Saturday, February 03, 2007

Doherty apologises from the, uh, yeah, whatever

Earlier in the week, Pete Doherty's holiday snaps developed into a minor flurry of front-page stories what with the drugs and all.

Now, Pete's said he's sorry, sort of.

His "apology from the heart" might have been a little more convincing if he'd not burbled it out when he bumped into a cameraman as he was putting the rubbish out - nobody likes the staged, formal apologies of disgraced Conservative politicians, but this had the air of "yeah, I been meaning to apologise and if I can do it while putting the recycling out, that's two birds from one stone, innit."

The apology in full, then:

“Can I just apologise from my heart for that stuff that was in the paper. I was really out of my nut and that’s why I went into rehab.”

It's believed that he intends to say sorry to Kate Moss should he run into her at the bottle bank ("or failing that, I've got an old wardrobe needs taking down the tip.")

Geldof in unlikely teaming with concept of "peace"

Casting around for something to do, Bob Geldof is apparently getting involved in a television channel to promote world peace.

How on earth would that work? "I've just had a phonecall from our enemies on the other side of the line. They say that they were channel surfing last night after Will And Grace and saw a programme made by Bob Geldof which told them war, war is stupid, and people are stupid. They want to make a treaty, but say can we do it quickly before Saturday Kitchen comes on?"

Of course, he's not such a fool as to do this with his own money: it's being funded by one of those richly-resourced but ultimately impotent groups of Very Important People: Point of Peace, in this case.

BBC News says vaguely that Point of Peace "supports the work of Nobel Peace Laureates." They're slightly shadowy - a Google turns up a page which says merely

Point of Peace is a human rights organisation based in Stavanger, Norway, with a mandate to support Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in urgent need of media, dialogue and communication assistance in their home countries and internationally

and the second return is a hit from TripAdvisor discussing their role as a Norwegian Tourist Attraction.

A pdf document explains in a little more depth - Bob Geldof is listed as an "other" (presumably not in the Lost sense) between the advisory council and the board of directors; we suspect this role might have swung the contract for the channel landing in his lap rather than a showreel consisting of The Word, Big Breakfast, and various projects featuring members of his family.

Apparently, they're hoping that the Peace Channel will have a "You Tube effect" - we're sure that kids who otherwise would be kidnapped and pressed into serving in, say, the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda will be delighted at the initiative.

I can get you out of my head

Well, turning up in the tabloids with other women might not have worked, but it seems telling tabloids he was appearing in other tabloids with other women has done the trick.

Kylie and Olivier have officially split.

There was just one last thing for them to do together, and that was break it to the press:

"Olivier Martinez and Kylie Minogue have officially confirmed that they are no longer a couple.

"They have made it clear that the decision to go their separate ways was mutual and amicable.

"The media's false accusations of disloyalty have saddened them both. The two remain very close friends."

We love the "offically" bit, as if there's some assize office somewhere that has stamped papers to make sure all the details are straight.

And the winner is... Westlife again?

The Ireland music awards could, if they were savvy, try to position themselves as some sort of Golden Globe-y event, a bellwether leading off the music awards season.

Instead, year after year, they announce that Westlife are the "best pop act" - it's seven bloody years running now.

As if that wasn't enough, they gave most of the prizes to Snow Patrol.

Winners in full, then:

Best Irish DJ: (as in the radio, not djing)
Ray D'Arcy

Best Irish band:
Snow Patrol

Best Irish male:
Damien Dempsey (Beat Van Morrison for the title)

Best Irish female:
Luan Parle

Best Irish pop:

Best live performance:
Snow Patrol - Marlay Park

Best international group:
Scissor Sisters

Best international male:
Justin Timberlake

Best international female:
Lily Allen

Best international album:
Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, I'm Not, Right?

Best folk/traditional artist:
Sharon Shannon

Best Irish album:
Snow Patrol – Eyes Open

Best New Irish Act:

Hope for 2007:

Lifetime achievement:

Humanitarian award:
Paul Brady, Director of The Belvedere Youth Club

Industry award:
Larry Gogan

Friday, February 02, 2007

Shockwaves hair products sponsor a spot of fan-bashing

Shockwaves range of hair products is currently underwriting a trail of chaos as The Automatic attempt to turn every night on the NME tour into some sort of clash with fans.

It's not known if the band are deliberately targeting fans who turn up at gigs wearing hair products made by rival firms, or no hair products at all. However, in Belfast, Shockwaves paid for keyboardist Pennie to smash a fan's glasses, while in Dublin its largesse underwrote the cost of a ruck between Pennie and a fan who lit up a fag.

Other hair products are available, as are hats, which can save a lot of time brushing in the mornings.

How soon is forever?

In an upcoming interview, Johnny Marr has described How Soon Is Now as The Smith's "most enduring song":

"When we'd done 'How Soon Is Now?', we knew it was something else."

The new Healers (Marr's sometime band) do a really good job of it. I know Morrissey still does it live, too. But Tatu's version was just silly. Plastic music."

Still, it wasn't so bad you didn't cash the royalty cheques, we bet.

SXSW: We're not for fans, and we won't tell you who's playing

Brent Grulke from SXSW has upset half of the population of Texas and much of the music world with an interview in the Austin Chronicle. He was challenged on why the usual longlist of performers at the festival has yet to appear:

BG: The largest thing is we're not trying to promote to consumers at all, and we want to be able to put out an accurate list. Once we put any kind of list out, we get all kinds of demand for it, people trying to figure out, "Oh, I need to get there; I need to get to this venue." We also get artists saying, "Oh my God, how can you have us competing with this, competing with that?"

Instead of releasing acts piecemeal, it makes more sense to get as good a sense as we can of all the acts we want to invite and put together a schedule that makes the most sense, we believe, for the largest number of people attending. The thinking was that it didn't do us any great favors having this information available earlier, because it creates this huge, huge, huge consumer buzz, and then we'll get so many phone calls of people saying, "Can I get tickets to the Stooges?" These things take up a tremendous amount of our energy and resources.

DoneWaiting's SXSW blog explains why Grukle's plans to withhold band details until the last minute is a bad move; further commentary is offered by, erm, commenters.

Missing the point

We were surprised to receive an email encouraging us to "Vote for your favourite indie artists" - especially since the message was just beating up trade for the Fratellis, Wolfmother, Snow Patrol and Johnny Borrell and the Razorlights.

As if to ram home the missing of the point of "indie", the email came from Universal Music. It's like having a Republican Queen, boys.

A Brave New Wave goodbye

CBC has announced a planned revamp its Radio 2 network into an "adult-orientated music service" which will act as a "flag-waving Canadian music service". In the process, much of what made the old Radio 2 interesting has been thrown aside - including Brave New Waves. Having said that, the programme had effectively been throttled back in 2006 when the staff were laid off and a series of reruns embarked on. It seems CBC had hoped to kick all the life out of Radio 2 much earlier, and hadn't counted on Brave New Waves clinging on so long.

Will Vietnamese authorities make Tet offensive to British tabloids?

Apparently, as part of the Lunar new year celebrations - Tet - it's something of a tradition to grant amnesties to Vietnamese prisoners. (There's an idea John Reid could use to get prison spaces freed up - its got to be more proactive than merely leaving the front gate of Ford Open Prison open and trying to shoo the inmates out.) This year, child molester Gary Glitter could be up for an early release:

"My client is on the list for Tet amnesty consideration and I expect to hear the final decision in a few days," Glitter's lawyer Le Thanh Kinh said.

"If he is amnestied he will be released very soon, probably next week."

Would this be a good thing for Glitter, though? It's unclear where he'd go if he was released - and its unlikely a man with his record would be left unhounded by the British tabloids. He might find that he's better off staying inside.

It's almost as if God doesn't want Lily Allen to go to America

Of course, if God really wanted to keep Keith Allen's daughter out of the US, he'd have just organised something for immigration, so we must put the lightning strike on her plane down to natural causes. Lily, apparently, didn't take it well:

A fellow passenger revealed: "On our descent into LA, there was a deafening bang as the plane was struck by lightning. It hit one wing, travelled across the plane and left via the other.

"A massive wobble and a sudden drop in altitude followed. Lily and her friend John, who are not great flyers, both burst into tears."

Interesting that this passenger was so well informed about Lily, the name of her travelling companion and their general attitude to air travel - presumably they were chanting "This is my friend John... we don't like to fly at the best of times... this is my friend John..."

McFly CD again

McFly in dragYes, it's McFly - they've cross-dressed again for their latest video. It does seem to be any excuse to pull on a skirt with them, doesn't it? Playing a gig? Let's drag up. Making a video? Ooh, shall we wear dresses. Meeting with the band's accountant to discuss the VAT implications of shifting to a mainly digitally-delivered music model? Alright, but can you help me lace up this corset first.

We'd love to see McFly take the next step, and drop the pantomimic element of their trannying. Come on boys... you know you want to.

Pete Doherty: Call me Alex

The Sun continues to respect Pete Doherty's privacy as he gets the treatment for drug use the paper has spent the last two years telling him to get, reporting today that he's using the name Alexander to preserve his anonymity (do you see what they did there) and, erm, that he hadn't hidden drugs in his guitar.

Mariah Carey Playboy cover: Sun resurrects spirit of Kelly Monteith

The release of the Mariah Carey Playboy cover has got the Sun doing that strange faux-drooling they do from time to time. And using a very, very old joke:

The adult magazine - out in the US on February 9 - also contains of an [sic] interview with Mariah.

Although I’m not sure how many people really do buy Playboy for the articles.

Coming in The Sun tomorrow: The difficulty of sharing your bachelor flat with your live-in girlfriend.

Take That say no

It must come as a surprise to someone famous for having sex with a Manchester United player that there are some things that don't go to the highest bidder. Or maybe it's just when Coleen McLoughlin offered Take That cash to play her birthday party, she just didn't offer enough.

The band apparently said no, because they "don't do private parties". We wonder if they'd tell a Russian billionaire that.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Miller fight

Trouble is brewing in Brighton, where a temporary re-siting of Max Miller's statue "during roadworks" has given the current manager of the Dome Theatre an excuse to try and send him into permanent exile. Apparently Nick Dodds thinks a bronze figure of a comedian and singer is a risk to people:

"It is entirely on health and safety grounds.

"The idea was to put it back outside the box office door area on New Road.

"We really didn't want to have that obstruction because it's a very busy part of the Dome box office."

Mr Dodds also thought it was not appropriate to place the statue outside a building Max Miller had no association with and suggested a site closer to the Palace Pier or the Hippodrome.

Mr Dodds, of course, is the manager of an old stable block which has been converted - at great public expense - into a theatre. It probably pains Dodd that when he and his waving of "health and safety" concerns have long since been forgotten, Miller will still be remembered as one of Brighton's greatest sons. Perhaps Dodds should consider moving his box office to the end of the pier instead.

Jo's sorry now

Of course, the people showering Jo O'Meara with death threats are as bad as she is, but that doesn't make her right. Having had some time to think about things, she's finally got round to saying a sort of 'sorry' via a statement issued through her tour manager, but it's more "sorry for myself" than sorry for what she is:

"I have been asked why I did Big Brother. It was simply because I needed the money," she said.

"I did have a successful singing career in S Club but that was several years ago. I may lose my house and the fee offered was a lifeline which I took."

Well, Jo, nobody thought you were doing it because you fancied three weeks sharing a shower with Leo Sayer.

"I felt like the rabbit in the headlights with nowhere to hide and no-one to talk to," she said.

"I am totally shattered and after the death threats am scared to go home.

"Am I the first person in the world to make a mistake or say regrettable things?

"I am devastated, sorry and honestly have no idea what to do next,"

Well, no, Jo, you're not the first person to say regrettable things. Maybe, though, if you'd found space in your statement to explore what you said - or maybe if you'd not given an interview a week ago saying that Indians should take your idiotic burblings as "a compliment".

Jo, of course, blames the producers:
"I think that as a group we would all have coped better if some of the surprise stunts hadn't been pulled by Big Brother.

"Jade and her family entering the house late and the introduction of a slave/master culture is bizarre by anyone's standards and automatically creates tension and a divide.

"I may have made some mistakes but I have apologised for them and, in the context of the three weeks of Big Brother, I honestly believe that I was not a horrible person every day throughout the series."

No. Not every day. But we do like the idea that it was all Endemol's fault for creating a vacuum into which Jo's caustic personality leaked out. The school bullies should remember that one for when they're up in front of the head next - "I did tie him to a drainpipe and set fire to the bin I'd stood him in, but it was because the teachers hadn't set enough quadratic equations to keep me busy..."

Shilpa Shetty has used her post-CBB interviews to simultaneously absolve Jo from charges of racism while twisting the knife in a polite way:
Shetty insisted Goody"never thought before she spoke" and pop star Jo O'Meara had"personality issues".

Channel 4, meanwhile, have been denying the existence of footage of unnamed housemates singing racist songs.

And as if to prove that you should be careful what you wish for, the news pages at (missing an 'o', surely?) make for interesting reading.

On January 9th, they posted this:
I'm sure some of you have noticed the lack of Jo footage we seem to be getting from BB recently, which to be honest isn't good enough. Since 'The Goodys' have moved in, the show seems to be focusing on certain housemates much more than others, especially our Jo who seems to be suffering the most when it comes to air time. [...] So we urge all the fans out there to get e-mailing various Big Bother addresses to say how we feel, however we need support in this as it will probably take a lot of seperate emails to get our point across and get something done about it. I know we can do it as we have succeeded before we just need to pull together as a community. We certainly do not want a repeat of tonight's highlights show where we saw a grand total of about 30 seconds of Jo, and then nearly a whole hour focusing mainly on Leo and Jacquie and their temper tantrums. There was so many 'Jo' moments from yesterday which could of been aired today. From tears to late night laughter to piggyback rides in the garden! All of which included Jo and none of which was aired on the hour show. There are several addresses below you can try e-mailing and It also might be an idea to e-mail radio stations as they seem to cover BB alot and read out viewers comments, especially Heart Radio.

Well, Channel 4 certainly did get round to finding space for Jo in the highlights show...

Black Lips slink ships

They've been compared (alright, by themselves) to The Seeds and the
13th Floor Elevators; they set up the label which brought you The
Dirtbombs and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs... and now Black Lips are coming to

Their first proper UK single release is due March 5th - Not A Problem
and Dirty Hands; dates in support are:

3rd March London Scala
4th London Coronet Underage Club
7th London Old Blue Last

They're in Paris the night before (2nd March), if any of our readers
are in France.

Twelve years on

It's twelve years to the day since Richey Edwards disappeared.

It's five years to the day since his family could have chosen to have declared officially dead. They've elected not to, of course, keeping their options open and their hope alive.

It still all seems like a terrible waste.

Laether Strip seeks help

This is the sort of offer you don't get every day: Claus from Laether Strip is offering you - yes, you - the chance to co-write a song, after he had the idea in a dream:

I had a dream the other night. I had an idea for a new "free" song. The way I want to do it this time is to involve you guys in the process. I want anyone who feels like it to write the lyric / words for the song. You got 100% artistic freedom and I wont change a word in the lyric I choose. There wont be any money crap involved at all, so after I write the song for your words, it will be the next "free song" for all the friends. I will read every single word you write and I won't make any music before the text is chosen, so the words will be the main thing I will build the song around. And not the other way around. I hope you like the idea and agree to the conditions.

No money involved for me or you. The price is "something" to tell your grandkids about. "Listen Wilma and Brutus, I wrote the words for this song, the guy trying to sing is some fat old guy from Denmark". And what do I get out of it, well it's a chance for me to work with the people who actually listen to my work, and I know that all the contributions will inspire my ass off. I also get a chance to enter your sick minds and learn all your secrets. That's always entertaining.

Anyway I thought it could be fun for all. So get writing, You got one month from today to mail in the stuff at .
Hope you like the idea.

His other idea he had while dreaming, of taking a GCSE exam stark naked, got him sixty hours community service and a ban from educational establishments nationwide.

Radio audiences: Nothing to see here

Although the team at the MediaGuardian have done their best to make the latest RAJAR audience figures sound exciting, but, aside from Jamie Theakston overtaking Johnny Vaughan in London, it's all one tenth of one percent down and one tenth of one percent up. Some stations have dropped a little over the quarter, but picked it up over the year.

Radio 4 switched off at the last moment

As Radio 4 were about to put their equipment out on the stage of the Brooklyn Northsix last night, an act of god intervened: the electricity was cut off.

The venue had been due to close forever after the gig, but the local electricity company jumped the gun:

"We were really looking forward to the show," [said Dave Milone] "People had been talking about it for the past month or so. We must have ran over a bird on the road the last time we went on tour because our karma hasn't been good lately!"

Either that, or the electricity company didn't like their chances of getting paid. We suspect the latter.

Noon update: it's a bit of a bodge

Well, if the ticket allocation process runs as smoothly as the registration process, it's going to be a hell of a computer meltdown when the things go on sale.

The address (given out on the BBC News website this morning and still being quoted on the official Glastonbury site) is currently displaying the following:

Registration for this year's Glastonbury Festival will start from 8am 1st February.

Note, this service will be open from 1st to 28th February, 24 hours a day, so take your time. There is no advantage to registering early or late.

For further information please visit the official web site at

return to

However, the address is actually working at the moment. There's absolutely no information at all about privacy on the page - no indication of who will be holding the information you provide, no link to confirm the claims that data will be destroyed or an explanation of when this will happen. If you spend some time poking around, you can find a page three clicks from the form with a brief pledge from Michael Eavis:
"I assure you that your details will not be used for any other purpose"

and a stab at trying to be reassuring:
No information collected by registration will be offered for sale or use by any third party organisation. Unsuccessful ticket applicants will have their data destroyed and all ticket holders’ registration details and photos will be destroyed within one month of the event.

But surely SeeTickets are a third party organisation? And if they're not, then doesn't this mean they have the right reserved to use the data? And shouldn't this be clearly linked to from the page where the data is being collected, if not actually on that page?

So, what are they after? The picture stipulations are somewhat taxing - think you can upload any old jpg which shows your face? Think again:
Your Photograph
What kind of photos are acceptable?

* Head and shoulders photo, must be recent, clear, in sharp focus, with your entire face visible
* Please ensure you have a neutral expression with your mouth closed and eyes open, looking directly at the camera
* Please do not wear hats or anything that covers your face and be free of glare from glasses etc
* Must be taken against a plain and light background
* Please ensure your photo is correct, as you will not be able to modify it once registered
* Image file must be less than 400kb in size and in JPEG format.
* Your image will be resized to the correct dimensions automatically, however you must crop it yourself.
* Any applications that do not include a suitable photo will not be accepted

Remember, this is to go to a pop concert wearing a juggler's hat and to stand in a muddy puddle watching the Arctic Monkeys. If they carry on escalating their sense of self-importance, you're going to need to apply for a Visa to get in to the fields by 2011.

When we did the *am update, we were rushing off to have a shower and so on, so it was only later that we realised the majesty of this piece of advice:
If you're struggling to get access, it might be best to try in a couple of days, or at a non-peak time such as during the working day, early in the morning or late at night.

So, non-peak times are during the day, early in the morning and late at night, then? Which leaves... when, precisely?

Hugh Hefner lied

Hugh told Kelly Osbourne she wouldn't appear in Playboy because "we don't airbrush that much".

However, Mariah Carey is going to appear on the cover, so presumably they must.

Disappointingly, Carey appears in the magazine wearing a swimsuit. The disappointment being, of course, that she's not wearing a boiler suit and a balaclava.

8.00am update: Glasto registration falls over

Well, the please don't swamp us plea didn't work - if you went to Glastonbury Registration at 8am, you were more than likely to get a redirect to, erm, SeeTickets front page. There was a page which explained what was happening:

Service Busy

We're sorry, but in order to provide a fast and efficient service, we have limited the number of simultaneous users of our registration system.

At the moment, we are very busy. Please note that registration is not first come first served. You can register at any point between 1st February and 28th Februrary. Everyone will have an equal chance of getting a ticket when they go on sale.

If you're struggling to get access, it might be best to try in a couple of days, or at a non-peak time such as during the working day, early in the morning or late at night.

Alternatively, you can try again at

... but shouldn't that have been the page the redirect went straight to, rather than the ticket agency homepage?

What cocaine does to your memory

In the space of one OK column, Kerry Katona manages to contradict herself something awful. First, she talks about being fined for using a mobile phone while driving:

"I was only calling Mark to see if he wanted anything from the chippy so it was a stupid move.

"I've got no one else to blame but I've learned me lesson - and got a £30 fine."

Thirty quid is a lot of Iceland Mini Sausage Rolls. But hang on, when she dealing with claims she's been texting ex-husband Brian McFadden:
"I don't even own a mobile at the moment, so how could I?"

Surely that would have been a cast-iron defence when the police stopped her using a mobile while driving?

Of course, this is a little like the time when Max Clifford stood up and told the press Kerry had never used drugs, ever shortly before Kerry told the press how she'd done a lot of cocaine after McFadden left her.

Kelly Jones leak news leaks out

Judging by the way he tells the story, when Kelly Jones was caught pissing in the streets of Camden, he was lucky to get away with an eighty quid fine:

“I said to the copper, ‘You telling me you never had a piss in the street?’ He said that the people of Camden wouldn’t appreciate me urinating on their streets. I said, ‘I know that. That’s why I live in Fulham.’ He said, ‘I’m taking you in.’ ”

“I said to the copper he should have a day off. He said, ‘You just had a haircut? I can see the hair on your face.

“I’m like, ‘Hey man, you’d make a great detective, no flies on you.’ ”

Goodness, young man, what a great wit you are. If only the Drones Club was a going concern; you'd fit right in.

"Please don't knock our system over" begs Glastonbury

The third-party agency dealing with Glastonbury tickets, Lloyd Webber's SeeTickets, has launched the site designed to allow people to provide papers - sorry, preregister for the festival.

And is it a robust system? Well, we'll find out when goes live at 8am this morning, but you get the sense they might be a little nervous about their chances:

Note, this service will be open from 1st to 28th February, 24 hours a day, so take your time. There is no advantage to registering early or late.

Please, form an orderly line... no need to push... one at time, citizens, one at a time...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Here we go, Hatherley, happily

Charlotte Hatherley - and we should point out that what we have built in the corner to her is an altar, not a full-blown temple, actually - is off out on tour to promote her single and album (I Want You To Know, February 26th and The Deep Blue, March 5th respectively). You can see her doing her thing here:

27th February - Glasgow Oran Mor
28th - Liverpool Academy
1st March - Leeds Cockpit
3rd - Birmingham Academy 2
4th - Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
5th - Oxford Zodiac
6th - Islington Academy

From LDN to USA

It's funny, isn't it? Despite supposedly being "the first natural born digital superstar", Keith Allen's daughter seems strangely reluctant to rely on MySpace to build her profile in the US.

Indeed, with appearances on Conan, Saturday Night Live and topping up an MTV-sponsored tour, it's almost as if she's relying on old media to do the trick. Funny that, isn't it?

Green plant

Headliners have been announced for the 2007 Green Man Festival, in the form of Robert Plant and Joanna Newsom. It's being touted as Newsom's only UK festival date of 2007, although that's only if you don't count All Tomorrows Parties because its indoors.

The Green Man remains just shy of £100 for three days; you'll find it in the Brecon Beacons.

Buble slams Grammys, tries desperately to take it back

"No, no, I was joking... honest..." - the desperate cry of people trying to put right what they've just got very wrong. Latest desperately hoping his mouth hasn't got him into trouble is Michael Buble.

He was asked about his grammy nomination, and his response? Less than gracious:

The Vancouver-based singer said in an interview with the Canadian Press on Tuesday "it's absolute crap" that his category is not part of the televised ceremony on Feb. 11.

Nominated for an award for best traditional vocal pop album, he had said he would rather stay in Vancouver and watch the Canucks play than attend the ceremony.

Not a good idea, of course, to slag off the academy while it's still voting. Now Buble - or, at least, his label - have issued an apology:
"I'm extremely honoured to have been nominated for a Grammy in the best traditional [pop] category.

"I did indeed make my feelings known that the category should be broadcast live during the award ceremony. This category honours the interpreters of some of the greatest songs ever written. There are millions of people like me who love and respect this music."

"I jokingly said that Tony Bennett is going to win anyway so why should I go? This is not sour grapes. I worship, love and respect Tony Bennett. He is my idol. I voted for him and he deserves to win.

"I mean no offence to the Grammy Awards, the Grammy nominees or the NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) organization."

Please, please don't be mean to me. Please.

How longs a tear take to dry

Of course, it's tremendously unfashionable to admit it, but The Beautiful South were quite a brilliant thing when they were on form. And, yes, sadly the "were" is correct, as they've called it a day after nineteen years.

It's unclear if they're ending it now to avoid the 20th anniversary celebration horrors, or if it's got more to do with their last single, The Rose of My Cologne stalling at a not-encouraging number 99.

There is, of course, a statement:

In a two-line statement, the Hull-based band [...] attributed their break-up to "musical similarities".

"The band would like to thank everyone for their 19 wonderful years in music," the statement said.

Hats off to BBC News online for rewriting, rather than quoting verbatim, the whole two lines.

Let us take this moment to remember the greatest contribution the South made to British cultural life: the moment during Christmas 1996 when numerous households put on their brand-new copies of Blue Is The Colour and turned pale as they realised that nice single Don't Marry Her, Take Me wasn't quite so nice in its album version.

Popobit: Jamie Coe

The death of Jamie Coe has been announced.

Coe was born George Colovas, and got a leg-up in the music industry when Bobby Darin spotted him playing as part of a Cavalcade of Stars show at the 1959 Michigan State Fair. Pausing only to briefly rename him - taking Jamie from one of his own songs - Darin rushed Coe off to New York and his first recording session.

Although achieving some national success - The Fool, How Low Is Low and Greenback Dollar all sold well - it was in Detroit where Coe was at his best; first fronting Jamie Coe and The Gigalos during the early 60s, and then later as manager and proprietor of Jamie's nightclub. Indeed, it was while driving back from the club which bore his name that Coe suffered his fatal heart attack.

The 71 year-old will have a private funeral, but there are plans for a public memorial service at a later date.

Former Detroit radio dj Lee Allen suggests the memorial service will be popular:

"Jamie Coe and the Gigalos were really the 'in' group, the entertainment group to see, at the old Gay Haven. He was as nice as he was talented, and he had a million friends."

Misery perpetuates misery

You can understand - almost - Olivier Martinez being a bit worried about not wanting to be seen dumping "braveKylie", although if he's really afraid about the effect of him saying "it's over", does that make his apparent strategy of trying to generate tabloid coverage suggesting he's hopping away all over the place with all and sundry in a bid to get dumped really a much more holistic approach?

Dumping your lover by text message seemed to be the lowest thing you could do, but hoping to engineer your lover into dumping you via tabloid reports would surely by lower - dumping by ambient advertising, almost.

In fact, it's likely that Ollie will try that next, paying people to sit behind Kylie on the bus whispering just-loud-enough-to-be-heard about how terrible that French bloke is.

For her part, Kylie appears not to be biting. At least, that's what this totally unnamed and unverifiable "insider" reckons:

The insider added, "She can't bear the thought of breaking up with Ollie. She has been as unswerving and driven about their relationship as she has about her career - failure is not an option. She was planning the wedding dress before he even proposed. She wants the family, but the clock is ticking. She cannot cope with the idea of starting all over again."

If I was George Constanza - and there are some mornings, believe me, when I have to remind myself I'm not - we'd be advising Ollie to try to end it by drafting in Dannii. ('I don't know the exact pronunciation, but I believe it's "menage a trois"...')

Eagles to soar again

From global warming to hell freezing over: Don Henley has let slip that there's going to be a new Eagles album is nearly ready.

It's not the first announcement of a new album - indeed, it's almost a year since Henley started to talk up the Long Road To Eden. This would be their first studio collection since 1979, when they decided they hated each other and Don Henley and Glen Frey decided knocking out lame solo efforts would be a less stessful way of raising the money to have the aluminium siding kept up to date on their respective houses.

The Long Road To Eden is meant to sound a little like the other Eagles albums, although obviously not as good.

Is everybody in? The rise in sea levels is about to begin

Naturally, only a complete curmudgeon would object to any attempt to persuade us to cut our use of greenhouse gases, so the launch of Global Cool is probably a good thing - and, hey, if takes Josh Hartnett flying in from Hollywood on a jet to persuade people to remember to switch off their bedside light before falling asleep, who are we to argue with their priorities?

Indeed, by our calculations, the extra carbon dioxide emitted during the glittering launch for the campaign could be offset simply by all of us in the UK switching off our kettles for the next seven weeks - and that's got to be worth it, right?

What does puzzle us, though, is that the campaign is being built around a poem - written by Jim Morrison and set to music by Perry Farrell. If I were looking for someone to be at the centre of a campaign asking people to avoid excess and waste, and take care of themselves and all they hold dear for the future, a dead junkie wouldn't have been my first choice.

KT Tunstall is also going to be at the London launch - and, certainly, by not playing her music at all, we've helped to save enormously on our emission levels. Perhaps we should encourage KT to help by stopping releasing records altogether? Imagine... just not putting out three albums, with the attendant manufacture, and promotional tours, and trips down to Woolworths - how much otherwise wasted carbon dioxide could be left untouched by such a small sacrifice?

Posh fights the size zero tyranny

Victoria Beckham has announced she intends to do something about all the images of "size zero" models in the papers, by hiring "curvy girls" to prance about in her new jeans range.

Presumably Victoria sees this as being like a carbon offset scheme - every time she appears in her role as spokesperson for avoiding swallowing, she'll pay for a picture of someone with a bit of flesh elsewhere to balance it out.

Daniella SarahybaThe trouble is, this is Posh's idea of "curvy" - Daniella Sarahbya, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Sarahbya is now on the Beckham payroll.

Is it just us, or is suggesting that Sarahbya is a "more normal" bodyshape just as bad for women's self-image as running pictures of ill women in fashion magazines? Indeed, isn't it just a little bit worse?

That's why Mum has gone to Scotland

Kerry Katona has finally organised that big celebrity wedding that she's been trying to get people interested in for months - she's nipping across to Gretna Green for a Valentine's Day wedding.

Yes, yes, we know. Apparently:

“Mark thought Gretna had an air of romance about it.”

This, of course, is a couple who think Iceland's party quiche range has an air of sophistication about it.

Pete Doherty's new shame: singing Gorillaz songs

A surprised and disappointed nation is waking up to video footage, obtained by The Sun, of Pete Doherty shooting up in Thailand while singing Damon Albarn songs:

[Backpacker Jess Lea], of Sydney, said she witnessed Doherty injecting coke at least three times between 1.30am and 4am. She added: “It was a bit mind-blowing. He asked us if we minded. Initially we were like, ‘OK, go for it’, but as time went on we began to get nervous.”

Jess said he shot up as the Gorillaz song Clint Eastwood played and sang along to the lyrics, which included: “I’m useless, but not for long.”

Pete also tells Lea there's not going to be a wedding:
She asked Doherty if rumours he had married Kate were true.

He replied: “No, I love her but I wouldn’t marry her if she was the last woman on Earth. She’s too paranoid.”

It takes four writers to bring us this expose - the main story is bylined
in Sydney

- although since the whole thing seems to be based on an interview with lea in Sydney, it's not clear what Victoria's role was.
Then, Dr Carol Cooper takes over, to tell us that injecting drugs is... well, bad:
As well as serious abscesses (boils), the user can expect blocked blood vessels and serious harm to vital internal organs like the liver and kidneys - and to more obvious parts of the body too, like the hands, feet, and genitals.

Cooper then asks herself - rhetorically, of course - why oh why anyone would do this to themselves. She then answers her own rhetorical question:
So, why would anyone inject cocaine? Well, they'd probably be searching for the ultimate high, and they would also have to be pretty sick already to want to throw their life away like this.

God, wouldn't you hate to be one of her patients? Imagine going in to be treated for alcoholism or injuries putting shelves up - she'd probably make you wear a dunce's cap. Or do lines.

Not that sort of lines.

Cooper does provide some links to confidential help and support - although since the paper yesterday ran pictures of people leaving a confidential drug counselling service for all the world to see, I'm not sure I'd trust them.

Finally, Simon Rothstein ("Bizarre Online editor", whatever that invovles) pops up to introduce the videolink, explaining that while it might look like they're just flinging up some footage to allow you to gawp at a celebrity doing something wrong, it's actually a public service:
IF you are even THINKING about taking drugs then you need to watch this video of Pete Doherty injecting himself with cocaine.

It is difficult to sit through but we believe it is more powerful than any government anti-drugs campaign ever will be.

That's because it graphically reveals the full, sickening, sordid reality of Pete Doherty's deadly habit - and that of anyone else addicted to drugs like heroin and cocaine.

There is nothing cool, romantic or glamorous about Doherty's addiction.

In our film he is not a rock ‘n’ roll icon and certainly no hero or inspiration.

Instead we show Pete up for what he really is - a sad junkie so desperate for a fix he'll leave his girlfriend alone to go and shoot up in a grubby hostel in front of people he has never met.

And if you believe taking hard drugs is fun or sexy then click HERE to watch the video and think again.

Somewhere, a secondary school is missing its deputy headmaster.

We cherish the idea that Doherty can't simultaneously be a rock n roll icon and an intravenous drug user, as if being a rock icon calls for a better organised private life than being the Tory chief whip.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Abdul explains rambling; can't answer the being in love with smoking cat charges

With footage of her stumbling and slurring her way through an interview with a Fox affiliate in Seattle clogging up YouTube, Paula Abdul is rushing to explain it:

Abdul has repeatedly claimed that the botched appearance had nothing to do with either drugs or alcohol, but was instead the result of an audio snafu.

"I did a big week of press all last week in New York, and on the third day I did one of those press junkets where you're in that one little room and you're looking at one camera and there are 30 cities talking into your ear," Abdul explained on the Tonight Show earlier this month. "I guess Alabama was in my ear and so was Seattle at the same time, so I'm answering questions to the wrong answers of the cities."

Hmm. Well, that might explain the first snatch of interview, where, clearly Abdul is responding to voices from somewhere other than Seattle, but it hardly explains her appearance when the interview picked up shortly afterwards. She clearly knew she was talking to Seattle, but god alone knows where she thought she was.

Here, Fox rides to her defence - why, she was joshing:
Fox issued a statement of support for Abdul, backing up her explanation of technical difficulties and commending her sense of humor in the face of adversity.

"Rather than getting angry about these difficulties, or stopping the tour, Paula forged ahead and decided to have fun with the increasingly challenging situation," the network said. "Unfortunately, because reporters and viewers were unaware of the situation, her humor was misconstrued."

Well, that must be true - it's not like Fox News would lie to us, is it?

But you can see why pretending she was drunk as Edna The Inebriate woman celebrating being locked in brewery might be a little misconstrued. Unaware that she was "acting" drunk, a casual viewer might conclude she was totally bladdered.

Presumably she was also pretending to be ripped off her tits when she signed a deal to get involved in a live-action movie based on popular children's hooker toys, Bratz. Abdul is apparently going to choose the push-up trainer bras ("design the wardrobe") and choreograph the film. Rumours that the film will therefore be called Last Tango In Playschool cannot be confirmed.

You could have it so much better with Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand - my, how tired and old they seem compared with Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen - are putting together their third album. By law, of course, this must be "difficult" and Alex Kapranos suggests it's going to show off a new style for the band:

: "I don't really want to rely on the old songs so much - the songs that we were writing when we were on tour. I'd rather see what the character of the new songs is that we're going be writing. I'd like the next album to be quite new, to be quite different sounding from everything we've ever done before."

We love that "everything", where "everything" is two albums. We're not sure, though, there's necessarily anything inherently good about sounding different. Lily Allen sounds different from the first two Franz Ferdinand albums, but that isn't a recommendation.

Wayne Coyne and the wankers

Now, we've said before we don't have a problem with erotica. What we do find soul crushing, though, is the sort of pat-women-on-the-head/butt attitude of the Playboy-Hooters type of establishment, using nudity to demean and making money off the back (or, rather, front) of the women they pretend to be celebrating.

Which is why some of the bands who've joined in a Playboy stunt to try and flog extra issues of their magazine by designing some sort of t-shirt. Oh, yes, it's for charity, but if, say, The Flaming Lips wanted to help LIFEbeat, couldn't they find a way that didn't involve cosying up to Hugh Hefner's empire? Kasabian we expect no better of, but... come on, Wayne. Playboy?

The full list of bands who are contributing a tshirt is:

The Bronx
Dean & Britta
The Flaming Lips
Home Video
Lil Jon
Monsters Are Waiting
Oh No! Oh My!
Tahiti 80
The Thievery Corporation
Trainwreck Riders
Your Vegas

We go smoot smoot

We were puzzled when we saw on MediaGuardian plans by the Guardian Media Group to rebrand SAGA radio:

Giving a network aimed at a more mature audience a name that sounds like it's been created for some sort of modish new media initiative seemed very brave indeed.

Then we realised it was a misprint, and they're just renaming them Smooth, not Smoot. As in the watered down version of Jazz FM.

Ooh, Mr. D'Arcy...

We wouldn't normally bother with the news of Colion Farrell dating Nicola Ward - Ward, those of you who have long memories and empty diaries might recall, could have been in Girls Aloud but quit the Popstars: The Rivals circus. However, we have been having an existential struggle with the article's headline:

Colin Farrell is dating a failed British pop star wannabe

How, exactly, does one "fail" as a "wannabe"? Presumably if you achieve success, then you've failed in a way, but as Ward is now languishing in obscure band Cushh she's clearly not arrived in any way. (Indeed, so obscure are Cushh, if you Google image search on them the first results are all of Colin Farrell.)

Or is she a wannabe failed British pop star? Someone who yearns to have screwed up a chance at the big time? But - having turned down the chance to be in Girls Aloud - that's something she has achieved.

It's all very puzzling. Any ideas?

On the buses: Crystal Gayle loses vehicle

Apparently, police were suspicious when they saw Christopher Daniel Gay sitting in a tour bus because he "had an unkempt appearance" - which suggests they've never seen anyone getting on or off a tour bus ever before.

It turned out, though, that Gay had no business being on the bus. Nor were his claims to be picking up NASCAR driver Tony Stewart true, either.

In fact, he'd pinched the bus off Crystal Gayle, as part of a getaway attempt having been caught in a stolen Wal-Mart wagon. (Now, that's a step-up in terms of luxury, isn't it?)

Prior to that, he'd been in a stolen pick-up and before that, riding in a prison van. It's a bit like the Honda Impossible Dream advert, only with thieving and without the getaway in a giant balloon at the end.

The police who challenged him in Gayle's tour bus had been satisfied with his response:

"He stated that he was leaving the racetrack to go to McDonald's to get a hamburger."

They did think to check, and discovered he was in a stolen bus. But not before they'd waved him on his way. It turned out he'd been lying about going to McDonalds, too.

The last we heard, he's still cruising across the US in Crystal Gayle's bus. They ought to make a movie.

Green and pleasant land

More whee, vicar? The good Reverend Al Green has just announced a UK tour. These are the dates:

Thursday 28th June - London Royal Albert Hall
Friday 29th June - Manchester MEN Arena
Monday 2nd July - Edinburgh Playhouse
Wednesday 4th July - Birmingham NIA Arena
Friday 6th July - London Hammersmith Apollo

Who will speak up for Jo O'Meara?

Jo O'Meara's steadfast refusal to apologise for her idiocy has won her few friends. Remember, of course, it only looks bad if you edit out all the hours she spent not being a racist bully and left in the times she was.

Even the BNP seemed reluctant to embrace her, suggesting instead that Big Brother contestants should be shot:

[S]pokesman Dr Phil Edwards said: 'The comments made should not be classed as racist.

'They (the housemates) have been making comments about the way people live in other countries.

'The show is trivia, people should stop getting upset and start talking about the real problems in Britain - mass immigration, about the number of foreigners here.'

He added: 'They should close the programme and shoot the lot of them.'

With most people you'd put the call to shoot the contestants down to overstatement, but the BNP have probably already earmarked the sports stadium it'll be using to work its way through its list should it ever seize power.

In the Daily Telegraph, Shyama Perera declared Jo to be worse than Danielle and Jade, possibly put together, but does offer her an excuse:

Jo, the last of the gang of three, is the one I find it hardest to excuse, though her comments about Indians being thin were clearly ironic in the face of Shilpa's shambolic attempts to cook. Looking at her, the only one of the group with a natural talent, the worry is that she's as good as it gets. I can only feel despair, not anger.

Should Jo then try "I wasn't being racist, I was being ironic" as a response? And if the remarks were an ironic jibe at Shetty's cooking rather than the entire stereotyping of a nation, why did she suggest "Indians" (rather than Shilpa) were thin because of bad cooking?

But good news for Jo this morning - she's finally found someone to stand up for her.

The bad news is that it's Sarah Ferguson, the former wife of Andrew Windsor. While "not endorsing" what Jo has said, Ferguson believes that it's time "she should be removed from the stocks":
"I didn't watch the show and I don't condone anything she has allegedly said or done.

"But I know what it's like to be vilified. She is a broken girl. All I'm saying is that she should be removed from the stocks," Sarah Ferguson said

But Ferguson was vilified because she was (widely perceived) as a freeloader, on account of her, erm, freeloading. Jo's troubles are slightly different, and brought on herself.

Fergie's intervention is all the more puzzling because it came via a phone call to GM-TV. Apparently, she'd been watching Jo sobbing on the GM-TV couch and ordered her assistant to phone up and offer some support.

O'Meara still seems to think that by being exposed as a nasty, bullying piece of work she's been somehow tricked:
"I just feel that Big Brother had a TV show to make and they have to do what they can to make good viewing and unfortunately I was a guinea pig. It's ruined my life."

No, Jo - the minutes where you sat laughing your head off as your chum Jade honked and honked at Shetty weren't "good viewing." They were bloody uncomfortable to watch - not least because, clearly, you and Lloyd felt not discomfort whatsoever. Big Brother hasn't ruined your life.

Your behaviour has. And your inability to even see why people are disgusted with you reveals more about you than the cameras in the house ever did.

Police reunited

It's been confirmed - Sting is really getting back together with his old chums The Police. Their first outing will be to do the opening number at the Grammys next month, and then they'll be fleecing fans on a tour, reports 6Music.

Of course, it's been ages since the Police last played together... a whole four years, when they did some tunes at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"Doing a Craig David"

Having failed so singularly to get anyone to take up her "Lady Mucca" nickname, Victoria Newton is now trying to introduce the phrase "doing a Craig David" into the language. Apparently it's meant to mean "being nominated for some Brits and not winning any."

Yesterday, she reported that Lily Allen was afraid of doing a Craig David; today, supposedly, Corinne Bailey Rae is worried about the same thing. Although this quote doesn't sound right, or, indeed, make any sense:

She said: “If I didn’t win any, I might be disappointed.

“I saw Craig on TV after he was nominated for six Brits and he came away empty-handed.”

Did she really say anything about Craig David or has that been slipped in to turn what would otherwise be a complete non-story ("woman admits not winning prizes would be a bit of a shame") into just about enough of a story to scrape into the paper?

I'm still Jenny from the Galactic Confederacy

Jennifer Lopez is mates with Tom Cruise and that woman, and her Dad is happy writing his cheques to the Scientologists, so it's perhaps unsurprising she doesn't see anything odd with people choosing a well-run business-cum-cult in place of a religion:

"I'm not a Scientologist, I was raised Catholic.

"But it's funny the way people come at it. To me it's so strange. These are some of the best people I've ever met in my life.

"You know, they're just lovely, genuine people.

"My dad has been a Scientologist for 20 years.

"He's the best man that I know in my life and so, it's weird to me that people want to paint it in a negative way."

Yes... fancy that, people wanting to paint negatively a cult which tries to break off contact between members and their families, which threatens search engines who deliver unflattering results, which was set up as a bet and which churns out second rate Blakes 7 plots in place of actual teachings. I wonder why.

Simon Cowell doesn't like music

The headline, we realise, is a little redundant - anyone who loved music wouldn't inflict the pain onto it in the way Cowell does - but in an interview with US magazine he's more or less admitted he sees it as a commodity rather than an art form:

he revealed he can “go weeks and weeks without listening to music for pleasure”.

Cowell, 47 — whose artists have sold 25million albums and 17 number 1 singles — added: “If you work at a fish and chip shop, it’s unlikely you’re going to eat fish and chips at night.

“The idea of sitting in an audition room for 14 hours then putting on my iPod — it’s like, ‘No! I can’t do it!’

Presumably, if you thought you were going to be battered by the sort of "music" that Cowell pushes - which is less fish and chips, more the sort of kebab sold from a rusty van parked in the street - you wouldn't want to go near an iPod at all.

The couple that rehabs together stays together. Possibly.

Taking and publishing pictures of people emerging from drug rehab clinics can get newspapers into trouble, as the Mirror found out when it showed Naomi Campbell emerging from a drug treatment centre - the row over privacy went all the way to the House of Lords, and Piers Morgan's Mirror lost.

This morning, Victoria Newton seems unfazed by this case law as she runs photos of Pete Doherty and Kate Moss leaving "the discreet Capio Nightingale Hospital". Doubtless, Newton is hoping that Moss and Doherty's drug problems are in the public domain and thus they have no right to privacy.

However, even her own story ackonwledges the pair weren't seeking publicity:

They met staff who cleared a 12-place unit at an annexe behind the main hospital building off busy Marylebone Road.

The pair were recognised by passers-by as they arrived but registered for treatment using false names.

Let's hope Kate and Pete don't have any reason for wanting to make tabloids squeal a little - after all, this case seems to answer the same criteria which led to the Lords deciding in favour of Campbell:
Baroness Hale (who decided in favour of the Campbell) further states:

"It has always been accepted that information about a person's health and treatment for ill-health is both private and confidential. This stems not only from the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship, but from the nature of the information itself."

But we're sure Newton took all that into account, right?

Monday, January 29, 2007

They're the glittering alternative to the Brits

So closed has the distance between the Brits and the NME become that last year's NME presenter, Russell Brand, is lined up to present the Brits this year. Many of the nominations, however, don't even have a twelve month period before leaping from the "alternative" to the mainstream. Indeed, because the Brits get their shortlist out first, The Kooks were lauded as best newcomers by the dickie-bow and suit brigade before the tshirt and jeans brigade even started voting.

The NME nominations have now appeared, and even Victoria Newton would be familiar with almost everyone on the lists.

Best British Band
Arctic Monkeys

And - with the possible exception of Kasabian and Muse switching - that's probably the order they'll finish up in. We've said before that we do like Muse, but their constant appearance on best of lists is a puzzle for us - there are so many other bands which turn out unsurprising but decent stuff, why don't they get a nod from time to time?

And Oasis? Oasis?
Best International Band
The Killers
My Chemical Romance
The Strokes
We Are Scientists

This is quite a mixed bag - nice to see CSS and We Are Scientists are in there; the appearance of The Strokes makes us wonder if their nomination is down to them re-using forms from a couple of years ago that hadn't been properly wiped clean. We're assuming the continued kindness to the Killers is on the basis that if, as they clearly want to, they do turn into U2, a long record of being nice to the band won't hurt when it comes to circulation-boosting interviews. And My Chemical Romance, of course, are there because the paper made the mistake of pretending to be interested in Emo and are too afraid to drop the pretence entirely.

The Killers will probably win here, unless NME really wants to upset Kerrang.
Best solo artist
Lily Allen
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly
Jarvis Cocker
Jamie T
Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke's album was a bit, well, unawardworthy, wasn't it? Although obviously not as unawardworthy as Jamie T - as the album and his Gideon Coe session shows, there's something there, but it's so far from being fully-formed this sort of nomination is a little premature. Get Cape and so on is probably a little rarified in the sort of awards show where Oasis make the shortlist, so it'll be down to Jarvis versus Allen. Online voting and the famous Allen fanbase should mean it won't go to its rightful winner.
Best new band
The Fratellis
The Horrors
The Kooks
The View

Be honest, though... if none of these bands existed, would you bother waiting for someone to invent them? Probably a good chance the Kooks' stage school lessons on 'delivering a gracious acceptance speech' will pay off.
Best live act
Arctic Monkeys
My Chemical Romance

The most interesting thing we can discern from this is that, since 4/5 of the acts are from the Best British Band category, even the NME admits that Oasis live are just plodding through the motions. But doesn't that infer that the paper is endorsing the version of Oasis we get on records these days? Surely not?
Best album
Arctic Monkeys - 'Whatever You Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'
Kasabian - 'Empire'
The Killers - 'Sam's Town'
Muse - 'Black Holes And Revelations'
My Chemical Romance - 'The Black Parade'

But then, that can't be the case, can it, as Oasis on record last year were just a best of - so if they're not making new records, and they're not that good live, what is it that Oasis have done to qualify for their position on the best album shortlist?

The Monkeys should probably pick up the best album prize here fairly comfortably. Did anyone actually listen to Sam's Town before they nominated it? Not at a dinner party, we mean.
Best Track
Dirty Pretty Things - 'Bang Bang You're Dead'
The Killers - 'When You Were Young'
Klaxons - 'Atlantis To Interzone'
Muse - 'Supermassive Black Hole'
The View - 'Wasted Little DJs'

Once one of the highpoints of any awards ceremony, best single is now best track and sits in the Napoleon Suite with other non-categories like best DVD. Let's hope Carl gets this one.
Best Video
The Horrors - 'Sheena Is A Parasite'
Kasabian - 'Empire'
The Killers - 'Bones'
OK Go - 'Here It Goes Again'
Panic! At The Disco - 'I Write Sins Not Tragedies'

Hopefully, the viewers of MTV2 will take care of this one. Ok Go will probably win because they were on the YouTubes.
Best Music DVD
Arctic Monkeys - 'Scummy Man'
Dirty Pretty Things - 'Puffing On A Coffin Nail'
Foo Fighters - 'Skin And Bones'
Maximo Park - 'Found On Film'
My Chemical Romance - 'Life On The Murder Scene'

Maximo Park... bloody hell, fancy meeting you here. I'm sorry, but I can't bring myself to care about this award. It sounds like the sort of thing they should be presenting at a Woolworths sales force conference rather than the NME awards.
Best Live Event
Carling Weekend: Reading And Leeds Festivals
Download 2006
T In The Park

The "prize for not being Glastonbury", then.
Best Film
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Casino Royale
The Departed
Little Miss Sunshine
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Borat? Presumably they're waiting for Dirty Sanchez II to come to DVD?
Best TV Show
The Mighty Boosh
Never Mind The Buzzcocks

Gonzo's repeated appearance is heartwarming, the moreso as it probably has about six viewers. Mind you, the same could be said of Lost since it disappeared off into Sky One. Extras has got that Steven Merchant out of Six Music in it, you know, so at least it's vaguely musical.
Best Radio Show
Lauren Laverne (Xfm)
Zane Lowe (Radio 1)
Chris Moyles (Radio 1)
Colin Murray (Radio 1)
Jo Whiley(Radio 1)

Seeing Chris Moyles on the shortlist is like discovering that bloke you fancy reads The Sun, isn't it? It'd be lovely to think Lauren could win this, but it'll probably go to one of the national names.
Hero Of The Year
Carl Barat
Pete Doherty
Faris Rotter
Alex Turner
Gerard Way

Villain Of The Year
Tony Blair
Johnny Borrell
George Bush
Pete Doherty
Gerard Way

Gerard Way is such a wonderful name, for all the wrong reasons - it sounds like the postal address for council offices in somewhere like Southampton, doesn't it? If you cancel out people appear on both lists, the hero has to be either Carl or Faris Rotter - so, that's Carl then - and the villain is either Tony or George. Just when they thought they'd never have to face a public vote again.
Sexiest Man
Carl Barat
Matt Bellamy
Pete Doherty
Brandon Flowers
Gerard Way

Sexiest Woman
Lily Allen
Beth Ditto
Kate Jackson
Kate Moss
Karen O

Next year, we could have a "sexiest kate" category all of its own. We reckon the blokes list contains a perfect ten, if you add them all together - although, to be fair, the minuses next to Flowers and Doherty do hobble them somewhat. And, seriously, NME: Kate Jackson would eat you for breakfast. Actually, you probably wouldn't make it as far as the kebab stand on the way home.
Best Dressed
Carl Barat
Russell Brand
Pete Doherty
Brandon Flowers
Faris Rotter

Worst Dressed
Lily Allen
Johnny Borrell
Russell Brand
Pete Doherty
Faris Rotter

Johnny Borrell will be trying to put a brave face on the poor showing of Razorlight tonight - worst dressed and villain, and both for him personally. Is there nothing he can berate his hapless band-mate-pigeons for?
Worst Album
Lily Allen - 'Alright, Still'
The Feeling - 'Twelve Stops And Home'
My Chemical Romance - 'The Black Parade'
Razorlight - 'Razorlight'
Robbie Williams - 'Rudebox'

Aha! That's it. Break out the straps of chastisement, Johnny. People would have bloody loved that album if it wasn't for the instrumentalisationalism being so lame. Bad, bad Razorlight.

Mind you, Rudebox was miles worse. Even Newton found it hard to pretend it was any good.
Worst Band
The Feeling
The Horrors
The Kooks
Panic! At The Disco

Johnny, you're clearly going to have to offload those chumps. See how they drag you down?

We're bemused as to why The Feeling are getting such a kicking, though. Yes, they probably deserve it, but... in a world with Larrakin Love, aren't our pointy-toed boots aiming in the wrong direction?
Best Venue
Brixton Academy
Glasgow Barrowlands
London KOKO
London Astoria
Manchester Apollo

What criteria should be applied here? Quality of toilets? Niceness of doorstaff?
Best Website
Not including NME.COM

Why not including Either throw your hat in, or don't. Actually... wouldn't a best music magazine category be rather fun, come to that?

Dutch decide to let hanging Madonna go hang

Despite calls from young people in the Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij, prosecutors aren't going to bring blasphemy charges against Madonna. The SGP wants to see a fundamentalist religious state in the Netherlands - it is so hardcore its website is closed on Sunday - and were upset by the sight of Madonna descending to a stage in Amsterdam strapped to a giant cross. Sure, everyone was upset, but the SGP weren't worried about their eyes, only their mortal souls.

The prosecutor sounded weary as he announced there was no case to answer:

"The prosecutor's office believes that through her show, the singer on all the evidence tried to express her frustrations about certain situations in the world .. it is not a question of contempt for God.

"Furthermore, Madonna did not discredit Christians as a group."

The SGP are allowed to appeal, should they so wish. We somehow think they will.

Roadrunner caught by wily Cohen

The deal was announced over Christmas, but it's finally been completed: Roadrunner has been sucked into Warner Music Group.

Lyor Cohen trumpeted his delight:

"Very rarely do you find a record company with such a longstanding reputation and distinct viewpoint that its very name rises to the level of true brand. Roadrunner, from its strong artist roster to its deep catalog and first-rate creative team, embodies the hard Rock aesthetic to its core. Cees [Wessels] and I shared great success when we brought Roadrunner into the IDJ family in 2001, so naturally I'm thrilled today to welcome Cees and his team to Warner Music Group. We look forward to building upon Roadrunner's 25 years of success together."

Island DefJam had been distributing RoadRunner for the last five years.

NME closes

All good things come to an end; some more abruptly than others. Four months after launch, IPC has pulled the plug on NME Ireland. [Link requires free registration]

NME Ireland editor Steve Cummins is less than thrilled:

"It wasn't selling as well as anticipated but that's not to say that sales were bad. They were up an awful lot on what they had been before the Irish edition.

"There was no talk of it being on a trial run or anything like that, although I was aware that for the first period everything is on a trial basis. I think NME intended to be in it for the long haul but IPC decided to pull it."

Although hopes for the title were high at launch, it seems there's not been much in the way of advertising support for the title.

Dublin's Club NME nights will continue; readers in the Republic will now receive the UK edition instead. If they want it.

Pretty Girls make their own grave

Slightly more upsetting than the end of Rooster: Pretty Girls Make Graves have announced they're spending Spring putting their affairs in order:

We are sorry to announce that our upcoming tour in May will be our last. Nick quit the band and the rest of us feel like it wouldn’t be right to continue on without him. The 5 of us feel very lucky to have met and worked with some truly amazing people over the years. Thank you all so much….

I, an act-AAAAAH!

Mark E Smith is apparently going to turn up playing a comic foil to Johnny Vegas - not, we understand, taking the ITV Digital Monkey role in a PG Tips ad, but in a forthcoming episode of I Deal.

Lets hope being himself doesn't put too much of a strain on him - he's going to struggle to remember his motivation, isn't he?

Throttling the Rooster

Sometimes, when a band splits, the news hits you with the full force of discovery. Other times, you shrug and express mild surprise they were still going.

Let's not cheapen the moment of Rooster's demise by speculating into which of those categories their shambling from the rock stage falls into.

They've issued a statement:

"Over Christmas we've all had time to think about Rooster, the future and ourselves! Unfortunately we have all decided that now's the time to go our separate ways. We've had the most amazing four years and have all loved every single minute of it.

"We feel privileged to have some of the most up for it, committed fans who were as much a part of the atmosphere at our shows as us and our music was! I'm sorry that its taken us so long to let you guys know but, as you can imagine, we didn't make this decision lightly. Hope to see some of you in the future, as we all look onwards and upwards!!"

So they broke up over Christmas, and only announce it within spitting distance of February? It's almost as if they'd forgotten they were still a going concern, too.

Modest plans

From tomorrow, Modest Mouse's new album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, will be up for preorder on iTunes, ready for its release some time in March.

Are we the only people who are lost about the whole "pre-order on iTunes" thing? Surely the advantage of digital music is that it's instanteous; pre-ordering a download seems like ringing ahead to warn McDonalds they might need to get some patties ready. Sure, in this instance you get some free stuff - but most of it is, well, thin fare indeed.

Presumably, with such a long time between completion and delivery, the idea is to get the cash upfront before the thing leaks for free online?

Fear of underwear lands Kiri in court

Kiri Te Kanawa has wound up facing legal action after pulling out of a planned series of concerts with John Farnham.

Apparently, TeKanawa had had a series of misgivings about the hoiking together of high culture and its country cousin, pop culture, but finally drew the line when she discovered that people sometimes throw underwear at John Farnham.

(We're not entirely sure we believe the claims that Farnham gets pants tossed in his direction - unless he's taken on a small tour of strip joints and doesn't site his piano that wisely.)

Concert promoter Leading Edge Events is suing the New Zealand-born Te Kanawa and her former manager, Nick Grace, for more than more than 600,000 Australian dollars (US$464,000; €359,662) for alleged breach of contract after the soprano pulled out of a series of concerts in 2005.

Te Kanawa, from her side, has filed a counter-suit.

Back to work

Hard at work in the studio right now: Starsailor, who are pledging they're going to bring back the ballads:

"I think we have struck a great balance between our heavier side and our more emotional downbeat side. There are some stompers certainly but also the ballads are back! I can't wait for you to hear some of these songs and we hope to be able to play them live for you in the near future."

They do sound better when they're miserable, so that's good news.

Less encouragingly, The Kooks have returned to Brighton to start pulling together a second album. You can see why, what with the first one having been so popular and everything, but... it's still not a tantalising prospect, is it?

Breakfasts in London to keep funereal tone

Capital Radio has elected to keep with its dwindling breakfast show host, Johnny Vaughan. Vaughan is excited:

"I inherited London's number one breakfast show three years ago from a living legend with 17 years under his belt.

"To keep the show in the top spot with that kind of legacy has been a tremendous challenge, particularly given the intensity of the competition. The market has changed and so have we; I've got a great team around me; and the show's going from strength to strength."

Vaughan is right in a few respects - he did inherit London's number one breakfast show. Now, though, he's presenting the number two commercial breakfast show, which suggests keeping it the number one show was a tremendous challenge. One which Vaughan wasn't up to.

King out of hospital

Some good news in what's been rather a gloomy month: BB King has been released from hospital. The 81 year-old had been suffering from flu; he's now said to be back to his old self and planning to pick up his live schedule.

Robbie Williams is not running about in the fresh air

You'll recall that Robbie Williams built a giant football pitch in the back garden of his house in LA. If you build it, he figured, they will come.

But they didn't come. The expected procession of top-flight footballers coming for a kickabout never showed up.

Now, Robbie thinks he's worked out - they're shy, Mary Ellen, they're shy. So he's building an indoor pitch so Beckham, Pele, Ronald Dino, Roy Race and that kid out of Striker can come and play with him, without fear of being spied on by giant helicopters swooping out the sky.

But what about the x-ray robots, Robbie? Maybe David Beckham won't leave Tom Cruise until you can promise protection from x-ray robots.

Victoria Newton presents 'You are what you eat'

This morning's Bizarre leads - yes, leads with a clanging condemnation of Britney Spears:

Brit's indulging in a Toxic diet

BRITNEY SPEARS finally started to Do Somethin’ about her image - then ruined it with...

Yes? What?
...a burger.

Bloody hell - not a beefburger? A single hamburger, you say?

We're sure McDonalds will be chuckling away at one of the media organisations they prop up with their advertising spend suggesting that having a single takeaway is on a par with eating nuclear waste (or those e coli drenched Taco Bells.)

Allen puts some pressure on Brits organisers

It's up to you if you want to take Keith Allen's daughter at face value, and believe that she really is so afraid she'll leave the Brits empty-handed that she's planning on not turning up, or if you'd rather see this as a bargaining tool as the votes are being cast. Some sort of insider tells the Sun:

“Lily is seriously considering staying away from the Brits.

“She has a lot of commitments abroad so would have to make a special effort to fly in just for the day to go to the event.

“She was thrilled to be nominated in so many categories but many experts think she could lose out in all four.

“As soon as she was replaced by Amy Winehouse on the roster of performers, people started saying, ‘There’s no way she will win Best Female now — it will go to Winehouse.’

“The Best Album category is so tough this year and she’s got little chance of beating the ARCTIC MONKEYS.

“Best single is likely to go to LEONA LEWIS or TAKE THAT, and THE KOOKS are favourite to pick up the Newcomer award.”

The thing is, though, that if Allen's fear is of being sent away with no prizes, not turning up won't make that not happen - she'll either win a prize or not, and it'll still be just as shaming if she can't convert one nomination into a prize.

Especially as the ads pushing her Alright, Still have popped up on the TV with large splashes boasting of the nominations. It's a little late now to try and keep a "couldn't care less" discrete distance

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Bowie revisits the 80s

Some might suggest that the 1980s weren't David Bowie's greatest period - especially if you throw Absolute Beginners into the pot - but it's worth remembering that when he found his form in the decade, he really found his form. Ashes to Ashes, Blue Jean, China Girl. Yes, even China Girl. Admittedly, he also spent the decade bouncing through pisspoor collaborations - with Queen, with Mick Jagger (for the starving millions) and with Pat Metheney.

This is all to the good, as he's about to release a compilation of his best from 1980 - 1987. The cut off point, you'll note, is just ahead of his Tin Machine era. We're not sure if he'll find space for the dodgy duets.

Bowie revisits the 80s

Some might suggest that the 1980s weren't David Bowie's greatest period - especially if you throw Absolute Beginners into the pot - but it's worth remembering that when he found his form in the decade, he really found his form. Ashes to Ashes, Blue Jean, China Girl. Yes, even China Girl. Admittedly, he also spent the decade bouncing through pisspoor collaborations - with Queen, with Mick Jagger (for the starving millions) and with Pat Metheney.

This is all to the good, as he's about to release a compilation of his best from 1980 - 1987. The cut off point, you'll note, is just ahead of his Tin Machine era. We're not sure if he'll find space for the dodgy duets.

The View bloody Albarn's nose

There's nothing wrong with The Good, The Bad and The Queen - after all, we like Blur b-sides as much as the next man - but we doubt that anyone needs an album of their stuff. Even so, this week's album chart, which has seen TGTB&TQ beaten to number one by Travelodge vandals The View, still comes as something of a shock.

The View, of course, are thrilled:

"I can't believe it's gone to Number One, that's absolutely amazing. Its the best feeling in the world because I never expected it to go in that high not even after the single did so well last week."

We bet Damon Albarn wasn't expecting it, either.

You, YouTube and the music: Loudon Wainwright III

A spot of Loudon Wainwright gathered from around YouTube:

Not John at RockPalast, 1984
The Morgue

We were a bit disappointed by the paucity of what we found there - nothing from his weekly slot on Jasper Carrot's programme, for example.

Regular visitors might notice...

We've had a bit of a shift around and are wearing a bright new look - out goes the all-blue theme, in comes something slightly crisper. We think this is the fifth redesign we've done - including the slightly icky brown-and-cream version which didn't last very long. We'd love to hear what you think, especially if there's bits you find that aren't working.

Does the world need a new Mariah Carey?

We're not entirely sure there's much mileage in plans to turn Leona Lewis into the New Mariah, but at least by selling their home in the UK and moving to the US, her parents will be able to take advantage of the exchange rate.

As if having Simon Cowell on your back all the time as you tramp around the Boise cabaret circuit wasn't enough, then, Lewis is going to have to cope with her parents "helping". They spent eighty thousand putting her through stage school, so it's not like they're looking for a return or anything:

"Leona is number one and we are a team. We've supported her all her life. We're planning to go out to America to keep an eye on things."

It must be great for them to see Leona living out their dreams... sorry, her dreams, in such a way.

Jo O'Meara: naked defiance and the victim mentality

Jo: I'm not sorryIn a way, you could almost be impressed with Jo O'Meara - rather than take Jade Goody's journey of attempted rehabilitation through stunts (trips to India, crying on TV), O'Meara has decided to adopt what my aunts would identify as a "hard-faced madam" approach. Today's Sunday Mirror bellows:

I'm Not Sorry And I'd Do It Again

It takes a special talent to make things worse than they were before, but Jo's going for it. The comment that "Indians are thin because they don't cook their food properly", for example? Jo thinks British Asians should be thanking her for the compliment:

But Jo yesterday refused to take back those words and said: "If anything, I look at that as a compliment. It's nice to be thin. It's what everybody wants to be."

O'Meara still tries to pretend that Goody honking "You're a liar and a fake" over and over for ten minutes while she and Danielle sat there giggling was "an argument" rather than an attack - and, despite having turned to her co-tormenters and saying "That's made me feel better, I must say that's made my day" as Shilpa withdrew, O'Meara claims she was "nervous":

I was aware Jade was being aggressive, but thought I would sit there and hide away. Afterwards when the bickering continued, I did think it had got to stop. I was bullied for years at school over my love of music.

"I had verbal and mental abuse - so I am dead against it. I now think BB created that tension and conflict on purpose to make the show interesting."

Leaving aside for a moment the "duh" of that last sentence, in what way is sitting there laughing your head off while someone is bullied being "dead against it". You might have been bullied at school, Jo - which, yes, is very sad, but was years ago. It doesn't give you a "get out of jail" card when, as an adult, you turn into a bully.

But is Jo racist? She falls back on that old fall back, "I can't be racist because I've got black friends":

Does it mean I hate Bradley from S Club because he's black? Him and me were incredibly close. We were like brother and sister, we still are and I know he will back me up 100 per cent. I was probably closer to him than anyone else in the band.

And, of course, she trots out her "Indian family", too:

"I have been accused of mocking Shilpa's accent, but that's not racist. My cousin married an Indian and I make fun of their kids's voices. Then they make funny Cockney noises back at me. It's just a big game."

Trouble is, Dilip Drayan, her cousin's husband, isn't impressed with Jo, either:

"Jo should never have said that Indians are skinny because they don't cook their food properly. That was a racist comment. It was wrong. She needs to take it back and apologise.

"The way she behaved was disappointing and sadly showed her true colours."

"I'm not going to stick up for Jo. She needs a ticking-off for some of the things she said.

"Jo has been bullied at school. It was so serious she took an overdose of pills and moved to a new school. So she knows what it is like. The situation in the house was bullying and Jo was a part of that. Jo is a vulnerable person. She was being influenced by powerful personalities like Jade Goody. But everyone is responsible for their own actions."

He added: "I'm disappointed in some of her characteristics including how much she was smoking and swearing."

Dilip crystallises the behaviour in a way many commentators have failed to - it's not that Jo, Danielle and Jade were necessarily attacking Shilpa because she was Indian; they were bullying her because they didn't like her, and using her race as a tool.

Back to Jo, though - who is, of course, the victim in all this: She's even complaining that Davina McCall was "harder" on her than Jade. Maybe - although it's hardly like the interview was a Paxmanesque grilling. Indeed, by focusing purely on race and ignoring the bullying altogether, McCall handed O'Meara an opportunity to dance through an "I'm not racist" defence. Jo was allowed to focus on the room for argument (just how racist she is) rather than having to engage with inarguable (that she's a bully who sat by watching her mate attack someone.)

This week just gone

As ever, we bring news of the last seven days on No Rock and Roll Fun.

The ten most read individual stories have been:

1. Jo O'Meara's comeback crumbles as she bullies on CBB
2. Does close textual analysis prove K T Tunstall is gay?
3. Heather Mills nudity continues to drive people to fire up Google
4. McFly should try releasing a book of themselves in their boxers
5. It's not actually Lily Allen naked, you know
6. Fall Out Boy sobs over artistic vision shattered as album leaks online
7. We wish we'd never heard of Heather Mills McCartney naked
8. Brandy "to blame" in crash which killed
9. Jo O'Meara's fans rally round in her hour of need
10. The parody site which hasn't quite got a grip on parody lists "gay bands"

The big musical event of the week was Midem, where at least a few music industry execs started to realise that digital music isn't going away. Meanwhile, Bono cynically offered Tony Blair another photo op; Sham 69 split into two separate bands, while The Jesus and Mary Chain and James settled their differences.

You can read the whole week on one page or
cruise the week before in a single post.

and we gleefully pushed these items in your direction...

Field Music offer sunshine and thought in a single package

The Cooper Temple Clause return, ready for action

... while John Cooper Clarke's 1982 collection gets a second life

Architecture in Helsinki get a bunch of remixers in

Joni Mitchell remastered, repacked, rereleased

The Dickies, of course, truly belong on coloured 7 inch vinyl rather than this best of CD

Bates, Christie: The Go-Between on DVD