Saturday, November 04, 2006

Elton John asks label to kill him

A lot of people over the years have hoped that Elton John's label would drop him; indeed, around the time of his Duets album, some people were hoping that, prior to dropping him, they'd take him to a third or fourth floor balcony.

Now, though, Elton John wants his label to drop him, as he's less than thrilled with how they're attempting to sell his wares:

"Nobody would know the album has been out since September. My record label isn't doing anything to help. Fuck Universal. Please drop me. I'm 58 and I don't care anymore."

Oh, Elton, you know they're only interested in you for the back catalogue, don't you? It's about what you can do for them, not what they're going to do for you.

Casiotone get burned

Bad news from Chicago, where Owen Ashworth - who trades as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - saw his apartment block burn to the ground. Owen and his girlfriend made it out safely, but not all his kit did. And they haven't seen the cat since:

"Yesterday morning, the Chicago apartment building where my girlfriend and I live caught on fire and we had to get the fuck out of there.

"We are both totally fine, but some of our belongings including some of my musical equipment were lost in the mess, and my girlfriend and I need to find a new place to live. We also lost our cat, Rufus, who we are hoping escaped the building on her own, but is still missing...Again, my girlfriend and I are totally fine. We have lots of amazing and supportive friends and family who are helping us out and things are going to work out.

"Also, if anyone living in the Wicker Park/East Village neighborhood of Chicago sees a year old female gray tabby, please get in touch. We miss our cat."

The cat answers to the name of Rufus.

The lure of Gold-frapp

We're not sure, but we somehow doubt that Target's Christmas range is going to include strap-on tails or sex-horse heads, but even so, they're going to be using Goldfrapp as the soundtrack to their festive ad campaign.

Now, while this is probably good news for US TV viewers - when faced with Westlife on those bemusing Woolworths Christmas adverts (a company that signed off that mess for transmission is one whose shares are screaming to be dumped as swiftly as possible) who wouldn't rather have a spot of Goldfrapp - it does demonstrate a somewhat disappointing grubbing for cash. And if the band don't seek the extra money, they're not exactly discouraging their label:

It's the latest in the cult act's long string of licensing coups, which span two albums (2003's "Black Cherry" and this year's "Supernature") and include big names like Verizon, Diet Coke, "Grey's Anatomy" and "The OC." And the train's not showing any sign of slowing down.

"With some pitching and pushing, all of the songs on 'Supernature' have what it takes," says Cynthia Sexton, EMI Music Marketing senior vice president of marketing and licensing. "To the tune of a lot of money."

In today's changing marketplace, Goldfrapp is helping redefine the prototype of success, using licensing wins to drive buzz, sales and radio play, rather than vice versa.

But is that what they want? Rather than being the icy-cool cross-species sexperimentation flashsquad, Goldfrapp would rather be the Diet Coke band? Isn't that the sort of thing better left to the artistic vacuums of Snow Patrol and their ilk?

Kanye West admits he might have enjoyed a pre-show cocktail

Whatever can explain Kanye West's rushing of the MTV EMA awards stage to blurt out that he should have won the best video prize?


Artistic certainty?

Or could it be he was merely a little over-merry on free drinks?

Maybe that last one.

Diddy drops the jewellery

Shares in Elizabeth Duke plunged overnight as P Diddy announced he no longer needs to boast with bling:

“I’ve gone beyond bling. I’ve got nothing to prove with jewellery. I am at a level all on my own now.”

Yes, now he's relying on old-fashioned bragging to do all his boasting for him.

Take my mother-in-law... please, someone take her

If Pete Doherty ever decides to stop with the rock music (and, the more raddled his voice sounds, the more compelling an idea that seems) he could try his hand on the working men's club circuit. He's certainly building up a store of mother-in-law related grief, as he apparently is refusing Kate Moss' attempts to bring her mother and him together. He's even threatening (reckons The Sun) to not go to his own engagement party in case Linda is there.

There's a source on hand to explain more:

“Pete doesn’t care about approval from Linda but he doesn’t want any awkward confrontation with her.

“He thinks she’s made her mind up about him and there’s no point in trying to be something he’s not.

“He’s not the sort of person to be told what to do by Kate — and he does not need them to play happy families if it’s just a farce.”

God forbid that Pete Doherty ever get himself involved in something farcical.

Shakira scoops the Latin Grammys

If the idea of the Latin Grammy awards is to suggest there's much more to American latin pop than just Shakira, it might not have been such a good idea to give all the prizes to Shakira. We recognise they do have a bit of a problem, though - give prizes away from the few crossovers, and nobody would take any notice of the awards at all; but if you give prizes to stars who already have made the leap across, you're not really promoting anyone else. (Of course, this does make the cynical assumption that awards ceremonies are about selling more records rather than awarding artistic achievement.)

The winners in full, then:

Record Of The Year
La Tortura
Shakira, producer; Gustavo Celis & Rob Jacobs, engineers/mixers
Track from: Fijación Oral Vol. 1
[Sony BMG Music]

Album Of The Year
Fijación Oral Vol. 1
Gustavo Cerati, Lester Mendez, Luis F. Ochoa, Rick Rubin & Shakira, producers;
Gustavo Celis, Serban Ghanea, Mauricio Guerrero, Mauricio Guerrero, Rob Jacobs,
Kevin Killen & Dave Way, engineers/mixers; Vlado Meller, mastering engineer
[Sony BMG Music]

Song Of The Year
La Tortura
Luis F. Ochoa, Alejandro Sanz & Shakira, songwriters (Shakira)
[Sony BMG Music]

Best New Artist
Calle 13

Best Female Pop Vocal Album
Fijación Oral Vol. 1
[Sony BMG Music]

Best Male Pop Vocal Album
Ricardo Arjona
[Sony BMG Music]

Best Pop Album By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
La Oreja De Van Gogh
[Columbia Records/Sony BMG Music]

Best Urban Music Album
Calle 13
Calle 13
[White Lion/Sony BMG Music]

Best Rock Solo Vocal Album
Ahi Vamos
Gustavo Cerati
[Norte/Sony BMG Music]

Best Rock Album By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
Natalia y La Forquetina
[Norte/Sony BMG Music]

Julieta VenegasBest Alternative Music Album
Limón y Sal
Julieta Venegas
[Norte/Sony BMG Music]

Best Rock Song
Gustavo Cerati, songwriter (Gustavo Cerati)
Track from: Ahi Vamos
[Norte/Sony BMG Music]

Best Salsa Album
Directo Al Corazón
Gilberto Santa Rosa
[Norte/Sony BMG Music]

Best Cumbia/Vallenato Album
Cien Días De Bohemia
Los Hermanos Zuleta
[Sony BMG Music Entertainment]

Best Contemporary Tropical Album
Una Nueva Mujer
Olga Tañón
[Sony Discos]

Best Traditional Tropical Album
AM/PM Líneas Paralelas
Andy Montañez & Pablo Milanés
[Morocho Records]

Best Tropical Song
Te Mando Flores
Juan Fernando Fonseca, songwriter (Fonseca)
Track from: Corazón
[Capitol Records/EMI Music]

Milly QezadaBest Merengue Album
Milly Quezada
[J&N Records]

Best Singer-Songwriter Album
Como Un Campo De Maíz
Pablo Milanés
[Universal Music Mexico]

Best Ranchero Album
Historias De Mi Tierra
Pepe Aguilar
[Norte/Sony BMG Music]

Joan SebastianBest Banda Album
Más Allá Del Sol
Joan Sebástian
[Balboa Records/Discos Musart]

Best Grupero Album
En El Auditorio Nacional
Joan Sebástian
[Balboa Records]

Best Tejano Album
La Mafia
[Univision Records/Urbana Records]

Best Norteño Album
Historias Que Contar
Los Tigres Del Norte
[Fonovisa Records]

Best Tropical Regional Mexican Album
Kumbia Kings Live
A.B. Quintanilla III y Los Kumbia Kings

Best Regional Mexican Song
Aun Sigues Siendo Mia
Osvaldo Villarreal, songwriter (Conjunto Primavera)
Track from: Algo De Mí

Best Instrumental Album
Bebo Valdés
[RCA/Calle 54 Records/BMG Spain]

Best Folk Album
Corazón Libre
Mercedes Sosa
[Edge Music]

Best Tango Album
Café De Los Maestros
Varios Artistas
Gustavo Santaolalla & Gustavo Moz, producers
[Surco / Seminal / Universal Music Latin/AADI Capif]

Best Flamenco Album
Picasso En Mis Ojos
Diego El Cigala

Best Latin Jazz Album
Gonzalo Rubalcaba
[Blue Note]

Best Christian Album (Spanish Language)
Dios Es Bueno
Marcos Witt

Best Christian Album (Portuguese Language)
Aline Barros & Cia
Aline Barros
[MK Music]

Best Brazilian Contemporary Pop Album
Sergio Mendes
[Concord Records / Hear Music / Music Group]

Best Brazilian Rock Album
Os Paralamas do Sucesso
[EMI Music Brazil]

Marisa MonteBest Samba/Pagode Album
Universo Ao Meu Redor
Marisa Monte
[EMI/Phonomotor Records]

Best MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) Album
Maria Rita
[Warner Music Brasil]

Best Romantic Music Album
Roberto Carlos
Roberto Carlos
[Amigo Records/Sony BMG Music Entertainment]

Best Brazilian Roots/Regional Album
Vida Marvada
Chitãozinho & Xororó
[Mercury Records/Universal Music]

Best Brazilian Song (Portuguese Language)
Caminho das Águas
Rodrigo Maranhão, songwriter (Maria Rita)
Track from: Segundo
[Warner Music Brasil]

Best Latin Children's Album
Adriana Partimpim - O Show
Adriana Partimpim
[Ariola/Sony BMG Music Entertainment]

Best Classical Album
Rhapsody In Blue
Michel Camilo & Ernest Martínez Izquierdo; Elaine Martone, producer
[Telarc Jazz]

Best Recording Package
Café De Los Maestros
Laura Varsky, art director (Café De Los Maestros)
[Surco / Seminal / Universal Music Latin]

Best Engineered Album
Fijación Oral Vol. 1
Gustavo Celis, Serban Ghanea, Mauricio Guerrero, Rob Jacobs, Kevin Killen & Dave Way, engineers (Shakira)

Producer Of The Year
Cachorro López
• Dias Felices (Christian Castro) (A)
• Diego (Diego) (A)
• Dulce Beat (Belanova) (A)
• Limón y Sal (Julieta Venegas) (A)
• Vanessa Colaiutta (Vanessa Colaiutta) (A)

Best Short Form Music Video
¡Atrévete Te, Te!
Calle 13
Fish, video director; Gabriel Coss, video producer
[Sony BMG Music]

Best Long Form Music Video
Blanco Y Negro En Vivo
Bebo & Cigala
Fernando Trueba, video director; Fernando Trueba & Nat Chediak, video producers
[Calle 54 Records/Bluebird/RCA Victor Group/BMG]

Un Viaje
Café Tacuba
Tito Lara, video director; Gerardo Gutiérrez, video producer
[Universal Music Latino]

Divorce, by all means, but do it with dignity

Paul McCartney has some handy advice for people considering the end of their marriages - do it with dignity.

So, when you demand the return of cleaning fluids from your flat, take care to say please and thank you, for example.

"Remember that it is a private affair and that way [acting with dignity] you will probably get through it better, you will put less noses out of joint and I think it's a more dignified way to go about it, so that's what I try to do."

Don't be quick to rush out your damaging counter-leaks when your partner leaks against you: remain cool and aloof. Let your "concerned friends" do that.

Follow Paul's rules, and your divorce could proceed as smoothly as that of Sir Paul and Mrs. Mills. It's a compelling model, isn't it?

Friday, November 03, 2006

We have come for your children

Those guys at the RIAA are quite charming, aren't they? They tried to bankrupt Patricia Santangelo by issuing a demand for cash, claiming they had evidence she'd been downloading songs without their permission. She argued, quite plausibly, that she had done no such thing.

So now the RIAA are trying to sue her kids, instead:

"In short, each of the defendants participated in the substantial violations of plaintiffs' copyrights at issue and then concealed their involvement, standing idly by as Patricia Santangelo repeatedly protested their innocence and chastised plaintiffs for filing allegedly frivolous litigation," the complaint said.

Yes, not only have they come back for a second crack at the same family, but they're trying to suggest that they're more-or-less doing it on Patricia's behalf: ooh, this'll show her kids what they get for sitting around trying to let Mom take the rap. It's a little like they've decided to stop selling recordings of music and now see themselves as some sort of supernanny.

The trouble is, this doesn't sit comfortably with what the RIAA has said in the past - first, it's more or less admitting that their constant claims that the sins of the children can be visited on the parents was wrong: for if they could, legitimately, sue parents for downloading done by the kids, they wouldn't now be having to come back to try and sue the kids instead.

Secondly, it means the RIAA has effectively admitted lying again - when it was pushing for an out-of-court settlement it told Santangelo it had conclusive proof that she had been illegally downloading music; now, it seems, they've evidence that, erm, contradicts that.

Robbie Williams is not touching Dancing Queen

In one of those wonderfully exciting over-inflations of a report, the Daily Record has taken Anni-Frid Lynstad saying:

"Robbie and I talked about doing an Abba hit together, although he's not yet come back to me."

... and turned it into a story suggesting that Robbie Williams might "reunite Abba". Wouldn't he have to start returning phone calls, and work with all of them before he did that?

Still, it might be nice for him to try. After all, every gay night club from here to Kalamazoo would owe Robbie a massive vote of thanks if he was able to get their floor-filling favourites back together.

You're no Jones, boyo

The organisers of an attempt to gather together the most people with the same surname in one place (no, we're not sure why they're doing it, either) have banned Tom Jones from their get-together. On account of his not being a proper Jones:

"Tom was on our list. But we heard he wasn't born a Jones but took it as his stage name."

Tom never officially changed his name; he's going to have to wait until someone organises a Woodward get-together.

MTV EMAs: How the West wasn't won

Had we been Justin Timberlake, we'd not have made any joke at the MTV European Music Awards awards about how we only won a prize because we'd turned up in Copenhagen to host the things. It might have been a brave attempt to brazen out the understandable lack-of-surprise, but it's hardly likely to make people trust the process any more, is it?

Mind you, Kanye West doesn't trust the process, either. Having scooped up best Hip-Hop prize (an honour "so far away from America", apparently - although it's an awards ceremony in Western Europe thrown by one of the leading exporters of US culture, Kanye, it's not bloody Saturn) he then moaned that he didn't get the video award - in Kanye's eyes, it went to Justice Vs Simian as a "spreading the wealth type thing."

Those winners in full, then:

Male: Justin Timberlake

Female: Christina Aguilera

Group: Depeche Mode

Pop: Justin Timberlake

Rock: The Killers

Hip Hop: Kanye West

Alternative: Muse

Song: Gnarls Barkley - 'Crazy'

Rhythm 'n Blues: Rihanna

Pop: Justin Timberlake

Album: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium

Video: Justice Vs Simian - 'We Are Your Friends'

Futuresounds: Gnarls Barkley (i.e. Brightest Hope)

Best UK act: The Kooks

We're not sure why Muse - who are considered rock everywhere else - won the alternative award. But at least Matt Bellamy was able to raise an arched eyebrow or two, not least at the choice of host for the show: "There were a few scripted jokes in there but he was reading the autocue okay. He's a good dancer though so that makes up for the slapstick timing."

It's also a bit puzzling that Depeche Mode won the best group prize - certainly, last year's album was something of a triumphant return to form, but we'd have hardly thought they were prime MTV material. More VH1, surely?

[Earlier post: The nominations]

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bookmarks: Some other stuff on the web

The Glove on The Railing - because any blog which tracks down the Radio Times issue for the launch of Eldorado is alright by us: After all, how do you think the current rash of celebrity sex videos has made its way onto the Internet? Placed there by unscrupulous PRs desperate to get some notoriety for their clients? The very idea! Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson and Abi Titmuss clearly all made the same mistake and asked the old dear in the ground floor flat to pop up and water their rubber plant.

Guardian Guide - Tim Jonze meets the Gossip backstage at Friday Night with Jonathan Ross: [T]his rant about television, however righteous, sits awkwardly alongside the fact she's about to appear on one of the UK's leading chat-shows. It's this kind of compromise that the band are still trying to get used to, especially when the host's chat comes with a hostile undercurrent. "I can't believe all those questions [Jonathan] was asking his guests about fitness and weight," Beth says afterwards. [...] Luckily, there's opportunity for revenge. And when The Gossip take the stage, Beth's first venture on the mic is to ask Ross: "Are you gonna talk to me about my diet, too?" Ross squirms, ignoring the question. It's cut out of the television edit.

G2 - How Noel Gallagher Modelled himself on Russell Brand: In fact, if anything, compared with all Brand's other imitators, Noel really didn't go far enough. He is comprehensively outscruffed by the comedian. That suit is just a little too tidy. Put him next to Brand, in short, and it isn't Gallagher who looks like the rock'n'roll star.

Sweeping The Nation - an illustrated guide to Luke Haines: The press and public didn't know what to make of After Murder Park, which was probably half the idea. When we saw Haines at Summer Sundae last year he observed that a quarter of the tent emptied during this song.

Cornell Engineering Magazine - the genesis of the iPod:

While doing that run-through with Toshiba, somebody there mentioned that company’s work on a 1.8-inch hard drive, a cool engineering project that didn’t yet have a home. “If you could find a use for that, we’d really like that,” Toshiba told Apple.
Rubinstein’s familiarity with the supply chain is one reason why he was able to bring the iPod to market so quickly, said Mike McGuire, a research director for GartnerG2, a technology consulting firm. “A lot of it came down to the manufacturability of it,” McGuire says. “It’s one thing to come up with a great concept. It’s another thing to make it manufacturable.”

CNN attempts to explain "indie": In music, for example, the term refers to music produced and funded by any band or label not affiliated with the four or five major corporate labels like Sony or Epic. The same holds true generally for the music and film industry. (We imagine the poor-proof reading is an attempt to capture the indie essence. Possibly.)

Jarvissue of the Observer Music Monthly: I don't live in England any more but I came back the other day and was watching telly and that Johnny Cash song came on ['Hurt']. But it was advertising Nike trainers, and that struck me as being a particularly inappropriate use of music.

Stereogum kick off their CMJ coverage with The Cardigans: A note to sound dudes: when Nina wants less guitar, she means like now.

Dressed For The H-Bomb comes to an end after a round 100 posts: Total number of complaints about copyright infringement (even though I always felt like it wasn't really my place to make other people's music available for mass consumption) over the course of 100 posts= zero. Now that's punk.

The Rocking Vicar's Unknown Soldiers - that most wonderful of things: an un-googleable rock quiz. A veritable who-the-hell's-that of music faces. We reckon one of 'ems Ultrasound.

Today [Real] - U2's debt to A-Ha is explored.

Last time's bookmarks

Culture club Boy

The other ones out of Culture Club are more than a little grumpy that Boy George went to pick up the Q Award for Karma Chameleon without asking them along, what with them all having helped write it and all.

And they're even grumbling that they came up with his name:

"We should have been there," said Craig, 46. "George wasn't the sole writer of the song. We wrote collectively.

"At the end of the day, Culture Club was very much ours as well as George's. He was the visual impact that everyone got, but there was a hell of a lot behind it."

Even the singer's iconic name, Moss said, was his bandmates' doing.

"He wanted to call himself Papa George," said Moss, 49. "It doesn't have the same ring to it. And he wanted to call us Caravan Club."

Actually, Papa George would have been more apt for the smurf-like creature that George has grown into; and, as they trundle slowly down the middle of the road to various Warner Holidays style appointments, Caravan Club might suit the rest of them quite well.

Live Boy action

Boy Kill Boy are getting out the gazetter and preparing for a lifestyle based around Ginsters pasties, as they're doing a tour next month:

Brunel University: December 2
Gloucester Guildhall: 3
Leicester Princess Charlotte: 4
Coventry Warwick University: 5
Bolton Soundhouse: 6
Exeter Phoenix: 9
Wrexham Central Station: 11
Stoke-on-Trent Sugarmill: 12
York Fibbers: 13
Greenock Lava Lounge: 14
Dundee Fat Sams: 15
Orkney Fusion: 17

They're also handing all monies received from the Shoot Me Down single to War Child. We're sure War Child will love getting money from a band named about killing and a single about shooting.


Although it's being reported as a "confirmation" that Blur will record another record, Alex James' words to the BBC don't really seem that solid:

"I think we'd all like to make another record. We'd all like to do it with Graham. One way or the other, there'll be another Blur album, with or without Graham - but hopefully with Graham. I think it's definitely worth trying.”

If we were their label, we wouldn't be block-booking the advertising space for anything anytime soon.

[Plug: 3862 Days - Stuart Maconie's only-slightly anal history of Blur from birth to pretty much the point where it all went wrong]

He wasn't trying to warn you off drugs, he was warning you about a global Jewish conspiracy

We're sure that Courtney Love believes that it was the sudden appearance of Mel Gibson which persuaded her it was time to quit drugs:

"Mel kept coming to the door with this cheesy grin going, `Hi!' " Love said in an interview with Diane Sawyer that aired Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"I just kept looking at him going — I can't cuss — um, `Blank off!' ... I know him and he's a nice guy. It didn't matter who it was. It could have been Jesus. I didn't care," the 42-year-old rocker-actress said.

Love said Gibson, accompanied by addiction counsellor Warren Boyd, left with the men "to have a cheeseburger" while Boyd talked to her about seeking treatment.

Could it just be, though, that Courtney had swallowed so many drugs she was just hallucinating Mel Gibsons? Perhaps if she'd carried on, Goofy, Bob Barker, and Terry Sullivan from Brookside would have formed a mainly-human pyramid outside her window with a 'No to drugs' banner.

Here's a curious little fact, though: Mel Gibson and Courtney Love share a publicist, in Alan Nierob. He wouldn't be attempting to do two character rehabilitations for the price of one, would he?

Nice to shuffle Whispering Bob to one side, 'citing...

Following the somewhat generous claim that he'd been more-or-less single-handedly responsible for the recent upsurge in 6Music's audience, Russell Brand is being given a Saturday night show on Radio 2, rolling his tanks over Bob Harris' programme.

It's good news for Russell, who's more than happy to stretch the same material over as many outlets as possible.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: He's been confused

Jona emails us with a link to a story in today's Guardian which suggests why Gennaro Castaldo has been so quiet: he's been mesmerised by his Electronic
Programme Guide:

"In recent years," says Castaldo, "TV has gone a bit mad. So many channels, so many programmes, with shows moving between networks and time slots. It became harder and harder to make a date with a favourite show."

TV has already objected to being called "a bit mad", issuing a statement through its solicitors explaining that, while it did suffer a serious bout of depression around the time of the launch of ITV3, characterising it as mad is a little unfair. Meanwhile, a small crowd of Castaldo's friends are asking if he's finding it hard to catch his favourite shows, they'll pop round and show him how to set up his Sky+ or download the episodes off bittorrent - "effectively, it's never been this simple to keep track of your favourite programmes" explained one, "and it's hard to see how Gennaro feels so bereft in an age where you can record an entire series by pressing a single button, and catch-ups on other channels and so on. Did he really find it simpler to keep track of a series when it went out, once, on a channel and you'd have to wait for a repeat years later if you missed it or mis-set the video?"

Quiet, now, Jack White has something to say

We love the way Coca-Cola spokesperson Jack White rushes up to make an announcement every time he reworks his diary, as if the world can't quite cope not knowing exactly what split he's making between making music with the White Stripes and making less interesting music with the Raconteurs. (The Raconteurs, of course, the closest thing to a band version of a Jolly Boy's Outing it is possible to imagine.)

Here's the latest pronouncement:

"I have to honestly say that I'm divided totally 50/50 between The Raconteurs and The White Stripes. My brain now has two options for songs that I write, and it's a really nice luxury to have as a songwriter.

"I have so many songs now for another White Stripes record: Meg and I are working on songs during breaks from touring with The Raconteurs."

We're not quite sure how "fitting White Stripes in between Raconteurs work" counts as being "totally 50/50 divided", but we're sure he's got a pie chart somewhere that explains it.

If we said things like this about Blink 182, there'd be angry comments

Nothing - we've tested this and can prove it as fact - is stronger than the sudden distaste former pop-punkers develop for their careers after they've left their bands. This syndrome - 'busted-out syndrome' - is in action again, as Tom DeLonge realises, actually, Blink-182 were rubbish:

"I do not want to be in a bullshit pop band with some bullshit pop songs while you drive your fucking bullshit car and sing along to it like you're some 14 year-old girl."

He has yet to explain how he intends to refund the hundreds of thousands pounds he has been making from this fucking bullshit for the last few years.

"And it is called Webbey the Vampire Slayer..."

Apparently inspired by Anne Rice's Lestat series, Simon Webbe is writing his own vampire trilogy:

"I don't want the sex to be a big part of it. I want the sexiness of the characters to carry the story.

"A girl with long legs, a big bosom, mini skirt and low-cut top is not leaving much to the imagination - characters who cover their legs and wear tank tops are sexier."

Simon WebbeYou really think that it's sexier to put on a shirt, Simon? We can see what you mean.

He revealed he's been working on the project for four years, and that he'd love to set his movie in Rome, Britain or France.

So... you've been writing this for four years, and haven't actually decided where it happens yet? We're expecting to hear some character names around the middle of 2009, then.

Moos and boos

Whatever you think of Heather Mills McCartney, it's hard to see any defense for The Sun with today's low jibe. They've found a cow with a false leg, dubbed it Heather Moo-Cartney and burbled away merrily:

WHAT a cow! Prize heifer Theresa takes after Sir Paul McCartney’s estranged wife Heather — by having a fake leg.

Apart from wondering if anyone in the editorial wing of the paper gave a moment's thought to if it was appropriate at all to start making fun of Heather's loss of a limb, we're amazed at the way the paper are implying that there was something about Mills' character that leads to her having a false leg: "That Heather Mills, she's swanning about losing her legs in horrific accidents all over the place. That's typical of her, that is."

Madonna: You have no idea how I've suffered

Of course, it is unacceptable and terrible if Madonna is being the target of racist abuse having kind-of adopted a Malwian baby:

The pop queen said she was horrified when people stopped her in the street to ask why she adopted a “black child”.

Madonna — who also has two kids Lourdes, 10, and Rocco, six, — told US TV host Meredith Viera: “I don’t dignify their question with a reply.

“There is a lot of racism in the world.

“I’m not going to buy into it and neither are my children. So I don’t worry about it.

“I don’t live in a white world. I live in THE world."

We're a little surprised that people are able to march up to Madonna in the street and start asking questions, to be honest. Might need to increase the number of burly security guards around you, Maddy.

More to the point, if we assume these people really are coming up to her and asking the question, does it follow that they must be racist in their intent? "Why have you adopted a child from Africa" is a fair enough question - we're pretty sure that Kirsty Wark asked something similar on Newsnight last night, didn't she? It doesn't automatically mean the questioner is objecting to the race of the child, just curious about Madonna's motivation.

Of course, they could equally be objecting to the colour of the child's skin, which would be odious. It is a little worrying, though, that Madonna's response to racism is "to not worry about it" and "not buy into it." That sort of ivory-tower response is workable, if stupid, when you're head of an all-Caucasian family. But if you're planning on raising a child whose skin means he will encounter racism during his childhood, you better come up with a better way of helping him deal with that than some lame-ass slogan about "we are the world" or whatever.

Something else puzzled us watching the Kirsty Wark interview: Madonna explained how she was hoping that all the attention she was bringing to Africa and Aids orphans would help force a change in the adoption rules across the continent. She pointed out - quite fairly - that with so many children left without parents, it might be time for nations to think about revising adoption law to allow them to find homes.

But hold on a minute: she told Oprah Winfrey there weren't any adoption laws in Malawi, and she had to "make them up as she went along." How can there simultaneously be complicated and frustrating laws, and not be any laws at all?

We also could have sworn we saw some footage from a movie of Madonna's two other children having a long conversation, but that can't be, as we all know how Madonna feels about people who say she exploits her children.

MySpace attempts to clean up its act

As if MySpace wasn't already slow, clunky and buggier than a six-months dead man's underpants, they're now promising to introduce software to block and remove copyright material from Rupert Murdoch's social networking site.

Except, of course, there's not actually any software that can do that. They can scan files to see if they match a list of blocked files, but since that list will merely be drawn up by the loudest-shouting copyright holders, what MySpace actually means is that it's going to try and block files owned by people liable to throw their legal weight around. We suspect that if you're uploading files from, say, a Bulgarian classical label, you might find that the system fails to spot that.

Persistent "offenders" will be kicked off the service. Let's hope they don't tell everyone where they're going instead, eh?

Stones tour without end

Of course, at their age it's a miracle they get to play any dates at all, but the Rolling Stones on-off spluttering world tour is ending with a cancellation: in order to allow Mick Jagger to rest his voice, they've rescheduled five dates and pulled the finale - which was to have been in Hawaii.

Of course, it's possible the "bad throat" thing is a cover story designed to keep Keith Richards away from palm trees. With his track record.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

More work for the lawyers from the McCartney divorce

Now that both sides on the McCartney-Mills divorce have threatened legal action against the Evening Standard, maybe the common ground might provide a first step towards reconciliation?

Okay, maybe not.

The McCartney side lawsuit is actually coming from Fiona Shackleton, Paul's lawyer, who was unhappy with a column written by AN Wilson which suggested she might adopt some form of "smear tactics" in the divorce battle.

Journobit: Tony Tyler

NME features writer between 1972 and 1977, and organist with the Patrick Samson Set, Tony Tyler died on Saturday.

Bristol-born but Liverpool bred, Tyler stowed away to spend time with the Beatles and other early beat acts during their Hamburg period; only a bout of pneumonia and a forced repatriation split him from playing cards with John Lennon.

His first major role as a music journalist came editing trade title Beat Instrumental in 1969; after a short period working as PR man for T-Rex's management team at EG, Tyler joined the NME where, according to Charles Shaar Murray, he helped change the tone of the title:

"A lot of the absurdist humour and the piss taking was what Tony brought to the paper. He was very energetic, he was very funny. He pioneered the smoking of a lot of dope at editorial meetings."

Confounding the popular view of music writers as musicians who can't make music, Tyler scored a number one with the Patrick Samson Set - albeit in Italy, and a cover of a Whiter Shade of Pale, but a number one nevertheless.

Amongst a number of books he was involved with, the key text is probably his I Hate Rock & Roll, which The Generalist carried selections from at the start of this year.

Oh, my Gotti

At one time, there were no second acts in American lives. Now, not only do they roll on into third or fourth acts, but sometime round the interval deals are signed for reality shows.

So it is that VH1 are promising this shining delight for their winter season:

After being investigated for 3 years by the federal government on charges of money laundering and acquitted, Irv Gotti is now attempting a comeback with his label The Inc while also juggling his responsibilities as a husband and father.

Besides the Irv Gotti Project, there's also a programme called Man Band, which is effectively Totally Boyband remade in the states and with slightly more honesty about how long it is since the "boys" were boys: Manband. Trouble is, calling it Manband makes it sound like something elderly men would need to maintain an erection for longer. The man-boys who are desperate enough to cling to this chance of a second act are Bryan Abrams (Color Me Badd), Rich Cronin (LFO), Chris Kirkpatrick ('N Sync) and Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) - the PR puff promises five, which makes it sound like they're having trouble getting someone else for the series.

The Horrors, the horror

Faris Badwan had a horrible Halloween, getting attacked onstage during the Horrors set in Chelsea (the New York one, not the London one):

Badwan went on to describe the lead-up to the attack, saying "this guy kept trying to grab the microphone, and after I told him to stop, he tried to start a fight with me".

The singer the explained that the man subsequently jumped onstage and dragged him to the ground - throwing punches - before security intervened and threw the stage invader out.

Faris claims he doesn't usually fight, unless someone picks a fight with him first of all. Of course, because the band tend to publish a schedule of where they'll be playing, should the stage invader want a rematch, he's going to find it easy to track them down...

Lily Allen: MySpace PR ghouls hang together

As we start to reshuffle our mailbox following a few days prancing round the fleshpots of Old Amsterdam (well, Italian restaurants rather than fleshpots) we discover an email from Karl T, who found Lily Allen's musical choices, as reported by the Metro. In particular, he was taken by her defence of Sandi Thom and her bizarre mangling of late 20th century history:

"My favourite song of all time. It really makes me feel like I'm kind of a rebel but at peace with myself at the same time. What I like is that she's reinvented history so that it sounds better"

Karl asks: "Which reinvention of history is she talking about? The conflation of flower power with punk? Or the laughable idea that Thom was a struggling artist who gained success by broadcasting over Teh Internets from her basement. Either way she's still a git."

Equally, of course, Lily Allen claims, with a straight face, that given the millions of different organisations of music, and word, and melody that have been constructed during human history, her favourite song is I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker.

Her favourite song of all time.

At least, we guess, it's not one of her own.

K-Fed wants to mow, wants to mow a meadow

Kevin doubleyellowline has insisted that his kids would be better off growing up on a farm rather than in Hollywood, even though it's a place which has made him "filthy rich".

Although, actually Kevin, Hollywood hasn't made you rich in any way, has it? The only thing that's stuffed your mouth with gold is the wedding chapel. Unless we've missed something.

Arctic Monkeys values

If you fancy keeping it - ahem - real in the style of the Arctic Monkeys, you might want to note what is and isn't acceptable. Take, for example, Jamie Cook. It's not on to blag guest list places for Kasabian - that would be wrong. It is, however, fine to try and charge your bar tab to your room in a hotel you're not staying in. That's fine.

Halloween freezes over

The alarming moment on Halloween evening in the streets of London, when a strange, twisted, skull-like face forced its way through a crowd, straight past a bloke wearing a cheap plastic Munch mask.

Pete trapped with finger tight inside Kate's ring

"Pete Doherty rushed to hospital" might not be such a surprising headline, but when he's having to run to A&E because he's got one of Kate Moss' rings trapped on his finger, it might be the first sign he's finally completed the descent into farce.

In the end, they had to cut it off.

The ring, not the finger.

We think.

Imprisoned, and attacked with nuclear bombs

Kylie has been talking about her cancer, which, unsurprisingly, wasn't much fun:

“It’s like a prison sentence. I can’t quite articulate it.

“It’s a bit like being in an atomic explosion and people asking you to describe it: ‘So, exactly how big is the hole?’

“I don’t think anyone who hasn’t had it can understand it.”

... which probably makes the interview a bit of a waste of time as far as giving us an understanding, then.

The interview comes from Elle Magazine, who will be delighted to see that, as agreed, The Sun has credited them, and carried a picture of the magazine's cover. Whether they'll be as delighted to see that in order to "protect" the accompanying Karl Lagerfeld photos, they've slapped their own "Online Sun" logo over them - meaning that when they escape into the wilds of the internet, they'll appear to have originated not with Elle and Lagerfeld, but somewhere in Wapping. Nice work.

You can make me whole again

Barely have the celebration parties died down following the end of the reign of terror, and yet Atomic Kitten are reuniting again, in a charity gig to try and rescue their solo careers ("raise funds or something for Michael Shields").

They'll be playing a star-studded night - if Chris Moyles and Gloria Gaynor count as stars - at the Liverpool Empire to try and gather together the ninety grand to cover Shields' fine. Shields insists that he wasn't involved in a vicious attack on a barman following Liverpool's Champion League match in Varne in 2005.

Madonna: Oh, do you know what I forgot to mention...?

Having failed to salvage the PR war by getting gently stroked in Oprah's studio, Madonna has now tried to make things better with a Newsnight interview. This time round, she seems to be trying to subtly shift the blame for it all going wrong to the orphanage, implying she was misinformed:

I was told... that from the day that he was left in the orphanage he was not visited by any extended family members and that's really why I became interested in him.

"If someone had said to me, 'His dad comes every week or his granny visits on a regular basis and he's well looked after,' I would not even have given it another thought."

Although how that squares with her telling Oprah she first saw him on a video (being held, you'll recall, by an eight year-old HIV+ girl) and felt a "connection", we're a little unsure.

"According to the reverend who ran the orphanage that David came from, his father never visited him.

"His father lived 50 or 60km away, had no car, had no money and, as far as I was told, had remarried and moved on with his life."

And oddly, she now claims she offered to support David in his family:

Asked if it would have been an option to support him and leave him in Malawi, she replied: "Yes, I offered that option to the father and he declined."

Which is odd for two reasons - not only has Yohane never seemed to be aware of turning down this option, but you'd have thought that she might have mentioned that she floated this idea during the Oprah show, wouldn't you?

And even if it's true that Madonna was told of these ghost "new wives" and no vists, perhaps had she spent the time required by the Malawian law in the country, then she could have made certain. You can't help but feel, unwittingly, Madonna is admitting that she scooped up David in something of a rush before she had a chance to find out all the facts.

Which is, of course, exactly what she's being faulted for by the Malawian charities.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Robbie Williams is not getting round Noel Gallagher like that

It must have seemed like a great super-fun idea at the time, when Robbie Williams recorded a song having a pop at the Gallagher brothers. "I know, I'll call it Dickhead and put it on my album" he must have chortled.

The next day, it probably seemed like a slightly less super-fun idea. So Robbie sent a 'sorry' note to Oasis' management, claiming to "not know" how the song got on the album (what, Robbie, you didn't even bother to cast your eye over your own tracklist? If you can't be arsed to play the bloody thing through, why should anyone else?)

More harming still, rather than being upset, Noel Gallagher has just shrugged the whole thing off:

I haven’t heard the album — I doubt I will — apparently that’s the best track on it.

“He sent this note to our office claiming he didn’t know it was on the album. He can fuck right off. I don’t give a fuck what he thinks and I don’t give a fuck about him.”

... which is what passes for insouciance in the Oasis camp.

Q Awards: Victory for slippers

Probably the most telling aspect of the Q Awards was Corrine Bailey Rae's prize for best newcomer. If you didn't know her debut album came out in the last twelve months, you'd assume that she had been around since the year dot. Possibly working under the name Sade.

That most of the other prizes went so completely to people whose faces we've grown more than accustomed to suggests the problem with Q these days: ridiculed in its first months as being backward-looking, it's grown to actually fit the insults over the last twenty years. The magazine has taken new bands to its heart, but only providing they sound like they could have already been going a lifetime when the title launched.

And giving prizes to the Arctic Monkeys adds to the effect: the "new" band people who haven't been to a gig since 1987 reach for when they want to show they've still got a toe in the water.

The winners, in full, then:


Voted for by the readers of Q

1. Lily Allen
2. Corinne Bailey Rae
3. The Kooks
4. Arctic Monkeys
5. Orson

Winner: Corinne Bailey Rae

Voted for by the readers of Q

1. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
2. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley
3. I Don't Feel Like Dancing by Scissor Sisters
4. Never Be Lonely by The Feeling
5. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor by Arctic Monkeys

Winner: Crazy by Gnarls Barkley

Voted for by the viewers of QTV
1. When You Were Young by The Killers
2. I Don't Feel Like Dancing by Scissor Sisters
3. Empire by Kasabian
4. Smiley Faces by Gnarls Barkley
5. Why Won't You Give Me Your Love? by The Zutons

Winner: The Killers


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: A-ha


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: Smokey Robinson


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: Primal Scream


Chosen by Q magazine

Winner: Jeff Lynne


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: Take That


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: Faithless


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: Noel Gallagher


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: Peter Gabriel


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: Manic Street Preachers


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: The Edge


Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: Culture Club for Karma Chameleon

Chosen by the readers of Q

1. Oasis
2. Razorlight
3. Muse
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers
5. Arctic Monkeys

Winner: Muse

1. Black Holes And Revelations by Muse
2. Empire by Kasabian
3. Under The Iron Sea by Keane
4. Razorlight by Razorlight
5. Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not by Arctic Monkeys
6. Eyes Open by Snow Patrol

Winner: Arctic Monkeys

Most votes polled this year
Winner: Arctic Monkeys

1. Muse
2. Coldplay
3. Oasis
4. U2
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Chosen by the readers of Q magazine
Winner: Oasis

Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: The Who

Chosen by Q magazine
Winner: U2

Monday, October 30, 2006

Fatboy returns to the beach

Despite police muttering their misgivings over the very idea, Fatboy Slim has been given a green light for a New Year's Day beach party on Brighton Beach. On, erm, New Year's Day:

"I can't believe it is finally happening but it is. I can promise the people of Brighton this is going to be one hell of a show."

He added: "Every time I have been shopping in Brighton for the past four years at least, one person has come up to me and asked when I'll be doing it again.

"Every time I have had to say I can't because I've been banned. It's such a relief not to have to say that any more."

Presumably the hope is that so many people will be either partied-out or still hungover as to keep numbers to a manageable level.

In addition, you'll need tickets to attend - and to get them, you'll have to have a Brighton postcode. Or know someone who does, who won't want to be spending the bank holiday evening on the pebbles.

The joy of romance

Ah, we're sure that Nicole Appleton's sudden announcement that she intends to marry mostly-man thing Liam Gallagher is driven by her real romantic impulse and nothing, nothing at all, to do with the new album heading on its way to shops.

Let's just hope that Liam doesn't decide to also drive sales of the Oasis best-of by announcing his intention not to marry Nicole. That would be heartbreaking.

Nicole chirrups away about how, effectively, they're married in all but prenup agreement:

“Absolutely yes, we will get married. Of course we will.

“Things are so great between us that it will just happen when it does. We haven’t planned anything and we are really, really happy — the happiest we’ve ever been together.

“There’s no pressure from our parents to get married but when we go to friends’ weddings, I think, ‘I want to do this.’

“We’re pretty much married anyway and I call him my husband sometimes. We come as a unit — where he goes, our son Gene and I go. Having children together is a bigger commitment than getting married — but we will do it.”

Nicole goes everywhere Liam does. Except, these days, to the top of the album chart.

An award for a genuine lifetime achievement? That's got to be a miracle

It's the seventh or eight biggest highlight of the music year today, as the Q Awards are handed out to anyone who'll turn up ("honoured guests") at the big show. What is rather nice is one of the awards that is a foregone conclusion - one of Q's many recognising staying power and luxurious back catalogue sales - is going to Smokey Robinson.

Of course, if they also give a prize to Lily Allen it might undermine the value of the award, but it's nice to see someone from outside the usual small rotating army of those given lifetime/hall of fame/outstanding prizes picking something up - especially when its so well deserved, too.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Is this the real Queen? Is this just fantasy?

You can just about understand why they do tours with co-opted frontmen. You could almost forgive them for sanctioning the Ben Elton musical (after all, nobody has to go to the West End, do they?) but... making a new studio recording? Queen? Without Freddie Mercury?

At the very least, they should be forced by law to be honest and call themselves "the other ones which were in Queen", or "no, no, go back - see, if you freeze-frame the Bohemian Rhapsody video - that's us in it, there, see?"

God alone knows who'll be singing lead vocals - probably that bloke out of Free who's been filling in. The deeper question, though, is why would they bother? The reputation off which they trade is a precious thing - it's their pension. Is it worth making a few quid off a 'new'album if it harms that reputation?

Peacock gives Chicks the bird

There's some sort of attempt in place to try and spin the NBC ban of an ad for the Dixie Chicks documentary about the "ashamed George Bush comes from Texas" controversey as being a "no such thing as bad publicity" story, with the implication that there's no harm been done as they've got a shedload of extra publicity out of the ban.

That's hardly the point, though.

National networks refusing to carry an advert for a movie based around a low-level fuss and a fair-enough exercising of that right to free speech is hardly anything to celebrate:

NBC said it "cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush."

CW said it "does not have appropriate programming in which to schedule this spot."

We're not sure why the CW felt it didn't have an "appropriate slot" - since when did advertisers get restricted to apt timings in the US? Would they only have been able to take the ad had they had some sort of cross between The Grand Ole Opry and Larry King Live to provide a slot for ads about country music and politics? Or is it just that they don't like news-related stuff on the newly megred UPN/WB network?

Of course, the glee with which Harvey Weinstein has seized on the NBC ban is almost as unseemly - if NBC had a cheek banning the ad in the first place, then for Weinstein to start issuing PR puffs disguised as Martin Luther style church-door-nailings is tacky in itself. The ban could still have been highlighted in a subtler way, and one which didn't leave those who would naturally side with the banned feeling a little queasy at having to collude in an advertising campaign at the same time.

The sales are sticky with Jam

Of course, the bubbling over-confidence she sashayed back with suggested someone riding for a fall, but even so, only the coldest heartest would be in any way amused that Jamelia's comeback album came with everything but a comeback - she's managed to sell just 15,000 copies of Walk With Me.

She's now planning a comeback for the comeback, with a January relaunch. But launches are like virginity, as a wise man once said - no matter how hard you try, the second time is never going to fool anybody.

When Kittens unite

The news that Natasha Hamilton - she was in Atomic Kitten, older readers may recall - is plotting a wedding and aiming for the largest magazine deal of the year" is amusing enough. But she has set out to try and create a circle from which she will create a square by also setting her hat at ensuring there's "nothing tacky" about the day.

Unless that's just a coded way of telling Kerry not to bother stocking up on the quid-for-thity sausage rolls down Iceland (and, presumably, to not bother choosing a dress or even keeping the Saturday clear), it's hard to see how Hamilton hopes to score a large cheque from OK or Hello without introducing a massive element of tat to the proceedings - after all, "former Atomic Kitten weds Riad Erraji" is going to be of little interest to anyone besides My Scrabble readers unless at least two horses dressed as unicorns, some dwarves and Victoria Beckham get a look in.

Prepare to be surprised... so very, very surprised

We can hardly believe it. No, really, we can't. Whoever would have thought that Keisha would ne sucking a thoughtful tooth and plotting a bale-out from the Sugababes?

I know, I know, but apparently that's what's on her mind:

"We all want to do solo careers.

"It is something we talk about a lot. We love what the girls in Destiny's Child did by going off and doing their own thing before reuniting again.

"I think we will be following suit - going off and then getting together again later. I am sure things will happen naturally."

We are impressed, though, that she's factored in the desperate reunion after the solo flop into the agenda, too. Wonder if she's booked out Butlins for 2010 yet?