Saturday, September 02, 2006


We're surprised nobody was getting up petitions or anything to save a set of rock landmarks, but now it's too late anyway: Shaun Ryder has had ten grands' worth of dental work and now has a smile like, well, Bruce Forsyth, to be honest.

Apparently, the heavy dental work is a precursor to a Happy Mondays reunion tour - because, after all, it's not going to look like a money-grubbing attempt by old men to regain a lost youth if Ryder has dentures which glow in ultra-violet light.


The always understanding Serge Pizzorno isn't impressed with Tom Chaplin out of Keane going into rehab. He simply doesn't believe Chaplin's addicted enough to need rehab at all:

The guy from Keane is a [we're guessing it was 'cunt']. He has probably had one line and all his minders are like 'oooh'.

"Fuck off. If he spent 10 minutes in this band he'd be in rehab.

"This guy is going, 'ooh everyone thinks we're fucking safe, I might go into rehab for a week and read a book.'

"If he spent a day in our band he'd be in a coffin, never mind rehab."

Yes, Serge. And if you wanted to read a book, you'd need someone to help.


Howling BellsThey've been lauded so often, everywhere from Mark Radcliffe's Radio 2 show, through the quality press, up to the slightly better dressed parts of the music magazines, so you probably don't need us to tell you that the Howling Bells are pretty well thought-of right now.

You're also probably aware of their newly announced tour dates, and don't need us to blurt them out:

Tues 10 October – LONDON – ULU
Weds 11 October – BRISTOL – Fleece
Thurs 12 October – SHEFFIELD – University
Sat 14 October – NOTTINGHAM – Rescue Rooms
Sun 15 October – GLASGOW – King Tuts
Mon 16 October – BIRMINGHAM – Barfly
Tues 17 October – CAMBRIDGE – Soul Tree
Weds 18 October – LEEDS – Cockpit
Fri 20 October – MIDDLESBOROUGH – Cornerhouse
Sat 21 October – MANCHESTER – Academy
Sun 22 October – OXFORD – Zodiac
Mon 23 October – BRIGHTON – Pressure Point
Tues 24 October – SOUTHAMPTON – Joiners
Thurs 26 October – LIVERPOOL – Barfly
Fri 27 October – CARDIFF – Barfly
Sat 28 October – BATH – Moles

But we have, anyway.


That's all we bloody need. Madonna is already hard at work writing a new album, blaming the public for the outrage:

"I basically see no limits to what you can achieve. Why would I not want to make more music? I love it and so do my fans."

"I have more club music in mind. It's where I started and funnily enough, it's now huge again. I'm writing the new album now, while we're on tour."

Actually, didn't you start out in softcore porn?

Analysts suspect that one more Madonna album will finally tilt the balance against her, as it will mean that the 'dreadful' side of her collected work will outweigh the 'classic' side, turning her from "a genius who lost her way" into "a hack whose early work is a tribute to her collaborators". When asked if there wasn't a chance that maybe the new album might be a triumphant return to form, the analyst walked away chuckling to himself.


They gave us Betamax. They gave us the ATRAC file format. They gave us the UMD. They gave us a merger with BMG which may yet prove to need some expensive reworking.

The trend, of course, is that Sony might just be poking about in the dark without much of a clue, burning money in a desperate bid to see some way forward.

Is it any surprise, then, that they've decided to underwrite Kevin Federline's album?

Presumably they're planning on building up a big stock of useless CDs in case a judge makes them give free records out to deserving causes at some point in the future.


The runts of whatever they called the scene with the Libertines and Selfish Cunt in it, Les Incompetents are calling it a day. The band had been planning to go their seperate ways before singer Billy Bell was viciously beaten in Camden. The original idea was to unplug at the end of their Wireless festival dates, but Bell's injuries have made playing a farewell impossible.

Instead, the band have chosen that most 2006 of curtain calls, a statement on their Myspace page:

"The rumours are true...the six of us ARE no longer going to be playing together. Les Incompéntents as Les Incompétents will cease to exist.

"You might be wondering why, on the cusp of an album, TV performances and other good stuff; we decided to kill the dream. Basically we realised that a time must come in every man's life when he must decide between what is easy and what is right.

"And by the end of the tour we just realised that there were too many ideas between the six of us to try and hone in to one thing. Meaning that whatever we ended up producing, certain people would be unhappy."

We hate to be pedantic, but first of all they imply that to continue the band would be easy, and then they say that trying to find a solution which satisfied everyone and synthesised the six pieces' disparate ideas into a pleasing hole was too difficult to do. Which would mean they've chosen the easy route, surely?


There are some truly awful ideas bouncing out of News International surrounding MySpace - the plans to remake MySpace as MySun, which is presumably the reason they've had the catastrophic redesign of the Online Sun this morning; the frankly shabby plans to try and work a TV channel out of the site; the pointless magazine based on MySpace. Added to this is one which sounds at least plausible: Flogging music as well as giving it away.

The idea would be that MySpace would take a small distribution fee, while the bands would set their own prices. Co-founder of MySpace Chris DeWolfe says the online store could be selling music before Christmas, initially unprotected mp3 files from unsigned bands. This, of course, would be the launch pad on which they'd then bring in major label artists - these, of course, in copy protected formats. There are rumours that EMI might be interested in jumping onboard, although EMI won't acknowledge this.

While we're sure it all makes sound business sense when written down on a flipchart and faxed across to Rupert Murdoch, we're not sure we can understand why any of the majors would want to support this model - yes, it would mean they'd get access to a large market, but they'd equally be legitimising MySpace as a music store. And that would be great news for the unsigned artists there, who'd go from selling their wares alongside Sniffy and The Dirty Crotches to sharing a webstore with the likes of Madonna and Pearl Jam. And if you're able to get access to the same marketplace as artists on a major label, only keeping a larger proportion of the cover price, you might wonder what the point of signing a deal would be.

The labels, though, probably won't see it like that - because, for them, they have only one thought in their collective head right now: Must Kill iTunes.

DeWolfe admits as much:

"Everyone we've spoken to definitely wants an alternative to iTunes and the iPod. MySpace could be that alternative."

"Everyone", of course, probably doesn't include the people who actually end up paying for all this - the music fans - who, when offered an alternative to iTunes and iPods (and they are, often and repeatedly) turn out to not be that interested. Otherwise, you know, Coke would still be giving away songs through MyCokeMusic and not iTunes credits this weekend and ATRAC wouldn't have gone the way of the 8-Track. The "everyone" who wants an alternative tends to be the sort of person whose connection with music goes no further than spreadsheet piecharts showing market share; a MyTunes music store could provide them with their dream of a service capable of pushing Apple out of a monopoly position. They might find, though, that it speeds their own demise, too.


It's taken about six years, but the taxman has finally had his way in the case of Ronald Isley: He's been sentenced to three years in jail and fined £1.6million quid for "serial tax evasion."

The judge had been asked to go gently on Isley on account of his having had a stroke last year and only just recovering from kidney cancer. But the judge elected not to.

DOOWOPOBIT: Sanders Barber Junior

The death has been announced of Sanders Barber Junior, doo-wop singer.

Barber had founded The Condors straight after graduation. Although never over-worrying the top end of the charts, the band had quite a following in and around Pittsburgh and were still playing the circuit. Barber had supplemented his income working during the day for the local sewage and water company.

Barber had been fighting leukemia for a year; it was related complications which finally claimed him.


Sick? Nope, just schtick. Robbie Williams shared some intimate medical details with the audience at Hampden Park:

I woke up this morning in my bedroom alone and I got out of bed and into the bathroom and thought, 'Fucking hell. I feel like shit'.

"I called the doctor, who took my temperature and said, 'Tonight, you won't be able to performon stage'.

"I asked if there might be some alternative and he told me to turn around.

"I took a needle in my arse this big," he said, and gestured about a foot long.

"I am proud to say I took it in the arse for Scotland."

Very droll.

But hang about a minute - didn't he do pretty much the same routine at his Copenhagen show? Either Williams is awfully unwell, or else he's setting up the whole routine so he can just joke about taking it in the arse.

But it can't be the latter, because Williams is so touchy about those matters he took papers to court for hinting he might enjoy gay sex, didn't he?


They only do it to tempt you to buy the record, of course, but let's not discourage them: In support of the new Stars of Track and Field album, Centuries Before Love and War, they're flinging the lead-off single Movies of Antarctica out as a download.

Right-clicky fun for all the family.


Named after the most-famous bisexuals outside of humankind, Bonobo are about to head out on a tour, which we shall cut and paste from their PR handout for your pleasure:

26th September - Luminaire, London (Official UK Album launch)
27th September - Consortium, Bournemouth
19th October - Hi-Fi, Leeds
20th October - Independent, Sunderland
21st October - Yes Boss Fest, Nottingham
22nd October - Orange Rooms, Southampton
25th October - Magnet, Liverpool
26th October - Islington Academy, London
27th October - Concorde 2, Brighton

BonoboThey're (or, rather, he's, although they're a band) really prettty good, and it's all in support of Days To Come, which is out at the end of the month.


Besides introducing about a third of a million people to its current delights - more building work than could have been summoned by the Marshall Plan and a rusting hulk bobbing in the Mersey - Liverpool also took the opportunity of the Mathew Street Festival to sign up some top-flight support for its year as the City of Culture.

The Proclaimers are in.

Well, at least they're internationally known, and must get to travel a lot to play to, uh, conventions or whatever. Who else is in?

At least twelve bands, reports the Echo:

They include Doctor and the Medics, Amsterdam, the Aeroplanes, and tribute artists Guns 2 Roses, Johnny Silver, and Definitely Might Be - who perform the music of Mancunians Oasis.

Obviously, not the whole dozen are going to be up to the standards of Definitely Might Be, which is why the paper has chosen not to mention the names of the rest: why, it could be a list of tribute acts and that might just look desperate.

And U2 tribute band Elevation added: "We don't know anyone in Liverpool who doesn't like music, sport or the arts. We've travelled extensively and have yet to find an atmosphere as creative as this city."

There presumably aren't many people anywhere who don't like at least one of the three options - unless Elevation have visited a place where all the citizens existed merely to shovel food into their mouths, poop, and operate the giant machinery which keeps the food coming and the poop going. And what would such a nightmare city want with a pretend U2 band?

And forgive us for pointing this out, but Amsterdam are a local band anyway - so you would expect them to be singing the praises of Liverpool, with or without an ambassdorship in their back pocket. Indeed, our experience of Liverpool guitar bands suggests they tend towards denying the existence of other cities, so getting a quote from one saying "Liverpool's brilliant" it's not very much of a coup; it's like getting a drunk bloke to admit that you're his bestest mate in the world.

SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO: Pete Doherty special

The much-vaunted meeting of two former Mecury alumunis, Pete Doherty and Mike Skinner, has resulted in a new version of Prangin' Out. You can listen to that over on the The Streets MySpace, and perhaps ponder how doing a record with Doherty fits with the Streets' original manifesto to push things forward.

Meanwhile, Pete's Mum went on Woman's Hour this week to talk about having the world's most famous drug addict as a son. She attempted to square the circle between trying to keep it a private matter, and writing a book about it as well. Listen to how well she managed that one.


Surely complaining that a Mecury Prize nominee is a bit dull is not unlike suggesting that a Noel Prize laureate is a bit of a boffin? It's sponsored by a building society, isn't it?

Hasn't stopped Hot Chip from launching a walk-through attack on their rivals for the prize:

Joe Goddard, who sings and plays percussion in the band, exclusively told The Sun Online that he thinks the Editors are "boring".

"I think Interpol are a very good band and The Editors are just a watered down Interpol."

"I don’t know who Zoe Rahman is," he revealed.

"I didn’t even know she was nominated.

"I don’t know a thing about Richard Hawley and I can’t tell you if Lou Rhodes exists."

Now, calling a competitor's very existence into question is a quite existential mode of attack, and might lead you to expect that Hot Chip are smarter than you and me. Or smarter than me, anyway. But then they get on to the subject of the Arctic Monkeys, and... well, they're just like everyone else:

"The Arctic Monkeys have made a wicked album.

"I saw them live a couple of months ago and in-between tracks the lead singer and drummer were mentioning old two-step garage MC’s and producers.

"I think instead of being kids who grew up listening to Led Zeppelin all the time – which is what they sound like a little bit - they’ve actually grown up on dance music.

"They’re an interesting band and seem like nice lads."

Well, inarguably they seem like nice lads, except when they're kicking their mate out the band because he's not pulling his weight. But "interesting" might be stretching it more than a little.


As if being asked questions by Sharon Osbourne wasn't bad enough, now guests on her ITV chatshow (Knowing Me, Knowing You with Sharon Osbourne) have to face being bitten by her curious little rat-dog.

Luckily, the show is only dragging on minor celebs, so it's Patrick Swayze who gets bitten rather than anyone important. Mind you, in a studio which also featured Chico, it's curious why the dog savaged Swayze rather than him. Presumably it's as lousy a judge of character as its owner.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Although large, well-resourced companies - the sort of companies who'd think nothing of looking the other way if trades unionists were being murdered, for example - are giving up their attempts to set up download stores, there seems to be no end of people fancying to have a go at the iTunes market.

Latest entrant is to be Samsung, launching some players and a store with two million tracks fairly soon. No word on price or DRM yet, but we'd be very surprised if it actually addresses the gaps in the market (30pence-ish and without any rights management software built in) and will be about 80p a go, with plays for sure "technology" on-board.


If you want to upset Kasabian - and, let's face it, we all need a hobby as the nights start to lengthen - you could try comparing them to Madchester bands.

They hate that:

“What I reckon it was, people put us in there with The Stone Roses because of the vibe we played when we arrived, but now we’re turning into a Led Zeppelin like rock and roll band.”

Referring to a publication comparing new track ‘Shoot The Runner’ to The Happy Mondays, Meighan ranted: “Its just shit journalism, I hate it. It’s shit. They are shit; they are shit at what they do. We’re not fucking Happy Mondays!

“We’re not fucking keyboard music; it’s got nothing to fucking do with it. You know, Shaun Ryder… all they did was fucking do dance beats man. We’re more than that, give us credit for fucks sake. You know I love the Mondays.”

“But come on, the fucking Stone Roses only had one fucking album you know, I don’t understand what the fuss is about… you know Mani will have my back on this one as well. It’s just laziness, man."

Well, actually, The Stone Roses had two albums, and the Mondays weren't just dance beats. But other than that, we know what you're saying.

And it is foolish to compare you with the Roses, who made a record which still pretty much defines its era. We'd think of you more as the modern take on the Mock Turtles, to be honest.

The Paris Angels at a stretch.


Jamin Orral, drummer with Be Your Own Pet, has announced he no longer wishes to be known as the drummer with Be Your Own Pet. He's walked just a couple of weeks ahead of a BYOP US tour; apparently he intends to head off back to college and, such music as he will do, will be through his other band, JEFF.

It's not yet known who'll be drumming for BYOP this autumn, although Ian McCulloch's offered to look under his bed to see if he's still got Echo.


Just when the accepted view of last night's MTV awards was that it's all gotten a little dull out there comes a last-minute bid to reclaim the ceremony as some sort of unstoppable hedonist hoedown.

Albeit, by someone who wasn't invited to the awards.

Mos Def turned up outside the awards on a flatbed lorry, and proceeded to play his Katrina Clap, a track criticising the White Houses' pisspoor response to Hurricane Katrina last year.

Oddly, the police didn't seem keen on this happening, and ordered Def to move on, citing safety concerns. When Def refused to move, the police started to arrest members of his crew, although some did take a couple of minutes to re-read the first ammendment before doing so. "There's no right to ride trucks in there" confirmed one.

Mos Def's publicist Carleen Donovan said: "Mos Def was unjustly arrested tonight...was not out to break any laws.

"His only goal was to heighten the awareness of a serious situation that still exists in our country.

"He does not want people to forget that although it's one year later, the people and cities hit by the hurricane still need the help of the American people."

It's more engaging than seeing the cinematography of a James Blunt video be given a prize, isn't it?

In full: The music world's response to Katrina


In a bid to try and do something about a readership vanishing off into the netherworld of the net, Top of the Pops magazine is launching a digital edition.

For a tenner a year, you'll get sent an electonic version of the magazine - minus, of course, the free pencilcases and badges you find on the newsstand version. They're trying to stress this is a brand extension of the magazine, and not a brand extension of the now-defunct TV programme:

Confusingly, the BBC already has a TOTP website - which was linked to the TV show - on its website, despite the recent demise of the programme after 42 years.

A banner on the site says: "TV show closed ... site staying."

But Mr Gray said his digital venture is completely separate to the existing site, relating not to the TV show but to the TOTP magazine, which is published by BBC Worldwide - the commercial arm of the corporation.

It is up to the public service arm of the corporation whether it keeps the show's TOTP site running, said Mr Gray.

So... that's clear, then, is it?


Doubtless prompting the neighbours to tut and say "that didn't take them long", Syd Barrett's house has been put on the market.

His sister, Rosemary, shows us around:

"Roger loved the peace and quiet of the house, hearing the children in the road playing and enjoying cycling to the shops.

"He put his stamp on the house with frequent redecoration, building his own furniture. In the front room he did his drawing and painting. In the back room he relaxed and listened to jazz. Upstairs he slept in all the bedrooms, deciding which one as the mood took him."

Andrew Winter is suggesting that everything be painted white.


Amusement Parks on Fire had been due to do a UK tour in october, but they've had a bit of a replan and are now doing a joint jaunt with Mumm Ra, calling at these places:

24 October - Brighton Pressure Point
25 Stoke Sugarmill
27 Hertford Marquee
28 Cardiff Barfly
29 Bournemouth Opera House
30 Bristol Louisiana

1 November - Sheffield Leadmill
2 Manchester Night and Day
3 Aberdeen Moshulu
4 Glasgow King Tuts
5 York Fibbers
7 Birmingham Bar Academy
8 London 100 Club

Go on... you can always video Strictly Come Dancing, can't you?


An indication that, even if the Arctic Monkeys and Sandi Thom weren't quite the web discoveries they're supposed to have beenn, it won't stop people from trying: Troubled Diva spotted there's a whole new mash-up between the real and cyber worlds:

I went for a wee-wee in one of the lock-ups - only to discover, amongst all the other scratchings on the inside of the cubicle door, no less than three different Myspace URLs.

It's only going to be a matter of time before someone works out how to hyperlink grafittos to a web-browser...


So, that much-vaunted 'reuniting' of Carl Barat and Pete Doherty on the Strummerville charity single?

Not all it's cracked up to be, of course.

It's a bloke going round recording the bits and pieces separately, reveals Carl Barat:

"Am I recording for Strummerville? Yeah, I've done that already. This fella just popped round with his computer and said 'sing onto this' and then he was gone."

So, any vaguely homoerotic Carl and Pete moments for the video are going to have to be constructed by patient cutting and pasting.


We'd imagine Pitchfork are in for some awkward conversations with Drag City records, after a bungle led the new Joanna Newsom album to leak onto the internet.

What appears to have happened is Pitchfork put mp3s of the album, Ys, onto its download server and somehow either forget to ringfence them, or meant to move them somewhere elese and then didn't. The offers visitors a handy listing of the contents of the download folder, so it was only a matter of time before someone came across the files.

As disasters go, we doubt this is the worst thing that could happen - Joanna Newsom fans are unlikely to reject the album in favour of the mp3 version - but it's still a bit of a slip. Mind you, there's a version of Lily Allen's Smile in the folder, too, so perhaps it's just Pitchfork are shameless.

Thanks to James Smythe for the story.


The multi-million pounds spent on trying to interest America in Robbie Williams have failed, and EMI have given up.

Rudebox isn't even going to get a limited US release:

"The only way an album of mine is going to be in the States is if I leave it there or leave it in Tower Records. I'll go with a bunch and just leave them."

Tower Records have got enough problems, young man.


When they first started picking up press, The Libertines used to make quite a lot of fuss about having been rent boys. That's not a thing Pete Doherty does any more, of course.

Not the rent part, anyway.

He's been kicked out of his flat over £10,000 worth of unpaid rent. Apparently, the flat is worth a third of a million - we imagine that Pete was living there to infiltrate the middle classes he intends to lead a classwar against.


There's not going to be the annual Vatican pop fundraiser this year, ending a tradition started by John Paul II in the last century, because Pope Benedict doesn't like pop music. Or fun.

A replacement gig will be arranged in Monte Carlo, a location the grumpy old Pope feels is more suited to fripperies like electric guitars and smiling.


The Charlotte Church show hasn't exactly got off to a great start, with a series of small mishaps during filming allowing the Mirror to decide it's a "shambles".

The taping took a couple of hours for a fifty minute programme - which, frankly, isn't that unusual and would only have been a problem if it was live.

An insider said: "It wasn't a disaster... but it was a shambles."

Still, at least it won't be the Sharon Osbourne show.


The inquest into the death of Wonderstuff drummer Martin Gilks has been told he was riding "like a muppet" and seen tailgating and speeding minutes before his fatal crash. Witness Tim Dunn said:

"I was watching him because he was right on my tail, speeding and going around the (central) island the wrong way. I was watching him to see what he would do next. He was a muppet."

Sgt Richard Auty, from the Metropolitan Police's crash investigation unit, told the court the drummer was travelling at at least 47mph when he crashed - the speed limit on a section of the road was 30mph.

Deputy Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe said: "He failed to negotiate the bend for some reason and clipped the kerb.

"The bike fell on its side and maintained a speed of 47mph, the riders were thrown off, fatally injuring Mr Gilks."

A verdict of traumatic road death was recorded.

[Obituary: Martin Gilks]


It's the 17th most glittering evening in US entertainment - the MTV VMAs. Or the "moonmen", as nobody outside of MTV calls them. The nominatons weren't much, so the winners were always going to be fairly lame:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR - Panic! at the Disco: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies''
BEST MALE VIDEO - James Blunt: "You're Beautiful''
BEST FEMALE VIDEO - Kelly Clarkson: "Because of You''
BEST GROUP VIDEO - The All-American Rejects: "Move Along''
BEST RAP VIDEO - Chamillionaire: "Ridin' ''
BEST R&B VIDEO - Beyonce Knowles featuring Slim Thug: "Check on It''
BEST HIP-HOP VIDEO - Black Eyed Peas: "My Humps''
BEST DANCE VIDEO - Pussycat Dolls featuring Snoop Dogg: "Buttons''
BEST ROCK VIDEO - AFI: "Miss Murder''
BEST POP VIDEO - Pink: "Stupid Girls''
BEST NEW ARTIST IN A VIDEO - Avenged Sevenfold: "Bat Country''
VIEWER'S CHOICE - Fall Out Boy: "Dance, Dance''
RINGTONE OF THE YEAR - Fort Minor: "Where'd You Go''
MTV2 AWARD - 30 Seconds to Mars: "The Kill''
BEST DIRECTION IN A VIDEO - Gnarls Barkley: "Crazy'' (Director: Robert Hales)
Shakira at the MTV awardsBEST CHOREOGRAPHY IN A VIDEO - Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie''
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS IN A VIDEO - Missy Elliott: "We Run This''
BEST ART DIRECTION IN A VIDEO - Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Dani California''
BEST EDITING IN A VIDEO - Gnarls Barkley: "Crazy''
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY IN A VIDEO - James Blunt: "You're Beautiful''
BEST VIDEO GAME SOUNDTRACK - "Mark Ecko's Getting Up'' (Atari)
BEST VIDEO GAME SCORE - "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion'' (Jeremy Soule)

We're a little bemused at the James Blunt awards - especially for "cinematography", which surely is just having a laught at his expense, isn't it? Actually, all the "craft" awards seem a little out of place in the MTV gong show.

You'll be delighted to hear that Jessica Simpson didn't go away empty-handed. She won a USD50,000 car in some sort of competition - because, you know, she's so needy; she also walked through the building shovelling freebies and swag into her pockets. Lucky she had a car to carry it all away in.

While Simpson was hoovering up the stuff, she nearly bumped into Nick Lachey, who she used to appear in a marriage with. Luckily, the pair of them were too busy cramming jewels and whatnot into their pockets to notice each other. And chances are, they probably don't remember what the other looks like.

Justin Timberlake didn't play the game - instead of hoofing up the all-important red carpet, he snuck in through the (sexy)back entrance; James Blunt was equally confused about what the press were there for:

"I think it's really important to realize that I sell music. I don't sell my private life."

So, turning up at a high-profile public event with your fairlysupermodel girlfriend and parading up and down the carpet is "selling music", then, is it?

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Jessica Simpson is unable to sing right now, but she's found her voice nevertheless: unlike her sister, who can't recall if she's had surgery or not, Jessica admits she has:

"I had that Restylane stuff. It looked fake to me. I didn't like that. But ... it went away in, like, four months. My lips are back to what they were. Thank God!"

Well, that's a hard won lesson, then. We're wondering how Simpson thought having lips suddenly three times the size of what they were was going to ever look anything other than fake, but she doesn't reveal that, unfortunately.


Microsoft have snuck out some prototype Zune players for people to look at, and market analyst Shaw Wu isn't impressed. He even reckons that it's not even a new player, just an old one with a new box:

"Microsoft had hinted of an all-new design from the ground up, but from our analysis, it appears that the Zune is essentially a repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat that has seen limited success."

There is something worth noting here - Wu is suggesting Zune will be a failure to rank alongside the XBox. Yes, the XBox, which might look like a success but has yet to return any profit to Microsoft, nor does it look likely to. But from Microsoft's point of view, it has done the job of weakening - perhaps even destroying - Sony's Playstation (and, with it, much of Sony's consumer electronics business's comfort zone.) There are piles of cash the size of houses at Microsoft, and they might not be that bothered about making a loss on the deal if they can start to claw back even a tiny bit of ground from Apple.


Hi, I'm Brian May out of Queen and the Ford adverts. Everything I do is driven by you. But not myspace. Nope, I hate myspace because it's full of people claiming to be me. As if! I'm Brian May - why would I be on MySpace? Huh?

As it is, someone claiming to be me has now written on a supposedly official site about how angry I - by which I mean they - are that someone is pretending to be them - by which I mean me:

"Right now I'm feeling more and more powerless, and depressed about the way the Internet is going. It seems nothing is protectable anymore. The Internet seems to have made it easy for any git to pretend he is someone else.

"There are now three Bogus MySpace 'blogs' pretending to be written by me...and I'm a peaceful person, but, frankly, I feel like going over there and applying a fist or two.

"Just so you know, folks, once and for all, there IS NO Brian May page on MYSPACE...NOR WILL THERE EVER BE ONE...I am completely disgusted that the organizers of this site exert no sense of responsibility to check that people are who they say they are."

Heh... now, does that sound like me, Brian May out of Queen? A hip and sassy guy like me - a guy with his own, erm, my own website using a phrase like "organisers of this site" and talking about MySpace as if it's a shop or something where you can put people on the door to check identity papers on the way in.

Of course, I know a thing or two about identity papers, having played Sun City in South Africa back during the aparthied era - those guys knew how to make sure people didn't go round pretending to be me, Brian May out of Queen. My only hope is that that Brian May's silly little rant doesn't encourage dozens, or even hundreds, of other webusers to start pretending they're Brian May. That would suck.

And now, here's Anita Dobson with the weather.


Fresh from taking on the might of MySpace and Bebo, Billy Bragg has now turned his attention to the terms & conditions for MTV Flux, the channel set to replace MTV2 and hoping to cut its costs by inviting "users" to upload their stuff to be shown to the viewing dozens.

Bragg is unimpressed:

It seems that MTV Flux will be a TV channel comprising solely user-generated content, the commercial exploitation rights of which are owned by MTV. Just so no one should be in any confusion about what such an agreement might involve, MTV's content submission conditions states: 'In particular, you agree to waive all moral rights to the Material.'

Such terms are unprecedented in the music industry and could have serious long-term implications. It may be that any artist who breaks via the MTV Flux set-up might find that, years later, MTV has some claim to residual rights in their material or else have the use of it for life of copyright, without any payment to the artist, "in perpetuity and gratis".

The demand that users waive all moral rights to their material in order to join a service brings into question the role of social networking sites.

Bragg's point, of course, is that Viacom is saying "we'll put your stuff on the TV, but in so doing, it'll become our stuff too."

Nayeem Syed of MTV has responded with all the convincing hurt of a child caught with his hands in the cookie jar:

Although Mr Bragg says that most artists are "unlikely to read the terms and conditions with which they are required to agree before joining the service" we would actively encourage them to do so because they would come across an important passage which he chose not to mention. Namely, "By uploading or sending any material to us ... you continue to retain ownership of such material and may continue to use the content outside the website".

Syed insists that the contract is simply designed to allow MTV to edit where neccesary, and so on. And, yes, MTV Flux does allow people to keep rights to use things outside the website, which is generous of them. But if all MTV wants to do is retain the right to make the music fit their website, why not say that? Why not draft a simpler contract, with less of a gray area in it?

After all, Mr. Syed is an honourable man. But who's to say his bosses are? Or a future owner of MTV? And since without the goodwill of musicians there's nothing for MTV Flux to show, shouldn't they be bending over backwards to take only what they need from the artists, rather than coming up with catch-all contracts?


Heartened to hear a tale of trapped Australian miners who kept themselves going thanks to an MP3 player loaded with Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl is planning to head out for drinks with them.

Brant Webb and Todd Russell were trapped in a Tasmanian gold mine following an earthquake; they were caught underground for two weeks back in May.

As they only had one player between them, the RIAA is going to investigate if they should be prosecuted for sharing music.


The fairly clear hint that it was all over for Hope of the States issued during the Reading festival weekend has been confirmed: They're calling it a day:

"We can walk away at this point as friends and be increasingly proud of what we have done. Thank you to everyone for all your support and the incredible times we have shared with our fans and supporters."

What's Left: Left, the 2006 (and now farewell) album


Bad news from the New York Dinosaur Jr date: someone's made off with all their equipment:

We would appreciate spreading the word and passing this list around in hopes of recovering their gear. Please notify and alert your local guitar shops, pawn shops, music and web stores etc. to keep an eye out for this gear. Feel free to send this list to any and all band, tour and production managers, guitar freaks, touring personnel, venues, musicians and or thieves that you think could help us.

On the other hand, if you're looking for some cheap equipment and not too bothered about ethics or that, you know where to go.

Seriously: if you can help them, do.
Plug: Green Mind, all rebuffed and shiny for 2006


It was always going to show up there sooner or later: YouTube has the moment where Panic At The Disco got Hit By The Bottle.


Currently available over on Donewaiting, an mp3 taste of the new Robyn Hitchcock album.


If you managed to make it through Robbie's 'umble admission of naffness, can you cope with Victoria Beckham's faux "I'm not even pretty" blubbing:

"I was never the six-foot tall pin-up. I've always been the girl next door who got lucky. I've always been a girls' girl. And I know from experience that making the very best of yourself is something that any woman can do."

Although, of course, it helps if you have a few squillion pounds and nothing at all to do all day other than have your lower limbs sandblasted and a total body Greek mud and mushroom wrap.

Lesser women will be delighted to hear that they can get the Posh look simply by buying her book, That Extra Half An Inch - Hair, Heels and Everything In Between, where she reveals her beauty secrets:

Until you can afford your own team of make-through artists, stand next to Geri Halliwell - that would make Hayley from Corrie look like Rita Hayworth.


Not only is Paris Hilton having to cope with sluggish sales of her debut album, but she's had an injry to contend with, too: her pet monkey bit her.

Obviously, there was a flurry of activity, doctors called, injections given, vital signs monitored, as something like this can lead to a nasty transfer of diseases. But they're not happy that the monkey didn't pick anything up from Paris, and will be fine.


Fancy that - Sandi Thom used to work at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, and would serve Coldplay chips while their debut album was being made upstairs:

I’ve always been a big fan so I was pretty starstruck when I saw them.

“I was shaking really badly when I was serving the food. I was so worried about spilling something over Chris. I didn’t even ask for advice.”

Pity, because Chris could have advised her to balance the plates on the length of her arm rather than trying to hold them all by the edge; it makes serving much easier.

Parr Street is the Liverpool studio which has been put out of business by Genesis, who have decided that expensive flats are better than recording studios.


You could almost snuffle out a tear wrapped in pound notes as Robbie Williams looks in the mirror and realises he's actually quite naff:

“I’m never going to be RADIOHEAD or MUSE or whoever — I’m Robbie Williams.

“To the six million people who keep buying my records, I’m the best thing out there. But there’s a whole group of people think I’m a joke, that I am some end-of-the-pier entertainer, which I am.

“I was brought up on holiday camps.

“My father is a cabaret artist — in the Eighties I saw shed-loads of cabaret. It’s where I grew up, that’s where I learnt my craft, so that’s what I am.

“Now some people like to pretend that they never went to Blackpool on holiday, or spent a week in their caravan in Great Yarmouth.

“I did! I’m a Bluecoat.

“I’d be an entertainment manager in Caernarvon Bay, if I hadn’t written Angels.

“Some people will look at that and go, ‘Well that’s un-credible, and comes from a naff place.’ Yeah we do! That’s Britain! That’s where we come from.”

But surely, Robbie, you don't really embrace the naffness of your life - oh, you might do an interview like this, all Mavis from Corrie voices and pity me: but what about the bold claims of capturing America? The hanging out with Oasis, hoping whatever it is they had would rub off on you? If you really believe you are Val Doonican, what's with the rat pack stances and the attempts to be Sinatra?

Oh... and didn't someone else write Angels?

“We didn’t all come out of the womb and put a parka on and Wallabies and say, ‘Listen I’m 18 months old, but what I’d really like to do is ride a scooter.’

“We didn’t do that. We all went on holiday to holiday camps.

“That’s where I come from. I’m not THOM YORKE.

“Don’t know where he went on holiday, he probably went to museums and burlesque theatre or something.

“But I went to Tenby!”

Victoria Newton is full of praise for this "bravery":

And I have to say I think he’s got it spot on. He’s got nothing to be ashamed of.

He should be proud of his working-class Stoke-on-Trent roots because they made him what he is today — and that’s why the nation loves him.

Or - as he himself acutely notes - it's his past twenty years of trying to shake off his roots that have turned him into a national joke.

There's nothing wrong with cabaret and holiday camps (well, up to a point - Filey was pretty bleak) but Williams now trying to peg himself as a kind of musical Alan Bennett is just a hilarious attempt to find another persona that people might like. Unless he's turning the full size footy pitch in the back of his LA mansion into a donkey derby track, we're not believing a word of it.


Back before Christmas, Christina Aguilera was flagging a new, demure style:

"I think the Christina look I had before meeting Jordan is well and truly in my past.

"I've decided on a classier image for the future - more fitting for a married lady."

Now, though, it seems she and Jordan Bratman have looked at the family finances and decided instead that its back on the streets for her after all:

"That's the great thing about my husband,” she says. “He's so secure within himself that he would never, ever even be concerned with that.

“He's always saying to me that he thinks it's great what I do artistically, and he's happy to let everyone see.

“He's right behind me, supporting every pelvic thrust. Sometimes he'll even say to me: ‘Why are you covering up? You're sexy, show it off.’”

We don't know that he sends her little texts ("shake your money maker", "whack 'em out, love", "the toaster's broken, get your bra off") but we imagine he might.


Remember, the major labels only sue their customers because they're thinking of their artists. Everything they do, they do to make sure the musicians get paid.

Although, having said that, an awful lot of artists seem to have to sue the majors to get their fair share. Like The Beatles, who are pursuing a claim against EMI and Capitol:

The lawsuit, filed in December, claims EMI and its affiliate Capitol wrongly classified copies of Beatles recordings as destroyed or damaged "scrap" but then secretly sold them.

It also alleges the number of units sold was under-reported, and the firms classified some recordings as "promotional" and as a result non-royalty bearing, but then sold the material.

The labels, interestingly, respond in a less than definitive manner:

EMI and Capitol had argued in the current case that there was not enough detail of the circumstances of the allegations.

That doesn't sound like a "we never did", does it?

Jim McCabe suggests the remaining Beatles could use any cash to fund a proper a Beatles festival next year in Liverpool - although surely even McCartney would blush at funding his own tribute?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Last year, MTV enticed Gwen Stefani to its glittering awards show by hinting that she might get something nice if she turned up. Then it didn't give her anything.

She won't be fooled twice, and this year will stay away, like a haughty horse:

"She had a ton of nominations and was under the impression she would be taking home at least one award," our insider said. "But every award, except that lame best-dressed award, went to Kelly Clarkson, and every time Kelly won, the camera went straight to Gwen. She felt set up." Stefani also thought she was going to close the show - another honor that went to Clarkson. Stefani's rep declined comment."

Surely, since Gwen is meant to be a designer and everything with her (muttondressedas) LAMB label, getting the "best dressed" award would be handy for business rather than lame, but no matter. What sort of attitude is "I won't come to your prize-giving unless I get a prize?"

(Besides, yes, the one that everyone takes the first time they get a single in the top 75.)

BOOKMARKS: Some other things online

Rolling Stone offer a photo gallery of Christian teen rockers. Photojournalist Stephanie Keith goes inside the Christian rock subculture and finds sexy girls, hardcore bands and the strange marriage of rock and rapture reckons RS; it's more like 'what hysteria looks like' if you ask us.

The Guardian speaks to Jeffrey Sachs, the economist who is the closest thing Bono has to an academic guru; he also helped Madonna with her tax-write-off/publicity stunt in Malawi. Sachs' main problem is that he believes that poverty can be eradicated by giving more to the poor, without the need to reduce the share of capital held by the hyper-rich. You can see why this appeals to Madonna and Bono; you can also see why it can't work.

The Independent talk to Calexico: "I think in the past Europeans have been more open-minded about our music," reflects Burns. "They get the aspect of the music that's related to our surroundings. In the States there has always been some resistance to that. I think for Americans it's a little too close to home. Also, because of the issues along the US-Mexican border, there's a lot of hostility and racial tension at present. There's a lot of xenophobia, so it's not a good time to be trying to celebrate and encourage this confluence of cultures."

Sweeping The Nation talks to Kieron Gillen, co-creator of Phonogram. That's the Bitpop-flavoured comic or "a dark urban-fantasy comic which is based around the concept of music being magic." Depending on which you believe.


Despite one of the heaviest pre-launch hype sessions in recent years, it looks like Paris Hilton's music career has crashed at its first test:

Paris has sold just 75,000 in the US on its debut.

They're trying to put on a brave face:

But her spokesman denied the album was a flop, saying: "For a newcomer, this is incredibly impressive."

Well, yes, if she was a total unknown, 75,000 would be wonderful. But she's one of the best-known (if hatchetty) faces in the US.

Perhaps it's time for another sex tape, Paris. People seemed to enjoy that.


You might think that people who are stupid enough to part with good money to watch Mariah Carey do some singing are the sort of don't notice when they're being ripped off. But it turns out even they can only be pushed so far. And ninety quid for a 75-minute set, a quarter of an hour of which was looking at an empty stage while Carey changed her frocks, is too far:

According to one concertgoer, "Mariah barely played for an hour. We are demanding a refund! Everyone in the audience was so mad. She cut songs out of the show and was just not into it at all."

Another miffed fan added, "I don't even think she was on for more than 45 minutes. I've never seen anyone suck as bad in concert and just not care."

Mind you, if the people of Uncasville, Connecticut felt ripped off, imagine how Prince Azim would have felt. Luckily, he chose the New York date to give her a necklace worth three million quid.


Fancy hearing what the new Lemonheads album sounds like?

Why not simply play the last one?

Or you could stream The Lemonheads all over your headphones instead. It's like having a little Evan Dando in your lap. One you can't keep, or undress, but in your lap all the same.

GENNARO CASTALDO WATCH: Blimey, where have you been?

We're not sure what's happened to our old chum, Gennaro Castaldo. He's been quiet for too long.

But you can't silence a spokesperson forever, and now he's got something to say. And... erm, actually, he's asking the same question we did about the apparent abandonment of the "no free music" stance of the BPI-RIAA:

But Gennaro Castaldo, the spokesman for HMV, said while Universal's support of Spiralfrog had to be seen positively in terms of enriching the digital industry, it might confuse customers.

"We would broadly welcome any new service to the market because it has the effect of helping to expand it and demonstrates to customers that there is a life outside of the 'Apple garden'. The more people realise there are lots of different services and more MP3 players than just iPods the more it increases the market.

"What is a little concerning is that for a long time now, the trade body, BPI, has been anxious to put across an anti-illegal or piracy message, which suggests that music is of intrinsic value and people should be prepared to pay for it, so this may give a conflicting, mixed signal."

Of course, Gennaro's more worried because if people are giving music away, legally, he's going to wind up out of a job.


Thanks to the wonders of the BBC Radio Player, there's a slewth of stuff from the weekend festivals available online. Until the links expire:

The Radio 1 Reading BBQ - yes, exactly what you'd fear it would be
Last night's Reading-marbled Lamacq Live
Raw Talent - the improbably-named Alan Raw's rather good BBC Yorkshire & Humberside alt music show's Leeds special
The Session - the more convincingly-named Susanne Courtney's BBC Radio Berkshire alt music show

And, with a permanent, special non-decaying link:
Brian Molko and someone from the Telegraph talking about festivals on last Friday's Today programme. Noteable because Brian admits that, at his age, he'd not bother with festivals if he wasn't being paid to be there.


Last week, Bob Dylan was saying you might as well pinch music as it's all rubbish anyway nowadays.

Karl T gets in touch with us to point out that, oddly, Dylan has just popped up on iTunes:

Strange then, that he should now have his very own nice shiny iTunes page, although he has stuck to his guns and isn't chargi... oh.

For added irony, he really should have made the announcement at Manchester's Free Trade Hall. But he didn't.

However, we're sure he won't mind if someone strips out the DRM from his music, will he?

We're picturing Dylan going home from his "modern music stinks" interview, angrily hacking pieces off a corned beef sandwich muttering "people will pay for any old shit online, it seems" to himself, before glancing at a copy of his new album, and a little lightbulb popping on over his head.


There's an email from Jim McCabe bringing the reports of the Beatle Festival - sorry, Mathew Street Festival- to our attention. Jim adds:

This is the sort of puff-piece that looks out of place when yanked from its natural habitat, the Liverpool Echo. I was at the festival throughout the weekend & witnessed a pathetic procession of "tribute" bands (the word has now become a derogatory term), punctuated by some welcome sets by the likes of Shack & Amsterdam. There are the stirrings of a debate on the BBC Liverpool messageboard about a perceived slight against the festival by the national media because of their minimal coverage; some poor, deluded souls have asked why the Carling Festival was covered by the Beeb, but not this annual nostalgia fest. The stage at the Pier Head for new, unsigned Liverpool bands was a welcome relief, but it still seemed to be treated by the festival organisers as an afterthought.

We must admit we raised a curious eyebrow at the report stating that it was the best ever festival on the say-so of the people who organised it - and, as Jim says, that's exactly the angle the Echo took.

Of course, the organisers - also trying to make the City of Culutre year a success - are keen to grab any positive coverage they can, as the plans continue to go wobbly, with reports of gangsterism rife amongst the 2008 construction projects and builders asking for more time to complete the key Paradise Street project. Ominously for the 2008 team, the Paradise Street construction team led by Grosvenor have started to point out they have no actual legal obligation to finish the work before 2009, and talks to find partners for two of the major parts of the site gave way this month.

Even the Echo had to admit that the shine was taken off this weekend as the 350,000 visitors to the city were greeted not by shiny cultural newness, but a half-submerged rusting wreck.

The artistic director of the Liverpool Cultural Company, Robyn Archer, bailed out of the project in July.


You might wonder what's the point of having the Black Crowes at all when Primal Scream are doing their job for them, but they seem intent on ploughing on.

Even the stepping down of Eddie Harsch can't stop them.

Harsch has played keyboards for the band since 1991; he's going to be replaced by Rob Clores. The "personal reasons" behind Harsch's departure were meant to be kept quiet, but Clores has hinted he's suffering from ill-health.


Ah, bless - we love the idea that, when Paris Hilton demanded a third of a million quid to appear on Charlotte Church's new programme on the television show type thing, Charlotte herself threw up her hands and said "No":

"We asked Paris to be onthe programme, because I could take the mick out of her and not feel at all bad about it - she's such a complete airhead

"But she demanded a ridiculous amount of money just to say a few stupid things. She's hardly going to announce anything world changing, is she? It's absolutely pathetic, isn't it?"

So, it wasn't just there wasn't that sort of money sloshing about in the budget for a late-night Channel 4 programme, then? It was a moral decision.

We don't quite follow why, if Hilton is such an airhead who isn't going to "announce anything world changing", they were asking her to appear in the first place. Still, we look forward to the world changing line-up they have got instead. Julie Walters, we understand.


And, apparently, Jennifer Lopez isn't. Or is that "is"? We're lost in a sea of double negatives.

Jennifer Lopez has insisted she's 100 per cent not pregnant, denying claims made by Jesse McCartney who earlier (do keep up) said that was the reason she pulled out of Dallas.

McCartney, meanwhile, has been told to issue a statement by ("issued a statement through") his record label:

In a statement released by his record company 19-year-old Jesse said: "I have no first hand knowledge whether Jennifer Lopez is pregnant or not. I thought I had read it somewhere. I apologise."

In other words: struggling pop star turns out not to be celebrity gynecologist.


Police are trying to find witnesses to a rape on the Leeds Festival site on Sunday night, during or shortly after the Arctic Monkeys played. The 27 year-old woman was attacked behind the toilet blocks near a Mexican food stall; at least four people saw the assault taking place although they may not have realised what they were watching:

Detective Superintendent Paul Taylor said: “We would urgently like to speak to these four men.

“They were in no way involved and were simply unwitting witnesses. But they could have important evidence for us.

“The music was very loud and there was a lot of yelling and screaming from people at the festival. We think they just dismissed it as a courting couple involved in horseplay.

“They wouldn’t have realised it was serious sexual assault. It was either whilst The Arctic Monkeys were on stage or soon after.”

The rapist is described as being in his 20s, 6ft with dark hair and wearing a dark overcoat and white T-shirt.


Of course Kevin Wavyline wasn't "upset" when the makers of Entourage asked him to play a sponging celeb-spouse: he probably doesn't realise that it's typecasting, does he?

A teenage nuisance and a freeloading idiot. He's got a niche, hasn't he?


Foxy BrownFoxy Brown admitted the attack on two nail technicians in court yesterday.

Then she changed her mind and asked to withdraw the guilty plea - apparently, she'd been "rushed into it."

Foxy, you either attacked her or you didn't. It's not like you're choosing a new bikini.

The judge wasn't impressed with her attempts to alter her plea, supposedly part of a deal which will see Brown given probation and "anger management"; she told Brown she could lob in a written motion before sentencing if she wished.


John Peel once dressed as Jesus for the year-end double NME and now, oddly, he's turning into Jesus. In that there's an annual day where people who don't really believe in him gather to celebrate his life and message, feast a little, and then go back to their old ways, ways that would make him shudder.

Although the new Radio One schedules have drifted even further from any place in which the Peel show would fit comfortably, with more boundaries being raised between genres of music than ever before, they're throwing a second John Peel Day on October 12th, which pretty much is all there is now to the pledge to "keep it Peel."

Still, let's not be too churlish, as a day of new music and old Peel sessions is better than nothing, even if there is a lingering feeling he'd have been on at about three in the mornings by now.

[John Peel Day 2005]

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ROCK SICK LIST: Tom Hamilton

At the other end of the spectrum from Jessica Simpson's bruised vocal cords is the news that Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton has been diagnosed with throat cancer. There's an official statement:

"Tom Hamilton will be sitting out a few gigs at the beginning of he band's upcoming Route Of Evil tour.

"Hamilton has just completed a seven week course of radiation treatment for throat cancer. He will be with his family recovering and will join the tour in mid-October. He and his band mates look forward to his return.

"Filling in for Hamilton will be David Hull a longtime friend of the band who played in the Joe Perry Project."


What a loss to the world of arts and entertainment and potential perfume and designer jean sales: Jessica Simpson has lost her voice. Publicist Rod Shuter broke the bad news:

"She's been ordered to rest... She can talk, she can croak out a few sentences. She sounds a little off, but, you know, she can't sing."

So far, no change from normal, then.

[Jessica has] "a strain, a bruise on her vocal cord. She's trying," he said. "Everybody is hoping and keeping their fingers crossed."

We're not quite sure what someone with a bruised vocal cord would be "trying" to do - debruise her insides? - but we wish her well. If only because a three week period of no Jessica means in about two months Ashlee will follow her into silence.


Fecal Corpse, the New York band best known for We Gang-Banged Your Mom... Again have been forced to cancel two dates in Canada because Canada wouldn't let them in.

Apparently, when they turned up at the border and knocked, all of Canada hid behind a sofa hoping they'd think the country had gone away for the weekend, but someone sneezed and so that didn't work.

Luckily, Fecal Corpse had forgotten to get any work permits, so after six hours being questioned, they were sent back to New York.

Canadian metalfans are distraught, for who will now gang-bang their mothers? They've taken to the internet:

"Canada has let in other metal acts who were as sick and twisted," [one] wrote. "It's a real contradiction of my country."

We're not sure how that works - is there something in the Candian constitution which suggests its founded on the rights of corpses to be fecal?

"We should rally and stampede the border," Meat Grinder said. "You guys should be dropped from a helicopter."

Well, yes. That'd certainly solve a lot of the problems.


Normally, when Microsoft discover a security hole in something like Internet Explorer, they'll get around to posting a fix online at some point.

But with the appearance of Fair Use for Windows Media, a program which apparently strips the DRM out of Plays For Sure downloads, they're running around like sand salesmen at a fire convention trying to fix the hole.

Meanwhile, a program claiming to strip the DRM out of iTunes files has also appeared online over the weekend.

And, in a further developement, Universal Records have signed a deal to provide music to a North American service, Spiralfrog. Spiralfrog will underwrite costs through advertising, which is an interesting approach, and similar to one AOL is hoping will work. Again, though, we have to ask the question - whatever happened to the RIAA's fears that if you give music away for nothing, people don't value music? (Expressed, for example, by RIAA affiliated SoundExchange director John Simpson?)


Normally, when Microsoft discover a security hole in something like Internet Explorer, they'll get around to posting a fix online at some point.

But with the appearance of Fair Use for Windows Media, a program which apparently strips the DRM out of Plays For Sure downloads, they're running around like sand salesmen at a fire convention trying to fix the hole.

Meanwhile, a program claiming to strip the DRM out of iTunes files has also appeared online over the weekend.

And, in a further developement, Universal Records have signed a deal to provide music to a North American service, Spiralfrog. Spiralfrog will underwrite costs through advertising, which is an interesting approach, and similar to one AOL is hoping will work. Again, though, we have to ask the question - whatever happened to the RIAA's fears that if you give music away for nothing, people don't value music? (Expressed, for example, by RIAA affiliated SoundExchange director John Simpson?)


Gillian ChungThis picture isn't, clearly, of Hong Kong pop starlet Gillian Chung in a changing room with her bits hanging out. That image appeared on the cover of Hong Kong magazine, Easy Finder, and seems to have been an invasion of privacy too far for the local celebrity community. Led by Jackie Chan, a magazine-burning protest has called for the government to take action:

Asked if he wants to see paparazzi photos banned completely, Chan said he believed celebrities should be held accountable for their actions.

"As public figures, we should allow our pictures to be taken. If we crash our cars when we're drunk, it serves us right. People should scold us. But for a girl to be photographed when she's in a changing room, such a private place, is despicable behavior," he said.

It seems that the local government might listen, too - certainly, they're making conciliatory noises:

Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang spoke out against the photos Tuesday.

"I identify with society's strong criticism of these tactics," he said.

The HK authorities have been considering taking action on grounds of obscenity, which misses the point a little.


Although the UN are busy trying to gather forces to prevent Peaches Geldof and her band from releasing records, there are more pressing matters for the music peacekeepers to turn their attention to.

Michelle Bass is about to release her 'debut single'.

Yes, we had to check, too - apparently she was on Big Brother 5 - that's the series before the series with the one who shoved the bottle up her front. But this isn't someone turning desperately to the music industry as a last gasp before Heat magazine delete her name from the spellchecker, oh no:

Michelle has shocked a lot of record label bosses with this dance/house track especially having some of the UK’s most well known DJ’s playing this track at the biggest raves and music festivals including last weekends V Festival. This song has also been played on Choice FM proving that this is a credible track. Michelle is due to follow in the footsteps of many other dance acts and is set to film one of the sauciest videos this country has ever seen.

It's a credible track, played by credible dj's (sic) - even on Choice FM, which just goes to prove how credible it is. However, it's still going to be given a tit-jiggling video. So, not quite credible enough to stand on its own merits, then?

[Via Popjustice]


Obviously, they're going to have to keep Pete out of prison/the grave long enough to fulfill the deal, but apparently Parlophone have signed Babyshambles to a 'multi-album' contract. Of course, it's being described as being "worth a million pounds", but then they all are, aren't they?

Oddly, then, yesterday Pete Doherty was telling us how he was petrol-bomb hurling rebel. Today, he's got himself a steady job with EMI records.

Still, it's good news for Pete - after all, a large, multinational company with an almost animalisitic desire to receive only good press is going to be a much better environment for a crazed junkie with an ill-considered interview habit to be in.


Last week, Apple admitted that some workers putting together iPods were working in conditions that didn't live up to the company's standards:

We did find violations to our Code of Conduct, as well as other areas for improvement that we are working with the supplier to address.

Apple had only gone looking at the conditions because of the original reports which suggested workers were being exploited at the plant in China.

Today comes news of a twist: The manufacturers have had a court freeze the assets of the Chinese tech journalists who broke the story. Their paper, China Business News, has said it will stand fully behind the pair, who are apparently being sued for about two million pounds by the company.

We're wondering if Apple might suggest to the company that this is a bullying act which might be better dropped; not least because a court case could look a bit more closely at the factory than Apple's own internal investigation did. It might well be that a more granular, independent investigation turns up nothing else. But with Apple's admission, for example, that 25% of the time, employees were working six or more days without a break, putting all the details into the public domain would only prolong the scrutiny.

POPOBIT: Bruce Gary

The original drummer with The Knack, Bruce Gary, has died at the age of 55.

Born in Burbank, California, Gary ironically came to drumming in a bid to keep him quiet. His parents, who found his energy difficult to cope with, obtained a drumkit from a cousin and passed it to him. They found a spot of rest; Gary found a passion and a career.

It was a passion that would lead him to leave home at the age of 15, drawn to Topanga Canyon and the music scene there. His drumming skills lifted him above the other teens on the scene, and before long he got a gig supporting Albert Collins. This work came to wider attention, and he wound up touring and recording with Mick Taylor and Jack Bruce in their post-Cream work. Even more impressively, Gary was the man on the stool for Doctor John during a stretch in the 1970s.

By 1978, he'd managed to hook up with Doug Fieger, Berton Averre and Prescott Niles in a band - The Knack. Their greatest moment would be My Sharona, a tribute to teenage girl Sharona Alperin. Written by Fieger and Averre, the tune was looking for a percussive line and, inspired by surf music and Smokey Robinson's Going To A Go-Go, Gary came up with the beat which would lead to an otherwise forgettable tale of teenage lust becoming a cultural landmark. My Sharona is currently still getting daily airings on British television as the soundtrack to a toothpaste advert; it was also reportedly one of the songs George Bush had had his team illegally copy onto his iPod.

My Sharona was a number one hit in the US in 1979, and the debut album Get The Knack sold six million. However, the knack of coming up with a follow-up eluded the Knack, and the band split shortly after the follow-up, But The Little Girls Understand. Gary wasn't part of the reactivated band whose tour was disrupted last month when Fieger fell ill, but had recorded a track with them for a Badfinger tribute album.

After the Knack, Gary had concnetrated on top-flight session work and producing - he'd been in charge of a series of Jimi Hendrix albums (obviously, a case where the artist wasn't in a place to argue with the producer over the direction of the work) and helped the Ventures out on a tour of Japan after their drummer, Mel Taylor, had passed.

Bruce Gary had been fighting non-Hodgsons lymphonia for over a decade; it was to this that he finally fell on Tuesday 22nd August, 2006. His death was announced by his mother.