market, Smash Hits appears to have bottomed out its fall from grace; the team at Top of the Pops magazine, though, might be rushing about looking for some sort of bell to ring as over a third of their sales have gone awry. And the shift to BBC TWO, with its ramping up of the Dad factor, isn't going to help with that at all:

Sugar – 285,082 – down 3.4%
Bliss – 276,253 – up 7.4%
Cosmo Girl – 163,602 – down 18.3%
Top of the Pops – 140,192 – down 35.4%
Smash Hits – 120,541 – down 0.1%
TV Hits – 84,463 – down 15.9%
It’s Hot – 82,199 – down 10.2%
Sneak – 80,077 – down 13.3%
Shout – 67,354 – down 1.3%
Mizz – 66,571 – down 14.8%


The Charlatans will have no choice but to shoot drummer Jon Brookes after he revealed sensitive details about the band's new album, including that it it will sound like the Charlatans:

Speaking about the sound of the record in the band’s online studio diary at, drummer Jon Brookes said: “The sound or vibe of the record is very true to the band, in as much as this time we've recorded the whole group together live. This in my opinion has made the band sound harmonious and it's very strange that after so many records, to have chosen this, the oldest of techniques.”

He added: “With the twelve tunes that have been recorded the album has taken a kind of "dubby" twist, but this is all the information I can give at present, as I will surely be shot for giving the game away.”

Still, it's a nice excuse for a nice photo of Tim Burgess:

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Thanks, in part, to the collection of signatures during their last US tour The Cure have helped secure the release of Yury Bandazhevsky. The Belarusian scientist had been convicted on trumped-up charges in return for his less-than-supportive stance on his government's response to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The ending isn't quite an ending, though - Amnesty is concerned that, although he's been released after serving four years, he's still not been cleared:

Amnesty International is concerned that Yury Bandazhevsky will remain under the authorities’ control for the next five years, subjected to various conditions which include having to report regularly to the police, and being prohibited from assuming any managerial or political functions. Amnesty International will continue to campaign for the conditions to be lifted.

Added to which, he's going to have to put up with people going up to him saying "The Cure helped secure your release, did they? Are you a goth, then? Are you a goth?"


Now that he's no longer required as warm-up man to Eminem, 50 Cent [Currently 27.7 pence] has decided to press ahead with his own European tour. Of smaller venues, obviously. Much smaller venues. And he might want to give some countries a miss, too.


There are correct ways of going about seeking publicity, and there are, well, incorrect ways.

Posting something like this on Popbitch is, we'd suggest, incorrect:

Join our campaign against NME's decision to ignore sensational Essex rock band Freud by leaving messages of support on our site at [web address cut to save them further shame]

What we love best about this is the suggestion that NME might be actively ignoring them, rather than just filtering them out as they're not very good. We picture Conor McNicholas instituting bag checks as people arrive at Kings Reach Tower - "have you got a Freud demo in there? Did you not see the memo?"


Britney watchers have concluded from the signs (viz. buying six grand on boy's clothes) that the baby currently in her belly may well be a boy.

Christina Aguilera is reported to have curled her lip (as far as the piercings allow) and tutted "Huh... boys are, like, so over. I can't believe she'd even be, yknow, bothering with having a boy."

Somehow, and we're not sure how, the speculation has also widended out to ponder what the name for this boy, if boy it be, might be. Preston, apparently.

We presume she's naming him after Michael Bolton.


Frankly, we'd been worried - it had been getting on for weeks since we last heard from Gennaro Castaldo, the quote-happy head of press at HMV. At first we thought that perhaps the London bombings had forced him out the papers as everyone's minds focussed on more serious matters. Then we thought that maybe he was on holiday, walking through the Provence countryside muttering "Seventeen per cent increase in sales, so far from forgotten" to himself. But then more days passed, and still nothing.

So thank god, we can report he's returned, thanks to Eminem pulling his tour:

Gennaro Castaldo, head of press at HMV, said: "It's fair to say Eminem's profile is not quite at the same peak as The Marshall Mathers LP, although he arguably remains the number one male recording artist in the world. This may be partly due to Eminem devoting more time to other aspects of his career."

Hmm. He doesn't have quite the same confidence as he had before, does he? "Arguably... may be..." - where's the Gennaro Castaldo of the past?

ROCK SICK LIST: Ow, Mr. Wilson

When they take the stage at the V Festival this weekend, Ricky Wilson will be hobbled and using crutches. Mr. Kaiser Chief buggered his ankle onstage in Portugal and now has torn ankle ligaments. Spokesperson:

"Ricky Wilson has torn his ankle ligaments jumping off a stage at Parades De Coura Festival, Portugal.

”It's a repeat of the injury Ricky suffered in March this year on the band's US dates around SXSW. All shows planned for this weekend, Lowlands, Pukkelpop and V Festival will go ahead, but Ricky will be less mobile than usual and won't be climbing any lighting rigs!! Any rumours of cancellations are not true - Kaiser Chiefs will perform as planned across this weekend."

Bloody hell, as if it wasn't bad enough them constantly re-releasing and re-formatting the records; now they're even repeating the same injuries.


Anyone who's spent more than about three seconds reading about organising civil marriages in England and Wales knows that you're not allowed to use any religious imagery at all, as that's the rule (we're guessing it was part of a deal cut when civil ceremonies were introduced, to stop the church losing market share amongst people who wanted God at their marriage service). That means no hymns, no people dressed as bishops, no altar boys, no Bible readings.

Now, in Dukinfield registry office, Howard Monks and Julie Sagar-Doyle turn up to get hitched, and ask if they could have Robbie William's Angels playing while they took their vows. We suspect what happened was the registrar, rather than having to work under such conditions, grabbed at the use of the word "Heaven" in the song to ban it under the No Religious Imagery rule. The happy couple weren't, erm, happy, and ran off to The Sun. The Sun, for some reason, seem to think it's got something to do with "ethnic minorities":

A COUPLE were banned from playing the Robbie Williams hit ANGELS at their civil wedding — in case it offended non-Christians.

Erm... no, "because it breached the rule on religious imagery in civil weddings", surely?

Printer Howard, of Hadfield, Derbys, blasted: “It’s ridiculous to say this would upset ethnic minorities. It’s just a pop song. Robbie’s hardly some religious bigot.”

Well, that's certainly true - one thing you can't call Robbie is a religious bigot. Gurning half-wit, yes; ugly-struck moron, perhaps; pompous talent-void cyclone, certainly. But he's not a religious bigot.

But then neither are the Registrars, are they? The song wasn't banned because it would have upset non-Christians (indeed, angels and heaven aren't even specifically Christian images, are they?); if they'd had a track of the Chief Rabbi rapping the Koran, it would still have fallen foul of the rules:

The location must also not use any religious imagery, either in the surroundings, decoration or ceremony itself.

Of course, the Williams track probably should have been allowed because it's not religious and there are no specific rules against limp ballads, but the registrars were just being careful. Indeed, if Angels was ruled to have a religious message, it would actually have ruled Howard and Julie's marriage null and void.

In the end, they used Shania Twain instead. So nobody was a winner.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


So, BBC FOUR cleared an evening of programming to celebrate the career and ideas of John Harris, what with it being ten years since Blur battled Oasis and so on. What we got was mostly a shake-down of old material, including Live Forever, the official move history of; Britpop Now, the 1995 BBC TWO music special, Pulp's No Sleep Till Sheffield and (long after everyone had gone to bed) another chance to see the Later Paul Weller Stanley Road special. Kicking off the line-up, there was also a new half-hour recap of Britpop from Mr. Harris. Poor John; where some music presenters get to fly out to Barbados, or maybe a trip to CBGBs, he was lumbered with the taxi ride to the Good Mixer and a schlep down to the Astoria for his tale.

It was nice to see Britpop Now again; ten years ago we were watching TV on a nine inch black and white screen, although they'd decided to put TOTP2 style captions all over the place. It's curious why they thought this would be appropriate - we've watched classic dramas on BBC FOUR and they didn't feel the need to slap banners over the picture with them (You can picture it in Threads, can't you: "Nuclear war is one of five ways people expect the world to end"); they could have put them behind the press red button, as they'd done with the Prom notes - and the extra expense that would have incurred might have caused them to think a little more deeply about just how much value "Dave is still Dave" style observations provided the viewer.

What stuck out most in the evening was what was missing - no word from Steve Lamacq or anyone from Select, who surely would have more useful insights than Toby Young; barely a sniff of Suede, besides in a still shot of the Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Cobain Select cover. And, most striking of all, not a single word of dissent.

You'd have hoped that, ten years on, BBC FOUR might at least have turned up someone who wanted to offer a different perspective on what is fast becoming part of our national myth. It's been a decade; must we accept Harris' view of those time so unquestioningly?

There are several claims about 94-95 which are now accepted wisdom that, really, don't add up. Key amongst these are the very idea that Blur and Oasis were at the heart of a coherent and cohesive scene. Louise Wener was allowed to utter a small objection to this, suggesting that Oasis were totally unlike anybody else - "they were like a thing on their own" - but, as at the time, nobody paid her very much attention. But if you look at the ragbag of cultural ephemera both Harris and Live Forever assembled, it's a venn diagram with very little in the parts where the world intersect.

This is partly why Suede's presence in the 90s music scene gets written off quite swiftly in this sort of retrospective - trying to suggest that Britpop could easily include Brett Anderson spanking his arse with a microphone, Loaded magazine and Liam Gallagher bent double with his big orange coat on really throws doubts onto how wide the foundations of this scene really were. You can make out a good case for Menswear and Supergrass being part of a continuum; but in what way were Pulp and Oasis fellow-travellers?

It's no surprise they built the night around the time Oasis and Blur released records on the same day: there's precious little else that, viewed from this distance, links the two bands together.

The Britpop narrative also demands that the bands suddenly appeared from a vacuum - the accepted wisdom being that before Britpop, British acts had withered in the face of American opposition led by Nirvana (although, at one point in the evening, we're informed that they were the only grunge band who were even worth paying attention to, apparently - news to Pearl Jam, we guess). The bands who had battled on bravely, of course, are snorted at as being shoegazers, with barely any stage presence; equally, we're told that prior to Parklife, no British acts were singing about their lives, their country. Because, see, we were all in thrall to the Americans. Even although only Nirvana were any good. Then, of course, Britpop came from nowhere to save us all.

But this is arrant wasp toss, in virtually all directions. The shoe/scene that celebrates bands did have stage presence, of course, and did write songs which reflected the Britain in which they lived - Lush were singing about drinking in Camden before Graham Coxon had ever heard of the Good Mixer; Ride even wrote a hymn to their OX4 postcode.

More crucially, there was certainly no sense of a new wave hitting when Suede turned up - they were exciting, but because they were beautiful and considered rather than something so totally different in a world filled with Boo Radleys and Auteurs and Pale Saints and Saint Ettienes; Blur, of course, snuck in the back door disguised as the last wave of baggy and part-shoe anyway. However much it might spoil the story, the Good Mixer scene wasn't a year zero; it was much more business as usual than might be comfortable for some to admit.

Much more to the point, one band was not mentioned at all during the evening, because they did sing about the everyday and the ordinary; they did have stage presence; they had ambition writ large. They're still going, too. The 90s were as much about the Manics as they were about Oasis, and yet the Britpop frame really collapses if you try to factor them in. They were the reason why Brett Anderson wasn't alone in dressing soft and girly and talking a bisexual storm; they were the reason why Damon Albarn wasn't alone in stomping around the stage like he owned the place. And when you start to wonder about the Manics, you find yourself also questioning how the pre-Britpop void was able to accommodate the Primals as well, and where abouts Teenage Fanclub's bandwagonesque fitted into things. And how there could have a lack of groups singing about their home country before '94 when Gene turn up on Britpop now some ten years into their career.

And all that, of course, assumes that you accept that dance music doesn't count at all, as if the kids who liked guitars were totally separate from the dance music fans.

Britpop as a Beano style scrap between the Blurites and the Oasises is a fine, cartoon view of the times, and it worked for the too-early, superficial I Love The 90s franchise. But from BBC FOUR? It would have been nice to have had something a little more considered.


Great news for Michael Jackson - he's not been totally abandoned in his hour of need. Oh, no: O J Simpson is full of sympathy, doing an interview on ESPN with Graham Bassinger:

I know Michael, and I never saw that side of Michael. My family has spent a lot of time at Neverland. Most of the time, Michael is not there. But, he had opened up Neverland for my family, my kids' birthdays and things. Back in the '70s, Michael, myself, Dustin Hoffman, Neil Diamond, we started a camp called Camp Good Times for kids with cancer, because one of Dustin Hoffman's nephews, I believe, couldn't stay in a camp in Malibu, because they didn't have the facility or something, to take care of him if he got sick. So we all got together and did fund raisers and stuff and started a camp called Camp Good Times in Los Angeles, that spread all over the country, Camp Good Days, or Camp something else around there. I know at Neverland, Mike had that Neverland Ranch opened up all the time for kids, and I'm sure the kid had cancer. Mike has always been involved with helping kids, especially kids with cancer, and I know that firsthand, so I just hope that -- I saw where he said that he would continue to participate, but from afar. So, I took that to mean that maybe he's not selling Neverland Ranch, and maybe he will leave the ranch there for those charitable purposes and just stay away.

Bensinger: I mean, as a friend of his and the family, did you ever talk to him about that?

Simpson: No, I talk to his brother a lot, sent him a couple of messages, and of course at Johnnie's funeral, Johnnie Cochran's funeral, we had a few words, but I was just telling him to stay strong and stay prayful and stay strong, and everything works out.

Bensinger: How's he doing?

Simpson: He seemed to be doing well. I haven't talked to him since, but his brother says he's doing well. You know, Michael was a frail guy to begin with. I think health wise, it took a toll on him, and, hopefully, he's getting well now, and we'll see him

It's odd, you know: when OJ got off with the murder that time, we could have sworn he said he was going to spend every waking moment searching for the person who really killed Nicole, although judging from this interview he manages to multitask quite well. Anyway, doubtless Jackson will be delighted to hear that OJ is speaking for him.


Is it all over for The Distillers? Guitarist Ryan Sinn seems to believe it's all at an end:

"Well, i'm no longer part of the life I knew so recently," he writes. "The Distillers are no more and it feels like a weight has been lifted. However, I'll never get rid of the disgust inside from it all."

In addition, even wilder rumours reckon that Brody Dalle is pregnant. An internet rumour says "Josh Homme did put his pee-pee in her lady hole and went 'wurrrrgh' and now Brody Dalle does have the babies in her belly and they will come out her belly and go to school and that's true."


Fined ten thousand dollars he hasn't got, Michael Jackson has paid the price for not turning up in court to face the charges relating to claims fromt Josepth Bartucci. Bartucci is the guy who says that Jackson touched him in a limo back in 1984, something he forgot about until he had therapy.

Jackson's representative told a New Orleans court the summons to appear had been "lost in the confusion" when Jackson had been acquitted of touching Gavin Avrizo.

You can understand that - there were birds flying everywhere; it would be easy to lose track.

Having said that, if your legal team were able to misplace and totally forget that their client had been called into court because he was supposed to have touched a boy, you might wonder just how diligent they were. Can it be there's so many claims of young boy touching floating about they need to take on extra staff?


Digital's great. We can shoot all we want. But we don't post our photos to the The Band Song Album Name Game Pool, and that's the best part of photography.

We like the idea, we're just sure that people can do better than, say Higher Than The Sun:

Although we are pretty impressed by the genuine Bar Italia:


When we posted about the Mariah Carey-Eminem answerphone spat earlier, we'd forgotten that this story had first troubled us two years ago, when Mariah Carey threw a massive strop at rumours Eminem was planning to use the tapes as part of his stage act.

What's curious, of course, is back then she didn't say "that isn't me", the way she is now.

What's equally curious is that nobody had shown much interest in Em's tiresome little Mariah-baiting on the Anger Management tour until, erm, she started to make a big fuss. Still hungry for publicity that much, Mariah?


We're sure there's more to stack up the story that Shaun Keaveny is being lined-up to take over the XFM breakfast show when Christian O'Connell retires onto Virgin than the quote from Keaveny's agent. But we can't see it. If he does take over, mind, he'll be delighted to know it wasn't until virtually everybody else had been asked.


Well, they were all over the TV last night (of which, we have more to say) but what has happened to the people who defined a six-month period, sort-of, ten years ago? BBC News knows - apparently, Noel Gallagher is in a band called Oasis, and Liam Gallagher is in a band called... oh, you know?

There's some interesting details - apparently The Bluetones are still going (who knew?) and Russell Senior from Pulp runs an antiques shop; if we were Pete Doherty, we'd open a slightly less posh antique store next door and cast Kate Moss in the Honor Blackman role; and there's this:

Menswear Singer Johnny Dean was said to be at a firm dealing in the "after-sale support of cellular equipment"

Working at Phones4U, then.


Following her falling off a horse incident yesterday, it looks like the world might have to wait a little longer before we get to hear the new Madonna album. However shall we manage?

Her spokesperson reckons:

"It happened around 4 p.m. London time. Madonna is pretty banged up…Her new disc is due this Novemeber and she is set to tour next summer. It's too soon to tell if the tour will be affected, but the press for the disc will definitely be affected."

Blimey... she's been in hospital but still getting pretty banged up? She really is insatiable, isn't she?


The idea of having a Love Music, Hate Racism gig in Liverpool following a spate of racist happenings in the city, peaking (although not culminating) in the murder of Anthony Walker is a good one, but it's starting to look like it's coming to pieces. The idea had been to do it tomorrow night, but it's been postponed because star draw Ms Dynamite has pulled out.

Without Ms Dynamite, the line-up started to look a little threadbare - it's almost as if the "prior engagement" she's pleading is actualyl designed to give the organisers some more time to pull together a bill:

They include Franz Ferdinand, Craig David, Jamelia, Estelle, Bloc Party, Hard-Fi, Daniel Bedingfield, Kaiser Chiefs and Snow Patrol. Although none has yet confirmed it is understood thty have all expressed an interest in playing in Liverpool for free in honour of Anthony.

In addition, home grown talents The Las and Echo & The Bunnymen are also said to be fully behind the campaign and intend to perform.

Liverpool-born Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty may also be one of the stars playing at the concert as he has been a big supporter of Love Music Hate Racism, the organisers of the concert.

In other words, a gig due to take place tomorrow evening hadn't got much beside good intentions for the bill. It's a bit of a shame that none of the bands felt able to put their schedule where their mumbled support was.


Poor Duncan James - even his Mother doesn't much care for the likely future market in Blue memorabilia, and so she's offloading any rubbish she can find onto Ebay while it might still have a chance to finding a market.

Duncan, not surprisingly, is upset. He'll be even more upset when he finds out she was punting his spunk on


We're not quite sure how one goes about tearing their meniscus, but apparently, Josh Homme has done so, and now he's having surgery to repair it in Australia. It won't affect plans for Queens of the Stone Age, though:

“The tour will continue because of the band's refusal to separate themselves from their Mistress of London. Queens Of The Stone Age are doing this tour for the fans of the UK that have already endured five cancellations.”


Operators are standing by to deal with your calls as the nation comes to terms with the news that Posh is knocking the music career on the head to concentrate on "being a wife and mother" - by which we guess she means instructing her solicitor to send more letters denying that David's shagging behind her back (wife) and making sure the nanny isn't shagging David behind her back (mother).

Of course, this is terrible news for the music industry - it's going to create a yawning gap for one single taking an ill-advised 'new direction' stuttering out at number seven every two years, and it's far from clear that Geri Halliwell is going to be able to take up the slack on her own.

We're sure she's quit music before, though - didn't she give it all up in 2003 after the Damon Dash debacle?


Oh, it was all going so well for Marilyn Manson - he'd found a corner of the world where the authorities were still prepared to play along with his publicity machine. There was Croatia, all up in arms and fuming about plans for Mazza to come and turn their kids into drug-addled satanists by wearing some ill-fitting pvc and eyeliner. Just like the old days, before even USA Today twigged that he was little more than an aging businessman peddling half-hearted goth to the suburbs. Then up stands Father Anton Bobas, who goes and spoils it all:

"How could Manson turn young people into Satanists and drug-addicts in the two hours of his act," daily newspaper Vjesnik quoted priest Anton Bobas as saying.

Yeah, Anton's right, you know: he's just not got the skill to do that. Indeed, these days he's so going through the motions he'd have trouble turning the kids into purchasers of his last album in two hours.

Bobas does throw him a line of support, though:

Despite the music, Manson was a rather dark persona and he would not recommend anyone -- especially young people -- to attend the concert, he said.

Bobas knows that for all the oh-look-mummy-a-man-wearing-eyeliner-whoever-heard-of-such-a-headfuck posturing, Marilyn is no more likely to turn society on his head now than he was when he looked like this:


It's mixed news from the Eminem camp: bad if you were looking forward to the gigs, good if you'd despaired of getting into the Homebase car park on the days he was meant to be playing Milton Keynes - he's pulled his entire European tour:

In a brief statement, Interscope Records said Eminem was scrapping the tour, which was supposed to kick off Sept. 1 in Hamburg, Germany, and end Sept. 17 in Dublin, Ireland. There were 10 concerts scheduled.

"Eminem is currently being treated for exhaustion, complicated by other medical issues. The shows are not expected to be rescheduled," the statement read.

As the gigs aren't being rescheduled, that's going to create a vacuum which can only be filled with idle speculation on what "other medical issues" might be. We're kicking off that speculation with: a twisted bile duct.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


If you're keeping track of the various incarnations of Sean Combs and his stupid names, you might want to alter your address book to take account of the latest shift: He's now Diddy. Without the the P.:

"It's five letters, one word. The name is changed. We made it simpler. We removed the P. The P was getting in between us. We're entering the age of 'Diddy.' "

So, this is the dawning of the age of the Diddy, is it? That explains it; I'd thought it was just a spot of indigestion. Still, you can't argue with the man: it really is even more simple than it seemed before.

Hang about, Diddy's not finished yet - we're on the cusp of something historical:

"A lot of my peeps in music been calling me 'Diddy,' so it's not a drastic change for them. But people around the world didn't know what to call me. We was at [Madison Square Garden] rocking with Jay-Z. The last time I was there, half the crowd was chanting 'P. Diddy,' half the crowd chanting 'Did-dee.' We gonna stop the confusion. 'Did-dee. Did-dee, Did-deee!' Simple. To the point and it sounds strong. It sounds like something is about to happen. It sounds like something is about to go down in history."

Hang about... so they're the Peeps?

They're not the Diddymen?


We're (or rather, our American friends are) still feeling the cold wind blowing after the 2004 Superbowl incident - fear of the FCC's post-nipple crackdown led WUKY-FM in Lexington to axe Garrison Keillor's show. Becuase he had said "breast" on one of his folksy poetry shows.

Who'd complained? Nobody. They were just worried that somebody might.

The station has backed down in the face of community outrage.


Poor the Madonna - while she was riding a horse around the chunk of the British countryside she recently had maps redrawn to keep the plebs off, the horse decided it didn't want to be ridden. The upshot? Madonna goes flying, and wound up in hospital with broken ribs, collarbone and hand.

We're a little surprised that Madonna felt the need to go to a hospital - surely all she needed was a little swig of her special Kabbalah water, and maybe just a couple of extra pieces of red string?


BBC News has yet to find anyone admitting to spending 1995 with a picture of Donna Matthews and a sock, but their do you remember Britpop piece is an oral history every bit as chilling as those recalling the second world war:

"we woke every morning to Chris Evans and the Boo Radleys"

But, of course, Britpop never happened, and Sleeper were just a figment of your imagination:

..from what I remember (I was about 10) it was all pretty much created by the media, a big lie. This is nothing new when it comes to music, but I really can't see that very much good came out of this period short of 'lad' culture and the willingness to accept average music. Music, which gave way for the tat which we like to call rock music today - I'm not about to reel of a lot of band names, turn on the radio and you'll hear for yourself (excluding evil 'R&B' and the remains of what has always been awful European pop) For me 'Britpop' is a term for a period which an embarresing time in British music histroy when people were fooled into thinking that their music actually mattered, when infact it was a media fronted selling scam, which made a lot of people who couldn't even tap their foot along to the music very rich.

Blimey, Alex Delarge from Oxfordshire... we're guessing you had trouble returning your copy of Everyone's Got One to the Our Price, didn't you?


We sometimes feel Ofcom's judgements can be sometimes a little over-conservative in attempting to keep our airwaves pure and unpolluted from foulness, which makes it even more surprising that they're not bothered about the swearing of Geldof[pdf document] on Daytime TV when Live 8 was being launched. Now, we're a little surprised anyone bothered to ring up and complain anyway, but as they did, presumably Geldof should be judged on the same standards as anyone else? Only it doesn't seem like it:

Swearwords of this strength are almost always unacceptable pre-watershed. We appreciate that the words were, in the main, used to convey a great strength of feeling. News channels do have an overwhelmingly adult audience and it was clear that, on this occasion, the language had not been used to intentionally shock or sensationalise. However we appreciate Sky News’ recognition of the issue and the steps it took to address this and prevent further occurrences. In these very unusual circumstances, we consider that the language would not have exceeded the expectations of the majority watching these channels. However we would not expect to see a repetition of this and certainly not for such language to become commonplace, despite the target audience of a channel for its pre-watershed programmes. In the future, we would expect pre-watershed news bulletins to include such language only when the language, itself, is the story, rather than being incidental to it.

We've read and re-read this, and yet we still can't quite grasp what the "very unusual circumstances" actually were - was it special simply because it was Bob? Don't many press conferences feature people passionate about what they believe in, who might use the odd 'fuck' to demonstrate how passionate they feel - yet, it seems, Ofcom is making it clear that they're not giving a blank cheque for other passionate types to throw in the odd sweary bit. So we can only conclude that, yes, Bob Geldof does have some special place in the Ofcom code which allows him to swear.

It almost makes you feel sorry for Richard Littlejohn (not something you feel everyday), who got slapped down when a piece of film of him saying "fuck" went out accidently on Sky News. This also was on a news channel, this also wasn't intended to shock or sensationalise, and is no more than you'd expect from someone like Littlejohn - so it's curious to think that Ofcom decided that was a breach of the code while Geldof wasn't. We'd love to see Ofcom taking a more grown-up attitude to language, thinking more about context and motivation, but we'd like to see that as a policy being applied to all, not simply because Bob Geldof is above criticism.


Set the timer ticking... we're just a month away from the new Franz Ferdinand single, spread over three formats and a download from September 19th. And if you can't wait, you can buy it now.

Although, of course, you'll still have to wait until it's actually delivered.

Also, if you're quick, you can be the first on block to have an email confirming that your copy of You Could Have It So Much Better... will ship on October 3rd.


Virgin radio is expanding its digital station portofolio, by adding a new station, Virgin Xtreme. See? Xtreme, without an E. As this might imply, it's going to be all about the young, rocking folk with their skateboards and snowglasses:

"Virgin Radio Xtreme will be the most contemporary station around. It is not about broad appeal, we're going to get in there and be niche. You won't hear all the classic tracks you hear on Xfm and Kerrang!"

You also won't hear much in the way of anything other than a tightly-chosen bunch of new-ish records (Foo Fighters, Green Day, razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs) and adverts. Obviously, this is a station created from the demographic pie chart upwards, and in this case, it's looking at 15-34 year old boys. Yes, "boys" - apparently, girls and boys don't listen to the same sort of music:

And to target a female audience Virgin is planning two spin-offs from existing classic soul and disco digital station the Virgin Radio Groove - an urban/R&B service for younger girls and one for older listeners.

So, boys listen to guitars and girls listen to... erm, rap? That doesn't even make much sense in the context of lazy gender stereotyping which has no relation to the real world. (Okay, we know when they say "urban" they're talking more about slushy love ballads - but surely that's suburban rather than urban?

Things get even more, confusing, though with the news in yesterday's Guardian that (prepare yourself for a genderquake horrorshock) girls are playing guitars. Yes... girls. Have you ever heard such a thing? There's even a company, Daisy Rock, which produces guitars especially for females. Although even this does seem to suffer from the same exactly the same sort of gender stereotyping Virgin Radio are dealing in. Because how do you make a guitar for a girl? Apparently by making them heart shaped, giving the range names like "Pixie Acoustic" and "Heartbreaker" and painting them pink.

We'd imagine you'd not see Patti Smith dead with one...


As their part of the celebrations to celebrate the celebrations marking ten years on from Blur releasing a single on the same day as somebody else, BBC News has put together a Blur v Oasis timeline. Curiously, it neglects to mention Oasis having to scrap their album last year...


Well, we're not even at the end of 2005 yet, and the 2006 Brits is shaping up to be a dull affair - with both the album and singles charts in the dead grip of James Blunt for the rest of our lives, it's not as if there's going to be much of an eligible field to choose from - and now, after his "safe pair of hands" performance this year, Chris Evans has already been signed up to present the prizes. Lots more guff as if scripted direct by the BPI, then.


Who would have guessed that nobody helps Craig David pick out his clothes?:

"I am not styled at all, it's mostly my own look that I have put together over the years which gave me and a designer friend an idea. It's early days but I hope to have my own clothing range by the start of next spring. I like the fact that fans connect with you on that level."

Thank god - soon, we can all dress like Craig David. I think I might remain naked until these clothes are in the shops.


And we're sure the MediaGuardian's MediaMonkey diary will be thoroughly ashamed of this entry, holding up Neil McCormick to public ridicule:

Having devoted 1,569 words plugging the song he had written in response to the London bombings, Daily Telegraph rock critic Neil McCormick has come over all shy and retiring. Readers may remember the ditty, called People I Don't Know Are Trying to Kill Me, had Bono drooling, but so far sales remain stuck around the single figures mark. Shame. Strangely, McCormick hasn't thought it important to mention this. So come on Macca, what went wrong? And when will you be releasing the follow-up: Some People I Don't Know Aren't Buying My Record?

Careful, Media Monkey - he's mates with Bono, you know.


There are two things that make us wonder if The Who really have any fire driving them towards their reunion tour, now planned for next year. The first is the decision to go ahead was taken "over a good lunch"; the second - they would have done it this year but they needed Ringo's boy to be free and he was working with Oasis. What sort of self-respecting rock gods put their plans on hold to make things easier for Oasis?

Still, it'll keep Pete away from his computer for a while.

Monday, August 15, 2005

ROCK SICK LIST: Collins on the mend

Good news from Scotland - Edwyn Collins has gone home:

He says: "How are you doing? I'm fine, thank you. Home again, thank God. I have many new goals to achieve and a lot of work, but we'll get there in the end. Grace showed me your messages and cards. I was out for the count the first weeks, but thank you for all the support. I don't know what to say. Talk again soon, Edwyn."


We've always wondered who all those emails about taking a pill to keep going are actually aimed at: it now turns out they're targetting Lee Ryan who... uh, is either brutally honest or just not yet been taught what things are best kept to yourself:

"Loads of times I've had a woman say to me afterwards 'Is that it?'" he told the Sun. "I'm like, 'Er, yeah'" he admitted.

Of course, we're assuming here he's talking about after sex. It could be that he means this happens as soon as he's had help undoing his trousers. The good news? The spam people have a pill for that, too.


The now-dogged-by-perpetually-being-tagged-as-Mercury-nominees Antony and the Johnsons are zooming out on tourthis November:

Wolverhampton Civic Hall (November 22)
York Opera House (23)
Dublin Vicar Street (25)
Glasgow Academy (30)
Bristol Academy (December 2)
London Shepherd’s Bush Empire (5)


They took the John Lennon musical off its US tour to allow it to be retooled before it made its debut on Broadway. But could this last minute reworking save the show and create something the critics would love?



We know it's ten years since the Blur v Oasis chart battle, but we can't quite feel that Babyshambles v British Whale is in the same league. However much you try to hype it.

ROCK SICK LIST: Ryan Adams goes down again

He's the only man in rock who can claim to have cancelled more gigs than Pete Doherty, and now, Ryan Adams is axing another tour:

“The band got a bad bug on the way back from Japan that just kept wearing us down. Really sorry about having to cancel the gigs, especially since I never had to cancel anything. But my voice was fried and the band was toast. And I never fully recovered from my inner ear infection. Was trying to avoid cancelling any more shows.

”We’re still finding our sea legs out there on the road, but what with (the) band being together only a year and having that many songs, no 2 shows are ever the same. Some are better than others, but that’s the price you gotta pay for mixing it up.

”After making three records this year, we just left the studio in LA recording songs for the upcoming Cameron Crowe movie. What started as being 1, ended up being 18. only one or so will be used, but this is your heads up that there might be another Cardinals record in your near future.

”This has been a fantastic and terrible year for us, and we’d hope that the fans can focus on the positive, leave the negative behind. And trust me, all of us would rather be playing.”

He's relying on his taut buttocks and pretty eyes to earn him a hello of a lot of forgiveness.


Who, as the question goes, lives in a house like this:

Extraordinary 1931 Mediterranean-style in celebrity cul-de-sac above Sunset with dramatic city view. Entry to huge living room with beam ceilings, hardwood floors, and massive fireplace. Upstairs master has spectacular city view plus walk-in closet and huge limestone bath. Separate guest suite plus convertible media/den and separate maid's with bath. Full Mediterranean charm. Kitchen and baths recently remodeled with great style. Media and projection equipment included as-is.

That, apparently, would be your former Morrissey house in Hollywood Hills, currently on the market for two million dollars. Who'd have thought Morrissey would be found up a celebrity cul-de-sac, eh?
[Without the newly re-addressed MogBlog, we'd have never seen inside Mozzer's showercubicle]


We've only just heard, through a sideroute, that Six By Seven have split. Although they are going to do a farewell tour, at some point in the future. Possibly next year. So, a long slow tear rather than a dramatic, nuclear split, then.

Buy something and show that you loved them...


We've heard a lot about the importance of owning the Beatles songs in the cash-vacuum that it Michael Jackson's pocketbook; it turns out that they might not be quite the golden egg they seemed. Asked if he was going to take advantage of Jackson's cash turmoil to regain control of his own songs, Paul McCartney said he didn't think he'd bother, ta:

“The interesting thing is, there are actually things in the whole deal that actually revert to me anyway. There are years approaching, there are dates approaching, that we never thought would approach, where things revert to me. So really, it's a waiting game rather than a big proactive buying game."

In other words, the most likely buyer isn't going to fork out any cash because in a year or so he gets the songs back anyway. Which, of course, would make anyone else thinking of buying the songs think twice - it's like getting a flat with only two years left on the lease.

Jim McCabe, who brings this to our attention, suggests "it looks like Neverland will soon be available for purchase. Perhaps it could be acquired by a wealthy philanthropist who then bequeathes it to a children's charity."

Not, of course, that Jacko will starve. He's taken the precaution of making Neverland self-sufficient. In fact, this evening he's going down to the kitchen to make himself a delicious pigeon pie... hey, hang on a moment...

... goddammit, woman, that was meant to be Jacko's tea. Now it's going to be traipsing round the fairground to see if there's any candyfloss left in the bins.

BABYSHAMBLES MELTDOWN COUNTDOWN: The slap made as the rubber glove is pulled on

What do you call a man with a high-profile drug problem who tries to smuggle crack and heroin through airport customs? We're going with 'a bit of a moron', but if you answered Pete Doherty, you can have a point. He and another bloke got caught with a gramme and a half each of crack and heroin by customs at Oslo. Besides getting fined (£700 - which, he might figure, is getting off really lightly), the band also wound up turning up five hours late for their Oya rock festival appearance, the highlight of which was Pete throwing up on stage. The 3am girls also find space to tut over Pete "smoking at the non-smoking airport", although since he had a bunch of drugs up his ass-crack as he was going through customs, that might seem to be the lesser of the two evils.

There's a curiosity in the way both the Mirror and The Sun cover the story, both taking a "Potty Pete does it again" style angle; both, curiously, using a nickname which nobody else ever calls Pete by (hitherto, it's been Kate Moss' junkie rocker boyfriend or nothing), and which is both misplaced - surely if we're going to have a cutsie name for him based on his drugs habits, it should be "Skagcase Pete" or "Crackvictim Pete" or "Sadcase Early Death Pete" - and surprisingly indulgent. Are we to assume that Murdoch's press empire has decided that drug smugglers deserve a little light punning and to be sent on their way?