Saturday, March 24, 2007

Allen tries to salvage American career

Lily Allen is rushing to try and fix the screw-up over telling Americans they're backward. Apparently, you know, she never meant that at all:

“Apparantly I said that all Americans are backwards in some interview. While some Americans probably ARE (every country has a backwards contingent ), that would be a sweeping generalisation and also not true.

“I think there are some very clever Americans . I don't actually remember saying these things , but they were said in Texas which is where the SXSW festival was, therefore I must have been very drunk and showing off. Soz.”

Oh, well, if you were drunk, that makes all the difference. Presumably that also explains the more teeth-grating parts of your album, too.

What Keith Allen's daughter forgets, though, is that she's trying to correct something without checking what she said first. Allen actually said Texans were backward, with Arkansas and Wyoming residents being even more backward than that. Then she said she had nothing in common with Americans at all. Perhaps she better claim she was on drucks, too.

Mika tries to make his 'don't ask, don't tell' seem more exciting

Has Mika really had death threats over his tiresome refusal to say if he's gay or not?:

“I get hate messages all the time, even a death threat. It was over whether I am gay or not. (A fan) wasn't happy that I won't talk about my personal life like that."

The problem, Mika, is not that you won't talk about it - it's more the way you constantly bang on about how you won't talk about it. A man's sexuality is his own business, but this constant coy "oh, a gentlemen won't reveal his sexuality, but look at this song I've written about gay men... could that be a hint?" stuff is grating. If someone has sent a death threat - a proper one - maybe if you stop telling everyone how you won't be honest all the bloody time might stop emails like that coming.


The plans for a Diddy and Snoop tour of the UK have run into trouble, after the Home Office remembered all that trouble Snoop had ("caused") at Heathrow last year and have announced they won't let him in to the UK again. The Mirror has it that John Reid personally issued the ban, but if he really is getting involved in day-to-day details like this, it's no wonder his department is falling to pieces:

A Home Office source said: "This is not the first time that Snoop Dogg has been refused entry to the UK.

"He has a history of serious criminal activity in the US and is facing charges of possessing a firearm and having cocaine on his person. The Home Office does not treat people differently because they're celebrities.

"If Snoop Dogg does turn up at a UK port he will be turned away."

Despite him having smashed up a British airport and leaving under something of a crowd, organisers of the Diddy-Dogg tour are surprised that Snoop might be less than welcome at UK airports:
"P Diddy and Snoop cannot believe it. They've been all over Europe playing to over 100,000 fans without incident.

"They sincerely hope the government will reconsider. Snoop has said that if the UK dates go ahead he'll make donation to an anti-violence charity."

We love the wide-eyed, blinking innocence of this - "he's not attacked anyone at any of his own gigs, what would be the problem?"

Robbie Williams is not a bad rapper

Robbie Williams has admitted he's a rubbish rapper. Not, though, that his attempts at rapping were poor - as it seems, erm, that wasn't rapping. He's like cough Mike Skinner:

"Well this is the thing. I absolutely, positively know that I'm not a rapper.

"I'm not. I'd love to be, but I'm me, I come from Take That! I believe everyone is saying 'Robbie can't rap.' Yeah, I can't, but I'm not rapping.

"For me, it's about having more bars in a song and therefore more words, more pictures painted. Mike Skinner's not a rapper."

So, if we've got this straight, Williams can't be accused of being a pisspoor rapper because he's not trying to rap, he's just being a pisspoor embarrassment at something else entirely.

Mike Skinner might not be a rapper, Robbie, but he's good at what he does.

Church tells Scooch to shoo

Charlotte Church should know toe-curling embarrassment when she sees it (watching the playback on her chat show should give her enough pointers) so when she says Scooch are bad, we should all sit up and listen:

[Charlotte] said their performance on BBC's Making Your Mind Up "made every pore in my body itch with embarrassment".

On her website, 21, pregnant Charlotte, said the show was "a load of absolute shit" and Cyndi should have gone through to Helsinki.

Well, you can't say fairer than that, can you?

Great news for straight men

After all her troubles of the recent couple of years (like marrying a man and discovering she only wanted him for his money, or whatever), Heather Mills is off men. Says The Sun, anyway:

But Heather — dubbed Lady Mucca over her porn past — told a friend: “I’m off men and won’t get involved with anyone for a very long time.”

We love that "dubbed Lady Mucca", as if it wasn't an invention of the paper, and one adopted by nobody besides The Sun.

Kapranos versus the scalpers

Alex Kapranos has joined the growing call for something to be done about people reselling gig tickets at higher-than-face-value prices:

Fuming Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos branded touts “capitalist bastards” and urged fans to “smack” them.

The Take Me Out rocker blasted: “These people are essentially a group of organised criminals. They’re destroying what should be a really pleasurable and affordable experience for ordinary people.”

Organised criminals, except for, erm, not breaking any laws. And while it's true that professional touts are capitalist bastards, until Kapranos starts flogging his own tickets and stops selling them through the booking-fee gouging "agencies", he might want to rail a little less at people exploiting others for profit.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Townshend: Police aren't Classic

Pete Townshend has been grumbling about the suggestion that the Police are part of the pop pantheon:

“The Police are punk. They’re a punk band,” Townshend reportedly said. “They’re not classic rock. You know, you’ve got the Stones and the Who. Classic rock — finished. It’s all over after that … This is just music. It’s not clasic [sic] anything.”

We can see what he's saying - although a pantheon which consists of two is a little small - but the Police punk? Maybe you could argue that their worthwhile work was New Wave, but... punk?

To be honest, since we've always assumed anything that gets called "classic rock" is a shorthand for "overblown, over-rated and over-stayed", we'd say that the Police are spot on Classic Rock.

Working out the Kinks upsets the Kinks

We can understand that having a shrine in your honour taken down and broken up must be upsetting, but since the pub which housed the Kinks corner has gone out of business, it's a bit rich of Ray Davies to complain that the new owners aren't having a corner given over to paying tribute to him:

Ray Davies said he was "genuinely disappointed" at the move, while Dave Davies asked "Have they lost their dignity, sense of local history and English heritage?".

Ray has gone as far as to send an open pleading letter to pub boss Caroline Jones urging her to retain their legacy there.

It's a shame, really, and we do cringe everytime we see the guts of a nice pub being ripped out in the name of upgrade, but to suggest a publican has "lost their dignity" because they've thrown pictures of you in a skip might be slightly overstating the case, Dave.

BBC smiles through its tears

You can almost hear the teeth grinding down Marylebone High Street as Danny Baker launches a non-BBC podcast. The BBC is aware of his work, says MediaGuardian's organgrinder:

Some controversy about Danny Baker's podcast on, which seems an almost exact version of his BBC London radio show but without any BBBC endorsement. The BBC's podcasts are all strictly run as a trail at the moment with only selected shows included, presumably so that the corporation can't be accused on treading on any corporating podcasting toes. Baker seems to have his own ideas, though.

The BBC said in a statement: "We are aware of Danny Baker's podcast on and are confident that it doesn't use any content from his BBC London 94.9 show.

"As a freelance broadcaster Danny has a range of broadcast and publishing commitments besides his BBC London 94.9 show which we continue to review with Danny to ensure they don't contravene BBC guidelines."

To be honest, Danny Baker is still using large chunks of content from his old Radio 5 show, never mind from Radio London, and none the worse for that.

What might be galling for the BBC, though, is that Baker's podcast isn't merely a bunch of bits cut from the programmes, but is all new material. And it features music, too, unlike many of the BBC podcasts which function like those tapes you used to make of the Breakfast Show chart countdown, but in reverse: "the song is starting, press pause, quick..."

Of course, the BBC should snap up the idea and push ahead of it - but in an age when the BBC Trust seems desperate to think about things so long and hard they might go away, it's not going to happen. If the Corporation doesn't come to an agreement with labels about allowing people to download programmes with music soon, it's not only going to lose its audience, but much of the talent is going to head off and become micropublishers.

Maconie is the new Lard

Big news from Radio 2: Next month there's going to be a late-night reshuffle, with Mark Radcliffe moving forward from 10.30 to 8pm. And, in a bemusing move, being teamed-up with Stuart Maconie, presumably in case the extra two hours a week proves a little much for him.

MediaGuardian suggest this is a "move into primetime" - although being set up to compete with evening telly makes the eight o'clock slot seem less Prime time; indeed, defending the knock-on move of specialist musical shows into the later slots, Radio 2 points out the audience is larger at 10.30 than at 8.00.

Janice Long is a loser in the new schedule, with her midnight slot turning into a midnight-thirty slot (give it a few years, and she'll be back on in daylight.)

Steve Lamacq is also getting a regular slot on the station - we think this will make him the first person to have a regular show on Radio 2 and Radio 1 at the same time, and certainly the first person to be on 6,2 and 1.

Pornography on the streets of London

We're not sure that three dates in London quite constitutes a UK tour, but we're not going to complain about The New Pornographers playing dates. These dates, to be precise:

18 June - Bar Acadamy
19 - Borderline
20 - 93 Feet East

This is to be a Neko Case-less visit, we should say, but none the worse for that.

Popworld in your pocket

Remember the second version of Raw, when EMAP attempted to launch a fortnightly magazine that sat between Smash Hits and Select? Nope, neither does anyone at Channel 4, who have somewhat bravely decided the time is right for a weekly music glossy based on its Popworld brand.

The cover stars on the dummy issue are Maximo Park, and there is a target audience intended:

[Popworld] will focus on new music and cater for a wide range of tastes including emo, R&B, indie pop and rock.

Now, while we would buy a magazine that loved the Sugababes and the Wedding Present equally, unless we wanted to lose large sums of money we wouldn't try to selling one, having seen so many attempts to do similar quickly dumped into the crisp box with "OLD MAGAZINES 25P EACH" written on in it biro.

Still, the publishers are quite upbeat:
"This is the most finely honed magazine we have ever launched - and I believe we will surprise and delight the market," said Darren Styles, the Brooklands Group chief executive.

If a pop-and-altrock magazine is the most finely honed title they've produced, it makes you wonder what else they're producing - Golfing Goths? Pigkeeping Express incorporating Church Weekly? Allergy Alert and Wordsearch?

A surprising number of the staff - and, apparently, the design - have been lifted from Zoo and/or Nuts. If that suggests a magazine which makes Pink For Girls look like The Economist, that's intentional:
"It's affordable, accessible, easily consumed and as portable as the medium it represents - it's all about sharing great music, at gigs or with your mates, and getting the inside line," Mr Styles added.

Lets hope nobody shows Mr Styles the internet, which already does that for less money. Still, it explains why the NME is giving away stickers - stickers - this week.

Nick Hodgson wants you to unplug

Doing his bit for the environment, Kaiser Chiefs drummer Nick Hodgson wants us to unplug our mobile phones before we go to bed:

"When you plug in your phone at night you're asleep for 8 hours. Charging up your phone takes what? An hour and a half tops. So that's 6.5 hours of electricity wasted".

Of course, Nick could have helped saving an awful lot more wasted energy if he'd stood up at the first session for the new Kaisers album and said "you know what? We probably needn't bother with this, as all anyone wants to hear is I Predict A Riot..."

Madonna's pants fail to set world on fire

There was a small queue of people eager to see what Madonna's H&M range would be like, when it went on sale in New York. The cheap bits sold out quickly - most of which has already appeared on Ebay - but the actual fashionistas were not that impressed:

"I was expecting the clothes to be a little more fashion-forward I have to say, because she is such an icon and I heard it was based on her own closet," said Daniela Maron, a fashion publicist combing the Fifth Ave. store's racks[...]

"A lot of people came in, but as for buying, it's been half-and-half," said Juan Tinch, an H&M sales associate. "There have been a lot of purchases but also a lot of returns."

Meanwhile, Madge is offering to help fashion ruin pop as much as pop has ruined fashion, by offering to help Stella McCartney make a record:
“I asked her for fashion advice and I told her, if she ever wanted to do a record, I’d gladly help out.”

To be honest, Stella, looking at how Madonna's help made Nick Kamen's pop career go, you'd be best off thanking her and politely withdrawing.

Madonna's pants fail to set world on fire

There was a small queue of people eager to see what Madonna's H&M range would be like, when it went on sale in New York. The cheap bits sold out quickly - most of which has already appeared on Ebay - but the actual fashionistas were not that impressed:

"I was expecting the clothes to be a little more fashion-forward I have to say, because she is such an icon and I heard it was based on her own closet," said Daniela Maron, a fashion publicist combing the Fifth Ave. store's racks[...]

"A lot of people came in, but as for buying, it's been half-and-half," said Juan Tinch, an H&M sales associate. "There have been a lot of purchases but also a lot of returns."

Meanwhile, Madge is offering to help fashion ruin pop as much as pop has ruined fashion, by offering to help Stella McCartney make a record:
“I asked her for fashion advice and I told her, if she ever wanted to do a record, I’d gladly help out.”

To be honest, Stella, looking at how Madonna's help made Nick Kamen's pop career go, you'd be best off thanking her and politely withdrawing.

Pop star Justin Timberlake doesn't like being pop

There's nothing wrong with pop. Indeed, pop music done properly is a wonderful thing. It's not good enough for Justin Timberlake, though, who spends most of Details interview this month moaning about being thought of as pop:

“All of a sudden you’re Mr. ‘SexyBack,’ and before that you were Mr. ‘Cry Me a River.’ I knew I had to take a break when they said the new King of Pop."
“I tried so hard to be an R&B artist [on his first solo album, Justified] and it was the pop album of the year, and I was like, ‘Fuck. That’s the last thing I wanted,’” Timberlake says, taking a swig from another can of cream soda. “But I was like, ‘So everyone considers me a pop artist? Well, fuck it. I’m going to do whatever I want to do.’”

What's most amusing is that Timberlake seems to value "R&B" above pop, despite "pop" at least being an honest label - unlike R&B, which despite now denoting a musical style with less integrity than pop still tries to pretend its in some way connected with the old R&B, like the way the Rocky Race led monthly Roy of the Rovers tried to claim the lustre and crown of his father's weekly comic.

Timberlake, though, is a man with an awful, awful lot of bitterness:
The internal battle is most evident when he talks about this year’s Grammys. Weeks in advance of the telecast, he was asked to be the star of “My Grammy Moment,” a cheesy, American Idol rip-off bit in which the winner of a contest got to perform onstage with him. Before the idea was fleshed out, Timberlake agreed. As the potentially disastrous plan hurtled to fruition, he ached to back out. He couldn’t. “Because I’m the nice guy who follows through on the things he commits to,” he says, a mock smile locked into place. “But I don’t know if I’ll be going through that sort of thing again. I feel like the Grammys used me for ratings. And look at it—they were up 18 percent.”

Yes, Justin. The 18 per-cent rise in the Grammys audience was all down to you, and nothing to do with this year's programme not going head-to-head with American Idol. And if you were really so uncomfortable with the cheesey contest bit, why didn't you pull out? Really because you'd agreed "before the idea was fleshed out"? You'd given a firm commitment before you'd been told what you were doing and yet still felt obliged to go ahead? Sorry, Justin, if that's true, you're weak, not "nice" and deserve everything you got. A amn who signs on for something not knowing what he's doing is an fool; a man who follows through on a foolish deal is even more of a fool.

Houston, Lily Allen might have a problem

It's not exactly pissing on the Alamo, but Lily Allen might find her battle in America has just got a little more uphill:

"It's all very weird here. They're all backward in Texas but not as much as they are in Arkansas and Wyoming where I'm going soon.

I can't really speak for the American population - I'm so far away from anything they are and stand for."

We're no experts, but if we were trying to sell ourselves to a nation, insulting three of the fifty States and then insisting that you're "far away" from everything everybody in that nation stands for might be a bit of a bad idea. Mind you, nearly all of the Americans we know are witty, intelligent, sophisticated and know the difference between a good song and an overpromoted novelty hit when they hear it, so maybe Allen is right about being far away from what they are.

Scooby snacks

Last night, we reeling from Bill Buckley's mighty-long-way-down from co-host of That's Life to turning up as a wannabe "house dresser" on Anne Maurice's Apprentice-meets-property show Interior Rivalry. Why did they call it that? It's not like the contestants are fighting internal problems, like John Hurt in Alien. If it had been up to us, we'd have called it Interior Designates. (If you're wondering, house dresser is one of those non-jobs which is, effectively, being a drive-by designer.)

This meant we missed the jaw-dropping reality TV moment of the week, but thankfully Sweeping The Nation was alert:

[W]e found a piece about BBC2's latest ignored reality series The Underdog Show which stopped us dead in our tracks.

Huey from the Fun Lovin' Criminals is in it.

As Simon T points out, that's quite a fall from grace from being part of a band that was once so cool we imagine Tyler Brulee would buy their records to pottering about on BBC2 in the middle of a programme which can only have been pitched as Barbara Woodhouse meets Celebrity Fit Club.

We can't help but wonder if this is some sort of revenge from the BBC for Huey's "Michael Jackson fucks children" outburst on Liquid News a few years back.

Bravery look back, go forward

We're not entirely convinced by the new Bravery single, Time Won't Let Me Go. It's alright, and includes a metatextual reference to Bryan Adams, but it feels a little ploddy, a little ordinary. In fact, it sounds a little mid-life-crisisy. But don't take our word for it, listen to the thing. [WindowsMedia, I'm afraid]


The Mirror's gossip-hole continues its bemusing habit of reporting everything Jamelia does or says as if she was famous. Today, she's decided she's an actor:

"I would love to be the next Bond girl. I've looked at three scripts and I really liked one. I'm going to Hollywood in May."

By running those three sentences together, you could almost get the impression that Jamelia is off to Hollywood to pick a role in a Bond movie. But since they're shot in England, and there's no script for the next movie yet, it's clear she's trying to combine a desire for a decent role with looking parts in more lowly productions. Which may or may not be American.

We suspect the roles she's considering are more "Churchill, could you save me money on my home insurance" than "No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die."

Will Willis? He will

Spring, when a young man's fancy turns to the same things he's fancied all winter, but feels he might get away with. Congratulations to Matt Willis and Emma Griffiths, who have got engaged.

Put another dime in the Baywatch baby

Some confusion over at The Sun, where Gary O'Shea seems to think that having a relationship is a bad thing that a person might be accused of:

SEXY CARMEN ELECTRA has been accused of sharing a lesbian love affair with rocker JOAN JETT.

O'Shea fails to explain exactly who is making this "accusation" - or, indeed, why it's an accusation at all. Apparently a "source" says it saw Electra and Jett "kissing and touching", and it's possible the pair might go together to the Dinah Shaw weekend.

Got anything else, Gary?
Joan has refused to discuss her sexuality. But her A.C.D.C. track contains the lyric: “She got some other lover as well as me.”

We love the idea that O'Shea was combing the lyrics of a song called AC/DC to see if they might contain a hint of bisexuality. (Hint, Gary: the name of the song.)

Sharon Osbourne is "naive", says sort-of-contrite Cowell

This series of the X-Factor is far more entertaining than any of the previous ones - of course, when it actually gets on screen it'll be as dull as ever, but for now, watching the judge-honkers turning on each other like hungry scorpions is great fun. Simon Cowell has told The Sun he's, you know, sorry about how he sacked Louis:

“I should have called Louis — he has every reason to believe he’s been stabbed in the back.”

Yes, Cowell admitting he was wrong. Very unusual. But it turns out this contrition is merely designed to allow him to have a pop at Sharon Osbourne instead. Having made an apology with all the conviction of a David Cameron policy, he gets down to the proper business, squaring up to Sharon Osbourne's claims he was a coward:
“Sharon hasn’t called me and she doesn’t know the facts. Unless you know the facts then she shouldn’t say what she said.

“I was surprised when I saw her comments. Only a very small part of the story is coming out. I would suggest Sharon actually gets in touch with me. Knowing a tenth of what happened and not speaking to me is naive.”

We'd have thought that a tenth of a clue was more than Sharon usually bases her performances on.

Cowell then continues to protest that he'd have loved to have carried on Louis and that Fearne Cornton or Kate Thotton or whatever she is, but ITV wanted her out:
“Everyone thinks it was my decision. But that’s disrespectful to the producers. We are the production partner — the show is owned by ITV."

Really? Perhaps someone should tell the official ITV website that, as it seems to believe the opposite:
The X Factor is a trademark of FremantleMedia Ltd. and Simco Ltd. Based on the television programme 'The X Factor' devised and owned by Simco and produced by talkbackTHAMES (part of the FremantleMedia group) and SyCo TV.

Simco and Syco, of course, are Simon Cowell's companies. If Cowell had wanted to keep Louis, he wasn't without the clout - after all, it's not like ITV would have closed down its last remaining Saturday hit rather than give Cowell his way, is it?

McCartney follows in Charles' footsteps

Paul McCartney's transition from rock and roll outsider to establishment full-timer is now nearly complete: He's dating Sabrina Guinness, who used to go out with Charles Windsor. (Years and years ago - it's not like the man who would be King was seeing loads of women behind Diana's back. He's not an ogre.)

As Guinness' name implies, she's from the family that made a fortune selling beer - oh, how the Queen Mum must have been crushed when Charles stopped dating her. The official line from McCartney is that everyone is just good friends, apparently.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Britney: Over-court-protected

Don't ask about the giant, imaginary rabbit. Britney Spears - or, rather, her people - have taken a mysterious injunction in the London High Court to stop a John Doe from leaking stories about her time in rehab:

"We can confirm that an emergency injunction was obtained in London's High Court this afternoon as ordered by Mr Justice Gray on behalf of Britney Spears to restrain the person or persons, known as 'John Doe', who has/have been leaking information about Ms Spears' time in a rehabilitation clinic from further disclosures invading her privacy.

"This injunction will now be served on the UK media so as to assist them in not making the mistake of carrying such further disclosures if approached by this person or his/her agent.

"Ms Spears reserves the right and intends to challenge false allegations which have already been published about her time in rehabilitation and which are the subject of ongoing legal complaint."

Interesting - the question is, of course, if they don't say who John Doe is, how is a paper to know if they've been approached by the person in question? While the detail - whether Britney went on a twelve-step programme, or spent the whole time dressed in white chanting or whatever - is meaningless, this blanket ban seems to run against justice. If Spears can do this, what would be to stop, say, Downing Street getting a similar injunction against a Joe Public from leaking cabinet papers, without saying who he is or what the leak is about? It goes a little against the public interest.

Spears is also seeking to make papers give up their contacts, too:
"Applications are pending in London's High Court to seek an order requiring certain UK media organisations to disclose their respective sources so that John Doe can be identified and action can be taken against him/her."

Let's hope the High Court hurls this one as hard as it can - just because Britney might have a valid complaint as to the invasion of her privacy doesn't mean we should expect the court to start eating away at press freedom. Sure, today it might be about what medication Spears takes - tomorrow, the request could be coming from a repressive regime trying to find who bubbled it. Is Britney Spear's newly-discovered love of privacy really more important than all our freedom?

Osbourne's non-returning show "not axed"

Remember Sharon Osbourne's awful UK chatshow? Following the model set by her awful US chatshow, it looks like its gone after one limping series, although ITV seem reluctant to admit that it's axed the programme:

An ITV1 spokeswoman said: "We have a number of programmes in the pipeline and we experiment with a variety of programmes in the competitive 5pm slot but Sharon Osbourne hasn't been axed."

... it's just not coming back. If it's not actually been axed, it's been driven up to the top of the motorway and left on the hard shoulder.

Meanwhile, TOTP2 hasn't been axed, either, but has downsized to the point where it's only going to be on six times a year to mark "special occasions." Such as the rare outing for old Top of the Pops footage, we presume.

Jools Holland is going to have an extra six programmes a year, though. The BBC says this is to see just how much boogie-woogie piano a nation can stand without going insane.

SoundExchange: we're fair

The struggle to get US net radio royalties reduced continues, with collection agency SoundExchange missing the point as it tries to defend the new rates:

Webcasters have a number of opportunities to maximize revenue with a captive audience attracted by music created by artists through banner ads, pop-ups, video pre-rolls, audio commercials and other avenues of revenue generation. While we want internet radio to succeed, it is only fair that artists be compensated for the value of their work, which forms the basis of their business...

"Recent claims by a few webcasters that the process was unfair simply reveal that their complaints are not really about process, but rather about results. Webcasters like AOL, Clear Channel, and others want to impose low rates on artists, rather than accept fair market rates as the law requires. They may disagree with the ruling, but they should be forthcoming about the integrity of the process."

SoundExchange don't even seem to entertain the possibility that some people might be looking to set up online music services because they're enthusiastic about music rather than because they're running their website as a profit-maximising business. And we really must take this opportunity to thank them for pointing out that you can really degrade people's experiences so much in the interests of turning a buck - "scatter your site with pop-up ads - that'll make money."

It's like a debt collector suggesting your protests of not having money to pay him off are empty all the while you're not exploiting the prostitution possibilities offered by your sister.

And interesting, too, to see that SoundExchange is calling for "fair market rates" - it's impossible to see how a flat, centrally mandated, one-size-fits-all revenue pricepoint could be described as a "market rate"; even more so when there are so many broadcasters insisting that the price is more than they are able or willing to pay. In a marketplace, the price should fall to the point where people are happy to pay, surely - or was DCW, my economics teacher, nothing more than a fibbing liar?

Eye-catching headlines of our time

We know John Fordham is talking about music publications, but did he think about the headline he put on his Guardian blog entry:

Jazz mags will outlive them all

Well, almost certainly. Tucked down the back of your elder brother's sock drawer, mostly.

Moon "did drive into pool"

Despite what some biographers would try and have you believe, Keith Moon really did drive a car into a swimming pool. There have been attempts to reclassify the event from rock fact to rock myth, but Roger Daltrey says it did happen. And he should know - he had to pay for it:

"It flaming well did happen. We got the $50,000 bill for it.

He could have gone to jail for three years. This was Right-wing America in the Sixties. They just didn't like us long-haired hippies.

People write books and never talk to the band. They just talk to drunks and people who were half there."

"Drunks and half there", to be fair, sums up Keith Moon, too, doesn't it?

From Berlin to Manchester: Lou comes to town

The Manchester Festival, which is trying to position itself as a challenger to Edinburgh's crown as premier performing arts event in the UK calendar, is to be graced with the presence of Lou Reed. He's added a date on his Berlin tour - where he'll be playing through the album in its entirety - for the event on June 29th. (The following two nights he'll be doing the same thing at the Hammersmith Apollo, but we expect there's always stuff like that happening in London.)

Big Brovaz apparently didn't know what they were letting themselves in for

An interesting moment is caught in Giles Smith's consideration of Scooch:

Randy, of Big Brovaz, said: “We entered Eurovision because we thought it was about credible acts, but it isn’t.”

Big Brovaz thought Eurovision was about credible acts? Presumably they also watch wrestling for the genuine sportsmanship and vote for the winner of Dancing On Ice thinking its their votes that count. How terrible it must have been to have had the scales so cruelly dashed from their eyes. He thought he was competing on the stage that played host to Lordi, The Herreys and Liquid Gold, but his dream turned sour.

Clubobit: Ernie Woo

Sad news reaches us from Liverpool of the death of Ernie Woo.

Woo, immortalised in a Benny Profane song, was a central figure in the Liverpool music scene of the late 80s, first promoting bands at The Munro and then at his club, the wonderful and much-missed Cosmos club. Although only a going concern for a couple of years, and dominated inexplicably by an enormous mural of Jimmy Greaves, the club provided a home for gigs by an impressive number of bands, both local and touring. Benny Profane played a residency there; Jesse Garron and The Desperadoes did their only Liverpool date there; Mixies Men's singer stood on stage with his trousers round his ankles on the stage. A lot, if memory serves.

Woo was 80; a gig - The Importance of Being Ernie - is being organised in his memory.

Timberlake brings shame on Tennessee

Plans for Justin Timberlake to be honoured by his home state of Tennessee have been dumped, after someone read the back of one of his records.

Republican Senator Raymond Finney was outraged to discover that Timberlake had songs called SexyBack, Rock Your Body and other such fruity things, and launched a bid to block the plans:

"It's not something I want my name on," said the politician.

God forbid that a Republican senator be associated with anyone with a sexy back. Still, good to see the old image of Southern Republicans as being out-of-touch and prone to vindictive knee-jerk measures alive and well.

RIAA given Hobson's Choice

The early positive feeling the RIAA got from its legal pursuit of its own customers - as people caved in without a fight and paid up - is starting to vanish as those who did face down the outrageous demands for money have their day in court.

For example, Patti Santangelo. You might remember that she fought back against the RIAA, who then responded by trying to sue her kids instead. At the same time, though, they pushed ahead with demands for cash from Patti herself on the grounds that she had "secondary liability."

The RIAA had asked for the case to be dismissed without prejudice - a bit of a climbdown for them in the first place - but now the Judge, Colleen McMahon, has refused, saying the case will either be dismissed with prejudice (allowing Santangelo to seek to recover costs from the label) or else go to full jury trial - where the RIAA would have to spend a lot of money trying to get an argument that's already been defeated once past a jury.

Either way, it could end up getting rather expensive and embarrassing for the RIAA.

Et tu, C?

Despite having been the one with the sense to stop it happening so far, even Mel C isn't totally ruling out a Spice Girls reunion at some point:

"I've spoken to all the girls and yes, we'll do a one-off reunion for a big enough occasion or cause."

That's first contact ruined, then.

Robbie Williams is not being confused with Casanova

We're constantly told that Robbie Williams - when he's not necking down the Pepcid - is the wittiest, brightest star in the firmament. And apparently, he's back to his old self, reckons 3AM.

He's been "chatting up" girls. This is an example of his sparkling technique:

'I like this country ... not as much as I like your breasts though.'

Bloody hell - it's more like he had no interest in picking up a woman and was just going through the motions or something.

Nadine makes knicker pledge

If you're anything like us, you'll have been fretting about exactly what Nadine Coyle thinks about these celebrity upskirts which reveal they're not wearing any pants.

Oh... you haven't? Never mind, she's told us anyway:

“I’d never do it. I wear underwear at all times. I don’t think being spotted out without it is very nice to look at.”

That's a nicely mangled sentence there - it's not nice to look at being spotted?
Jesse Metcalfe, who Coyle is apparently "seeing" and cannot be mentioned without the supporting phrase "Desperate Housewives hunk" is even more censorious:
“If Nadine went out without knickers I’d be mortified. It’s low class.”

There seems to be a bit of a confusion here - going out without knickers can, sometimes, be quite sexy; it's different from going out without pants and waving your bits in the direction of people with cameras. And we suspect that Metcalfe is less worried about the class implications, more about the world getting a peek at a place he feels only he should be visiting.

"Stand up for your love rights" says Elton

Elton John has written a column for the New Statesman calling on people to stand up to bigots and homophobes:

Sir Elton John has called on people to "shout back" against homophobic abuse, "whether the bigot is in our local pub or a thousand miles away".

People were persecuted all over the world "just because of who they love and who they make love to".

"We should all stand up and speak out for... basic human rights.

"In some countries, my voice would have been drowned out. Maybe even stamped out.

"Men and women are persecuted and attacked every day all over the world, just because of who they love and who they make love to."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Leeds/Reading ticket sales screwed up

Leeds-Reading ticket sales - which usually go quite smoothly - hit a glitch this year when people well sent confirmations which were subsequently withdrawn. The Mean Fiddler is blaming its own efficiency:

Melvyn Benn, managing director of festival organiser Mean Fiddler, said: "Cards were rejected either because their numbers were inputted incorrectly or they did not have sufficient funds.

"The sad thing is they got a confirmation and then relaxed and it wasn't until the next morning they were told there was a problem, by which time the weekend tickets were gone.

It's not entirely clear why the company sent out confirmations when they hadn't confirmed the sale.

What do you call someone who charges you to have dinner with them?

How about Snoop and Diddy? They're coming to London next week, and - for four grand - you're invited to join them for a bit of supper:

"You can immerse yourself in the A-list glamour with this invitation to purchase tickets for the official P Diddy after-concert party, to be held at an exclusive central London location.

"P Diddy is world renowned for hosting the hottest parties on the globe and many famous faces will be joining the celebrations.”

Diddy is so keen to turn a few bob, he's even picked up a gig playing Colleen McLoughlin's 21st birthday - apparently, she'd have preferred Westlife or Take That, but they were too classy. Diddy gets a roped-off section at the event, claims the Mail, which is wonderful: he might be happy to play her birthday, but he's not prepared to mix with her family.

Stone fuming as Harpers change her head

We've got some sympathy with Joss Stone, who's apparently more than a little vexed that Harpers Bazaar have photoshopped her cover shoot - they've changed her hair colour from ill-advised pink strands to brown, and airbrushed her nose-ring out. It's not clear why: either the magazine thinks she's stylish enough to warrant a cover, or she isn't. If you're going to use a Mac man to turn your subject into your idea of perfection, you might as well stick anyone on the front.

It's totally dishonest - and even more shamingly, when the Mail asked about the alterations, the magazine still refused to fess up:

"All we can say is that we've had nothing but positive feedback from people," a spokesman for Harper's Bazaar tells me. "I can't confirm whether her nose ring and hair were digitally altered."

It might only be a photo of a declining minor celebrity, but any publication which dicks about with reality and doesn't alert its readers to the fact is on very dodgy ground indeed. It's especially insulting that one of the other stories in the current issue is about Anna Politkovskaya. How better to pay tribute to someone murdered for their journalistic pursuit of truth by sticking her in a magazine that can't even be honset about someone's hair colour?

Avril Lavigne is Clarrie to Deryck's Eddie Grundy

Avril apparently is determined to ensure that former druck-head Deryck Whibley won't be going up to the shed and doing drugs like he used to. Oh no, it's clear Deryck has a choice - it's her, or illicit pleasures:

"He doesn't do drugs. Clearly, he used to, because he talked about it, but I wouldn't be with someone who did, and I made that very clear to him when we first started dating.

I've never done coke in my life, and I'm proud of that... I could never. I am 100 per cent against drugs."

Cocaine also issued a statement, saying it would be prepared to take Deryck back, providing he promised to stop seeing Avril: "Obviously, I've got my standards and I'm not prepared to disappear up a nose that has been sniffing someone like Lavigne - I've had nothing to do with mass-market pre-packaged teen angst, and I'm proud of that."

Jurassic era ends

Soup out of Jurassic 5 has announced the band have had their day and will split at the end of their current touring commitments. Apparently because someone wants to be famous in their own right:

"After the tour, that's basically it. I don't want to sit here and fake around with it - we're not seeing eye to eye right now. People see us a harmonising, loving group, but that's far from the truth.

"Some people here want their own shrine, their own thing. If that's what you want, I say more power to you. I hope it works out for you - just don't come up with lame excuses."

Soup, of course, needs no further fame of his own, having inspired the popular drink based on boiled animal bones in water which bears his name. [Must check this with Wikipedia before posting.]

Apparently, Amy's perked up

Well, that's quite a turn around. Earlier today, Amy Winehouse was too sad to even play an LA gig. Now, though, she's so chipper she's extending her US tour. It's like she's got some sort of, I dunno, wonder pick-me-up-drug, isn't it?

Nickelback make their cash by not really connecting with anyone

Nickelback are about to churn out another album, helmed by famous drunk-driver Chad Kroeger. You might be wondering 'why', or more likely, 'who the hell keeps buying these things?' Chad has an answer:

"In a climate that a lot of people aren't doing that well, we're very, very fortunate," Nickelback's leader, vocalist
Chad Kroeger, said in a recent phone interview.

"We're just lucky that we've been able to make a connection to fans of all ages, instead of just hitting with one group of fans or one age group," he added. "Our fans are really over the map, and that makes it really easy when we pull into town to draw a large variety of people who want to sit and listen to Nickelback songs."

It's perhaps not surprising Chad shares a name with a popular supermarket own brand. Nickelback's appeal seems to lie in being a bit like a King Sooper's soup: it's not perfect, but it's just about appealing enough to the unfussy, and priced to sell.

Don't worry - Chad doesn't mind people criticising his rubbish band. After all, it's all about the money, not the art:
"We don't listen to critics anymore. I don't think we've ever listened to critics, but we don't even pay attention to it anymore," Kroeger, 32, said.

We're not sure how there's a difference between 'not listening to' and 'not paying attention to' - we imagine that Chad's getting confused between 'not paying attention to' and 'not hearing'. Here's a handy way to remember the difference, Chad:

I am not hearing the moaning sound of Chad Kroeger's songs, because I have put my hands over my ears
I am not paying attention to the songs Chad Kroeger has made, because although I hear them, they're clearly just empty, bombastic yammering

The gruff-voiced, curly haired Kroeger, who is also the group's lyricist, has tuned out the doubters before — especially when it came time to release "All the Right Reasons," as industry insiders told them they'd never repeat the success they had with "Silver Side Up" or even "The Long Road."

"Usually, if (bands) do what Nickelback has done, you watch it decline. You always watch, they come out and they'll have some success early on and it always seems to trickle off, it never seems to gain momentum," he said. "We worked so hard to make sure that that didn't happen with this album."

Are we being unfair, or has Kroeger just said that he's made an album to sell to people rather than, say, one that he can be proud of, or one that fits with an artistic vision? No, we're not surprised that he's done it, just that he's so upfront about it.

Beetle dust: New LP from Shellac

It's been seven years since the last one, but this June finally sees the release of Shellac's fourth album, Excellent Italian Greyhound. No leaks and/or sneak previews available yet, but there is a tracklist:

'The End Of Radio'
'Steady As She Goes'
'Be Prepared'
'Genuine Lullabelle'

Isn't there a sense in which every Shellac song is really called Kittypants?

Dallas says sorry

Dallas Austin has said sorry to Joss Stone (and Christina Aguilera) for what he said about them online. He hasn't, however, retracted the comments:

"My statement about Christina Aguilera and Joss Stone was a reaction to an incident I care not to discuss in any forum and while I may have felt justified, I do own an apology to Christina,Joss and their families," he wrote.

"The comment I made... were purely an act of retaliation not of malice or cruel intent...I sincerely apologise as this is not my character nor should I have let anyon'e actions push me to this limit."

So, he's sorry for saying Aggie and Stone sleep with the people they're meant to be working with, but for context and not content. Glad that's been cleared up.

Did I say too small? I meant heartbroken

Apparently aware that my band won't fit on the stage was a rubbish excuse for not playing a gig, the new official line from Amy Winehouse is she cancelled her LA gig because she was 'heartbroken':

A concerned friend says, "Amy loved Alex so much and was so upset when they split. "Normally she would take time out to wallow like most normal young girls, but she's just been on the road performing and doing interviews non-stop. She's exhausted and miserable. "She doesn't feel she can give the audience her best while she feels this sad."

Oddly, she was fine the night before, when Courtney Love and Bruce Willis were dancing round at her gig. Still, lets hope the party with Willis cheered her up, eh?

Eurovision: Was the public conned?

Justin Hawkins has dropped his outlandish claims that he was a victim of a racist British public when his rubbish song didn't win Making Your Mind Up, and instead thrown his weight behind the complaints that Scooch somehow 'cheated' by having backing singers offstage.

We're a little lost as to the point of these allegations. Apart from anything, you know what else, Justin? They weren't making the instrument noises with their mouths. The music was coming from somewhere else, too.

What's more: did Justin read what he was signing up for? It's a song contest, and you're meant to be judged on the best song, not the greatest performance. You can argue - and, oh, we would - that the great British Public wouldn't know a rubbish song if it moved in next door and stole their car, but if anyone can explain why you'd need to have all the singers on stage to be able to judge the quality of a song, we'll buy you a ticket to Helsinki.

(Actually, we won't, but we'd like to hear that, nevertheless.)

Arista pursued by men in tartan

You've got to hand it to Arista - they've been sitting on top of a massive pile of cash - perhaps running into the millions - that the Bay City Rollers say belongs to them. Arista [part of Sony-BMG] doesn't deny that it has only made one payment to the band in 25 years. But - of course - the money was only resting in its account:

The band says in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday, that Arista owes it royalties on millions of dollars. That was money generated by selling albums, compact discs, multimedia licenses and merchandise, along with rights to commercials, movies and even telephone ring tones.

The band says in the lawsuit that Arista has taken the position that it has held royalties from the band members until it receives clear instructions from them as to how the money should be distributed.

This does throw open an interesting new defence if accused of illegal filesharing: "I was going to pay for the files, but I was just waiting clear instructions from the RIAA as to who to make the cheque payable to."

Arista has yet to formally respond to the lawsuit.

Sorry - can't play, got a date with Hudson Hawk

Amy Winehouse has tried her fans' patience a bit by cancelling gigs due to reasons, but surely pulling a gig to go out with Bruce Willis is pushing things a little too far?

Of course, the official reason for the date being axed is that Winehouse

"...felt the club could not accomadate her large backing band."

Odd that you don't realise that your band simply won't fit in a venue until less than 24 hours before the date at LA's Spaceland. Or perhaps the horn section had swollen up?

Suicide Girls reports that Amy had been approached the night before by Bruce Willis, with an invite to his birthday party. How fortunate that the band being suddenly too large to fit freed her up to go.

Oddly, the six-piece Saturday Looks Good To Me managed to fit on the stage earlier this month.

[Thanks to Michael Moran for a link]

This just out

BBC News is reporting that Britney's left rehab. No word on how long her hair is.

Peach in our time

Rejoice! The war between Lily Allen and Peaches Geldof is at an end.

Yes, yes, we know you've been worried sick. But it's turned out alright:

DJ Peaches will reveal on Channel 4’s Transmission With T-Mobile show this Friday how she kissed and made up with Smile star Lily at a London nightclub.

She said: “We looked at each other and thought, ‘This is rubbish’. ”

Yes, yes it is, isn't it?

(Apparently, "DJ Peaches" does refer to Ms Geldof, although you might know her better as "tiresome talent vacuum coasting along on her father's fame and cash Peaches". It threw us for a moment, too.)

Back in denim: Shakin' Stevens corrupted youths

Poland is poised to ban mentioning homosexuality in schools as part of the nation's attempt to turn itself into some sort of Thatcherite dreamland. Education minister Roman Giertych is behind this latter-day Clause 28:

Mr Giertych, the leader of the ultra-conservative League of Polish Families, a junior coalition partner in the government of prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said the aim of the proposed law would be to "prohibit the promotion of homosexuality and other deviance".

Mr Giertych said: "One must limit homosexual propaganda so that children won't have an improper view of family."

But what is homosexual propaganda? What must the Polish sexpolice be looking for?

To judge by Matt Lucas, all posters of Shakin' Stevens must go. Apparently, it was photos of the denim-clad Welshman which turned him:
“The first time I’d an inkling I was gay was looking at that picture when I was seven.

“I said to my friend Michael, ‘Don’t you think sometimes men are handsome’? I didn’t think much of it at the time — I thought both girls and boys were attractive.

“I’m sure the thoughts weren’t sexual, but there was something there."

Of course, modern-day British Conservatives aren't afraid of gay men any more, are they?

Well, apart from David Van Day, of course. Yes, the one out of Dollar and Bucks Fizz. He's managed to piss off the whole of Brighton's gay community - a problem, when you're running for a seat as a Tory councillor:
Mr Van Day, 50, told guests a gay choir invited to sing at the event would "bend over backwards for anybody" but that he did not want to be "behind them at the time".

He's not exactly apologetic, either:
But a defiant Mr Van Day told The Argus: "It's sad that some people are being so sensitive over what is a joke. Are they offended by Four Poofs and a Piano, Jonathan Ross's band?

"People make jokes about my height everyday and if I was as sensitive as these people acted I would go and live under a stone."

But David, there's a world of difference about being the butt of jokes because you're a little man, and someone running for public office making anal sex jokes in the faces of a group of people working charity.

Still, David Cameron's all new Tory party won't stand for this sort of behaviour from its candidates, right? Especially after eight complaints of misconduct were made against sitting Tory councillor Peter Willows after he compared gays with paedophiles just last December?

But the council's Tory group last night stood by Mr Van Day and insisted he would remain its candidate for the East Brighton ward in May's local elections.

Still, at least David wouldn't want to try and argue that he's the victim, or that he can't be gay because he's got gay frien... oh...
"I have probably done every Gay Pride there is in the UK and any inference about being homophobic is absolutely quite ridiculous. I was told these jokes by gay people.

I'm very angry about this.

"What about all the mother-in- law jokes or my wife' jokes?

If people are so sensitive and can't laugh at their own sexuality it's a sad indictment on that person.

"Where does it all stop? Will there be no laughter?"

Actually, David, mother-in-law jokes died out pretty much in the 1980s, what with them being sexist and all.

Odd, though, with VanDay telling the Argus that he doesn't see what the problem is, the party takes a different line:
Conservative group leader Brian Oxley said: "David has now apologised and we regard the matter as closed."

"Will there be no laughter" seems a pretty odd way of saying "I'm sorry", doesn't it?

Of course, the irony is that back when I was a young boy, I had a poster of Dollar with David in a lovely white singlet which made me feel a little Shakin' Stevens. Like the man said: Mirror, Mirror, Mon Amour.

Britney preapres to unshackle K-Fed

According to The Sun, with all that implies, Britney and Kevin have come to an an agreement about the divorce - he's going to get a ten million dollar pay off, she'll keep the kids. The ten mill represents half her earnings during the marriage plus a million bucks that's been added on top, presumably to make a nice round figure for UK headline writers. Don't you love a happy ending?

Assuming, of course, Brit can make the payments - the Daily Star reckons she's burned through "two thirds" of her £16million fortune. We've done the maths on this, and reckon she might need to call those people at Picture. The ones you can have a grown-up conversation with.

Still, it's not all grim news for Britney. Beth Ditto has offered her hand in marriage:

'Britney's new haircut makes her look like a butch dyke,' says the loud-mouthed rock chick. 'I think I'll marry her, but I'll have to do it in the UK.'

Looked like a butch dyke? Beth, she looked like Bambi trying to complete a particularly stressful task near a dangerous road full of hunters. What gay clubs do you go to?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hard times at MTV: Total Request goes to tape

American MTV's flagship show, Total Request Live, is no longer going to be live. Tuesdays and Thursdays, MTV is now showing a programme taped the day before. It's a money-saving measure (some might say penny-pinching), but MTV angrily deny that just because the programme is now recorded, anything's different:

[S]pokeswoman Marnie Black said Tuesday "we're not editing anything. We're not changing anything. The spirit of the show is going to be exactly the same."

However, since a key component of the show is for viewers to spend money texting the programme, it's hard to see how that can be true. After all, texting a programme that's on tape? That sort of thing couldn't happen here, could it?

Subtitle no longer available

Rappy type Subtitle has announced he's quitting music following the axing of a tour he'd hoped would help him claw back lost ground:

nothing witty here but quitting

yup I'm a quitter.
after 4 months of struggling like mad
and hoping a tour would save my sorry flesh,
said tour got cancelled, which means my money for the
next 2 months went with it. I hope whoever has my passport
is dead. I can't make a living in another country and my supergroup
randomizers is really a social club at this point. I hit up labels trying
to submit a DEMO for chrissakes! I've fallen pretty fall from grace, so it's
a wrap. thanks to all the fans and thanks to all the people who liked
my music. If I can hold on to my laptop, I'll make music for fun, but
otherwise fuck it, nothing is worth this much heartache. whatever happens to trunk bomb is news to me. I'm giving b.e.a.r. to nate and phil and..............."

Really called Giovanni Marks - there had been a suggestion he was going to start working under that name - Subtitle had supported everyone from Nancy Sinatra to Dalek and LCD soundsystem, and joined The Mars Volta on tour.

Clear Channel and NPR share a program

The outrageous new rates for US internet radio company royalties has managed to unite the yin and yang of American radio: National Public Radio and Clear Channel are leading a call for the Copyright Royalty Board to think again:

Jonathan Potter, the executive director of the Digital Media Association, which represents major online companies affected by the decision, asked that the judges specifically allow a per-tuning-hour approximation measure for paying the royalties.

Potter also asked the judges to clarify a $500 annual fee per broadcasting channel, saying that with some online companies offering many thousands of listening options, counting each one as a separate channel could lead to huge fees for online broadcasters.

NPR argued in its filing Monday that the new rules would have "crippling effects" on public radio's ability to meet its mandate of serving the public interest, and it also objected to the $500 per-channel minimum fee.

A group of commercial broadcasters including San Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel, the largest radio company in the country, also asked for a reconsideration of key parts of the ruling, saying that the methods used to calculate the fees were faulty.

The only people who seem to think that setting rates at a level which will totally kill off the medium are, erm, SoundExchange, who make their money from collecting the fees:
SoundExchange, an entity that collects royalties from digital music broadcasters and distributes them to rights holders, has said the ruling was fair and that the rapid growth in advertising revenues from online music broadcasting would more than allow webcasters to cover the new fees.

SoundExchange haven't really worked through their thinking here: they believe that because the total advertising take from internet radio is an estimated half a billion, that means that a total royalty rate of less than half a million leaves a profit. However, the new rates means that every service will have to pay at least five hundred dollars - but many (probably most) internet broadcasters are hobbyists or small-scale, and few of those will be making five hundred bucks a year from advertising.

"Bono Must Die" says Peaches; "Wash your mouth" says Bob

Bob Geldof knows what it's like to be young and a little thoughtless: singing a song from the perspective of Adolf Hitler, for example. So you'd think that hearing his daughter Peaches is pushing a band called Bono Must Die would make him shake his head and chuckle a little, right?

Wrong. He's not happy at all:

A source told the Daily Star: "Bob knows it's cool in certain circles to mock Bono because he's become such a huge star since the indie beginnings of U2.

"That doesn't mean, however, that he is happy to see Peaches endorsing it in any way so he's asked her to take the band's image off her site.

"He's a Boomtown Rat and knows about being young and wanting to stick two fingers up at the establishment but the line is blurred for him here."

Iconoclasm is all well and good, but not when Daddy has to play golf with the icons at the next G8, Peaches.

[Thanks to Michael Moran for the link]

T reveals Bjork, Mary Chain for Slipperfest

The organisers of T in the Park have started to share some details of their planned more adult festival, Connect. Taking place in Inveraray Castle's grounds, the event promises "a little more luxury" than most festivals - that'll be softer mud, we presume - and will be headlined by Bjork, the Beasties and Primal Scream; Idlewild, LCD Soundsystem, CSS and The Only Ones will top up the bill.

CD Wow braces for fine

A judge has rejected CD Wow's explanation of its breach of a 2004 promise to not sell records sourced outside Europe. CD Wow said that it was human error; the judge didn't believe them. The BPI, of course, are delighted:

"The BPI will be using this judgment to ensure that no other company unfairly undermines legitimate retailers in the UK that are trading successfully and respecting the law," BPI lawyer Roz Groome said.

Respect for the law, of course, is a good thing - but what if it's a bad law? A law which allows British record companies to charge Britons more for an item for no other reason than they can (and they can, because of that law)?

CD Wow will be fined in July.

No admittance of the General Public

It's twenty years since the Beat - who, apparently, we're all now calling The English Beat - played in the UK; they're now back, with their original line-up, supporting INXS.

INXS, it's fairly safe to say, won't be fielding their original line-up.

They'll be at the following places - we'd strongly suggest leaving after The Beat have gone off:

Tuesday 5th June - BRISTOL Colston Hall
Wednesday 6th - NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall
Tuesday 12th - GLASGOW Clyde Auditorium
Thursday 14th - MANCHESTER Apollo
Friday 15th - NEWCASTLE City Hall
Sunday 17th - BRIGHTON Dome
Monday 18th - BIRMINGHAM Symphony Hall
Thursday 21st - LONDON Hammersmith Apollo
Monday 25th - SHEFFIELD City Hall

Fields invent another new format

Hot on the heels of the USB single comes the Digital Vinyl single. Apparently, the next Fields single will come on old-skool 7" vinyl; etched on the back of this will be a unique code. That code can be input into a PC-computer-internet, whereupon you can download one of two tracks.

Apparently, the chart company have insisted that this makes the record ineligible for the charts, but it's not bothering Atlantic, the Fields' UK label - presumably they weren't holding out hopes of a number one, anyway:

Jack Melhuish, Digital Manager for Atlantic Records comments: “We feel strongly that this release is a great combination of the benefits of both physical and digital, allowing for the importance felt by many music fans of owning a tangible format as well as harnessing the flexibility and immediacy afforded by downloads.

“The Fields Charming the Flames digital vinyl straddles both of these with a beautiful etched 7” product and choice of downloads for the fans.”

See? It's all about the benefits for the fans, and not be confused with a cheap gimmick to get coverage for the release.

Melhuish doesn't explain how it can be "immediate" to have to go down a shop, buy a record, return home and type in a code to get a download, but we're sure it's all been tested.

Up on the roof

The only slightly hackneyed "playing live on a roof" gig idea has been resurrected by Maximo Park, who are going to go on top of the Baltic in Gateshead to push the new album.

Apparently, they're selling tickets, although since they'll be on a roof, we're not quite sure why you'd want them. It all happens next Wednesday.

Blue pencils out

Editors - second album coming this summer, apparently - are jaunting off on a spring tour:
Warrington Parr Hall - May 22;
London Roundhouse - 23;
Wolverhampton Civic Hall - 24;
Glasgow Barrowland - 25;
Dublin Olympia - 27

There's also a Glastonbury set, on The Other Stage just before the Stooges go on.

Leave it, Leesh, she's not worth it

Alesha Dixon has told Lily Allen to be quiet:

“I like Lily’s song but I don’t like hearing her putting down other artists - we should all support each other.

“It’s wrong to do it as it misleads the public.”

Apart from the awkward fact that, actually, when you're signed to a major label, you're actually competing with other artists, not supporting them, in what way are the public (that's us) "mislead" when someone says how they really feel about something? And even if we were, what would the problem be?

"Doctor, I keep having bad headaches"
"Ah... have you been mislead by how Keith Allen's daughter really feels about Amy Winehouse?"
"Oh... yes, that's it."

X-aggerated response

Sharon Osbourne has ridden to the defence of dumped co-stars Louis Walsh and the useless Kate Thornton, accusing Simon Cowell of cowardice when it came to their sacking:

"After knowing Louis for over 20 years, Simon should have had the guts to tell him to his face that he was going to get fired.

"I was completely shocked. It was a harsh and unfair thing to do. The very least he could have done is to have told Louis and Kate rather than pretend it was all down to the producers."

You might note that Sharon is not so outraged as to resign in sympathy or anything like that.
"Simon was with Louis at least three days before this happened and he didn't say a word.

"And Kate has been publicly humiliated. Simon should have been up front and told her he didn't think things were working. At least she could then have gone with dignity and her head held high."

Well... having seen her presenting skills, expecting Kate to leave with "dignity" might be stretching it a bit.

Meanwhile, Walsh is preparing to discover that revenge is a dish best eaten while making childish "nerr-nerr" noises, as he prepares to take a job on Any Dream Will Do. ADWD is the follow-up to How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria, which will seek to find a Joseph for a forthcoming Technicolor Dreamcoat run in the West End; it's going to go head-to-head with Cowell's rip-off version based on Grease.

Monkey joke flies over 3AM heads

There's surprising news in today's Daily Mirror, as the 3AM rush to print an exclusive (by which, we mean something they read in the NME):

HERE'S a shock for all you indie kids... Arctic Monkeys are threatening to let Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding loose on their third album.

Really? You don't think, perhaps, that was a joke?
Frontman Alex Turner tells this week's NME: "I'm finding less and less to say. I'm wilting as a frontman, right, so I'm thinking, third album, we'll just get Sarah Harding to front the band.

"I'll sing some of the old songs to keep the hardcore happy and then all the new tunes can just be her."

Oh. So he was joking, then.

The violent Gods

It's never too soon to start frothing excitedly about a new album from The Young Gods, so it's worth sticking May 7th into some sort of calendar. That's when the band are releasing Super Ready/Fragmente. It's got a gun on the cover, and viol, explains Franz Treichler:

“In Switzerland, recent statistics have shown that we can account for the exact number of dogs whereas no one has any idea – even approximately – of the amount of weapons. The Young Gods exist to suggest and share emotions and impressions without conveying a specific message. The three of us believe in the huge suggestive power of music. The violent aspect of the album is our own way of reacting to the current socio-political context.”

Sadly, Franz doesn't reveal how many dogs there are in Switzerland.

A day of Smog

Smog and London go together like doves and an extra quid in the carwash, so London is the perfect place for a celebration of Smog and the songs of Bill Callahan. We're not sure if there's a link between Smog and bowling, but we're sure Smogologists will furnish us with an explanation for why the event is taking place at the Under Tavistock Hotel bowling alley.

It's all going off on April 22nd, and it's quite a line-up:

International 'Smog Day'. Damnably pays tribute to Bill Callahan and the music of (Smog) with Airport Girl, MJ Hibbett and The Validators, Wintergreen, Fight Fire With Water, Former Utopia and Simon Breed playing at least one Smog cover and Only Smog inbetween acts and after! This is an alldayer with films on in the cinema, huge Burgers in the Burger Bar, Cheap Bowling, A Comfy Chill Out Zone, Cheap Czech Beer and the Venue is only 5mins walk from Holburn/Euston or Russell Square. Bill/Joanna lookalikes get in free. Tickets: Price: £5.00

Airport Girl and giant burgers. What more could you want? WeGotTickets can sort you out.

Hawkins: I'm a victim of racism

Apparently it hasn't occurred to Justin Hawkins that his failure to win the UK's Eurovision heat might be down to people not liking him or his song. Sure, it must be hard to go in two years from being the toast of the Brits to being rejected by te Making Your Mind Up audience, but even so, to then try and suggest he's been the victim of racism because he was working with Beverli Brown is really shabby:

“The United Kingdom must be either racist or stupid not to have voted for Big Brovaz or Beverlei Brown.

“It’s like when multi-award-winning, multimillion-selling LEMAR lost to DAVID ‘Three stars at Burger King’ SNEDDON in Fame Academy all those years ago. Nothing ever changes.

“The whole thing whiffed of a stitch-up.”

Victoria Newton is in pieces, so she is:
I really hoped Justin would win Saturday’s sing-off. Representing us at the contest in Helsinki this May would have been a nice way to mark his return to music after getting out of rehab.

Without wanting to be harsh, why should the UK public have its votes motivated by wanting to "do something nice" for someone coming out of rehab? Was there something in the rules we missed?

And having seen what a terribly bad loser Hawkins is - this shabby attempt to wrap himself in the cloak of the underdog and his childish storm-off when he found out his antics hadn't swung the vote - it's probably just as well that he was voted out at this stage, showing himself up, rather than embarrassing us at as a nation during Eurovision.

Meanwhile, the BBC has tried to delicately blame Terry Wogan for announcing the wrong winner on Saturday without actually upsetting him:
A BBC spokesman said: "Terry was given the right name down his earpiece. There was no technical problem."

They admitted the studio was noisy and emphasised Sir Terry was not being blamed for the mix-up.

Terry has been quite upbeat about it all:
Speaking on his BBC Radio 2 show, Sir Terry said: "Nobody died, it's a TV programme. It wasn't the general election. People got a bit confused."

"People" got confused, did they, Terry?

Reading/Leeds headliners announced

You never thought you'd be pleased to see Razorlight anywhere, but at least the presence of Johnny and The Borrells on the headline list makes you able to pin down what year we're in - the other two headlines, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Smashing Pumpkins suggest we're just at the dawn of the 1990s.

Also announced: Ash, Nine Inch Nails, The Gossip, Maximo Park, Bloc Party and The View. Yes, Barbara Walters, live in Reading. Or maybe not.

Tickets will be on sale about an hour before they all sell out.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Robbie Williams is not seeking a second opinion alongside Fergie's

We don't know if Fergie's medical background is in psychiatry or human biology, but she seems confident enough in her skills to offer a diagnosis in Robbie William's case:

"We've all faced our demons at some point. I feel I can relate to him. In this day and age it seems everyone is going crazy.

But Robbie is doing great. He's such a charmer. He'll come back stronger from all this. That boy knows how to pack out arenas."

Well, since part of Williams' problems are, apparently, his ability to present a happy face (or, more accurately, gurning face) to the world while being eaten-up by his internal solipsism, that he seemed jolly at a party might be considered a symptom rather than a good sign - as, indeed, would be bouncing straight from rehab to the sort of pap-stalked, celeb-heavy party where you might "party" with "Fergie" in the first place. Since Fergie has spoken of her own addictions, she probably could relate to Williams, but telling a man who's hooked on drugs that "yah, everyone's so crazy now with the global warming and Iraq war" is a bit of a slap in the face.

And he "knows how to pack out arenas", does he? Isn't it more he employs people who know how to do that; he just turns up and delivers a so-so performance?

Please, Lily: The US needs you

An email from Michael Moran points us in the direction of Lily Allen's blog, and in particular this post:

Is it really important to break America ? If it is I have to write my life off for the next 9 months , playing the same gig answering the same questions to different journalists and such , or go home sit o my boyfriends sofa for a bit , then write a new album . what d'ya reckon ? As much as I love driving across America and doing the same thing every night , I'm bored slightly , this is no reflection on my audience , cause I have a huge amount of respect for them . It's the songs , I'm bored . Since January I've toured Japan , New Zealand annd Australia , I've done a European tour , gone to Paris fashion week , done a UK tour , spent one night at home , apparently I beat up some paparazzi , and now I'm on a US tour . It goes till May . I dunno what to do.

Michael asks:
[Is] Lily Allen is asking us whether she should fuck off to America or not?

It does seem to be that, doesn't it? The choice in front of us is: should Lily plod through the US playing the same songs over and over (and, let's face it, how quickly did the rest of us get with Smile and LDN after hearing them twice - never mind Alfie), or should she come here and make a new album?

I think the choice is obvious: if it puts off a second album a while longer, then you must go to America, Lily. Visit every town, city and hamlet. Do not return until you've played that clever song about how things aren't as they seem when you look with your eyes to everybody in the United States, and Canada too. Go, Lily, we'll muddle through somehow while you do your duty.

Gennaro Castaldo watch: Sticks and Stone

Our favourite HMV spokesperson hasn't had a dickie-bird to say about the poor performance of his company - really, doesn't Gennaro's constant presence in the public prints count for anything in the way of customer loyalty? - but that could be because he's been too busy elsewhere.

He's got an opinion about those USB sticks, for example, telling the Metro:

HMV's Gennaro Castaldo said: 'Success for this format would create a growing case for the Official UK Charts Company to consider making them chart eligible.'

Which is a textbook example of Castaldo being so cagey as to be meaningless: If the USB stick does well, then there would be ground that might make it worth the chart people thinking about including them in the sales, perhaps.

Gennaro's on safe ground when telling the Sunday Herald about Ray Quinn and Ben Mills's album sales:
Gennaro Castaldo, spokesman for HMV, said: "Ray Quinn has the biggest-selling album this week. That means, based on first-week sales, his album will be up there alongside the biggest-selling albums of the year like the Kaiser Chiefs.

"Ray is outselling both Take That and Ben by about two to one. Take That look like they'll be at No 2 with Ben Mills at No 3 in the charts."

Castaldo said Quinn and Mills's success was down to "clever marketing".

"This is a significant gifting period around Mother's Day. This time last year Journey South and Andy Abraham were selling hundreds of thousands of albums, and before that I think G4 released an album around the time of Mother's Day.

"The reason why Ray and Ben are so popular is as women want to mother Ray and they'd like to seduce Ben."

The logic of Castaldo's remarks here - that Quinn's terrible album has sold well because of "the gifting period" but you can extrapolate sustained sales from this, would suggest that Journey South and Andy Abraham had records amongst the best selling of last year. Since we don't recall the sky turning quite that black over the Christmas period, we'll assume they didn't.

But then, Gennaro seems a little more obsessed with the eye candy on offer from the two interchangable sock puppets. Talking - again - to Metro at the end of last week, he was again thinking about old ladies having sex with Ray:
"This is shaping up to be a close chart battle between the cute lad that women would like to mother and the sensitive hunk they would like to seduce."

But since Gennaro reckons all this is down to people giving gifts on Mothers Day, surely it's academic whether women want to fuck or fuss over the blokes? Isn't it down more to what their kids think they should like (or, more likely, the one discounted most deeply in Tescos?)

Elsewhere, Gennaro held out some false hope to Joss Stone - via LifeStyle Extra - that her terrible publicity campaign wouldn't sink her career like, well, that ever-present stone metaphor:
It had been feared that a string of UK publicity blunders might have left Joss's career in tatters, but Gennaro Castaldo from HMV said: "I think there's every chance Joss will be in the top 10 by the weekend.

"Within a few weeks, Joss's album will easily overtake Ben Mills and Ray Quinn and I can see it making the top five.

"Maybe her British publicity isn't as great as it was but I'm sure people will still buy this album and it will do very well."

Of course, the suggestion that Stone will outstrip Quinn directly contradicts his claims that Quinn's album will be one of the year's best sellers, but never mind - after all, Castaldo's promise of a top ten showing for Stone never showed up, anyway.

Meds - or a small Placebo

In a bid to persuade young people to invest money in the repowered release of Placebo's excellent Meds, the label is encouraging free-peeking at the band playing the title track live at La Cigale in Paris. [Realmedia stream]

There's also a windows audio (i.e. rubbish) stream of the She Wants Revenge remix of Meds.

Mika comes out: I'm a man-who-wrote-a-song-about-a-homo-sexual

Mika's tiresome coyness about his sexuality grinds on, with his Mr. Humphries style nods and winks:

"People say, 'You don't talk about sexuality because you're worried about success in the US.' I say, 'Have you heard the fucking album?' There's a song about a married man who has a homosexual affair! There's no enigma."

Well, that makes it clear, then. You're a... oh, no, it doesn't actually, does it? We know that being gay doesn't actually make you automatically interesting like it might have done in the 1980s, but trying to drop hints and winks, giggling from the side of the closet also doesn't make you interesting, either. It just makes you look weak and spineless.

Notebooks out, plagiarists

There's something quite inspired about the idea of inviting writers to contribute short stories based on Fall songtitles. After all, even after listening to some of Mark E Smith's songs, you're still trying to work out what the hell he's on about so there's lots of room for further inspiration.

Perverted By Language, edited by Peter Wild, stretches from Niall Griffiths' Bingo-Masters Break Out to Rebbecca Ray's I Can Hear The Grass Grow. Rumours that Gillian Keith is organising a non-fiction sequel, Eat Y'rself Fitter, are lies.

Something to listen to: Ponys play for horse

The lovely people at Daytrotter are currently sharing some of their sessiony goodness online: The Ponys deliver four tracks of stripped-down Turn The Lights Out tunes. Insert your own delighted whinny here.

Bunton off

The not-exactly-inspiring figures for Life In Mono has persuaded Universal Records to "come to a mutual decision" taking Emma Bunton out the game. Sources - naturally, close to Emma - suggest she's going to concentrate on parenthood rather than making actually-quite-good records that don't sell.

Re-Turner: Tina's coming back

We hasn't realised Tina Turner had officially retired, but apparently she had. Only now, she's coming back for charity:

"I am delighted to be associated with a charity which reaches out to so many young people. If my songs make people dig deep into their pockets, then I will have achieved my aim."

The money will go to Caudwell Hall; Turner's gig will be at the Natural History Museum - quite brave of Tina to agree to play in a place known for exhibiting the remains of long-lost and half-forgotten creatures.

Lily Allen: The responsible face of fashion

Because Lily Allen can't nip out for a coffee without telling everyone how much better she is than everyone else, she's turning her shabby New Look 'clothing range' into a war of blahs with Kate Moss:

"I like what New Look are doing and I like what they are about.

"They have responsible role models like me and Drew Barrymore and they're very conscious of having positive body images and promoting positive women.

"Unlike Kate Moss and that fucking billionaire who's thrown a load of money at her so we get to see what her wardrobe is like. It's madness."

We suspect that's Philip Green who's feeling Allen's tongue there. But are New Look really "promoting positive women"? Why, then, do their sizes stop at 14, forcing anyone larger to buy from a really stunted (and, frankly, hideous) "different" range? In what way is that different from Top Shop's policy?

Someone from Lily's team tries to make this sound less like sour grapes at landing a much smaller deal with a less prominent store, and more like some sort of battle:
"Lily can't stand the way Kate Moss is put on a pedestal and held up as this amazing role model. Here's a woman who was caught taking cocaine, is going out with a crackhead junkie and is still feted as the queen of cool. At least Lily is straight talking and honest about who she is.

"She's also totally against size zero models, she wants to promote healthy body images. She wants to say to young girls, 'Be happy the way you are and don't try to be like these scrawny girls.'"

Hmmm. Another celeb collection at New Look - the one modelled by Drew Barrymore, in fact - is Gold by Giles Deacon. While it's great that Giles chose a slightly less thin model for his High Street store, this on the left is one of his London Fashion Week creations. Hardly looks like she enjoys a good meal, does she? Doubtless Lily will soon be piping up on New Look giving large sums to designers like Giles who use painfully thin models. Or perhaps not.

Countryobit: Buck Jones

The country singer Buck Jones has been killed in a road accident, apparently caused by a drunk driver.

Jones released his debut album, Lucky Star, in 2005 and was slowly building a following across Tennessee and through Texas. It was in the Lone Star state that he'd started singing, with a Baptist choir; an impressed choirmaster encouraged him to work on his talent to the point where he received a scholarship to college to study vocal performance. His tutors thought they were developing an opera star - but Buck's heart lay elsewhere:

“All through college, I would slip out and sing at open-mike nights in the bars until 1 or 2 in the morning. I loved this music. It was what I grew up with. My professors weren’t real happy about that.”

He was on his way to perform at a private event when the accident happened. He was struck on the side of Interstate 30 as he sought a milemarker to help him summon assistance for a blown tyre.

Buck's killer has been held on intoxicated manslaughter charges; a memorial fund has been established to help his widow, Amy Beth and his seven month-old son Walker. Details can be had from

That wasn't Meat Loaf's hands, that was an instrument

Apparently - and we'll take their word for it - there's been quite a controversy over Aspen Miller's bruises. She's currently singing with Meat Loaf on his current, seemingly never-ending tour and fans have been worried when he play-gropes her on stage, he's been leaving marks:

"They all thought he was grabbing me too hard. I didn't want to tell them it was from a tambourine.

"I had banged up my hand, so I switched to banging the tambourine on my leg.
Then my whole thigh was covered in bruises."

So, erm, that's okay, then.

Jamelia batting for Britney

She once had a promising career and was adored for her cute pop stance. Then everything started to go wrong when she took a partner who was the subject of rumours about his philandering. No wonder Jamelia knows how Britney Spears feels:

“As a mum I know all about the pressures of juggling a music career with raising your kids.

“Britney’s obviously having a tough time and I hope she pulls it all together.

“I’m sure she can come back stronger than ever.”

Well... she knows all about the kids part. We're not sure about the career-juggling.

The cost of dropping a drummer

The most odd aspect of the £348,000 paid to Alan White to get him out of Oasis isn't the size of the sum - a small price for Noel to pay to be able to have a more grateful staff - but that the cash came from Definitely Maybe, the Oasis live tours and tshirt company, rather than Big Brother, the main company.

Over a third of a million pounds to not be bawled at by the Gallaghers. Who says drummers are daft, eh?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Island tries to make USB sticks story stick again

Last year, Keane released a single on USB stick; now, Island are trying to push the novelty again with a Fratellis single on USB. Island are still trying to suggest it's exciting:

Lee Jenson, head of marketing at the Fratellis' record company, Island Records, said: "The success of the Keane single last year convinced us that music fans would welcome more audio releases on this format.

"If demand really does start to take off, it may well become viable to think about releasing selective albums on USB as well, especially if they were to become eligible for inclusion in the chart."

But, aside from novelty value, what's the point? You can't play them on standard CD players, but you still have to go down a shop to buy them. They're much more expensive to produce than standard CDs, record shops have no way of displaying them easily and they burn through more resources than proper records. Why do we need a pointless format?

X-Factor: How many judges does it take to replace Louis Walsh?

Quite a few, it seems. The People is confident that Dannii Minogue is going to take the role. While sister paper >the Daily Record says it'll be David Gest. Although he'll have to sit on Leona Lewis' lap, if the Daily Star is to believed. Unless you prefer to believe it'll be Jessica Simpson, tipped by, erm the Daily Star. Or it might be Zoe Ball or Cat Deeley, if you listen to the Daily Star. But at least we know it won't be Cheryl Tweedy, as she's turned down the offer - leaving the way open for EntertainmentWise's favoured candidate, Mel B. Assuming they can fit her and Chris Moyles on the table, as Metro says he'll be on the panel.

We're sure it'll wind up being Robson and Jerome, to be honest.