Friday, December 14, 2007

We know you'll have been worried...

But Emma Bunton has insisted that the show will go on, even if she has to take to the London stage with crutches.

After all, a bit more support propping things up on the Spice tour won't be a problem, will it?

We say she's insisted. I suspect it's fifty percent management pointing out the costs of cancellation; fifty percent the Spices desperate to not have to extend the tour a moment longer by rescheduling dates.

Winehouse: Give me temperance - but not yet

With Gordon presumably still following the Spice Girls round America, Pete Samson is again filing the big story for Bizarre - we wonder if he spins round in Gordo's chair, too. This morning, the Ed Balls of the Bizarre cabinet has an unsourced story which builds on the Israeli rehab story the paper was pushing last week, claiming that Amy is going to go off to rehab-lite. But not before a "big Christmas blowout". Which would be like a new year resolution, presumably.

The two stories actually don't make sense together, though: last week Gordon was suggesting Amy was reluctant rehabber - hence the trip to the Israel clinic where rehab lasts only a week (the course; we imagine the clean time isn't as long as that); this week Pete Samson is saying she's keen.


Meanwhile, Ringo Starr is worried about Amy, too:

“God Bless Amy. She’s a great talent and she’s going through a situation right now.

“It’s a very public destruction. The good news is that there’s more help around now than before.”

It's true that - back in the 60s it took a lot of organisation to get yourself destructing; now, it's easier than ever to dabble, snort, smack and generally befuck yourself. In some companies, it's even tax deductible.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sony BMG marriage to be annulled in New Year?

It's looking much more likely that we might be back to five major labels in 2008, as Advocate General Juliane Kolkott has advised that the Court Of First Instance's ruling that the clearance given by Europe to the Sony-BMG merger be removed. Kolkott's advice is not binding, but is normally followed by the higher court.

God alone knows what would happen next - presumably a few years of legal merry-go-round followed by some token disinvestments. It's probable that CDs will be finally obsolete before this one gets sorted.

Velvet Revolver to tour UK... maybe

Spinal Tap tribute act Velvet Revolver are planning a UK tour for next March:

Liverpool, University - March 15
Leeds, University - 16
Manchester, Apollo - 17
Newcastle, Academy - 19
Glasgow, Academy - 20
Wolverhampton, Civic - 22
Birmingham, Academy - 23
Brixton, Academy - 25
Brighton, Centre - 27

We wouldn't advise buying tickets just yet.

Madonna: Almost officially famous

The inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2008, have been announced: Madonna - who has donated large numbers of items to the museum - is in; The Beastie Boys - who haven't - are not. Funny that.

Also going in will be John 'Where's The Cougar' Mellencamp and Leonard Cohen. The funny thing is, despite the amount of cash the good people of Cleveland have poured in to the Hall, they hold the induction in New York. It's almost as if the birthplace of rock and roll isn't good enough for today's rock and rollers, isn't it?

[You might also enjoy: No Rock's trip to the Hall of Fame]

Katona in close-up

Kerry Katona is going to churn her life into a MTV reality series:

It will also shadow the face of frozen food firm Iceland as she launches a perfume and her first novel.

And it will chronicle her bitter custody fight with ex-husband Bryan McFadden, with whom she has two daughters.

A source said it was a chance for Kerry, who has fought drink and drug addictions and was diagnosed with manic depression, to answer her critics.

Hmm. Not entirely sure how selling your private life to a TV company - and selling out your kids by viewing a custody battle as a USP for a reality series rather than a serious determining moment in their lives - is an "answer" to the critics who suggest she's more interested in money and clinging to declining fame above those she supposedly cares about, but good luck with it, Kerry.

Gordon in the morning

Well, now we know why Gordon wasn't at Led Zep: it sounds like he's plodding about behind the Spice Girls, spending RupertJames' money on an American jolly. It's fair to say he's a little starstruck, as - like politicians - the Spices can't help sucking up to The Sun:

During a gap between songs, EMMA BUNTON said to her bandmates: “Have you seen that guy in row B?” (where I was sitting).

GERI HALLIWELL replied: “What, the Scottish guy with the nice eyes?” (Aaah, bless. It’s all pretty good so far).

Then MEL B: “The bloke who edits the Bizarre column of The Sun?” (Ooops, I’m not known as their No1 fan).

POSH added: “That’s him” and SCARY, obviously, had to have the final word. She said brazenly, as I cringed, wondering exactly what was coming: “He’s got a massive, huge, gigantic . . . personality!”

Most of the Vegas crowd didn’t notice my massive, huge, gigantic grin as I savoured the message.

Your massive, huge, gigantic grin? Good lord, man. If you feel this is something to brag about, at least try and write it up in a way that doesn't make it sound like 'what I did done do on my holidays'. (We do love, though, that "most" - as if there were a knowing few cognoscenti would have been nudging each other saying 'that's that Smart, that is...' - whereas, of course, the audience would actually have been wondering why the Spice Girls were making so much fuss over a supermarket tabloid.)

Funny, though, that Gordon managed to miss the story that was in all the other papers - how few people turned up for the gig. No wonder they were able to single Gordon out for special treatment. He probably was all of Row B.

Still, if he's pulling together his column in a hotel room in Nevada, it explains how an actual story might have accidentally sneaked into his page: Noel Gallagher apparently being too drunk to remember what he said to Jimmy Page after the Led Zep gig. But elsewhere, it's business as usual: that naked Paris Hilton champagne advert being treated like it's worth an article, and a clunking piece of text to go with a photo of Kylie Minogue:
KYLIE MINOGUE is getting into this biker-influenced look.

We don't know what the bikers wear round Smart's way, but we've never seen anyone on a Harley in a couture mini-dress and fishnets.
I wonder who had the top job of zipping her up before the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo on Tuesday?

She must break more than just 2 Hearts a week.

Eh? Because she has a tight dress, she ends relationships with at least three people every seven days? Oh... is it just a crowbarred in pun based on a songtitle?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Zunes in short supply

Exciting news for Microsoft: the Zune is a sell-out. And back-orders are starting to pile up. Although this turns out to be more because they've not made enough to meet a fairly low level of demand than because they've been fabulously successful. And not having devices in the shops as people go out Christmas shopping might not be the sharpest strategy to defeat the iPod.

Craig David's big moment ruined

Poor Craig David. There he was, all set to press the button to start the balls coming out of the Lotto machine - and just as he was saying "Good Luck" Alan Deddicoat spoke over him, as the balls had started to come out without the need for David's involvement.

While this raises a bit of a question over the probity of the draw - who's setting the thing off it it happens without the hapless z-lister pushing the button? - it's more indicative of Craig David's role in the scheme of things: he's not even needed as a player in his own life.

GCap to government: Switch off FM, or the kittens get it

Okay, maybe Ralph Bernard, outgoing head of GCap, isn't threatening to kill kittens, but he has announced that GCap is considering pulling the plug on all its digital radio stations:

Speaking at a MediaTel Future of Radio event, Bernard criticised regulator Ofcom for not setting a date for the switch-off of analogue radio, claiming that the delay was costing stations million of pounds.

"At GCap, we are seriously considering whether to continue with our digital stations," he said. "It costs us £8 million a year to run an analogue station, while it costs us £15 million to run a digital station. Where's the logic in that? It can't be sustained.
Banner Ad

"We don't want a hard and fast switch-off date, just a target date."

Bernard also moaned about the awarding of a digital multiplex to Channel 4, suggesting that "flooding supply" would set digital radio back ten years. On the other hand, limited bandwidth has just given us a bunch of under-funded, soundalike Top 40 and gold stations, so perhaps it's worth a try, eh?

Velvet Revolver man heading for jail?

Scott Weiland has been formally charged with DUI, a charge which carries a year in the slammer.

Weiland has issued a statement via his management denying that he was drunk at the time of his road accident, and looking forward to going to court to "clear things up".

R&Bobit: Ike Turner

The death of Ike Turner has been announced. He was 76.

Born in Mississippi in 1931, the young Ike started to earn money from his music when, as an eleven year-old, he played piano for Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Nighthawk. By the end of the second world war, he was combining djing for WROX with performance work. His piano work was a vital part of Jackie Brenston's Rocket 88; constantly in demand, he also appeared on records with Elmore James and Howlin' Wolf. Solo records were less well-received - his voice wasn't as strong as some of his competitors - but his nose for a hit saw him land a talent-scouting job for Modern Records. Discovering acts, producing them, and often embroidering his role in some groups' success, Turner's greatest stroke came in 1957. Having relocated to East St Louis, Turner came across Anna Mae Bullock. Persuading her to join his band, The Rhythm Kings changed their fortunes - and everyone's names. Anna Mae became Tina Turner; the Kings became the Ike and Tina Turner Revue.

The details of the relationship between Tina and Ike are confusing - she moved into his house while pregnant with a child by the saxophonist of the Revue; Tina married Ike in Tijuana, only to discover he was already married and the ceremony was void. Ike married four times legitimately, but it's believed he might have been through fourteen ceremonies.

While their partnership provided some great musical moments, their relationship was less glittering. Ike beat Tina; he spent much of the last thirty years slagging her off to anyone who'd listen (for example, blaming her love of "cold fish lesbian sex" for the collapse of their marriage, rather than his love of domestic violence.) The pair divorced in 1975.

While Tina fought her way back, Ike struggled a lot - he wasn't helped by Tina's biography and the film based on her life, What's Love Got To Do With It, fixing his violence in the popular imagination. Drugs and gambling didn't help - in 1989, he served a sentence after being caught with a large amount of coke.

He continued to record, however, slowly salvaging some of his reputation: a Grammy came in 2001, ten years after he and Tina were simultaneously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. In 2005, he released what he knew would be his final proper album, containing a surprising safe sex message:

'Sex / I want it every day / There ain't no-body going to take my sex away / Condoms is my best friends / Without condoms I ain't gonna go in.'

He even got a genuflection from Damon Albarn, with a guest vocal slot on a Gorillaz track.

Asked how he felt history would view him, Ike summarised his life:
"I would say that I'm the guy that went all the way to the top, and then I've come all the way back down to the bottom again. And then bounced. And, like, today I can say that whatever I do from now, my life is great today."

Five years ago today

Missy Elliott wanted some balls ripped off;
Moby got attacked;
French police raided Universal parent company Vivendi's offices;
while Hilary Rosen wrote for USA Today about how terrible file sharers were;
Nas announced he "looked up" to Hitler and
Stereolab's Mary Hansen died in a bike accident.

Producer attaches Britney's name to lame script; media bites

As lame ideas for films go, a teenager giving birth on Christmas Day and her hick neighbours deciding that it's the second coming - even if it's touted as a "satirical" look at religion - is pretty much lacking good legs. It's the sort of Polytechnic Film Course idea that nobody would give a second look at.

Unless you add Britney Spears' name to it. Which is what has happened:

"I had to convince my partners because they were like, 'Oh, no. Britney?'" the film's French producer, Philippe Rebboah, tells Us.

"But I thought it was brilliant. It's a bit ironic that she would play the Virgin Mary, no?"

Ironic? Not really. And not especially funny, either. We wonder if he's actually pitched this to Spears' people yet, because we bet he didn't do the "... and it's funny because Britney is playing a virgin, while as we all know... um... she... aaah..." routine.

50 Cent fires up his filesharing software

50 Cent doesn't mind a bit of filesharing, saying that it's not bad for artists.

Of course, he's retired, so you'd expect him to say that.

Oh... hang on, he didn't, did he?

Mr. Cent told a Norwegian magazine:

"What is important for the music industry to understand is that file-sharing doesn't hurt artists."

He went on to say that the industry needed to "maximise its income from concerts and merchandise", adding that: "It is the only way they can get their marketing money back."

However he hit out at some labels who were more interested in peddling “ringtones, not records".

He went on: "They don't understand the value of a perfect piece of art."

While welcoming his attitude, we're a little confused as to why he would decry ringtones while insisting that labels should be maximising income from baseball caps and boxer shorts with logos on.

Black Eyed Peas told to shut up - by the law

The Black Eyed Peas - who seem to exist these days purely when called upon to do a corporate - were made to cut short a gig launching a Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego:

Apparently, locals were complaining about the loud music, some from as far as two miles away.

Which is hardly "local", is it?

We'd imagine that people trying to get some kip in the hotel might have been less than thrilled, too.

HMV launch their new look. Again.

The number of times HMV has launched its new face onto the world, you might think nobody is much noticing. The latest excuse to try and interest someone, anyone, in their declining sector has been the re-opening of the London flagship, upon which deckchairs have been decisively re-arranged:

Deep in the bowels of the garish Trocadero centre, HMV has turned a significant chunk of its store into a paradise for computer game enthusiasts. With sleek black walls, an "over-18s" annexe, and more than 70 whirring computers and giant plasma screens, the so-called Gamerbase room allows visitors to choose and play hundreds of computer games.

Like the world's most technologically advanced youth club, the room is a godsend for gamers - and possibly the first of many across the country.

(Yes, Sunday Telegraph - 'possibly' in the sense of "possibly the first, if you don't count the one in Merry Hill.)

Simon Fox of HMV trots out the justification for dumping CDs and concentrating on Games:
"Big picture, if you look over the next three years, what we have said is that the CD market will decline by 10 per cent per annum, so we need to replace that with higher-growth categories: games, technologies, band merchandise, and this is part of that. We need to respond," says Fox, as he shows The Sunday Telegraph round the store.

"For HMV we are already a natural destination for music and film, we want to become an equal destination for games, and this is about making our stores a real magnet for gamers to come and play and buy," he says.

Lessening dependence on a sector which has seen the closure or sale of MVC, Fopp, Tower, Virgin, Borders and so on might seem to make sense, although entering a sector which has the same sort of problems, perhaps less so. Documents in the recently green-lighted merger of Gamestation and Game [pdf] indicated the main motivation for reducing the number of games-only chains to one was the challenge of digital downloads for games, and the supermarkets eroding margins for physical products. In effect, by turning to games from music, HMV is like a sportsman trying to cope with a bad back by swapping weightlifting for shot-putting.

[Thanks to James P for the link]

iTunes across the Atlantic

Thanks to Mark S for pointing us in the direction of the Top 25 UK itunes songs of the year.

What's interesting is that only one track makes the top five on both sides of the Atlantic: Plain White Ts.

A remarkable triumph for them, although when we say "them" we mean their marketing team - if ever a band were put together in a brainstorming session, it was them, surely?

[More best ofs! More most ofs! On the big best of 2007 page]

Lily Allen read a book once; it was Orange

While we can understand the Orange Prize Judges' motivation in accepting an offer from Lily Allen to let her judge the next prize - with so many prizes for literature now, it'll give it a PR leap over the Costa, the Guardian, the Smarties and the rest of the crowded field - we're not entirely sure they're comfortable with what they've done.

Certainly, Kate Mosse seemed to be selling an idea rather than announcing a judge:

"She is a very vibrant, lively musician and we all like her music," added Mosse. "With the Orange judging panel we always try to seek a broad selection of ages and experiences because it is about celebrating international women's fiction and getting outstanding fiction read by as many women and men as possible".

The Orange judges have previously included actors, politicians and models, and, Mosse pointed out, a singer, Suzanne Vega.

Because, of course, Suzanne Vega and Lily Allen are almost interchangeable.

It might be that Allen is a great choice - although she doesn't list any authors as inspiration on her MySpace page, and we can't think of her talking about books overmuch - she once told the Independent she her "current favourite book" was the Other Boleyn Girl, and there were rumours earlier in the year that she'd been signed up to add a "My Life Story" to the groaning WH Smiths shelves alongside Beckham and Price. It might even be that having Allen onboard will allow a little of her marketeer's idea of cool rub off on reading as a whole. But the Guardian website seemed to be sending out a coded message of doubt:

That Allen "indirectly" (i.e. through her management or record label, we assume) Orange to be a judge is also interesting - could she be hoping a little credibility sticks to her?

Bragg: Morrissey shouldn't sue

Billy Bragg, writing for the The Guardian about the Morrissey/NME spat, comes out broadly in favour of the NME's right to publish:

From a man whose whole career has been based on the articulation of sensitivity and victimhood, this is more than just heavy-handedness. Any court case will only result in his questionable assertions on immigration being aired anew - something you'd imagine he'd want to avoid. He may hope, in going to law, to shut the NME up, wait until the fuss dies down and quietly withdraw the writ. But that has been the tactic down the ages of those wealthy folk who are self-centred enough to believe that they are above criticism.

In other news, Andrew Collins spent Saturday at a Royal Festival Hall event marking Billy Bragg's fiftieth birthday. Guess who turned out:
There were two NME editors in the room: Neil Spencer, now a registered astrologer of course, and Conor McNicholas, who was unsurprisingly tired of talking about Morrissey, but in good spirits otherwise.

Gordon in the morning

Having - apparently - not been at the Led Zep concert at all, Gordon is back behind the wheel today, offering to reunite Naomi Campbell with her stolen Blackberry:

You don’t want to face her wrath, so if you accidentally took her phone, get in touch with me and I’ll give it straight back.

Yes, we're sure that Naomi would be delighted if you pass her telephone to the offices of News International, with its relaxed attitude towards listening to other people's telephone conversations.

Indeed, so relaxed is the attitude to people's voicemail privacy at Wapping, one former News of the World staffer told the UK Press Gazette that the features desk used to hack into the voicemail of the news team.

Gordon also reports on plans for a Zeppelin gig in New York - he relies on "my souce backstage" at their London gig.

Otherwise, it's business as usual: Cindy Crawford has decided that she doesn't want to pose naked again, because she's afraid her child might get teased. So Gordon responds by running as many naked pages of Cindy as he had stuck in his scrapbook;

while, despite hardly anyone in the UK knowing or caring what Hulk Hogan is, Gordon runs a photo of her to support a story that consists of saying "look, she's in a bikini".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Napster boss quits

Apparently it's "personal reasons" that have led Nand Gangwani, vice president and chief financial officer at Napster, to quit the company. It would be unfair to suggest that Sisyphus gave similar reasons when he stepped down.

Going, Geffen, gone?

Digital Music News is reporting that - as the majors shrink - Geffen Records could be about to disappear in a Universal shake-up.

Depending on who you listen to, the label will either be shuttered, or else be stripped of everything but its name, with the brand being slapped on to releases handled by other parts of the Universal empire. In other words, the Geffen name will be preserved, although only to undermine it by using it as nothing more than a flag of convenience with dwindling returns.

Love: It's because I am a lady

Courtney Love has figured a reason why people think she's a bit of a hellraiser. No, surprisingly, it's nothing to do with the way she'll strip off and run, drunk, down the street during a magazine cover shoot. Or being arrested smashing bottles outside rivals houses. Or the drugs. Oh, no - it's because she is a woman:

"There is a disconnect between who I am and how I am perceived. I used to play up to it a bit when I was on drugs because who cares: sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, waaaaah! I always seem to come number two to Keith Richards in lists of greatest hell-raisers of all time. But if I was a guy, I wouldn't even be on the list! I didn't know it was such a guy's job. It's like playing football in high heels and lipstick, no wonder it smears."

That's right. If you were a guy, we'd barely notice you as you careered down the street yelling and puking and fighting, Courtney.

Bowie's face up for sale

A mask of David Bowie's face has gone up for sale by auction. The immovable but lifelike visage of Bowie was made for make-up tests during the making of The Hunger; not be confused with the immovable but lifelike visage he used when he was stinking up the screen in the Twin Peaks movie.

Okkervil overkill

We love anyone who will take on a cover version of Randy Newman's Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear. If they give it away, so much the better. And that's just one track on Okkervil River's free download mixtape of cover versions, available from their website for a limited time.

They're coming to the UK in February, too - you'll find details on their website.

Kooks pleased with themselves

The Kooks are talking up their next record:

"I think we've made a dynamic album. Every song has its own character. It's a good pop album. But talk is cheap - I want everyone to hear it."

Oh, you're alright, Luke. We're quite happy to take your word for it. We really don't need to hear it. Indeed, as it's called Konk and includes a track Do You Wanna (Make Love To Me), we're more than happy not to listen to it. Ever.

Updated lists

Amongst recent revisions to the best-of lists are the iTunes sales charts from the US, which basically reveals that some people don't even deserve iPods. Fergie? Plain White Ts?

James come home

Coming next year: not just a James tour, but a studio album, something they've not done since 2001.

Oddly, James are treating this as a continuation of business, but a load of bands have formed, split and had massive reunion comeback tours in the gaps between the two albums.

Dates in full:

Derby Assembly Rooms (April 10)
Lincoln Engine Shed (11)
Liverpool University (12)
Newcastle Academy (14)
Sheffield Academy (15)
London Shepherds Bush Empire (17)
Norwich UEA (18)
Bristol Colston Hall (21)
Blackpool Empress Ballroom (22)
Edinburgh Corn Exchange (24)
Aberdeen AECC (25)

Freesheet introduces 'fair' music service

The Metro, the initiative from Associated Newspapers designed to hide the chewing-gum and dog poop on British city streets by covering them in a thick layer of newsprint, has soft-launched a music service called MeMusic for some reason - presumably as in "I gotten me music on me mp3 player".

This offers free streaming of its library - uploaded by users:

MUSIC YOU'RE ABOUT TO LOVE - new music, free to play and fair to download

And what, exactly, is 'fair' to download?

It turns out that means 79p, some of which goes to the artist. The headline says 70 per cent - but it turns out that means something different: and MEmusic will reward the artist as it's their music that is for sale. 70% of revenue from all tunes sales – after bank charges and taxes [our emphasis] – will go straight to the artist. The artist receives payment thirty days after the end of each month either electronically or via a cheque from Amazing Media Group Ltd., provided the amount you are due is greater than £20 and Amazing Media Group Ltd. has been able to collect payment. Don't worry, we will get in touch when you reach this point for a current address and preferred means of payment.

Oddly, AmazingTunes and the Metro promote this as being a music service "without the middlemen", but, surely, if they're raking off 30p in the pound, then they're the middlemen, aren't they?

Rick Shaw pulled along by XFM

Back in our distant past, we were around Radio City at the time when the then-management told a new presenter he was going to be known as Rick Shaw on air. So successful was the not-quite-relevant punning name at rebranding him, we can't for the life of us remember what he was called before that.

Now, still with humorous name in place, Rick has joined XFM to take over the drivetime programme in London. In the meantime, he's been at Kerrang Radio, so this is something of a step up. He was always a thoroughly nice bloke, and we wish him well. "Well" might include something better than the broken XFM.

In other radio news, Classic FM has announced Barbie is going to be a presenter on the network over Christmas. The station says it doesn't see anything wrong with having a small chunk of plastic most people dimly remember from their childhoods doing a show, pointing out it already has Simon Bates in the line-up.

Alarming news for Amy Winehouse: She's obsolete

Life is moving on: The Times has crowned Adele Adkins the "new Amy Winehouse", although it is slightly confused:

Adkins, 19, who goes by her first name, was spotted from songs she had posted on her MySpace page and was invited to perform on the BBC’s Later With Jools Holland before she had released a note of music.

How do you actually put music on MySpace without releasing it? Perhaps they mean "sold" rather than "released"?

Spice Girls: the audience simply doesn't show up

Over in Las Vegas, trouble hits the Spice Girls reunion. The Mandalay Pavilion probably wasn't, as the Mail has it, half-empty; but it does seem to have been only three-quarters full.

Mind you, the audience had that boxer bloke who everyone liked last week when they thought he was going to be better at punching people, and Colleen McLoughlin in the audience, so perhaps they don't quite count.

Sugababes fight for interest

Apparently, Keisha Sugababe wasn't that bothered when Amelle got beaten up earlier in the year. And not becuase "we can just get another person in, if need be".

Oh, no: it's the edge:

"Things like that need to happen once in a while so things don't get boring."

Yes. What a shame the whole boyfriend-sister accusations thing couldn't have been better timed to coincide with a best of album, eh?

Does Beckham have an original thought?

It would be funny if the completely crushed human spirit revealed by the story wasn't involved: twenty-four hours after Karl Lagerfeld decided Amy Winehouse was a fashion icon, Victoria Beckham has announced that oh, yes, I think Winehouse is a fashion icon:

"She has a real sense of style that I just love. She's very much a fashion icon and I adore what she wears. She's so unique and original."

It's not just that Beckham has clattered and clambered onto a train as it's leaving the station, it's that the desperate fawning is centered around Lagerfeld, a man who dresses like a vicar returning from a cataract operation to take part in a Duran Duran video.

Gordon in the morning: Led Zep special

It was Gordon Smart, of course...

[UPDATE: As one of our commenters pointed out below, it wasn't Gordon - the biggest showbiz night of the year, and Gordon sent someone else - Pete Sampson, as it turns out.]

, who whipped off the Sun's tickets for LEDgendary Zeppelin (do you see?), revealing that - apparently - the showbiz hangers-on were really angry:

Tracks like Whole Lotta Love and Stairway to Heaven had every one of the fans — who included LIAM GALLAGHER and SIR PAUL McCARTNEY — on their feet and shaking their fists.

Perhaps they weren't angry. Perhaps they were shaking their fists because they'd confused Robert Plant with Gareth Hunt and were doing Nescafe advert shakes? Or maybe Gordon meant they were punching the air.

(Still, isn't it lucky that so many famous people won tickets in the draw, eh?)

The thing is, that despite GordonPete desperate to believe he was at something historical:
[T]heir classics proved music doesn’t rock like it used to

... he clearly isn't a fan:
[T]he bars at the O2 Arena in Greenwich filled during some of the band’s winding rock epics.[...]

After more than an hour the bulk of the fans got what they seemed to want most — a rendition of Stairway To Heaven.

Yes, they've waited decades just to hear one track.
The adulation of 20,000 almost-equally tired fans ringing in their ears, they trooped away into the darkness.

"Almost-equally tired?"

It doesn't really sound like GordonPete felt at home. Perhaps he was just pissed off that he was watching this room full of "middle aged and male" men while, across town, one of his Bizarre deputies was getting to hang out at the premiere of pointless St Trinians remake, with Girls Aloud.

Here, the headline is:
You Aloud in school like that?

Ah, yes. A pun on Allowed/Aloud. Which, erm, was the whole point of the band's name in the first place.

Still, back at the office, Gordon has seized the key question of the day is Dita Von Teese or Victoria Beckham hotter? There's even a poll padding out the page, too, on which scale we're expecting Gordon to give a column over tomorrow to cutting and pasting his Special Heroes Power he'll be uncovering on Facebook later this afternoon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Zep set list

The first reports are sliding back from the Led Zep reunion earlier this evening - NME's blog has fallen over a few times, which is either a resounding triumph or not, depending on how you look at it.

What, you might be wondering, did they play?


Good Times, Bad Times
Ramble On
Black Dog
In My Time of Dying
For Your Life
Trampled Underfoot
Nobody's Fault But Mine
No Quarter
Since I've Been Lovin' You
Dazed and Confused
Stairway To Heaven
The Song Remains the Same
Misty Mountain Hop

Then they went off and came back on again and played
Whole Lotta Love

Kevin DuBrow coked himself to death - coroner

Kevin DuBrown, singer with Quiet Riot who died last month, had overdosed on cocaine, according to Samantha Charles, the Clark County coroner. She's ruled the death accidental.

Five years ago today

Whitney Houston had to read songwords off her shoe during a nightmare on Good Morning America;
Jay Leno struggled to understand how The Vines could turn up loaded;
Colin Murray got a job filling the awkward gap between Lamacq and Lowe;
and, having lost Atomic Kitten, Andy McClusky put his faith in Jennifer Ellison.

Disguised as Phil Collins

Radiohead attempted to disguise their secret recording sessions by disguising their masters, explains Colin Greenwood:

"It felt like a gigantic risk. Like Mission Impossible, almost. We destroyed all CDs after every day of recording.

"And on the master we'd always write a name which probably nobody would listen to if we had lost it; Eagles: Greatest Hits, Kula Shaker demos, Phil Collins hip-hop covers."

Which explains why you should double-check that copy of the Eagles Best Of you bought for your Dad down the pub before you give it to him on Christmas Day.
[Thanks to Rachel Summers for the tip]

The Strokes have "no idea"- official

Albert Hammond Jr is clueless about what's going to happen next with the Strokes, he tells Pitchfork:

Pitchfork: So of course, I've gotta ask: What's the status of the next Strokes album?

AHJ: No idea, man.

Hammond vaguely denies that the band have split, claiming they're all "still friends", but seems more interested in his next solo album - oh, and his new "good friend" Sean Lennon.

Employing our handy rule of thumb, we reach for the formula:
(formerly modish band)+(relative of a Beatle)=band past prime

Fall Out Boy: Boys don't get prizes

Having sold his creativity for a case full of deodorant early in the year, it's not like Pete Wentz and Fall Out Boy have any dignity left to lose.

Which is why they're probably happy to whine about not being nominated for a Grammy:

"A fifty-year-old white man shouldn't decide whether we are relevant or not – and he doesn't.

"The first reaction is jealousy mixed with a slight sense of entitlement. We just want to be a part of your club...We play the events for you and the right parties all the time.

"It's kind of like being invited to a birthday party and then not allowed to eat the cake."

It would be cruel to point out that Pete Wentz is closer in demographic to a fifty year old white guy than anyone who is 'relevant'; it might, however, be worth mentioning how Wentz doesn't mind their sense of whart's relevant when they're signing off on using their marketing budgets to prop up the band's bottom line.

The real question, though, is in what way does Wentz think winning a Grammy is a sign of whether a band has "relevance" or not?

Guy Ritchie offers a glimpse into his world

Guy Ritchie's not-very-good Revolver is being given a second chance in America; he tells MTV that the reason it didn't go down well in the UK was because he was so bloody loved:

My previous movies were very big in the U.K. They had an investment in who I was and what I stood for. They put me on a pedestal. There was just too much of an investment in the whole thing. Inevitably, someone had to go tumbling. This facilitated that tumble. It gave them what they needed.

And not because the film isn't very good, even by his low standards.

Guy, though, bless him, still thinks Swept Away was a good deed that became punished:
It's the movie I intended to make. From my point of view, it was a film that couldn't transcend the external factors. Maybe it would have been wiser had I identified those to begin with. We did what we wanted to do, and we were both happy with what we did.

MTV: When you heard the reactions, did it feel like the critics were watching a different movie?

Ritchie: Yes, it did. I still don't get what the fuck that was all about.

Somewhat surprisingly, Guy then decides to compare the critical panning with the reaction to the adoption of David Banda:
I mean it was like the reaction when my wife decided to adopt a starving child. I couldn't make any sense of it. The child was nearly dead. [His] siblings had died. And she stopped that. How do you get demonized for that?

Except, of course, Madonna wasn't demonised - she was criticised, and quite fairly, for taking a child who was claimed to be an orphan, who turned out not be an orphan; for 'adopting' him without due process; for going on television and claiming there weren't any rules in place covering this sort of "adoption" despite there being laws in place at a national and OAU level; for having offered to defray course costs for members of the department who oversaw the adoption process and... well, so on and so on. Nobody demonised her for "stopping children dying."

Of course, just for the cost of the private jet which flew a bemused-looking child to Britain, Madonna could have "stopped" a lot more children dying by using that cash to vaccinate them against malaria, the disease which claimed David's siblings. But that's less photogenic, of course.

What's really interesting, though, is the way Ritchie phrases it: "my wife decided to adopt...". So, not a joint decision, then, Guy?

For Imeem, Universal makes four

Quietly developing a service which could turn out to be the YouTube of the audio world, Imeem has announced a deal with Universal to bring streaming content from the label onto its service. Universal was the last of the majors to sign up, but now Imeem is in the unique position of offering streaming music from all the big powers of old music.

Universal is delighted to be involved:

“Universal Music Group is committed to exploring new ways for consumers to discover and enjoy our artists’ music online,” stated Doug Morris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of UMG. “imeem has developed an innovative way to make our artists' music a central part of the social networking experience. More importantly, they’ve done so the right way -- by working with UMG to provide an exciting musical experience for consumers, while ensuring that our artists are fairly compensated for the use of their works.”

Of course, Universal artists' stuff is all over the Imeem service already, in the wrong way, and embeddable (something the official service won't allow). Surprising that the majors can, sometimes, be forgiving about "theft" of music, isn't it?

Umbrella... ella... unweller...

Rhianna, somewhat appropriately, is feeling under the weather, and so has dropped three of her UK tour dates:

A representative from the NEC said that Rihanna "appreciates the love and support of all her fans and wants nothing more than to see and connect with them".

Although, clearly, there is something she wants more, as she's not seeing them and connecting with with them.

Slightly drunk woman in hotel bar terror

3AM Girls have a tale to chill the blood of Take That:

Drunk stalker targets Take That

Blimey. A drunk stalker, eh?

Erm... not quite:
The scary stalker, who was in her 20s, had spent the evening downing strong lager before turning her attention to the lads.

She was eyeing them up as they relaxed in the bar of the five-star Chelsea Harbour hotel after a sell-out gig at London's O2 Arena.

A source close to the band said: "There were around a dozens fans, almost all girls, in the bar and it was very good natured. But it became more worrying when one girl tried to get upstairs into the boys' rooms.

They called for security and had her thrown out. After a night on stage they can't be doing with any stress at the hotel."

When exactly did "stalker" come to mean someone showing any interest in another person at all? Ten years ago, you'd have to put in some effort to be labelled a stalker; hanging around outside houses, going through rubbish, taking long-lens photos for months on ends. Getting a bit pissed and trying to follow Gary Barlow into a life doesn't a stalker make - but then "Take That attract social irritant" isn't quite such an eye-catching headline.

Macca to be gonged

Gordon also brings us news that Paul McCartney is going to drag himself down to the Brits to pick up a lifetime achievement award next year.

It's a wonderful example of space-filling, as Gordon churns into overdrive to fill up a giant swathe of space with a news report that consists of 'Macca gets award'. So, we get a reminder that - in case you hadn't heard - he's getting a divorce:

It has been a horror year for the BEATLES legend after his split from Lady Mucca – so it’ll be a pleasure to raise a glass to him next February in a room full of people he inspired.

He did miss the chance to churn out a few extra words by mentioning 'porn past', of course.

Gordon then clocks up some more words listing the previous winners of the award. But the foot of the page is a long way away.

Ooh... what about women?
[I]t should be interesting to see which of his fancy ladies will be on his arm on the night. He’s got a few to choose from including ROSANNA ARQUETTE and RENEE ZELWEGGER or he could always opt for one of his daughters STELLA or MARY.

Strangely, Gordon seems to have forgotten Nancy Shevell, who was supposedly the big secret love of McCartney's life according to The Sun last month.

The foot of the page is still a long way off, though. Think, Gordon. What about Paul's colleagues?
Beatles drummer RINGO STARR was due to present an award to Oasis last year – but pulled out at the last minute. This would be the perfect chance to show his face and give his old pal a pat on the back.

So, that's "it's not clear who will present the award" stretched out as far as it can go. If only Paul McCartney had breasts, Gordo could plug the gap in his copy with a photo of him in a bikini and something about bangers.

Quick, Gordon. Google to see if he's won anything at the Brits before:
In 1977 the Beatles were given the Best Group and Best Album gongs as well as the Outstanding Contribution Award by Brits judges.

Actually, no, that was a different type of awards ceremony, marking the Queens Jubilee and covering 25 years of British music. But never mind, we're almost there. There's no real reason to talk about last year's show, but...
Last year’s show – with Oasis closing proceedings with a rash of their lager-fuelled hits – looked a tough one to beat.

... needs must when the deadline drives.

Still need some more words? Ooh, ooh... how about a joke about a record McCartney made twenty years ago?
But a Macca medley really is something to get excited about – so long as the Frog Chorus doesn’t get an airing.

Nearly there, Gordon - can you strecth 'the Brits will be presented by Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne' a bit?
With OZZY and SHARON OSBOURNE hosting the mayhem at London’s Earl’s Court, it’s going to be one to remember.

With Ozzy’s shaking hands and Macca’s twitching eyebrows – it should be a classic.

Yes, because it's funny to laugh at people with physical symptoms of stress, isn't it?

Never mind, Gordon, you've made it: a massive article that consists solely of one tiny fact.

Gordon in the morning

Oddly, Saturday's "report" that was little more than an advert for Jordan's slow-moving 2008 calendar remains prominent on the Bizarre website this morning - 4th story, in fact.

But Gordon also finds room for the "news" that Kylie Minogue has danced a bit on German TV. She kicked her leg in the air, which gives all the excuse needed for the weak headline:

Kylie pinogue wows crowds

Mind you, considering the best the front page can manage this morning is pinching the week-old, weak, old Daily Mirror Canoe/Can you not-quite-pun, this makes Gordon look like The Guardian crossword.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ed Balls hails The Spice Girls as the way ahead

Casting around for an example of great female role models, Ed Balls realises that Gordon Brown's cabinet offers not very much, so settles on The Spice Girls. Oh, and Thatcher.

We're not sure if we'd rather have our daughter turn out like Thatcher or Geri Halliwell. We really wouldn't want to have to make that choice.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

The Wired Listening Post interviews Tim Burgess about giving the album away, and working with Alan McGee:

I really don't want to go back to a label! And obviously, working with Alan, he's kind of the law unto himself anyway. When we got together it was a team made in heaven, really, me and Alan. We both needed each other at the time, and both forged the plan, really. And I think managements where it's at -- decent managers rather than a record label.

Bow Wow loses face off with Omarion

With Lil Bow Wow currently trying to push his collaboration with Omarion - the same Omarion, you'll recall, who bravely survived the July 2005 bombs in London despite only being several miles from them - the last thing you'd think Bow Wow needed would be some sleep. But, apparently, he needs some rest. He's dropped off his headline tour due to "stress and exhaustion".

The sort of exhaustion that requires an emergency trip to A&E, apparently.

And the sort of headline tour which will carry on without him.

PRS play Scrooge

Dam House is a grade two listed building in Astley, Greater Manchester, which was saved for the greater good by public-spirited fund raisers who pulled together the cash to keep the building a community facility.

In part, it's running costs are funded by a tearoom. To make the buttering and scone-filling more agreeable, the staff have a radio in the kitchen.

Enter, stage left, the PRS. Standing in the tearoom, the bat-eared PRS rep believed they could hear the radio leaking through into the public area. The PRS demanded that - since, clearly, people would be going to the attraction to sit, straining their ears, to hear a radio programme they could listen to at home - the charity cough up for a PRS licence.

Somehow, the charity scraped together £230.

But the PRS are like the mafia - once you pay them, they're always going to be back and demanding more. This year, they want £470.06.

Why more?

A spokesman from PRS said: "Morts Astley Heritage Tearooms has been quoted £470.06 for a PRS Music Licence, based on the music usage information it provided to PRS.

"The business completed our standard reassessment form in which it indicated that its music usage had increased since it purchased a PRS Music Licence last year. Based on this information, a new invoice reflecting the increase in music usage was issued on November 10, 2007.

"We are in contact with Morts Astley Heritage Tearooms Ltd directly since they spoke of their concerns on BBC Radio Manchester to ensure the details they provided PRS are correct."

And what was this "increase in music usage" of which the PRS spoke?

A children's carol concert.

Ho-ho-ho. Merry Christmas.

Five years ago today

The BPI had to face up to the piracy risk of musical pants;
Elvis Costello and Sophie Ellis Bextor were paying a company to spam the world;
Attempts to point out how ridiculous a law requiring a licence for two people singing in a bar would be backfired;
Mariah Carey's comeback had yet to gain traction;
Glastonbury muttered about tickets being sold in advance and
Christina Aguilera put out a casting call for sexy or compelling people with eating disorders.

RIAA anti-crime hero been caught stealing

Back when the RIAA still probably believed there was a better side amongst their customers to which they could appeal, they wheeled out Britney Spears to make a video equating downloading tracks with stealing CDs.

Now that she's been filmed stealing lighters from gas stations, we'd love to hear from the RIAA if downloading an out-of-print song is as bad as, worse than, or not as criminal as that.

Sharon Osbourne fails to follow through

One of the few good things to come out of the unwatchable Sharon Osbourne show was the woman offering to build a sensory garden for a twelve year-old disabled boy.


Unfortunately, the three thousand pound garden never materialised - although at some point someone from ITV sent a talking dice instead. Now, some fourteen months on, the family have finally got the garden, but only after the Daily Star got involved.

The programme team are dressing it up as if the excruciating delay was part of plan to make the timing special:

A spokesman for The Sharon Osbourne Show said: "We're upset to hear the family hasn't received the equipment as yet but we understand arrangements have now been made so that Dean has an extra special Christmas which he and his family will remember."

Heartwarming, you see? Of course, the mother will also remember fourteen months of constant calls to ITV trying to find out what had happened to remember as well.

Lee Ryan flees Liverpool

Lee Ryan had a "gig" (or, rather, he was going to sing a single song) in Liverpool, but after he'd hit on the wrong woman, a fight broke out and Ryan decided to head straight back to Lime Street.

This, of course, was at the Newz Bar.

How low can you Doh?

Surely Pete Doherty isn't so desperate to grub out some cash that he'd sell out Kate Moss for a tittle-tattle documentary on ITV2? Surely not?

Apparently, ITV2 are making a programme - actually, "documentary" is overdoing it - called Kate and Pete: A Love Story, and Doherty is granting an interview. Perhaps it's best for Babyshamble's credibility that he's stopped turning up for gigs.

Robbie Williams is not a good sport

For reasons which the Sunday Mirror doesn't bother to detail, Robbie Williams' amateur football team has been docked points by the Super Metro League, which has cost it the championship.

Williams, of course, is not happy, burbling away about "unbelievable bias":

"This is a hugely harsh penalty for the team that has fought hard all season and played fair."

Although, of course, they didn't play fair - they took to the field with an unregistered player. The LA Vale line is that they did register him, it was just a "fax problems and documentation" that meant he wasn't registered.

Not, of course, that Williams cares about the technicalities. He's apparently just going to take his ball home and disband the team altogether.

Dear Amy...

While Mitch Winehouse is out lamping Pete Doherty, Janis Winehouse has taken time to send Amy a letter, pleading and heartfelt, asking her to get some help.

Oddly, though, she's sent it through the News of the World. Perhaps she doesn't trust the post.

Why, you may wonder, would a mother think publishing the plea in the paper be a wise move? The note provides a hint:

Dear Amy,

I HOPE you understand why I'm writing this. We have spoken recently but many people will wonder why I haven't run down to whatever hotel you're staying in, scooped you up and taken you home for a hot bath and a steaming bowl of chicken soup.

It's because your father and I know what you're like, Amy.

We want to help you, but we know that unless you want to be helped— unless you come to us—anything we tried would be in vain.

So this letter is my way of making sure that you know that—that all you have to do is come to us, Amy, and we'll do everything in our power to get you well again.

In other words, this letter is more to show News of the World readers that Janis Winehouse is doing everything she can for her daughter, rather than trying to persuade Amy to do anything at all.
Winehouse mere goes on to tell the readers - sorry, Amy - that she was always "headstrong" as a child, before ramming home the point that it's up to her:
I know there's no point in me ringing you, fussing over you or ordering you to do something. I need you to take that first step, darling. I need you to call me, to pick up that phone and tell me what's troubling you.

At a guess, it's probably something to do with her nogoodnik husband being in the jail and having an addiction.

Ah... yes. The husband:
Some wonderful things have happened since that night, darling, but also some not so wonderful. Blake, your husband, might not be my favourite person—you know that, Amy—but he's your choice and I would never say anything about him to hurt you.

When I was quoted recently as saying "Thank God Blake's inside" what I meant was that putting him in jail might help him to clean up HIS act and change HIS life.

It wasn't said out of viciousness or to upset you. If your relationship is meant to be, it will survive.

I'm a great believer that everything in life happens for a reason, a purpose. And if you two are destined to be together forever, then so be it.

Not only is that less than ringing as an endorsement of the man, "so be it" is a phrase which can't actually be uttered without grinding teeth and rolling eyes.
Having to cancel your tour, as well, has been very sad. But I know it's happened for the best.

Despite disappointing all of your fans, who I know you treasure so much, maybe it will pull you up and make you stop and think and take stock of where your life is going.

Look! Fans! Don't run away just because she either doesn't turn up, or does turn up and just spits at you and suggests you'll get beaten up when her husband is out of jail. Amy treasures you. Don't you feel special?

Oddly, having decided that it's for the best that Amy has cancelled her tour, Janis then suggests that she really needs to be back at work:
You're a true professional who thrives on work and you need to get back into that routine.

We know you don't want to let your fans down. We know how important they are to you and how once you're over this present setback you'll give them a show they'll never forget.

To be honest, the shows on the aborted tour are unlikely to leave the attendee's minds anytime soon.

Let's hope that Amy, erm, buys the News of the World to see this heartfelt plea. And doesn't feel that it's not actually helping to drag the family's laundry through the popular prints.

This week just gone

The ten most-read individual pages on No Rock & Roll Fun this week:

1. Heather Mills porn pictures resurface
2. R Kelly sex video gets court OK
3. Why did Casey Calvert die?
4. McFly strip at GAY
5. RIP: Casey Calvert
6. Morrissey denies racism; attacks NME
7. Beth Ditto: naked for reasons
8. Nelly Furtado naked for Playboy? Won't happen
9. 2007 Best Of Albums, Singles, anything...
10. Mitch Winehouse slaps Pete Doherty

These were the best of the new releases:

The Wedding Present - Shepherd's Bush Welcomes... Another live Weddoes album as, seemingly, every gig they ever played comes to CD

The Wedding Present - Ye Ye ... while Sony BMG attempt to squeeze some cash out of the RCA years

Remi Nicole - My Conscience And I Apres Nash, the deluge

Echo & The Bunnymen - Killing Moon In case you missed the freebie Best Of chucked out with the Daily Star Sunday earlier this year

Various - Finest Worksongs Athens bands pay tribute to the city's most famous musical sons

Daniel Levitin - This Is Your Brain On Music Music, why do we love you when you're so bad to us?

Michael Moran, Tom Bromley, Simon Trewin, Amanda Astill - Shopping While Drunk *cough* Page 177