Saturday, August 26, 2006


The NME has sorted out its Leeds blog and, unlike in Reading where they just hover behind the famous getting themselves flustered but with no touching, in Leeds they're getting the celebs to blog.

Well, we say celebs... Maggot from Goldie Lookin' Chain and Pete Wentz.

Maggot revealed he was missing out on the chance of fish and chips to be there:

I’ve decided to shun the offer of a free helicopter ride down to Essex for Preston and Chantelle’s wedding to stick with the rest of the lads to soak up the great atmosphere that is Leeds. I wouldn’t have got back in time if I went to the nuptials anyway, so just as well.

(We guess that odd business is down to him speaking Welsh or something.)

Wentz, meanwhile, was thinking about his trousers:

i think the only bands that get the sea of thousands moving are the likes of maiden and who knows, but i felt like we clocked in and worked today - you know you got time to lean you got time to clean. and that place was shining. pants ripped in half. they were 5,000 dollar samples stolen from diesel. only two exist - one on me and one in italy. now only one in italy. i guess i just raised the value on that last pair. thank god i worn underwear today. wouldnt want some naked pics getting out on the internet.

Nobody, Pete, would have wanted that.

Over on the proper, a chilling headline:

Karen O loses it at Carling Weekend

Blimey - has she finally flipped and taken people out with a knife, guitar or bottle of sauce? Erm... no, she "collapsed in giggles" taking her hat off.

BBC Three is reporting that Mani from Primal Scream has been misplaced, which is a bit of a problem as they're meant to be headlining and all.

KSera loved Placebo last night, but hated the company:

Saw MCR but it wasnt as good as bein at da apollo when i saw them last year, then got well near the front for Placebo - but it was full of bloody kids who didnt know who the fuck they were, you know the front is supposed to be a moshpit!! Frankly i feel sorry for Placebo because they were tryna get the crowd going but they were just having none of it, it makes me ashamed to be british.

There was a lot of shame in that mosh pit last night - Melinda felt ashamed, too:

omg went to see placebo at leeds n im actually ashamed i was there little chavs or wel ppl who hadnt heard of them were stood in the mosh pit n just made us like we were h8rs aah! brian u rock!!

So ashamed, she's lost the power of speech.

It's not like we're trying to pretend that Pearl Jam aren't there or anything - even though, you know, it's not bloody 1993 and if we've managed to make it into this century we don't see why everyone else can't. But for Boyo, they were the main attraction:

obviously to see Pearl Jam again. another great show by the boys. tried to see the Kooks but there was no chance of getting in the tent. utter mayhem. organisers dropped a bollock not putting them on main stage!!!

It does seem he's right on the Kooks - NME reported their Leeds set was a lock-out, although judging by how uncomfortably overfilled every corner of the two sites looks, that might be logistics rather than any deep longing for stage-school kicks.

After all, watching at home, and able to stretch out as much as he wanted, indie-pirate responded to them coming on by "fiddling with my phone".

Of course, if you can't go to Leeds, and don't watch on TV, you can be there in spirit, or at least in footwear: Smallgirl Towers can't wear her skirt and boots tonight, as her boots have gone (with Tom) to the festival. Doesn't say if Tom took the skirt as well.

Meanwhile, samples the unsigned acts:

Send More Paramedics bringing their unique brand of Zombie rock to a very receptive Lockup Stage audience.

Obviously there's nothing like threatening to eat their brains to get the festival crowd on your side.

Just don't get blood on the boots, you bastards. They're borrowed.


The Reading Festival always want to be an international event, and nothing goes round the world like an emo kid being slapped in the head with a bottle: Brendan Urie's injury got covered by sources as far-flung as Conneticut-based Starpulse, Austria's Pressemitteilung service.

Totally Loveable was in the crowd when it happened, and she wasn't impressed:

anyways i stood over at the side waiting for them to come on and when they did i was dead excited.. anyways they started off amazin Brendon is just soo fine and he has the most incredible voice... anyways this is the part that has me seriously pissed off.. some fucker decides that it would be a laugh to bottle him and it hit in square in the eye, all i saw was him lying on the stage, i was so worried i started crying.. it's not a fuckin nice thing to do you fuckin asshole whoever you are... it's fuckin ridiculas and i swear if i was in the pit i would have smacked you one... fuckin ass... anyways he got back up and continued the set which i think was incredible.. YOU FUCKIN LEGEND!! i have so much respect for him, he's fuckin incredible...

Tossing bottles is mindless violence, and best answered with, erm, more violence and some swearage.

We hadn't realised - not being at Reading and all - until the wrongly-subtitled NME editor Conor McNicholls appears on BBC Three last night that Urie had been unconscious for several minutes, which makes his decision to plough on with the set even more foolhardy ("impressive"). Urie plays it down, says Gigwise:

“I’m doing I'm doing alright now, I could be way worse, I could be dead.

"What I remember is I got hit, got knocked out, woke up and finished the set! I was out for a couple of seconds, I guess. Then we played some music, it was good. I've got a bruise, but looks good. It makes me look rugged and tough."

It's a bruise, honey, it's not a set of distorting eyes for everyone who looks at you.

Of course, it wasn't just PATD who were getting stuff thrown at them - Fightstar were, too, but Steve Renwick figures that might just have been valid critical analysis:

Apparently getting that much crap thrown at you is not a sign of appreciation.

Steve's blog naviagates through the first day via the medium of the grip quality of shoes, ranging from Ninja plimsoles for The Vines through to CAT boots for Franz Ferdinand.

Testicles Hennesey wasn't inpressed with wait for Franz Ferdinand to set up their fabulous backdrops, although it wasn't all bad:

Waited for Franz. And waited. And waited. They played Tenacious D over the speakers and EVERYBODY sang along, even to the speaking parts. Jarvis Cocker 'Cunts are still running the world' came on next, with sing-a-long words on the big screens. Great fun to see a security guard singing the chorus. You can probably guess how it goes.

Although admitting he enjoyed himself, Jan wasn't satisfied by the overall experience:

To demostrate just how commerical Reading is, and how justified Eugene is in his attack on our music scene, the only beer you can now buy at the festival is Carling. They were even searching bags for booze at the entrance. Given that the point of the festival is in equal parts music and drunkenness, this is a horrible transgression. The only thing worse that the taste of Carling is the chummy, laddish promotion that is fired at you from every direction as you navigate the festival.
The headline act for Friday night was Franz Ferdinand, who were granted a 1 1/2 hour slot. These guys exemplify everything I didn't like about the festival. Generic, completely unchallenging. The only slightly unusual things about them at all is that they all look quite handsome, and that they are very good at what they do, in so far as it is possible. Just a few youngish white guys and their boring instruments. We have had enough of the standard five-piece band now! That has been the standard for the last forty years!

Hmm. The fact the boys-with-guitars standard has had forty years of history doesn't automatically make it worthless - it's a bit like someone emerging from the Proms going "violins and cellos every bloody year." And to use "good at what they do" as a criticism is equally puzzling - "it's a pity they weren't a bit more inept, that would have been good."

Jan's festival tip was Gogol Bordello - "a ray of hope", apparently.

And while Urie might be getting kudos for having been injured onstage, let's not forget that most people who turn up at festivals expect to return home looking like they've battled through the Somme: Sophi lists the result of her day down the front:

Festival injuries were that much more spectactular this year than previous (past years had mainly boring ones like sprained wrists and bruises but honourable mention to by little bro having his earrings ripped through his ears last year), Rosa got concusion and some great bruises on her head and I got a split eyebrow (butterfly stiches cos I chicken out and wouldn't let them sew it) and a blackeye!

The police are praising the crowds at Reading - with reporting only - only 205 crimes and 50 arrests:

Thames Valley Police say they have been pleased that "revellers have been well behaved and in good spirits" - in other words, there haven't been any Vietnam-exit type scenes yet. Yet.

The NME blog, meanwhile, has been rubbing shoulders with the famous:

Jack White stood next to me to watch firstly Be your Own Pet and secondly The Fall (Priya may claim he was standing next to him and not me, but this is nonsense). I think The White Stripes/Raconteurs front fella is trying to pluck up the courage to ask me out. I will probably accept, but only if he behaves like a gentleman.

This Is Fake DIY haven't said anything since nine last night - let's hope they're not one of those "only" 205 thefts.

Apparently, everyone's talking about Pigeon Detectives. That may be, but nobody seems to be typing about them.


Is it all over for Hope of the States after the festivals? A management statement passed to Colin Murray says that this weekend's shows will be their last. They played Leeds last night; the weekend merry-go-round dumps them in Reading tomorrow evening for what may be their last run out. If the end to live appearances is linked to a dropping of studio work as well, the statement didn't say.


There was something inevitable about two celebrity-hoovers with the same name eventually coming together, so without any surprise Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas and Fergie from the now-defunct British royal family are coming together to do something or other for publicity ("charity").

We're not being comedy-vague about it, either, as Fergie Lady Lumps doesn't seem to know what it's all about, either:

"I think we're going to do charity work together. I know she helps build schools.

"I just had a phone conversation with her. It was fantastic."

The actual details of what they'll be doing will be worked out after the photographers have been booked.


Ronnie Wood isn't impressed with Bono or Bob Geldof, snorting that their political activities don't do any good:

He reckons their efforts make no difference to the status quo.

The 59-year-old also said all he wanted to do was entertain people.

He stormed: "I would never go into politics like Bono. Geldof and him can keep trying until the end of the earth but it won't make a difference."

This, of course, is based on a mistaken belief that property developer and Wall Street financier Bono is interested in upsetting the status quo rather than upholding it.

He added: "I like to make people happy. Politics doesn't do that. Art does."

That's not strictly true, though, is it, Ron? Politics can make people happy - for example, by funding education properly, a nation's politicians can provide young people with the skills and inspiration to go on to create art that will generate happiness. That does require people to pay their taxes rather than pretend to be Dutch to avoid them, though, doesn't it, Mr. Wood?


More congratulations are in order, it seems, as Preston from the Ordinary Boys finally marries Nikki Horse-faced Grace Pete Chantelle, serving their guests fish and chips in newspaper.

We imagine the newspapers were there because, really, there wouldn't have been a wedding without them ("to show how down-to-earth the couple are"). The wedding was being underwritten by a magazine contract supposedly worth a third of a million quid, but:

[T]he posh bash was largely free of celebrities after limelight-hating Preston, 25, insisted on the day being low-key.

We've always found that the best way to avoid the limelight is to sign a deal to sell your wedding photos to just the one magazine. A show-off would have wanted to be on the cover of OK!, Heat and Hello.

Tucked away at the end of the Sun's coverage is a rather odd note:

Just one hour before the guests were due to arrive, a huge sewage truck threatened to bar their way.

As two uniformed policemen looked on, council workers siphoned muck out of two drains 20 yards from the hotel.

A plain-clothed forensics expert then sifted through the dregs. A police spokesman said: “Nothing was found.”

Well, perhaps nothing was found. But a journalist might have asked the more pertinent question of what the police were doing poking through drain-sludge in the middle of London.


While we're wading through the "what were they thinking of" with the benefit of foresight, can anyone think what might possibly go wrong with a West End musical based on the tunes of Michael Jackson. Featuring a children's choir.

Producer Adrian Grant has hailed the show a "musical celebration" and says it will help to revive Jackson's status as the King of Pop.

"It's to remind the public that Michael Jackson is still a great artist, and to put his music back out in the public domain," says Mr Grant.

The thing is, of course, that Michael Jackson's music hasn't gone out of the public's reach - it's just that the public has elected to recoil in horror rather than reach out and grab. The much-vaunted re-releasing of the singles proved that, yes, there are a small number of people who still admire his early stuff, but it also demonstrated that the King of Pop is now a monarch on the level of King Constantine of Greece - it's a courtesy title that people use merely to try and make him feel better about no longer actually having a realm. The kingdom has moved on.

To be fair, Mr Grant doesn't oversell what's on offer:

"It's a song and dance performance, and it's very much like a spectacle of singers and dancers."

The "like" is telling - reminiscent of the way processed cheese slices are described ("Cheese-style food slices"). In effect, then, it's people who clearly can't be as good as Michael Jackson doing his songs.

"We made it very clear from the very beginning that we couldn't get anybody to play or imitate Michael because we don't think there's anybody that could really do that, and it would become like a parody.

"We have several different singers, with children from the age of eight singing the early stuff.

"We've got a range of different singers interpreting his music, but nobody's actually playing Michael Jackson."

People who aren't as good as Jacko doing songs in a way that won't even try to sound like him.

We wish Mr. Grant well with his show. And luck finding a paying audience who'll come out saying "that was brilliant - if you closed your eyes, it was almost as if really wasn't Michael himself not on the stage..."


He himself admits it could be a disaster, but that's not going to stop Elton John pushing ahead with a hip-hop album:

"I want to bring my songs and melodies to hip-hop beats. It may be a disaster, it could be fantastic, but you don't know until you try. I want to work with Pharrell, Timbaland, Snoop, Kanye, Eminem and just see what happens."

It's a little bit like when a small child decides to get his knob out in nursery school, "just to see what happens" - there's some experimentation that is best not undertaken, and really should be avoided being carried out in public at all.

Of course, we do have some respect for Elton and his desire to stretch himself musically - anything is better than him falling into Rod Stewartesque "here's another album of classics... oh, and another..." safety, but we'd suggest the time for announcing a hip-hop project is after you've made it, rather than before. Making such an album, deciding it works, and releasing it as a surprise would be a coup. Announcing that you're making hippity-hop before you've even spoken to your potential collaborators just has an air of Fred Wedlock's Oldest Swinger In Town about it.


We see in Friday's Guardian that Alex Kapranos has elected to stand down from his role as food-critic-at-large. Perhaps the demands on his time were too much of a strain; it was interesting that for a band who were up at Edinburgh this week sharing the secrets of songwriting they weren't showing much evidence of time spent constructing new material. We know that the tendency at these affairs is to fall back on greatest hits packages, but you'd have hoped for more from Franz Ferdinand. Instead, it was left to some (admittedly nifty) back projections to give the sense of novelty.

Last festival season, one of the most memorable songs was the Rakes' 22 Grand Job, a tune which provided the focus for guest appearances galore. This year, the Rakes turned up again, and the highlight of their set was, yes, 22 Grand Job, with Dizee Rascal joining them in the Leeds tent. Doesn't exactly suggest they're much more than a one-song band, does it?


Congratulations to Shiver, who won the E4 competition to have a professional pop video made and shown on their returning E4Music programming, back after making space for non-stop Big Brother.

Possibly congratulations. But did the "top director" who made the video actually like the band? Because not only is his or her name absent from the E4 website story, but the video they've made isn't exactly flattering.

It's not just that the only attractive young person who gets into the lift in which the clip is set clamps her hands over her ears; the lift is also shared with a monkey on its way to join friends randomly hitting typewriters and producing a complete works of Shakespeare - a metaphor for a successful act of creation without any understanding or empathy involved - and then, a giant turkey joins the band which sends them, their song, and the lift plummeting down into the basement.

A slightly less subtle metaphor than even the monkeys.

Friday, August 25, 2006


What's that sound? Someone gulping down oxygen? Is this another shock-scare advert warning of the dangers of smoking?

Nope, it's Mick Jagger, fresh off stage. While Ron Wood heads off to breathe in some helium for a laugh, Mick is having to slurp down oxygen just to be able to make it through - heh - the night:

A spokesman for the Stones confirmed that Jagger has been using an oxygen tank on the band's A Bigger Bang world tour.

He told the Daily Star: "Lots of singers have an oxygen tank by the stage. It's fairly common."

Really? Oddly, the spokesman didn't wait to offer names of these stars who have to stumble from footlights to iron lung.

So, Ronnie's got helium, Jagger's taking the oxygen... we shudder to think what Keith's on. "Maaan, I tried some of this Xenon, then I tried some Neon... I just couldn't get any reaction whatsoever..."


Faced with the prospect of being dragged to court by the RIAA, a defendant accused of using iMesh appears to have wiped their harddrive, leading to the court entering a default judgement against them - a judgement which could run into the hundreds of thousands.

The woman, Ms Tschirhart, had used a disk-erase utility after getting a letter from the RIAA requesting a look at her hard drive; the court has decided this was wilfull destruction of evidence and has granted Arista whatever it wants.

If the RIAA comes knocking, you're better off getting in touch with people who know about the law rather than your mate with a couple of knock-off copies of Norton.


Radio station hires djs isn't, perhaps, the most surprising headline, but Kiss' hiring of Carl Cox and Armin Van Buren is significant: a fairly hefty declaration of intent from EMAP that it intends to try and win respect back for the network.

On the other hand:

Kiss is also placing greater emphasis on listener interaction - with parts of the schedule opened up to allow listeners to shape playlists by rating tracks and choosing what is played next via real-time voting on the Kiss website.

So, junior choice with a few premium-rate phoneline knobs on, then.


"So this years Leeds festival is all about Love Not Riots according to organisers and so far it seems to be working.

Hometown heroes Forward Russia! sent out their support for the campaign during their set today.

Drummer Katie Nicholls donned the slogan on her drum skin and also told fans not to burn any toilets."

Much as we love Forward Russia - and we do, we'd break any law they care to name in acts of depraved nudity with them - it's a pity 6Music forget to mention that Love Not Riots is a campaign by two festie-goers, Zena Gardner and Amy Last, and nothing to do with the Mean Fiddler group. It remains to be seen how the kaisers will intergrate their Leeds set with this well-meaning attempt to stop people setting fire to chemical toilets, armed with nothing more than badges and a twee name - "I predict a riot, although not here, of course..."

NME give the girls a namecheck, alongside detailing Lady Sovereign's playing of an Ordinary Boys cover. We can't decide if lauding axis of Big Brother-Hello-Okay's Mr. Preston is an attempt to throw off the chav conotations, or a glorious final embrace. And an angling for an invite from Chantelle.

The NME Leeds Blog seems to be broken, consisting only of titles and posting times. Or maybe the idea is you write your own bit to fill in:

It's been a tough day of blogging...
NME - 2006-08-25 21:33:39

Nip and Tuck
NME - 2006-08-25 19:09:55

Mmm, Whiskas
NME - 2006-08-25 19:01:48

A blog about Mastadon
NME - 2006-08-25 17:31:24

It's A Wrap
NME - 2006-08-25 16:46:57

JJ vs. KK
NME - 2006-08-25 16:15:41

NME - 2006-08-25 15:32:51

Thus Far...
NME - 2006-08-25 14:15:48

Can Anyone Explain?
NME - 2006-08-25 13:39:47

The news thus far
NME - 2006-08-25 13:18:48

The NME Has Landed
NME - 2006-08-25 11:42:56

coming soon...
NME - 2006-08-24 15:56:18

It sounds like they've been eating catfood and having plastic surgery - you really do find all sorts of businesses pitched in the tented village, don't you? - but surely someone at Kings Reach Tower must have at least had a curious peek to see what was going on and spotted the rather obvious lack of, well, words, on the blog by now? Or will it have to wait until Tuesday when people go back to work?

The BBC Leeds Where I Live site is keeping an eye on goings-on in their patch, although being local media they're more interested in the weather forecast and traffic updates than the festival itself. Although:

Strangest sight so far - a man in full Santa regalia - it's too, too warm for head to toe red fur and false beards!

Although Santa doesn't actually wear a fur coat, does he? Or have fur, come to that, otherwise Morrissey would be trying to protect him.

Perhaps more astonishing than santa in August, Leeds Music Scene reveals that the trend for putting tickets for the next festival on sale as soon as possible has now reached a peak: Mean Fiddler announced plans to sell 2007 tickets before this year's festivals even started.

They must be hoping that the Love Not Riots campaign saves their asses - and their licence.


Peaches has "shocked" the Reading audience by bringing on stage an enormous phallus, reports, although why a giant plastic dick on the stage would be a shock to a crowd who've already sat through My Chemical Romance isn't clear. The audience for Peaches, it seems, was "celeb-packed":

Earlier, Peaches played a energetic set to a celeb filled crowd.

The likes of Alex Turner, The Long Blondes, Gogol Bordello, Fields, Junior Senior and Karen O watched from the side of the stage as the Canadian electro singer played a set culled mainly from her third album 'Impeach My Bush'.

If you're claiming "celeb-packed" and have to fall back on Junior Senior, you might feel a little tension in your reporting there.

The same report covers the return of The Vines to live performing in the UK:

The band, who had to curtail their touring due to frontman Craig Nicholls' illness, played a greatest hits before a huge crowd, including fan Peaches Geldof, on the Radio 1/NME stage.

We know you can't stop Peaches Geldof turning up at these things, but is it really fair to the Vines to suggest that she was the key figure watching them play?

"We're better than Girls Aloud aren't we?" trilled Ricky Wilson, still feeling the small boost their cover of I Predict A Riot at V gave to their pocketbooks. NME reports that Ryan Jarman of the Cribs came on to help out with one of the tunes - which, again, is nice, but it's hardly Elton and Cilla. Or Kylie.

The NME Reading blog records Ice T's not-meet-and-no-greet attitude:

"Now let me get one thing straight. I ain't here to meet any of you sweaty XBox360 motherfuckers..."

No, we don't know what the hell it means, either. Well, we get the go fuck yourself bit, but we don't follow the detail of the insult. Was it sponsored by Sony or something?

You can see Charlotte Subway's spangly top for yourself thanks to's Reading photo gallery.

This Is Fake DIY is updating itself live from Reading:

Little Man Tate, on the other hand, may be anointed third stage kings of the weekend, but come across like a pub band from 1998 raping Britpop over a crate of Stella. We expected so much more.

The updates ran out at about 7pm - either they've been mugged and had their laptops stolen, or the pigeons which were bringing the news out had been set free by Towers of London.

The Evening Standard sits grumbling on the side, revealing there are plans to seek anti-social behaviour orders against any kids who step out of line at Reading this year:

Organisers say anyone starting large bonfires, pelting staff with missiles or throwing gas canisters and aerosols on fires could face action.

Those caught will receive a lifetime ban to all Mean Fiddler events - including the Glastonbury and Download festivals. This comes after one festivalgoer was permanently disfigured last year as a result of a gas canister being thrown on a fire.

As far as we know, this is the first time the mainstream media has reported that someone got so seriously injured on site last year - you'll recall that Efestivals pulled an eyewitness account of an incident shortly after last year's event.


Clearly, someone has told Zane Lowe he needs to tone down his natural exhuberence, so presenting BBC Three's coverage of Reading-Leeds, he's justtalkingveryfastindeed. Once the network has got its Doctor Who business out the way, there has to be just a pointless scene-setting piece of history (Rory Gallagher! Nirvana! Every year the same basic package - do they kick off the proms with a list of selected first violinists each time) before the music...

...doesn't start. It's over to Edith Bowman, who seems to be wearing a top made out of sliced kelvar or something - is this an anti-terrorist measure? - and interviewing the Kaiser Chiefs. They're promising four new tunes in their set, including one called Everything Is Average Nowadays. You'd be tempted to say "you'd know, lovies" if your breath hadn't been taken away by the obvious theft from Everybody's Happy Nowadays. Let's hope it was all a post-modern joke. Or even an old-fashioned one.

Music at last - Belle & Sebastian on the Reading stage. They've brought a backdrop, which seems a little over-egged for a performance so early in the day that nobody's yet set fire to a single polystyrine carton. During Funny Little Frog they encourage the audience to clap along, which always makes us nervous ever since having been in a crowd split into two for community singing by De La Soul.

A shot across the venue shows just how crammed the place is. Not as in "busy festival", more like cows-going-to-the-continent crammed.

Oh, The Subways have a backdrop, too. Maybe it really is all about branding these days. Charlotte, however, has a lovely spangly top - maybe this Reading is going to be all about the glitter. Billy introduces a song by talking about the children the audience will go on to have - "whether that child be a boy or a girl..." (here, the camera closes in on the face of a frightened-looking 15 year-old who thought she was going to have to face nothing more than a bad chemical toilet and now trying to come to terms with her future fertility) "... you call it Rock and Roll Queen." Billy, that's a stupid name for a child.

Outdoors, even with Charlotte's enthusiasm and spangly top, the Subways tight repetition feels wrong. This isn't music for brightish sunshiney days, and it feels as displaced as a leather catsuit on Southend seafront on a Bank Holiday.

Meanwhile, behind press red, and in Leeds, Dresden Dolls at least have a tent, which works better for them. Not as well as the back room in a mitteleuropa brothel, admittedly, but at least theres the potential for some atmosphere. Potential it remans, though, as the wonderful Dolls are a sharp favour, and sticking them in front of a Leeds crowd is a bit like serving Mexican food in an old folks home - people look encouraging, and try to nibble, but it doesn't sit well. They give it their all, but the strain of trying to wring a reaction from a static crowd shows on their faces.

Until they come to a Black Sabbath cover. Playing War Pigs sparks some life beyond the front two rows and the girl in the PVC angel outfit. Reading-Leeds' rock past is never that far from the surface.

The tent here in Leeds is rammed, too. It's surprising that Clear Channel haven't installed gunwales, the better to pack them unto.

After War Pigs, the audience sinks back into its more sullen quiet. Amanda's joke about singing "an English folk song in the original English" falls flat, which is a pity as it's a lead-in to a cover of her latest flame's I Predict A Riot (pity that the bill has put them on opposite venues, as surely we'd have seen a guest appearance?). Curiously, the Kaiser's song being played by a band with musical dexterity and a love of ornamentation is akin to watching Chipendale being asked to put up an Ikea flat pack.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs take to the Reading stage with a spot of cross-dressing comedy-wigged hilarity - really, every set is haunted by the flatest-falling of all Reading jokes, the Inspiral Carpets' pantomime cow. The introduction for Pins seems to be giving Karen O a sexual high; even more noteworthy is it seems to be entering via the butt.

Watching her being chased around the front-of-stage area by a woman desperately moving the microphone flex (itself already swathed in Health and Safety Executive friendly hiviz tape) makes you wonder: with all the cash they're taking off the kids to stand wedged in a field, don't they make enough to run to a few radio mics?


The strain of singing and singing and singing has taken its toll on Cee-Lo, which means Gnarls Barkley won't be turning up at Creamfields (or the Electric Picnic, for that matter.)

James Barton of Cream was quite bullish when interviewed on BBC radio about this, in an "I ain't bovvered" fashion, suggesting that there was more than enough elsewhere on the bill for Runcorn's highest-profile music festival to take up the strain.


The police are busy down in Berkshire, with fifteen arrests in the first few hours of the Reading Festival and 87 offences reported already. The arrests, of course, are mainly drug-related.

Meanwhile, the police are warning against touts: Supt Steve Hockin, of Thames Valley Police, said: "I would like to remind people not to buy tickets from touts as there is a serious risk that the tickets will be false and you will be wasting your money. It is a big risk."

We're not quite sure what a "false" ticket would be - perhaps it worships a graven image.


It's the Bank Holiday weekend, which can mean only one thing - The Reading Festival. And its evil, Venus-like twin, Leeds. Oh, and Creamfields. Which is more than only one thing, we suppose.

Reading has kicked off with Towers of London setting pigeons free - which is about as ropey a start as you could imagine - and The Long Blondes on the slightly cooler stage having trouble with their high heels.

We'll be tracking the coverage of the festivals over the weekend, building this into an index of some sort.

Reading-Leeds line-up
Reading-Leeds Festival 2005
Reading-Leeds Festival 2004
Reading-Leeds Festival 2003

Audio stuff: Something to listen to Reading-Leeds (BBC links, decaying already)
Video stuff: YouTube captures P!ATD injury

Friday 25th
Panic at the Disco hit during first song
Police scoop up drug heads
The view from BBC Three: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Subways
Media round-up: Ice T, Asbo threats, Kaiser Chiefs
The view from BBC Three: Franz Ferdinand

Saturday 26th
Hope of the States-ment
Blog and media round-up: Franz, Jarvis, shoes, cops, copping off with Jack White and injuries
The View from BBC Three: Arctic Monkeys, Colin & Edith, Muse, Dirty Pretty Things, The Streets

Sunday 27th
Media round-up: Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, Conor McNicholas
Media round-up: My Chemical Romance, slashfiction, Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, mopping, text messages from distance fields

Monday 28th
The view from BBC Three: Placebo, Pearl Jam, The Fall
Media round-up: Sponsorship, Pearl Jam, Pete Doherty, beer, Peaches Geldof, naked breasts
Drowned In Sound were robbed

Friday 25th
The view from BBC Three: Dresden Dolls
Media round-up: Love not riots, santa, the mystery of the missing blog, next year's tickets
The view from BBC Three: The Rakes, Dizee Rascal

Saturday 26th
Hope of the States-ment
Media round-up: Footwear, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Primals, zombies
The View from BBC Three: Primal Scream, Kaiser Chiefs, Peter Kay

Sunday 27th
Media round-up: Peter Kay, Kaiser Chiefs, rain, Subways, family outing

Monday 28th
The view from BBC Three: Placebo, Pearl Jam, The Fall

Wednesday 30th:
Police seek Sunday night rapist

Cee-Lo throat means no Gnarls
Media and blog round-up

Elsewhere on the web:
NME Reading blog
NME Leeds coverage
Reading and Leeds on


It seems the campaign to promote love and peace at this year's Clear Channel Reading and Leeds festivals has, well, flopped, with Panic! At The Disco's Brendan Urie being felled by a missile during the band's first song. PATD were playing on the first day of Reading; although Urie was down for several minutes, he stood up and picked up the song from where he'd left off with a coy "You can't take me out. Lets see how well you guys do with my left side."

Which makes Panic at the Disco officially harder than 50 Cent.


Unimpressed by Madonna (another for a growing list) is Scissor Sister's Ana Matronic, who thinks that her problem was not being able to handle the forces she released:

"She made it OK to be sexual and taken seriously, but now it's expected for every woman to be pictured in her underwear."

Which means that not only is Madonna responsible for recalibrating the standards for female performers from talent to cup size, but it's because of her that Paris Hilton keeps doing "sexy" photoshoots.


Poor old Ronnie Wood - all he wants to do is party (responsibly, of course, he's just out of rehab, after all) but the rest of the Rolling Stones just want to get back home to watch the Countdown they skyplussed earlier:

"They can't fucking take it," the rocker growled at us.

"They always have to go home to rest. Instead they leave all the fucking partying up to me."

On the other hand, they might have heard that the highlight of a bash at Chez Wood these days is inhaling helium from balloons and talking in silly voices, so perhaps they're just pretending to be tired, Ron.


Lets hope none of East 17 were hoping the money from the reunion was going to help them clear debts they might have run up or anything, because it's all off again.

Yes, East 17 have split, again, and largely unmourned. The fight between Tony and Brian was the last straw (although general indifference from everyone else can't have helped):

John [Hendy] told [The Sun]: “Brian refused to work with Tony again after their punch up.

“Brian thought if Tony reacts like that every time he’s late, then what’s the point.

“I don’t think Tony’s heart was in it really. There was too much of an ego clash between him and Brian.

“We have carried on with just the three of us and did a gig in Russia the other week, which was mental.”

Sadly, it's not recorded in what sense it was "mental", although we're choosing to believe it consisted of the band switching the lights in the venue on and off two hundred times before they left the stage.


Anyone who's ever had to do anything involving being in front of an audience will feel a pang of sympathy for Jamelia who had a dreadul night recording a few songs for AOL - forgetting lyrics to her own songs, fluffing a cover of Clocks six times, and apologising as she'd not played live for two years.

We recommend writing the words to the songs on your hand, Jamelia. Or perhaps rehearsals. Either would work.


The musical Chicago seems to act as a kind of welfare service for people whose musical career has gone tits skyward - Jennifer Ellison, Marti Pellow. Claire Sweeney hoofed around doing it for a bit, and we hear that Usher is about to do what he must keep telling himself is "the Richard Gere role."

So who's the latest person to be means-tested to see if they qualify for the entertainment industry's income support scheme?

Step forward, Ashlee Simpson.

She's been given the option of appearing either on Broadway or London, and showbiz insiders (oh, how do they talk, eh?) reckon she'll go with London. As American audiences know who she is.


We wondered if having Pete Doherty in a drug rehab place was such a good idea - not for him, but for everyone else. This morning's Sun is reporting that he's been caughting supplying cocaine to another inmate.

Apparently they called his solicitor, but surprisingly they don't appear to have alerted the police - at least as far as the paper's report tells it. Instead, Pete was warned that if he does anything like that again, he'll be banned from every branch of the Priory in the country. Yeah, that's going to scare someone who supposedly was hitting people to try and get out the other day.


We're sure ITV are stood outside Simon Fuller's house, throwing stones at the windows desperate to know more about the Victoria Beckham TV show he's developing.

It sounds so ITV. Sorry, but it does:

"It will be more serious than a reality show but will still be entertaining because Victoria is so funny," he told Broadcast magazine.

It's going to be about fashion, as well. Presumably because, since being both entertaining and serious-minded is going to put a bit of a strain on Beckham's talents, it's wise to not stray far from the field of things she might know a little bit about. We're sure it's not going to turn out to be anything like a Project Runway/Project Catwalk clone (a Frock Idol, if you will) and will, instead, be a serious, thirteen-part history of fashion for the South Bank Show slot.

As if that wasn't enough, Fuller is also working on a sitcom featuring Emma Bunton.

No, he really is:

"Emma wants to get into TV," he said. "She went to drama school and it's in her blood. We're going to give her a shot."

And if that doesn't calm her down, he's going to work on a sitcom with her.


It's the least glittering night of the year, as celebrities don't wash their hair and turn up for the Kerrang awards, this year part-voted for (and part underwritten) by Rupert Murdoch's MySpace.

The shortlist wasn't very inspiring, so the winners weren't ever going to get the pulses racing too much.

KerrangAlthough the prize for Legend, which went to Angus Young, revealed a little bit of history: Young was the first ever cover star. Look! Kerrang was merely "the Sounds Heavy Metal special". We wish they'd kept that as the title rather than Kerrang; we love the idea of flicking through the EPG and seeing Sounds Heavy Metal Special TV.

We said least glittery night of the year, but Placebo did get an award - for "classic songwriting" - and if anyone was going to turn up in glitter, it'd have been them. The Prodigy picked up a Spirit of Indepedence Award, which means even less as a prize name than giving them an award on the basis of the last couple of years does.

The winners in full, then:

Best Band On The Planet - My Chemical Romance
Best British Band - Lostprophets
Best Live Band - Muse
Best Album - Lostprophets (Liberation Transmission)
Best Single - Bullet For My Valentine (Tears Don't Fall)
Best Video - Fall Out Boy (Sugar, We're Going Down)
Best British Newcomer - Bring Me The Horizon
Best International Newcomer - Aiden
Classic Songwriter - Placebo
Spirit Of Independence - Prodigy
Kerrang! Hall Of Fame - Slayer
Kerrang! Legend - Angus Young (AC/DC)

My Chemical Romance, you'll note, are the best band on the planet.

Bring Me The HorizonWho are Bring Me The Horizon, the best newcomers? We suspect the band with the best talent for organising a small cohort of fans into a well-drilled online voting machine. But then, it looks like they've got friends who could help them with that...

Thursday, August 24, 2006


The family of Keith Bender, the man who died after being shot by Proof have launched a legal action against his estate. The Benders have already seen an unlawful killing action tossed; this latest action seeks recompense on the grounds that Proof was liable for attacking and wounding Bender. They've not put a retrospective price on his head.


Launched today is a beta Firefox plug-in that will make the RIAA's Sisyphean task of fighting file-sharing a little harder (like Sisyphus being asked to carry a bucket of kittens on his head as well): AllPeers, which promises to allow small groups of friends to build their own closed bittorrent network. The key word being "closed". It doesn't make file sharing any more legal, but it will make it harder for the RIAA to find out what's going on on the networks.

And when you think of the number of friends (oh, alright, "friends") some people on MySpace have, there could be quite a bit of swapping going on behind walls the RIAA are unable to climb.

Meanwhile, there's another polite reminder that instead of trying to pull down the filesharing networks (we realise we've shifted from Sisyphus to Samson here), they should have been pulling out their notebooks. A Kauffman Foundation study has pointed out again that watching pirate behaviour is solid-gold market research:

By shaping the evolution of file-transferring technology, providing market insight to the business world, and contributing to new market creation, online pirates have pioneered the use of new technologies.

In other words, yeah, you might lose some sales, but the information you gather from watching what they're up to is worth more than any loss.


It's not all doom and gloom in the music industry - the manufacturers of guitars are having a good year as sales are booming.

470,000 electric and bass guitars and 520,000 acoustic guitars were sold in 2005, double the number in 1999 and about a fifth up on 2004. The new sales are coming from two areas.

One is young lads who hope that being in the next Arctic Monkeys will, if not draw the flattering attentions of the opposite sex, at least get them a cup of tea with Noel Gallagher.

The other main market is men of a certain age, who, edging perhaps into divorce and starting to forget where they left the car keys, buy a guitar to try and recapture their lost youth. It's possible Paul McCartney, for example, will be thinking of taking up the guitar soon.

Of course, sales should continue to move upwards, as The Who play more shows, which will require a supply of instruments to be trashed, and the inexplicable anti-terror laws force musicians to give their guitars up to the tender mercies of airport baggage handlers and the hold. That'd be a replacement every time, then.


There's a small flurry of excitement in Liverpool over the news that, while the plans for City of Culture year are looking more than a little flaky with just 18 months to go, at least they've signed Matt Willis up as an "ambassador" for the year.

We're not quite sure what that means - presumably he'll visit other years, maybe in a time machine, and represent 2008. It's obviously a wonderful honour for Matt, who loves his home city of Liverpool (he was born in the Tooting area, just a short, three-hour train ride and a fairly expensive taxi ride from the shadow of the Liver Birds), and the honour is in no way diminished by being shared with Herbert the Hairdresser and, indeed, anyone who wants to fill in an online form.

Of course, the ambassadorship conferred on Willis gives us an early glimpse of what defintion of "culture" the Liverpool Culture Company has in mind. We're sure what swung the post for Matt was his guide to the V festival in last week's NME:

I hate people who pretend to be something they're not "(although presumably not if they're pretending to come from Merseyside) "Girls Aloud are what they are. Plus [Cheryl Tweedy] beats up toilet attendants. I fucking hate toilet attendants."

What a charming man. Unfortunately, Willis didn't have the space to explain if he hates all people who do really shit jobs for pisspoor wages and would celebrate someone who launched unprovoked physical attacks on them - would he want to see roadsweepers happy slapped, for example, or fast food servers pelted with rotting fruit? Maybe the Liverpool Culture Company could give him a platform.

Later in the piece, though, Willis shows he knows he knows his Liverpool music scene, talking about a meeting with Ian McCulloch:

He came down with some shades on and never took them off. I read up on him, and Echo was in fact the name of the drum machine. I always thought 'what a weird name'."

He read up on him enough to discover the fact that even my dead grandmother knows about Echo & The Bunnymen - good lord, he'll be popping up to tell us that actually, Bono's real name is Paul next - but not enough to discover the reason why Mac always wears darkglasses.



When we saw a headline suggesting that Mozzer and Peaches were "teaming up", we felt the need to sit down. It's like Charles Hawtrey and Bettie Page making a movie together. Which, to be honest, we'd like to see, but we're getting off the point.

It turns out they're pulling together for animals: Peaches has joined the PETA campaign to stop people beating the holy crap out of seals, a campaign Morrissey has already thrown his weight behind. It doesn't mean that they're going to be having sex together. After all, Macca and Heather Mills both support the ending of the practice, and they're not shagging each other, are they?


She wishes she was a punk rocker, with flowers in hair, inventing jazz in New Orleans and hanging out with Kirk Cobain. But now Sandi Thom needs a little lie-down.

She collapsed - flat - while waiting to do something for Sky TV:

A spokesperson said: “Sandi has been working so hard to break America and the UK that her body literally couldn’t take any more punishment.

“The doctor has insisted she take a few days off at home with her guitar to recuperate. She will be fine after that, though.”

Since all she does for a living is play the guitar, wouldn't it make more sense to take it off her? (Besides being a benefit for all of us.) After all, if a fisherman suffers from exhaustion they don't send him home to mend the trawler nets and smoke the kippers.


The origins of the video which used the Kaiser Chief's I Predict A Riot to soundtrack a moronfest in support of the BNP are shady; it surfaced on YouTube so it could have been an official project, or it could have been put together by one of smarter BNP kids. (We guess that if you needed proof that video editing is simple these days, 'so easy even the BNP can manage it' would be a perfect slogan.)

What happened next is clearer: the Kaiser Chiefs found out, and complained to YouTube. The video was pulled, and the BNP denied having anything to do with it:

"this isn't the type of music our party would ever want to be associated with, like rap music we think it's wrong to play this stuff, what's wrong with Beethoven?"

Which does in passing point up how bright the British National Party are - they'd rather have the German who wrote the anthem used by their hated European Union than good old fashioned English band.


Following on from the reports of a ban on Britney Spears' nude poster on the Tokyo Underground comes a change of heart.

Now, the demands that the adverts for Harpers Bazaar cover up the bits that you can't see anyway have been dropped:

"I'm glad the subway officials understood the meaning of the photo," said the magazine's deputy chief editor, Kayoko Higashino.

"Our earlier request to cover the photo from the waist down was because of nudity, not because we had anything against pregnant women," said Tokyo subway spokesman, Tatsuya Edakubo.

But if it's the waist down that was causing the problem, that wouldn't actually be the pregnant bit, would it?


Normally, the listen again links we bring you are already on their last legs, but in a break to tradition, here's one that isn't active yet:

Tom Robinson's Evening Sequence - until 10pm this evening, this link will bring you the last programme with Joan As Policewoman on it from last week. From about 10, it'll access this week's show, which is promising live music from Thom Yorke. And from about this time next week, it'll be something else again. Chameleons.

Imogen Heap has recorded a bunch of tracks for Rolling Stone.

Sunday Best on BBC Radio 4 is re-running Jarvis Cocker's history of the role of art schools in pop.

Andy Kershaw took time off from visiting African war zones this week, and instead went to a school playground as Radio 3 covered the Brampton Live festival

The first Slash Music is now available from Channel4radio, Tom "son of Peel" Ravenscroft sorting through unsigned bands.

Kurtis on the blower: Kurtis Blow rang in to talk hiphop with WFMU's Put The Needle On The Record.

And CBC's Chris Alscher interveiwed Peaches about dropping the Minidisc and the merits of the keytar.


It's been a while since we've heard anything from Steve Strange, so it's nice to hear he's turned up doing guest vocals on In The Dark, the just-about-to-be-released new single from Punx Soundcheck. Well, we say just about; it's not out until October but that's going to give him plenty of time to sort out some eyeliner and stuff.



Compare and contrast:
From Hello:

Victoria's hot look for a night out on the town:
Victoria Beckham has proved she's still one of the sexiest mothers around. On a dinner date at one of her favourite London eateries this week the glamorous football wife caused quite a stir in a stunning combination of a black lacy top with a keyhole feature and cutaway shoulders teamed with wide-legged trousers.

The same night out, from the Daily Mail:

Sloshed Spice stumbles home after boozy night out:
After a night out with friends that didn't finish until the early hours of the morning, perhaps it wasn't surprising Victoria Beckham looked worse for wear.

The former Spice Girl was seen stumbling out of a London casino at 4.45am - and even her minder struggled to prop her up as she swayed back and forth.

Wearing an elegant lace creation, flared trousers and stilletos, her outfit didn't exactly ease the challenge.


Paul McCartney is already having to dig deep into his trousers to cover the fall-out of his divorce: he's shovelled over one and a half million quid to a landmine charity whose fundraiser he now won't be paying.

We reckon he'll keep the receipt so he can set it against Heather's half of the settlement.


John Bolton enjoys the sound of MegadeathAs if the United Nations didn't have enough to contend with, what with John Bolton being the first instance of a hostile ambassador, now they're going to have to cope with being the target of neocon hair metallers Megadeath.

Yes, Megadeath. They're calling their next album United Abominations. Do you get it?

Dave Mustaine explains:

"I was watching TV and saw the trucks that said 'UN' on them and said, 'Man, you are so uncool, ineffective, anything," the singer/guitarist said in a recent Billboard interview.

"I thought, 'Wow, I've got to run with this. I got it -- United Abominations, 'cause it's an abomination what they're doing!"

He's right, you know - working to bring aid to the hungry and frightened, and trying to seek peace and prevent war, that's just so uncool. Like, they drive round in vans with UN on the side - un, like in uncool. See, dudes? And even Kofi Anan admits the UN is just, so, anything.

The UN has reportedly gone into emergency session to discuss how to deal with this serious threat to their authority. The security council have passed a resolution calling for Mustaine to "get his stupid hair cut and stop sounding like a Fisher-Price Slayer", but that still needs to be ratified by the whole council. Fiji has suggested that Iron Maiden be sent in to Megadeath in a bid to calm the situation.

Oddly, Mustaine is calculating the gestation time of United Abominations at somewhere between 18 months and two years - in other words, he takes six times longer to make an album virtually identical to the last one than than the period he expects the UN to solve the Lebanon-Israel conflict in.


Shakira forgetting to not wear clothes againUnlikely claims of our time, part 450. MTV reckons that Shakira Almost didn't do half naked dance in the video for Hips Don't Lie.

How would that be, then? Just as the costumier was sewing the badges onto the scientist's white coats she was originally going to use, she thought 'hang on, don't I normally do this sort of thing with fewer clothes on'?


Lots of "Damns" of celebration over in Augusta, where the city has decided to rename its coliseum in honour of James Brown. Brown is thrilled:

"I thank God and all the people there," said Brown, 73, who lives near his hometown. "We want to build back Augusta."

We think the Associated Press meant that he lives near his birthplace, rather than his hometown, as it's impossible to live anywhere but your hometown.

Still, it's very brave of them to buy a new sign and everything before the rape claims against him are fully laid to rest.

It's not that which is worrying Richard Isdell, though: he's more afraid that making the Coliseum into the James Brown Arena will send out the wrong message to potential acts:

[He] said it might draw more soul acts to the city, but would do little to help attract the country and rock shows he thinks the venue needs.

Added to that, not being a coliseum any more will hit the number of bookings from travelling Christians and lions.


Hats off to Victoria Newton for her exclusive story this morning - it's on the bit of The Sun website that decays after 24 hours, so we've grabbed a permanent reminder of the big story that others have missed:

The ARCTIC MONKEYS returned to Barnsley for a secret homecoming gig at the Citrus Rooms last night. But I hear ex-bassist ANDY NICHOLSON wasn’t too keen to see them. His mates tried to drag him down but he stayed in hiding.

They come from Barnsley and not Sheffield? That really is a secret homecoming. No wonder Andy wasn't keen on a twenty-five mile round trip to go see them. Or maybe Vix just thinks that all the north is one big place. It's all suburbs of Weatherfield, isn't it?


Could it all be over for Girls Aloud part 278: they're supposedly upset at having to play four gigs in a week straight after having to do two - TWO - V Festival sets. It's all too much.

There seems to be some attempt to "blame" Nadine Coyle for this, because the four nights were in Derry, a place they were playing because it's where her Dad lived. As if she was chasing them on stage waving a twangy cane around above her head threatening spankings for non-compliance, and it wasn't the management attempting to maximise profits before the band falls to pieces.


It could just be that we tend to start from the assumption that anything in The Sun is being written with at least an air of misunderstanding - for example, this morning they're having to grovel out an apology to Koser Zaman, a woman whose picture they ran claiming that she was Cossor Ali and under arrest as a suspected terrorist - but the proud report in Bizarre this morning is just so unlikely we wonder if it's some sort of joke.

Victoria Newton has (apparently) been told by "an insider" that Pete Doherty, Tom Chaplin and Justin Hawkins really have formed a supergroup inside the Priory:

“They all vaguely knew each other before but when they found themselves meeting in difficult circumstances it somehow made them click. Being in rehab is strange at the best of times. But when you find yourself in there with other famous faces it’s even more odd.

“Tom was the first to play the piano in one session for some of the patients. After that Pete and Justin chipped in and suggested they write some music.

“Pete and Justin have struck up a particularly strong friendship and Pete has invited Justin to perform with Babyshambles this weekend.”

Okay, it could happen - the Babyshambles album proved that Pete was prone to go up to people and just give them something to do in the band; and who knows? Maybe there was even a bit of a sing-song. But the vision of this little trio sat around writing songs in the dayroom? We know there's something missing from that scenario, but what is it...?

...oh, yeah, the huge native American who doesn't say anything.


Natasha Bedingfield was being lined up to provide a theme tune for the new Rocky movie - Gotta Zimmer Now, or The Eye Test of the Tiger, something like that. But now it seems she might get to appear onscreen as well. In an acting role.

It can only mean one thing.

Experienced Hollywood hands are treating the movie as one would a decaying whale dumped at the end of your garden - staying as far away as possible lest one ends up contaminated by rank blubber.

Bedingfield doesn't yet know what she'll be doing in the film:

Natasha said: "Let's just say I'm excited and looking forward to seeing the script.

"It may be that I just perform the song at the end of the film."

... she said with her fingers crossed and wishing the words "not the blow-job scene" were in some sort of contract.


Britney Spears naked on the cover of Harpers BazaarThe operators of the Tokyo underground have cracked down on Britney Spears, banning her from the elbow down. The naked Britney Spears on the cover of Harpers Bazaar was considered a bit too much for the advertising boards on the network - not, as you might have thought, because the fake tan and airbrushing made her look like some sort of freaky ass, but for fear that it might make commuters all hot and bothered:

A transport official said: "We thought some of our customers would find it to be overly stimulating."

However they did agree to show the poster covered at Britney's elbow with a sign reading: "We apologise for hiding part of a beautiful image of a mother-to-be".

In unrelated news, a large number of Tokyo travellers are turning up for their journeys carrying wallpaper scrapers and hopeful expressions.

[LATER: Tokyo relents]

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


YouTube are one step closer to their goal of having every pop video ever made up on their servers, as the Rapture have posted their Get Myself Into clip up - it looks oddly like a tribute to the Rock DJ video to us, but we're often left to sit by ourselves even on the busiest of buses.

Meanwhile, the band have had the painters and decorators in - or rather Prince Language; he's remixed, mp3ed and uploaded the single into the shape of a free mp3.

All this effort to please, and it's a good tune to begin with.


Our new best friends The Sky Drops are coming to Britain, and playing gigs and stuff. Cracking gigs, as it happens:

Wednesday 13 September Goonite Club, Buffalo Bar, Islington
with Assembly Now and The Lea Shores

Thursday 14 The Dublin Castle, Camden, London,
with Blues Brothers Castro, The Rodeo Clowns, and The Playboys

Friday 15 Club AC30 - - Water Rats, Kings Cross,
with Suburban Kids With Biblical Names and they came from the stars, i saw them

Sunday 17 Sonic Cathedral Sunday Service, The Social, London

Okay, they're all in London, but at least one of those is surely worth a train trip, right?

The Sky Drops, by the way, are Rob Montejo, who was in Smashing Orange; he's joined with Monika Bullette of, uh, Bullette for this project.


We were surprised to get an invitation to listen to a programme on Radio 2 via, of all things, the MySpace eventometer. And, even though we know Radio 2 is no longer the home of Jimmy Young and Pete Murray, we were even more surprised by what's being promised:

Sally takes to the airwaves at 2am on Bank Holiday Monday morning...

... presenting a special LIVE, Bank Holiday Balearic show as part of BBC Radio 2's 'Summer chillout'.
The show features Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation talking about 'Lounge', Jose Gonzales and Rodrigo y Gabriela plus loads more great music. You can even make a request here . Be good to know you're listening! x

Blimey. And it'll be on listen again for a week after, so even if you're fast asleep dreaming (yes, perhaps dreaming of Charlie Chester) when it goes out, you can listen to it later.


Who knew? Guy doesn't think that much of Madonna's music. Or so she says:

"My children adore all that I do, they love dance music. My husband isn't a great fan," she admitted.

But, hey, he loves your acting, right?

"Of course I regret losing the freedom of being able to go out alone to a club - dancing alone on a darkened dance floor without anyone to disturb me or to draw attention to me.

"I regret not being able to take advantage of such anonymity."

Well, you know, if you stopped making public appearances, giving interviews, and so on, you'd be surprised how quickly it'd be possible for you to blend in to the background. Letting the security go, too, might help.

Although, having said that...

"Last week I went to a club where I danced with lots of my friends. It was very enjoyable.

"In turn, I go out from time to time with some of my dancers.", not exactly living the life of a shut-in yet, Madge?

"The small amount of free time that I have I reserve for my children. There's the ice rink, pizza, DVD or a horse ride with my daughter.

"That might seem boring to you, but that's how it is. The times have changed for me."

Oddly, of course, the kids weren't around when she had that horse fall, but still, we bet they're glad that she makes a tiny window in the day for them. How utterly selfish she is to use her time off spending time with her kids. We're thrilled with how impressed we are. Even if she does think its the sort of thing that is "boring".


Alright, then: Franz Ferdinand can't talk with authority about number one hits, but they do at least know how to do the charts. They gave a talk at the Edinburgh Festival on just that subject.

Their hints included Alex Kapranos revealing how he wrote his very first tune:

"It was about unrequited love, a girl that I fancied that wouldn't look at me. It's an eternal theme of writing," he said. But he refused to talk about his first song, saying it was too bad.

We're sure Art Brut would be happy to take it off your hands for cash, mind.

Then, it was some wide-ranging advice:

"It's just messing about, putting your hands in different places on the instrument to see what sounds good," Kapranos said. "Most of it is mucking about, coming out with as many ideas as you can and then just be ruthless about it."

Which, funnily enough, is a direct quote from the Heather Mills sex education book, if we're not mistaken.

The fans, though, were delighted:

"It great to see artists as real people, rather than up on stage," Mhairi Threlfal, 17, of Edinburgh, said.

We're not sure in what way having someone stand at the front of a room in a Literary Festival is different from them standing on the stage at a Pop Festival, but we can't deny that it is 37% more real.


If you want to get a lovely, warm glow just from going to see a gig, the answer to your dreams could be the upcoming Badly Drawn Boy tour, as every ticket which gets sold means a pound in the pocket of Oxfam, which in turn means 93p going to the goods work they do.

Of course, you could stay at home and send a cheque for £2.50 to Oxfam, which would probably be better for everyone involved, but in case you want to take the other route, the dates are:

8 Spetember Rescue Rooms Nottingham
9 King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Glasgow
11 The Village Dublin
13 Zodiac Oxford


In a rare public appearance, Kevin Shields is going to be taking to the stage with Patti Smith.

Shields does so few live performances writing about it feels a little like talking near a hedgehog, afraid that if you make too much noise he'll curl up or run away.

But: it's to be a live performance of The Coral Sea, the second half of a two-part evening of Patti Smith on the South Bank, September 12th. The first half is going to be mainly spoken word stuff from Smith, along with some new songs and special guests. Like a chat show, only not on the television and, we believe, without any Waggon Wheels, either.


The blameless people of Australia came very close to having to cope with a Westlife tour this Australia, but now they're able to breathe again: the band are stuck in the studio and won't now be able to make it to the Southern Hemisphere until 2007. God alone knows how they can be stuck in the studio - it can't be waiting for inspiration to strike as they've never needed that in the past. Maybe they're struggling with a revolving door or something.


Continuing the No Rock tradition of promoting gigs we can't attend: today, in Las Vegas, Rupert Murdoch is paying for a free gig by The Killers.

It's at Celebration on North 3rd Street, and is almost first-come first-served. Except for the people who beat the system by getting hold of a wristband from the nearly-defunct Tower Records on West Sahara Avenue.

It is being promoted via MySpace, so the crowd might be full of fourteen year-old girls pushing their breasts up and fourteen year-old boys dragging their waistbands down.