Saturday, July 19, 2008

And Courtney's been back on

Courtney has - despite having had all her computers removed on account of her AOL being violated - gone back on to her MySpace blog, this time to, erm, accuse Ryan Adams of funding the Rock & Roll album by stealing USD858,000 from Frances Bean's trust fund.

Yes, it came out five years ago. Courtney has only just noticed:

But i was sitting with some people going thru the 29 american express cards that i didnt know existed that were connected to a few HUNDRED bank accounts,and there were all the bills for Ryan Adams worst record and one of the worst records i can think of in rock and roll history ironically called"Riock and Roll " and it was paid for by ME and mostly by my child.

Now, let's be fair: it might be true that Adams did this. Somehow. Even if he did, you could probably argue that the best way to deal with it might not be posting a barely-legibile rant on MySpace. If he didn't, let's hope Adams is the sort of man who will swallow down being accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a child with good grace and won't, you know, instruct lawyers or anything.

We say "stealing hundreds of thousands from a child" - Courtney puts it slightly differently:
stealing from a suicide? A MARTYRED HERO? fun for you. big man. wow. impressive.
Yeah well theres nothing good about suicide and i should know- but to take my near suicidal depression and use it on my daughters paying fo ryour shit record

Um... was Kurt actually a martyred hero? Perhaps it's best not to ask.

Courtney claims to have all these Amex bills as proof of what went on. But since her post doesn't really make sense, it could be that the people who are failing to help her now failed to help her back then. And even if there is paperwork detailing this, it's a bit of a leap to suggest Adams knew what was going on. After all, if Love can't keep track of her own money, why should she expect Ryan Adams to know about it?

More to the point, if the cash was Frances Beans, shouldn't it have been in some sort of trust? Where were the trustees?

Is there nobody who cares about Love enough to suggest that she stops washing her laundry like this?

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

The Listening Post catches up with Neil Halstead and asks about Slowdive reunions:

No, there are no plans to get Slowdive back together. We had a lot of pedals, a lot of love and some good grass. When the love ran out, we sold the grass and smoked the pedals.

Orphan breeds

Another comeback that - you suspect - is less inspired by the Take That reunion than some of them: Shelleyan Orphan are recording a new album - We Have Everything We Need, due out this October.

Fifteen years, since you ask, since the last one.

If you need your memory prompting, here's this:

[via 3Hive]

More Colorado rodeo woes

At the start of the month, the Greeley Stampede was the focus of a ultimately pointless Poison spat when Rikki Rocket issued a statement about how terrible it was that the band were playing a rodeo, but played anyway because, erm, a gig is a gig.

Now, the Cheyenne Frontier Days has suffered a high-profile pull-out, as Matchbox Twenty suddenly realised that being lined up to play a rodeo meant they were going to have a play a rodeo, and bailed. Although, apparently, it's only cruel sometimes:

Matchbox Twenty, which said it cancelled because of animal rights concerns, will be playing at three state fairs that also feature rodeos in the coming months.

The band could not be reached for comment Friday about why it considered the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo, touted as the "Daddy of 'em All," different from the other rodeos it has agreed to play.

The group is scheduled to perform at the North Dakota State fair, the Orange County State Fair and the California Mid- State Fair.

Perhaps Californian bulls deserve to be badly treated.

Say goodnight, Jimi

Meanwhile, the FT must be slightly miffed that it secured an interview with Ronnie Wood and between transcription and publication, it turned out he'd fallen off the wagon, on to the top of a Russian model. Or, more accurately, "model".

Still, it did at least get him to talk about flatsharing with Jimi Hendrix:

“He didn’t think he was any good as a singer. I used to say, ‘Don’t worry about that voice’,” Wood revealed.

“He used to obliterate real life by being stoned all the time – and he couldn’t handle it. He didn’t realise how good he was.”

Hendrix obliterated life with drugs. Not, perhaps, the biggest revelation.

Wood seems to be carrying a grudge from their final meeting, though:
“He was leaving Ronnie Scott’s. He had his arm around a girl and he looked really sad. I went out after him and said, ‘Jimi, you didn’t say goodnight.”

Wood is strangely quiet about what happened next. Probably trying to avoid self-incrimination.

A nice Young man

There's a lovely interview with Paul Young in the Mail today; he's split from his wife, but is still friends with her; he's working in her restaurant to make ends meet as he blew all his cash on bad investments, and even the master tapes of his old songs are "falling to bits". But he sounds genuinely happy and surprisingly well-balanced for someone who has gone from Top of the Pops to washing the pots.

You might think, for example, that he'd be grudging about the overnight success model of Simon Cowell's raw materials, but no - he's just sad for what they miss out on:

'If we could find a room with cotton sheets for £10 a night, we thought we'd arrived. One time we nearly got killed when we were driving back from a gig and stopped to take a leak at the side of the road. We got back into our minibus but the road crew behind didn't see us and drove straight into the bus, writing it off.

'Things like that make for great memories. It makes me feel sad for people who win shows such as The X Factor. They're halfway up the ladder already.

They don't have to go through the whole slog of doing the circuit and they miss out on all the fun. It's like being thrust into your life without having to go through your childhood, school, adolescence - everything that makes you who you are.'

He's even happy on the reunion package tour circuit:
I didn't think the revival touring would be fun,' he shrugs. 'I didn't want to get stuck in the whole 1980s thing, but I was wrong. Everybody's always very nice. But, then, I've generally found that English pop stars tend not to have massive egos.

It's a sweet little interview. It doesn't, sadly, reveal if now he's fifty he's started wearing underpants, though.

Darkness at 3AM: More than a feeling

Let's just leave aside the observation that "man proposes to girlfriend at gig" should be more the business of the Kent Messenger than the Daily Mirror, and wonder at the 3AM Coverage of said event.

It happened at a Feeling gig - we can well imagine such a show would be so dull you'd say anything, anything at all to break the tedium - and the 3Amies record it thus:

Graeme Gall, from Kent, went down on one knee and asked his girl Liz to marry him.

So far, so cute - although we can't help wondering if the words "if we make it out of this gig..." were involved. But then:
A source said: "There wasn't a dry eye in the house."

A source? Do you suppose they've just set up a Word Macro which strips out any attribution at all from their copy? Could they not have at least pretended the person from the Feeling's record company who probably rang this story through to them was "a person at the gig" or something at the very least? Or was there a long, involved discussion - off-the-record, on third-party territory - as to how they would work this quote into the story? A Deep Throat insisting "you can tell your readers there wasn't a dry eye in the house, but please, in God's name, make sure they don't trace it back to me..."?

Still, congratulations to the soon-to-be Mr and Mrs Gall. You might want someone else to pick your first dance tune, though.

Doherty: a wanted man

The law is seeking Pete Doherty again: he missed a second court date on charges of breaking a photographer's equipment and an arrest warrant has been raised. Spinner rather generously describes this as "bad luck", as if not turning up at court twice in a row might be considered an act of god.

[UPDATE: The court date has been rescheduled and the warrant withdrawn]

Gordon in the morning: It's just porn, mum

Given that "a contestant on a reality TV show which, because it is in a foreign language, is unlikely to ever be shown in Britain" hardly constitutes a celebrity in any meaningful sense of the word, when Gordon publishes a video of Gina Lisa from Germany's Next Top Model having sex, he's just running film of random people fucking, isn't it?

Friday, July 18, 2008

O yeah

Karen O is indulging in a spot of side-activity, in the form of Native Korean Rock and the Fishnets. It's nothing to do with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs; at the moment, it consists of two live shows in New York on July 21st (= some shaky cameraphone footage on YouTube from July 22nd).

And while we're slapping YouTube videos onto the page

You may have already seen this, but it's so cute who wouldn't mind seeing it again? Feist pops up on Sesame Street:

Clinic reopens

We love Clinic, and the appearance of something fresh on YouTube always sets our pulse racing faster: The new single, Tomorrow, for example:

The wrong paper

For reasons we can't quite fathom, people who've bought tickets for the Coldplay gig in Glasgow have been asked to send their tickets back in order to get new ones. On, erm, different paper:

Ticket distribution company Ticketmaster has asked fans to send back tickets bought through them for the shows on December 5 and 6 as soon as possible.

All customers affected by the mistake have been sent out freepost envelopes to return the tickets in, with Ticketmaster saying that they will refund all service charges.

We're at a total loss as to understand why it matters if the tickets are on the 'wrong' paper - obviously, it's a bit of a slip but since the tickets are good enough to swap for new tickets, why aren't they good enough for gaining entry to the actual gig? And what happens if someone doesn't swap out the tickets? Will they still be able to get in?

The faintest air of something dodgy hangs over the affair:
A spokesperson for promoter DF Concerts said that while all tickets bought direct from Ticketmaster would be exchanged in time, fans with tickets bought from secondary sources such as Ebay might end up disappointed.

"It will be more difficult to replace tickets originally purchased through Ticketmaster and then sold on through the secondary ticket market," the spokesperson said.

He added: "In this case, ticket holders should contact their point of purchase. We urge these secondary sources to look after their customers at this time."

This isn't an attempt to try and fight touting by creating a "but what if you bought your tickets from eBay and they needed to recall them" worry, is it?

Also: if Ticketmaster has the names and addresses of ticketholders to be able to send them an envelope for them to return the tickets, why didn't it just send them new tickets and cancel the old ones? Wouldn't that have been simpler?

If it really is a genuine mistake, it makes Ticketmaster look something of a shambles. If it's all a stunt, it makes Ticketmaster look like a shambles being run by knaves.

What Mozzer wants: "if a Mercedes S-500 is not available, then a Lexus, BMW or Jaguar will also be accepted"

Morrissey's rider for his date in Israel has appeared on the Ynet website. It's quite an eye-opener:

לפי הבקשה, מוריסי דורש שיעמידו לרשותו רכב פרטי עם נהג מקצועי שיהיה זמין בכל עת להסעת האמן. הרכב חייב להיות בצבע שחור עם חלונות כהים: אם מרצדס S-500 לא בנמצא, אז לקסוס, BMW או יגואר יתקבלו.

Didn't you always know it?

For those of us whose Hebrew is, at best, rusty, Morrissey Solo has got a translation. Some of the detail is suprising:
Morrissey demands a private car with a professional driver available to drive him at any time. The car must be black with dark windows: if a Mercedes S-500 is not available, then a Lexus, BMW or Jaguar will also be accepted.

Blimey - Morrissey in a Lexus. A black one, mind. Now, we can understand the desire for a driver, and can even see the wish for a certain level of comfort (although a grudging 'a Jaguar will do' is a bit of a stretch). But insisting on the colour? Isn't that going a little far?

The food requests are fairly reasonable - although providing a photo of the brand of butter is a wee bit anal. Talking of which:
A private bathroom only for Morrissey – a must.

Morrissey: You Are Not Kenneth Williams. Share the bloody toilet.

Of course, rumours about the rules on food have circulated for years. Now, we know they're pretty much all true:
All food should be vegetarian. For everyone. Including all crews, stands and attendants inside the venue and in its vicinity. If there is a barbeque spot nearby, the artists' room should be placed so that the wind will not be in their direction. All food should be fresh and healthy and mineral water should be supplied all the time. A balanced diet must be kept and upheld.

Oh, pity the poor soul who is charged with ensuring that, should the wind change, the artists all be moved to the other side of the building from the smell of cooking hamburgers.

It's not clear if this is because the smell of searing flesh is so offensive to Morrissey, or because the odour of hot dogs present a delicious challenge to his principles. We've been veggie for two decades, but oh, the smell of frying bacon still whispers 'surely one pig... wouldn't be so very bad...'
Morrissey does not eat any kind of chili or spices.

All that spicy foreign muck, as my great aunt used to say.
In addition, the food in the venue (whether sold at the stands or brought by the audience) shall be completely vegetarian – meat will not be allowed inside the venue.

Woe betide you if you try to sneak in a Peparami.

Finally, though, it's all about the love:
"Morrissey does not tolerate any sort of violent or aggressive behavior from any crew member, security guard or policeman. Everyone shall be treated equally and with dignity at any time."

Not, though, so much respect that you can share his crapper. There are limits.

Chris Martin hearts Hannah Montana

Chris Martin, it turns out, enjoys a spot of DisneyPop:

"I like Miley Cyrus... I like the TV show."

And Martin insists he'd even consider supporting Cyrus at a concert for what would be one of the oddest gigs ever.

He adds, "I'd do it. Anyone we like or respect, no matter how different they may be, we would play with."

"She's doing something quite different... I just think she seems to have a sweet character."

Is it just us, or does he seem to be confusing Hannah Montana the made-up character with Miley Cyrus, the real person? He's going to offer Vernon from Corrie a few sessions on the drums at this rate, isn't he?

[Thanks to Michael M]

Buskers busted

With surprisingly short notice, London Underground have canceled their busker scheme deal with Automatic Management. Set up in the days of the Livingstone administration, this was the attempt to impose order on the chaos of tubeway buskers. It took much of the romance out of the underground - buskers were given official pitches, the scheme was sponsored by some sort of lager - but also offered a truce in the long battles between London Transport and musicians.

Now, though, the deal has gone and London Underground is taking control of the scheme, but in a way that sounds like it's a prelude to running it down:

For the foreseeable future, there will be no Busking Site Managers. In the event of any dispute over pitch bookings, instruments being played etc., LU staff will not enter into protracted discussions with buskers. If a situation cannot be easily remedied, Station Supervisors have the authority to close a busking pitch for as long as they think necessary to avoid problems. Where this is deemed necessary. Station Supervisors have been instructed to submit a formal report. Buskers should do the same to the above email address. BTP are being briefed of these changes and will provide assistance as necessary, although this is unlikely to be needed.

We can see the reasoning behind the 'if there's any dispute, shut it down' line - there's no funding for the running of these pitches and staff don't have the time or the training to oversee them. That's why, presumably, the running of the scheme was outsourced in the first place.

The Underground denies the long-term plan is to drop the scheme entirely:
We realise that the interim arangements are not ideal. However, we remain commited to operating this scheme for you and we are working hard to introduce more robust arrangements as quickly as we can. The decision to bring the scheme ‘in-house’ was taken with very little notice (for a number of reasons) and we must all do all we can over the coming weeks to keep the scheme viable.

... but that pay off about "keeping the scheme viable" suggests a door being opened to an announcement that, hey, we tried to do all we can, but...

Some suspicion has aired that Boris will have something to do with this - like he's actually making decisions - but there's nothing to confirm one way or the other.

China: The Sex Clarke Five will never be invited now

It seems Bjork's decision to shout "Tibet Tibet" while playing Shanghai has frightened the life out of the Chinese government. Yes, although nobody else (bar the odd journalist and some swans) has been bothered by anything Bjork has done for decades, she's finally got a reaction.

The Chinese government are busy guys, repressing left, right and centre, but they've taken steps to ensure that nothing like that ever happens again:

"Any artistic group or individual who have ever engaged in activities which threaten our national sovereignty will not be allowed in," the Ministry of Culture said in a statement on its website.

During performances, entertainers who "threaten national unity", "whip up ethnic hatred", "violate religious policy or cultural norms" or "advocate obscenity or feudalism and superstition", will also be banned, the rules state.

Coldplay have announced plans to drop the song 'Let's Reorganise on Feudalist Lines' from their set, in the hope of being able to play Beijing someday.

The Hoosiers are unmoved

The Hoosiers are disgruntled with the Kings of Leon:

Irwin Sparkes claimed the Tennessee band's headline slot was disappointing because it didn't feel "special".

"I saw them at Glasto and they are good but they just don’t put on much of a show," he told the Daily Star.

Countering this, The Kings of Leon, like most people, feel quite upset when the Hoosiers do put on a show. Of any sort.

Sometimes, Mengele would make the prisoners do an extra hour in the spa

Billy Joel realises that comparing a brief spell in a luxury clinic getting treated for drinking too much with being shipped off to a Nazi death camp might be a bit much:

"I hated it. It was like a concentration camp - well, I can't say that, I've never been in a concentration camp. But for me, it was.

Briefly, he realised it was a facile and offensive comparison. But then decided to go with it anyway.
"There's a lot of dogma that goes with it, and there's the whole AA thing, and for a lot of people that works. I didn't necessarily follow that."

Yes, that does sound a lot like being separated from your family, starved, getting experimented upon, being shuffled into a room and getting slowly gassed to death. Presumably someone removed Joel's sense of perspective with a pair of pliers.

So, it wasn't just a lame stunt, then?

You might have thought that, like his appearance at Pride, Boris Johnson's decision to embrace Lily Allen was more about photo opportunities trying to reposition him as being intouch and modern than a serious attempt to do something about knife crime. But, oh no, it really is a genuine initiative:

Speaking about the meeting, Johnson told BBC 6music: "I welcome any constructive suggestions on combating knife crime and Lily Allen has already proved her commitment to help address this problem.

"I welcome her proposals and am keen to explore further how she can help us address this serious and distressing problem.

"There is nothing romantic or glamorous about knife crime and I'm delighted Lily will be using her considerable profile and fan base to spread that message."

Getting Lily Allen fans to tell people that there's nothing glamorous about having your face carved off with a Kitchen Devil. Yes, that's genius, that is. Presumably iTunes will, in future, feature a tick box for you to affirm you don't like knives before you can download a track from Alright Still The Only Record She's Made.

Having a meeting with a popstar and coming away convinced that, hey, if only we could tell the kids that knives are bad, it'll make a difference. Is that really the best they can do?

Mind you: even as they were meeting, the crime figures were released showing a 22% drop in violent crime. And that was just on the strength of Allen posting a message on her MySpace.

Can anyone else smell a bizarre mix of desperation, cocaine and chicken drumstick fat?

Have you ever wished you could smell like Kerry Katona, but don't have the time to sleep in your own clothes?

Good news, she's just launched her own perfume, called Outrageous.

The Liverpool Echo reports:

The French-made scent, whose bottle has a spiky black rubber top, aims to reflect the mother-of-four’s personality and the “outrageous” lies about what she has not done.

We're not sure how the smell reflects Katona's personality, but we're given to understand that once it's on you, no amount of washing or scrubbing will ever rid you of the smell.

It could, just as easily, have been Melissa and Daughter

Yusuf Islam has accepted a libel payout from the World Entertainment News Network after the service published a story that extrapolated wildly from his name and claimed he wouldn't speak to women who didn't wear the veil. Oh, and even if women did wear a veil, he'd still only speak to them through third parties.

Which doesn't even make sense - why would it be okay for the "third party" to speak to women if Islam couldn't? Or did WENN think that he used a different third party each time? "You've spoken to women now, so effectively, you're as bad as them."

Islam is giving the damages to his charity. ContactMusic, which also ran the story, is going to chip in, too.

Sex Pistols tickets vanish

About a thousand tickets for the Loch Lomond festival have vanished. The line up includes the Sex Pistols, Pete Doherty if he can be arsed to show up, and the Happy Mondays - like it's some sort of festival of drug-addled wastage down the centuries.

Tickets had been entrusted to a courier firm; the organisers are insisting that they won't let anyone in with stolen tickets and have "increased security" to ensure that won't happen.

Zutons otherwise engaged

Dave McCabe out the Zutons is setting his phone to vibrate:

"She's an older lady," McCabe told the Daily Star. "In her late 40s, I think - and she won't leave me alone.

"She’s got my mobile number and keeps sending me pictures of herself with her tits out."

Meanwhile, somewhere in the country, a couple are reunited after one of them has spent some time on a business trip. She is blanching.

-"o-nine-seven- three?"
-"Yes, three. Not eight. I thought it was funny I didn't hear from you while I was away. Did you send me any interesting texts?... Honey? Are you alright?"

Ministry rebrands: No longer about Sound

The world of diminishing returns has persuaded the people in charge of Ministry of Sound to rebrand.

Ideas they considered were Department Of Dance Catalogue Compilation CDs; Yes We Are Still Going Actually Why Don't You Go And Be Sarcastic Outside Cream's Offices Instead and MinSound 2.0. Instead, they've gone with MSHK.

No, they really have. Apparently this is to reflect, um, something:

According to the independent music powerhouse, the name-change mirrors its diversification into new revenue streams, which now include HedKandi branded toiletries, camping equipment and audio hardware.

"Independent music powerhouse", we should point out, was Billboard's phrase. So, they're licensing a name to manufacturers of intimate hygiene wipes or something, so they need to change the name of the company? Is that out of shame?

Yessir, it's Esser

Ooh! The video for the new [Ben] Esser single Headlock has just popped into the ever-expanding videoglobalbitstream:

McCartney attempts to defuse nationalist tensions with humour. Fails.

The City of Quebec is celebrating 400 years of existence with a massive party. The trouble is, the pride of French Canadians has been offended by the booking of Paul McCartney as main attraction.

You'd have thought that McCartney - happy to weigh in on the subject of Irish nationalism back in the 1970s - might at least be able to understand the sensitivities involved. Wouldn't you?

Not quite. He's responded with a terse get over it:

"I think it's time to smoke the pipes of peace and to just, you know, put away your hatchet because I think it's a show of friendship," McCartney said on Radio-Canada.

Pipes of Peace? Do you see what he did there? Of course, using a throwaway reference to a Native American practice is probably going to offend the Montagnais Innu who were living quite happily in the area before any French or Britons turned up, but Macca isn't done yet.

He decides to try a joke:
McCartney tried to deflate the political rhetoric around Sunday's show on the Plains of Abraham, site of the pivotal 1759 battle between British General James Wolfe and France's Marquis Louis-Joseph de Montcalm.

"The kind of thing I read about in the schoolbooks when I was a kid was ... who was General Wolfe?" he said jokingly. "I still haven't figured it out."

Yes. If people are upset because they feel you're a bit of an insult to their history, why not go all out and insult their history? Isn't this a bit like upsetting the Irish and then burbling "oh, I don't even know who this Wolfe Tone is anyway... is it really important?"

Still, for all his blundering, Paul's going to make a grand gesture:
The ex-Beatle said he has been working on expanding the few lines of French he used in the 1965 hit "Michelle."

"Come on Quebece-ins, love me baby," said McCartney.

A couple of extra lines of French in Michelle. Yes, that'll work.

Go on, Mr. Bono, Sir, do whatever you will

Ireland has once again deployed its apparent "one rule for Bono" legislation by approving the U2 plans to ruin ("renovate") The Clarence Hotel in Dublin.

Despite it being in a Conservation Area and everything:

"We would obviously condemn the decision. It undermines national legislation on architectural heritage because of the number of protected sites being demolished," said Ian Lumley, an officer with An Taisce, Ireland's heritage-protection organization.

Lumley said Foster's grandiose design was "a very impressively conceived scheme but in the wrong place. This would not be allowed in areas of comparable sensitivity in any other European countries."

We've stayed at the Clarence, and given the lift broke down twice and it was impossible to switch off the radiator in the room - we ended up having to cover it with all the duvets to try and get the temperature down to something lower than sauna - we'd suggest that Bono and his chums might want to try running a hotel well before building a larger one.

The planning permission insist on the retention of some of the Georgian facades and, at least, the hotel won't be as blighty as the Bono Ego Tower being thrust into the skyline further down the Liffey.

Gordon in the morning: Vote Say Say Say

For some reason, rather than just putting on the ones that sold the best, Michael Jackson's people are orchestrating some sort of global voting process to decide the tracks that will go on the latest Jackson best of. And for the UK version, they've chosen the nation's most sophisticated electorate: Gordon Smart's readers.

Gordon, of course, is thrilled at this important job he's been given to do by the important people who know Michael Jackson. He's on his best behaviour:

MICHAEL JACKSON has been called a lot of things in recent years.

But one name he has been given that is beyond dispute is the King Of Pop... and probably Wacko Jacko.

Controversy has blighted his career but he has, without doubt, produced some of best pop tracks ever recorded.

Ahem. Actually, Quincy Jones produced them, but never mind. Wouldn't you say that Wacko Jacko is probably in less dispute than King of Pop? Isn't Madonna, say, far better positioned to claim the title of Pop Monarch?

Anyway, Gordon's dutifully listed fifty Michael Jackson songs, and explains what's going to happen:
The idea to let his fans choose the tracklisting came from Jacko himself.

Countries around the world will all have a separate vote to choose their favourites — resulting in each nation having their own unique “best of” CD.

I can already picture Jacko’s mad fans touring the world to snap up all the different version of the album.

Yes, that's right, Gordon. They'll be packing suitcases right now. (Could someone in The Sun office show him eBay and explain the concept of import records to him during the day?)

And yes, he does manage to come up with fifty tracks, even although everyone knows that this process is effectively "if you could add a couple of tracks to Thriller, what would they be?"

Oddly, there's no sign of What More Can I Give, Jacko's 9/11 benefit song, nor, indeed, of his much-trumpeted Katrina benefit which, you know, we can't quite recall the name of now.

There is, however, one potential for a rarity (besides the late-period stuff that nobody liked), as Gordon excitedly announces:
One of the songs in the poll, Say Say Say — recorded with THE BEATLES’ legend PAUL McCARTNEY — has never been on a Jackson album before.

Yes - that Paul McCartney. The one out the Beatles. Not just any old Paul McCartney.

There's a good version why Say Say Say hasn't ever appeared on a Jackson album, we'd suggest - and can we just stress how childish it would be to go to the voting form just to vote for that song. That would be childish.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Strokes side-projects expand again

We're hoping the Guardian will do one of its nifty wallcharts to help us keep track of all the Strokes side projects: now, Fabrizio is doing something:

with his girlfriend, Binki Shapiro, and their singer-guitarist pal Rodrigo Amarante, who used to play in Brazilian indie-rock group Los Hermanos.

Apparently the project, Little Joy, sounds like wall of sound girl groups - which is tantalising if true.

EU hand rich rockers extra pension

The long campaign to extend copyright in recordings looks to have scored a major victory: The European Commission has recommended extending the copyright to 95 years.

Well, Cliff will be happy, anyway.

The proposals were unveiled by European Commission Single Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.

"A 95-year term would bridge the income gap that performers face when they turn 70, just as their early performances recorded in their 20s would lose protection," his scheme said.

Oh, really?

Feargal Sharkey echoes the sentiment:
"I am especially pleased that the announcement focuses on the 'invisible' members of our industry - the musicians, engineers and session players whose names are hidden away in the liner notes and credits.

"It is they, and not just 'featured' artists and record labels, who could derive real benefits from this move - and at a time in life when their earning power would be severely diminished."

As we've said before, if Cliff and U2 and Fergal were really worried about pensionable musicians who can't make ends meet, they could have come up with a proposal that would actually help them, rather than offer a vague chance of a small payment while making those featured artists (and record companies) much, much wealthier. After all, the reason why the less well-known participants on records are struggling in later life is because they tend not to own the rights in recordings of their own work.

There is no intellectual defence of a ninety-five year copyright period on anything. Time for a 'fifty is enough' campaign?

Courtney Love has something to share

That noise? That's the internet spasming as Courtney Love checks into MySpace again:

regarding billy and the glow of my dearest friend Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Chris Martin

I would like to start off with the whole Billy thing that was posted on Perez by apologizing to Billy Corgan, I had a shared computer that has been comprised, my AOL account and my daughter's account, i had to get rid of all my computers in the house, and the AOL accounts.

someone broke into my AOL account, and sent that letter to Perez although some of the writing was writing that I had wrote but never posted, However as the KR weasels people know that there is a :live site: that has a own ring tone that lets people know when I am online and when I am writing a email before i hit the send button. EVEN IF I DON"T SEND IT these people can steal it and then it twist my words around, I never write in all CAPS, you can read most my blogs on myspace, yes I have typos but it's because I type very fast, it does not make me a "TARD" Anyways,I did not send, half of it and I am apologize to Billy Corgan and to my daughter, this is a personal matter between Billy and my family. My Daughter's privacy is very important so I wanted to clear that up so I can tell you about this lovely adventure about my two good friends. Billy please give me a call, We love you and I am sorry, Marie can give you the number. Okay, here's a good story I want to share with all you guys: It's amazing Gwyneth Paltrow and her amazing husband Chris and I have reconnected. She has always been a very close friend of mine, regardless of what people's perception of Gwyneth, compassion is her middle name and I am not going to sit here and write a public love letter to GP but I do have a great story to share with you that leads to a great song! So people might think oh blah, GP and her husband, who cares right? But the fact is one night in New York at the Pig, we were all hanging out and having a ball. Chris told the most hilarious joke that had literally had me on the floor laughing so hard. Over the years Gwyneth has always invited me out to London and I have always procrastinated, I kept telling myself, Go out to London Courtney, Gwyneth is such a dear freind of mine, and you should not take friends for granted.I was like what if i come out to hang out with her and Chris Martin who is a genius and me being such the opposite of who they are, My "What if" worries started to kick in.

God forbid, I start talking about the financial stuff, I start going cuckoo bananas, not that any of it isn't the truth and then some.. Hell I might blow the sucks off truth but lets not go there!

You know I would like to patent the phrase" cuckoo bannanoos, thats hot stylee" as the Hamlet 2 film clip I saw contained the phrase Cukoo bananas, what if cuckoo cherry comes out and plays with Cukoo bananas WOW, anything can set her off, my alter ego cherry you guys should all know cherry by now! Imagine if someone brought up a plumbing would have to shut me up and perhaps drive my ass to the looney bin,I have heard these days Electro Shock Therepy the new black? Humm, I have had two friends that have had shock therepy in the last two months Ellen Burstyn Requeim style ...they say it helps but they are fucking nuts!!anyways, my anxiety is kicking in and I am terrifed i am not good enough for GP for their beautiful lovely home, and lovely lifestyle and lovely family, This woman could be in a terrycloth tracksuit, and she would look like a goddess!I cannot compete with the clothes that GP has even though I have the best damn wardrobe in Hollywood. From Fortuny in the box with the white winter belt and the spring belt to Porite' 1901-1910 to a Persimmon vionette to the punk rock dress which British Vogue called the best dress of the decade and there is there is only one AND IT'S MINE BITCHES!" evil cackle" , I also am in love with my fuck me oh so sexy hysteric jeans, once you put on a pair of Hysteric jeans, you will never take them off untill mine comes out.

It goes on and on and on and on in a similar vein. We think the key phrase, though, is that she had to "get rid of all the computers" because her AOL account was "compromised" - she does realise that it wasn't little men in the computers doing the compromising, doesn't she? And that her AOL account wasn't actually in the computers? Doesn't she?

Never mind being cuckoo bananas. If you think Chris Martin is a genius, you should be kept away from keyboards forever.

Britney Spears: Sweat not included

Someone is flogging Britney Spears' old sweatpants on eBay. The seller bought them five years ago, so has a genuine reason for sale (the soup they make from them no longer has any taste of Britney at all, so it's time to move on.):

You are bidding for the actual Pants worn on the DVD Front Cover of Britney's 1st Movie. They were designed by "Abercrombie & Fitch." She also wore them in the movie. I purchased them in June 2003 when Britney hosted her 1st ever online charity auction to raise money for her charity; "The Britney Spears Foundation." The pants come with a Letter of Authenticity HAND SIGNED by Britney Spears HERSELF!

Not just signed - but signed by Britney HERSELF with her HAND. Don't you hate it when pop stars use their feet to sign autographs?

We love the mention that they're Abercrombie & Fitch - as if someone might be reading the description thinking "it'd be great to do some sort of DNA scrape on those trousers, but they look like they might be from American Apparel... oh, hang on, they're not! I'll bid..."

Darkness at 3AM: The column which fails the Turing Test

Surely, surely, this hasn't been written by a person, has it?

Miley high club shoes

Fresh from causing an international outcry after provocative photos of her went on the 'net, Miley Cyrus, 15, worked the pink and innocent look while filming Hannah Montana: The Movie near LA.

But those red shoes will do nothing to reassure folks of her wholesome appeal...

Red shoes is the same as fucking in an airplane toilet? There was an "international outcry"? What does any of this even mean?

That, Carl, is showbiz

Carl Barat wants Mark Ronson to do some work for him, but is having trouble getting his attention:

"I wanna do a track with him for this film about northern soul music," the Dirty Pretty Things star told BBC 6 Music. "[But] I can't get hold of him. Maybe he is ignoring me, I don’t know."

Good plumbers and flavour of the month superstar producers. You'll never get them to return your calls.

Still, there are other people who will turn up for anything:
Barat also revealed that he is making a dub reggae record with Jon McClure from Reverend And The Makers.

If it's not any good, they're going to abandon it. Although Barat hasn't provided any data on where the bar is being set.

Gordon in the morning: Who says the Press Complaints Commission is a toothless old hound?

I'm not sure that it's even worth asking why Gordon Smart has run long-lens photos of Gary Barlow's kids ("Daniel, who is eight next month, and six-year-old Emily", as Gordo helpfully points out), because the PCC rules about children are pretty clear:

Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications. Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual's private life without consent.
Editors must not use the fame, notoriety or position of a parent or guardian as sole justification for publishing details of a child’s private life.

So there must be some strong reason for this intrusion into the preeteen's privacy, right?

Erm... their mum is pregnant. Well, you can see why you would want to ignore PCC rules on children and privacy under those circumstances - who can enjoy the prospect of an expanding family without having creepy shots of their kids taken from across the street being slapped alongside Sienna Miller's topless hugs, eh?

Opening the Shedd

You've got to love a press release which calls for the attention of Bettie Serveert fans, so we're happy to bring you news of Tracy Shedd, about to release her second album. She's also got a hint of pre Exit In Lavigne-ville Liz Phair. In fact, she sounds like this:

Whatever It Takes [mp3]

The album, Cigarettes & Smoke Machines, is out on Teenbeat, September 23rd. In the US.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"I was a problem child who became a night prowler on the highway to hell..."

Yes, we fear it's now unstoppable: AC/DC: The Musical.

It sounds like the sort of idea which will manage to turn off both hardcore fans and lovers of musical theatre; only the credit crunch can save us now.

Britney "hard at work"

Jive Records has announced that Britney Spears is currently "hard at work":

"(Spears) is spending her summer in the recording studio, working on a brand new album," her label, Jive Records, and her manager said in a statement to the Associated Press.

"She's working with a team of top-notch producers and songwriters and we're very excited about what she's accomplished so far. No album release date has been confirmed yet," they said.

Now, we suspect that it's the team of top-notch producers and songwriters who will be hard at work during the summer, with Britney dropping by to do some singing as the leaves change colour - but then why mess with a winning formula?

Stereolab prepare Chemicals

A new Stereolab album, Chemical Chords - their first in half a decade - is going to appear next month. This is Three Women, a taste of what it's going to be like:

[You might also enjoy The Stereolab weekend]

EC opens up royalty market

The European Commission has ordered royalty collection agencies across the continent to open themselves up and abandon the insistence on artists dealing only with their local agency.

When the EC was considering the question, some grumpy (and, it would be noted, rich) artists argued that if the status quo was changed, they might throw a strop and have a sort of strike, withdrawing permission for their music to be performed in Europe at all.

Which artists?

More than 220 singers, musicians and composers — including the Bee Gees' Robin Gibb, Charles Aznavour, Sade, David Gilmour, Julio Iglesias, Maurice Jarre, Mark Knopfler and Michel Legrand — have signed an appeal to the EU saying pan-European music licensing will stifle creativity.

Yes: Mark Knopfler thinks that saying he'll withdraw Walk Of Life from the European airwaves is some sort of threat.

Just don't say "I am a Barenaked Lady" when the desk sarge asks for your job

Steven Page from the Barenaked Ladies has been arrested in Syracuse.

We'll allow you to add your own 'crimes against music' joke before moving on.

Page was apparently charged with fourth degree criminal drug possession offences. fourth degree? What's that, exactly? Thinking about going out to score?

This is the most perfect time for the band to be promoting their album for kids.

Townshend doesn't like the downloads

iTunes? The young folk don't know what they're missing, reckons Pete Townshend;

Although he is quoted as saying that the idea behind companies like iTunes is “brilliant”, he said he prefers to buy music on CD.

"iTunes simply doesn't have heart. It is software attached to a bank, nothing more, nothing less.

“Brilliant, but heartless,”

It's not known if Townshend downloaded any music for research purposes before coming to his decision.

The other option, a piece of plastic that you buy from a store attached to a bank, who then shove more money to another bank on behalf of a multinational conglomerate, is, of course, the very essence of what rock and roll was about.

While we have some sympathy for Pete's argument, if a song requires a physical format to be able to touch you, surely it's not a very good song at all?

Lily Allen: Who'd have thought?

Firstly, Lily, it's Who'd have Known, not Who'd of Known, isn't it?

Secondly, putting a song on the internet doesn't mean you don't have to clear samples of any copyright infringement - didn't the BPI teach you anything?

So, then, Lily has put up a song which she cheerfully admits is based on a Take That tune and charmingly trills:

"I ripped off the chorus from Take That and I can't be bothered with the paperwork."

As if she's responsible for her own paperwork - after a hard day thinking up a rhyme for Waitrose, she then sits down at a big desk, by candlelight, making sure all sources are acknowledged.

Still, it's great to hear that - from Allen's perspective - copyright ceases to exist if you only use the stolen material on the internet. Let's hope she's not planning on too many people buying her second album...

Furtado fracas

Whoever would have thought that a Nelly Furtado concert, of all things, would descend into riotous behaviour?

Playing Moscow on Sunday, Nelly had invited rapper Timati to join her on stage for a bit of a sing song. Trouble is, it seems that not everyone is a fan:

An unnamed venue official says, "We learned at the last moment he was going to perform with Furtado.

"I gave the order not to let him on stage."

That, presumably, is the Moscow way of doing things - who knows how many ill-advised collaborations would have been avoided had some jumped-up clipboard guy had just said "no". We'd not have had that Britney-Madonna kiss, for a start.

Anyway, as Timati had been invited onstage, he didn't see why he should not be allowed to do so. Security had been told to not let him on. Immovable force. Desperation to share the stage with Furtado shaped irresistible object. Result? A twenty-man brawl and Timati losing a tooth.

It's not known if Furtado pitched in during the fight, but we like to think she might have thrown a shoe or something. Yes, let's say that, shall we? She threw a shoe.

Cardiac problems

Tim Smith, out of Cardiacs, has been having health problems. The universe, inevitably, has dealt him an ironic cardiac arrest. There's been a statement:

As some of you have no doubt become aware, Tim Smith, the stalwart
front man of your beloved CARDIACS has fallen foul of ill health.

In order to quash any rumours and idle tittle-tattle amongst the
faithful we find it appropriate at this time to furnish you with the
necessary information to perhaps remove the worried furrows from the
brows of the more hysterical amongst you..

On 25th June Tim collapsed and found himself the unfortunate victim
of, ironically, a cardiac arrest. Thanks to the skill and dedication
of those heroes of the streets, the paramedic service he was speedily
ensconced within the caring hands of the National Health Service where
he was treated by expert medical staff and thankfully he is now making
a recovery. There is no longer any danger to his life and he is
improving every day though we must caution that there is a long road

Needless to say we are sure you all wish him a speedy recovery and in
keeping with our reputation as the caring concern, THE ALPHABET
BUSINESS CONCERN will soon be facilitating a method of sending him
your personal messages of goodwill on our Web site
which is sure to cheer both him and his fellow CARDIACS no end.

Needless to say, all further information will be generously furnished
by THE ALPHABET BUSINESS CONCERN as and when we see fit and we hasten
to add that YOUR LOYALTY DEMANDS the utmost respect for his nearest
and dearest and that no attempts to gather any more information be
made of them during this most fretful of times.

All the best from this end, Tim.

Let's not go crazy: The incidental indictment

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is currently pursuing a court action against Universal, claiming the label was wrong when it forced YouTube to yank a video which featured a child dancing (the label huffed that you could hear thirty seconds of Prince in the background.) On Friday, Universal is trying to get the case thrown out.

The argument hinges, of course, on if the Prince soundtrack was incidental - or, if, as Universal seems to be suggesting, the mother was making a camcorder video of thirty seconds of Prince playing Let's Go Crazy to share online and her kid got in the way of the camera.

Incidental use seems to be getting eroded by exactly the people you'd expect to be protecting it - the sort of people who make TV programmes which claim to be capturing every day life. These days, if a programme inadvertently features a few seconds of something flickering on a TV screen in the background as a potential Top Model or Wife Swapper has a row with someone, out comes the blurry marquee to blot out the telly. We even saw an American Supernanny the other day where a kid briefly waved his picture book around, and the two seconds where a picture was pointed at the camera had the image smeared all over. Does anyone at Granada really think that having a brief glimpse of a drawing of a cow is going to infringe copyright? That a publisher will attempt to argue that parents will decide not to buy their offspring a book because they're just going to freeze the TIVO at that point instead? Or that the audience for Supernanny consists significantly of people who tune in hoping they might get to see a watercolour drawing of a cow?

The cumulative effect of all these blurrings is a more worry blurring - obscuring the rights that people have to take a photo or shoot a video where copyright material intrudes in the background. Because if the TV companies pretend they're not allowed to show an almost unidentifiable TV programme in the back of a shot, it must be because it's illegal, right?

Let's hope the EFF case offers a timely reminder of exactly what we're allowed to do.

Will Smith hasn't changed, says former colleague

Jazzy Jeff still loves the Fresh Prince - true:

"He's the biggest movie star on the planet, [but] he's still the same Will - the same good guy," Jeff told People.

"He's just a little harder to get in touch with."

Yes. He's the same lovely old bloke, it's just his phone number that has become unobtainable.

Gordon in the morning: Fawning over Chris Martin

Well, now, there's a surprise: yesterday, Gordon was running a pointless gush over Gwyneth Paltrow not wearing make-up. And what's Gordon up to today?

COLDPLAY kicked off their world tour in spectacular fashion — after ditching the electronic wizardry they just spent six months creating.
I was the only Brit journalist at the Stateside gig on Monday night and have to applaud them for their bold move.

Yes - yes, he did just say Stateside; what he meant, of course, is "the good old US-of-A".

So, Gordon approves of the more low-key stage show (the electronic gubbins only turns up at the end of the set), does he?

Indeed he does:
This is an era when arena acts such as KANYE WEST — who was in the audience — spend bags of cash on digital displays to wow fans and outdo rivals.

But scrapping the gadgetry in favour of a more intimate feel was a brilliant move.

I think the expression is “less is more”.

It made the arena feel a quarter of the size but the crowd enjoyed it four times as much.

So: well done Chris Martin for not over-relying on glitzy expensive gadgets, eh, Gordon?

There was just one negative point.

The giant globes Chris had been talking up for months were less spectacular than I had expected.

He claims to have splashed out nearly £1million on the massive spheres which hang from the ceiling.

I’d ask for my money back, Chris. They seemed little more than six over-sized lava lamps to me.

So, it's a "brilliant move" to not rely on gadgets because it made everything more enjoyable, but the gadgets weren't impressive enough? We're not big fans of Coldplay - hey, we hide it - but it seems a little unfair to simultaneously praise and complain about the low key stage show.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Elton John gets desserts

To mark something or other, Unilever have produced a vaguely-Elton John themed variant of their multinational Ben and Jerrys brand and Elton has rushed out a statement to celebrate this marketing event:

"I can't think of a more fun way to celebrate playing my 50th state, Vermont, than having Ben & Jerry's create a special ice cream, Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road, with all my favorite flavors and ingredients," John said.

"I'm especially pleased that they will be donating the proceeds to the Elton John AIDS Foundation."

And that'll be massive, right?

Erm... no:
The flavor will be available in Vermont Scoop Shops for just one week only, July 18-25, in anticipation of John's Vermont show on July 21.

Why, it's almost as if it'd pay for itself in terms of free publicity, isn't it?

Hold Steady sell strongly

While various incarnations of Abba songs fight at the top end of the chart, The Hold Steady are at number eight in the midweeks.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Abba are popular

Mama Mia! It's the summer hit of the summer, and trailing in the wake of My Big Fat Muriel's Wedding come Abba songs, trickling into the lower reaches of the charts. And if something not-especially-unusual happens - even down the bottom of the single charts - Gennaro Castaldo has an opinion to share:

"Abba are one of HMV's consistent best-selling artists, up there with the likes of the Beatles and Elvis, and it doesn't take much to spark a bit of an Abba revival - let's face it, most of us would pick them as our 'guilty pleasure'.

"Right now, their sales are rocketing again thanks to the huge exposure being given to their music by the success of the Mamma Mia film.

"Amazingly, Abba Gold is back in our top 10, while the cast recording soundtrack to Mamma Mia itself could easily end up as our biggest-selling album this week.

"Further evidence of the band's enduring appeal comes in the form of the singles charts, which show the likes of Dancing Queen, The Winner Takes It All, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme and Mamma Mia all threatening to re-enter the official UK top 100 on the strength of downloads alone."

We're struggling to understand how a consistent selling act's best-of collection selling strongly during a period of attention on them is then described as "amazing". And if "most" people would chose them as a guilty pleasure, what is there to be guilty about, exactly?

Facing US 2008

This is probably only of interest to Americans, and those either living with depression or bipolar disorder, but they've just announced Facing US 2008, a songwriting competition for... well, Americans who self-identify as having or "or have had, a personal lived experience with depression or bipolar disorder."

Entry closes September 1st.

Blinded by the lights

Nasty accident - albeit accident as in "someone royally screwing up" - at a rave at the Aquamarine Music Festival. It appears that because of wet weather, a canopy had been put over the dancefloor, leading to the decision to point the decorative lasers into raver's eyes instead of up in the sky:

Twenty people are undergoing treatment in Moscow hospitals, said Elena Grishina, the head doctor at the Moscow Ophthalmological Hospital, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported Monday.

"It is just a deterioration in the sharpness of the eyesight, not a burn," she was quoted as saying, and said she could not confirm the injuries came from lasers.

"The treatment is not very pleasant. It involves a lot of needles," Grishina said. "But all the patients are in optimistic spirits, and we are hoping for a good result."

The rave - according to Russian state media - had been illegally organised; some ravers are planning legal action.

Plant matters

What was Robert Plant's response when asked about the possibility of a Led Zeppelin reunion tour?


He might perk up if you start talking about the money, though.

Even Weller thinks Lydon's an embarrassing old grump

When even Paul Weller is telling you that, frankly, you sound like Grampa Simpson, you should probably take a look at yourself.

Weller has stretched and yawned in the face of John Lydon's latest 'I remember when it was all horses" tirades:

"I don't really understand him anymore," Weller explained. "He's become the antithesis of what he once was. Does he need the money?

"Perhaps he misses the adulation, the buzz. Nostalgia has become a whole industry in itself... and I don't like it. You can never recapture what has gone."

That's not a problem for Lydon, of course: he's much more interested in making up a past that never really happened.

Hands turns EMI round. Sort of.

Lots of back slapping and no champagne corks popping as EMI manages to make a profit in the three months to the end of June.

Guy Hands - one of the men who, in another role, put money into the movie Nine Dead Gay Guys - has been trumpeting his success:

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were £59.2m, compared with a loss of £45.1m in the same quarter in 2007.

Mr Hands told staff: "The bulk of the dramatic improvement in our performance was down to the transformation we have been carrying through in the way we work."

Yes. That'll be it, Mr. Hands. And nothing whatsoever to do with the smart timing of the Coldplay release so the massive sales came just before the close-off of this period's sale figures, then.

Meanwhile: Albarn and Hewlett have turned their backs on Damon's long-time EMI home to offer Monkey: Journey To The West to XL recordings instead. Gossips suggest that Albarn is less-than-thrilled with the Hands regime.

Ian Brown saves us all

It's a pity he didn't put his foot down before The Second Coming, but at least Ian Brown is stopping a third version of the Stone Roses:

"I spoke to John and Reni about it a few years ago and they said they'd love to do it at some point in time," Mani told the BBC.

"But Ian Brown seems dead set against it."

He added: "If [Brown] changes his mind then we'll probably do it, but then I'll be back to Primal Scream after the one year of doing it."

Who knew that Reni would be kicking his heels and keen to drop everything for a Roses reunion?

Thank god Brown is playing the role of Mel C and sparing the world from having the warm memories they still have of the Roses from being trampled all over. Mind you, even Mel C caved in in the end.

Robin Gibb is expecting a call from David Cameron

There's some unexpected advice for Gordon Brown - albeit wrapped in some supra-name-dropping - in this morning's Telegraph from, erm, Robin Gibb:

'Tony and Gordon are good friends, I like both of them,' he says. Blair, he insists, is a very proficient guitar player. 'We've jammed.' Brown, he says, is much more personable in private than he appears in public. 'Gordon has too many people telling him to be serious. In fact he is very contagious and infectious. He should show that side more often. People would respond.'

Frankly, the idea of Gordon Brown chuckling his way through Prime Minister's Questions like Vernon Kay is certain to get a response. Still, Gordon could do worse than listen to Robin - after all, it's not like the Bee Gees come across like po-faced humour vacuums, is it?

Gibb also shows the paper round his house:
'The Bishops decided Joan of Arc's fate in the chapel here. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed here in 1533 on one of their progresses. Oh, and Baroness Sophie Wenham conducted her affair with William IV here,' he rhymes off. 'There's a very old set of stone steps outside that the Baroness used to climb into her carriage. She was short. Dwina uses them now to climb into the Range Rover. I like that kind of continuity, too: the melding of the old and the new.'

Not, of course, that Gibb has lost sight of his roots. Oh no. Because the kids today...
'I can remember my dad sitting under a 40-watt bulb counting pennies, trying to make them last until Friday. The evening meal was a six-penny bag of chips divided among us all for chip butties. We had bread soaked in milk and sprinkled with sugar for cereal. But kids don't question that.

... they don't know they're born, do they?

Mind you, the way his good chum Gordon is handling the economic mess, it's probable that kids are going to start gathering on the Range Rover steps outside his house yelling "a bag of chips between you all? We're lucky to get half a portion of potato peelings for the entire street..."

Gordon in the morning: Story without make-up

It must be a quiet day in the world of celebrity misbehaviour - either that, or Gordon is desperate to try and please Chris Martin. How else to explain the fawning but pointless "article" about Gwyneth Paltrow going out without any slap on? Reading Gordon, you'd assume this was on a par with having discovered how to teleport:

GWYNETH PALTROW steps out without make-up and looks radiant — naturally.
Gwyn-credible ... Paltrow without make-up at do

Gordon is so desperate to try and drum up some sort of story, he's reduced to listing the names and ages of those who, erm, aren't in the picture:
Gwyneth was also without COLDPLAY front man hubby CHRIS MARTIN, 31, or kids APPLE, four, and MOSES, two.

Two year old child not at some vague "do". I'm shocked.

Could you perhaps wrap the whole story up with a bemusing pun that doesn't quite work, Gordon?
Everyone at the party seemed happy with her natural look — well they didn’t give her any lippy, did they!

Still, there's thinner stuff this morning: Winehouse has been collecting Euro 2008 stickers as a gift for Blake when he's released (presumably alongside a sherbet dib-dab and a copy of the Beezer). Or, as Richard White puts it:
AMY WINEHOUSE has picked up her most shameful habit yet . . . collecting footie stickers.

Of course, it means we probably owe Gordon an apology. Back when he ran this story a year ago, we assumed he was just making a lame drug allusion:
Amy’s new hubby BLAKE FIELDER-CIVIL was spotted entering a toilet cubicle at the pub with his crackhead idol PETE DOHERTY.

My guess is they were either swapping football stickers or comparing notes on how to look after successful women.

Perhaps Gordon really did mean he thought they were swapping football stickers all along.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hypebot slaps indie, calls for end to denial

Bruce Houghton on Hypebot has published a list of five lies indie musicians tell themselves. They're solid claims, but miss some of the sry:

1. "The internet leveled the playing field for indie music." - Big checkbooks and the marketing campaigns they buy still have the edge. The internet just opened the door for everyone. It's what you do now that you're in the now overcrowded room that matters.

The point about a level playing field - and the metaphor is has spawned, if not the cliche it has become - is the economic principle of ceteris paribus: all other things being equal. Having a level playing field doesn't mean that Brighton and Hove Albion will be the same in power as Manchester United; it just means that the extraneous factors which might work against them as well have been removed. United would probably still win the match, because they have better players and more cash to spend.

This is quite important when it comes to the shift from physical sales to online stores. The old rules of distribution and access to shelf space in multiple retailers meant that indie records struggled to get in front of an audience. The web has levelled the playing field - indies still don't have the marketing spend and promo budgets of the majors, but they are no longer kicking uphill to actually get records into the shops.
2. "I'm going D.I.Y." - Sorry, but you can't Do It all Yourself. You need a team; preferably an experienced one. Just for starters: manager, agent, web guru, marketing and PR.

Well, yes - but if you restore your own house, it doesn't mean you didn't do it yourself just because you got in a proper electrician and a plumber who knew what they were doing. There's an important difference between selecting your own team and having them answer to you, and having a team imposed on you from within your record label. Maybe Doing It For Yourself, then.
3. "The quality of the music matters more now." - It has always started with a great song...or at least a catchy one. That hasn't changed and neither has the fact that after that it's still about hard work, who your champions are and luck.

Mostly spot-on - although there are more than enough examples of songs which are dreadful which have achieved great success, perhaps because of the effects of sunshine and holiday drink (Agadoo, anybody?) or the habitual purchasing habits of the prematurely middle-aged (Oasis albums #3 onwards).
4. "Now that the FCC ended payola, my music has a chance at radio." - Dream on. There are still gatekeepers and they still don't care about you.

This is correct - although the spread of digital radio and the sale of Clear Channel licences will increase the number of gatekeepers to try your luck with.
5. "My sales suck, but so do everyone else's." Sure the numbers have changed, but if you can't get people to pay something for your music then you've got a problem...with your music.

This just isn't the case at all - since Houghton has just listed four reasons why it's not always easy to turn a talent into a financial success, isn't it possible that you might not make money from your music because your music is bad. It could just be that your marketing sucks. Or maybe you're more interested in making music than building online stores.

Testube baby

More free music on a Monday night: Jeff Danos has released a free download version of his Testube project's Covert ep. There's a paid-for, ten-track version as well.

Happy families

Having set the sales horse free from the field by dropping hints about the not-great state of Madonna's love life, her brother Christopher Ciccone has now generated more free publicity by defending the state of Madonna's marriage:

"I believe that she will do what's best for her family and her kids, and I think that she'll do her best to maintain the marriage and keep it going."

He told the Good Morning America programme it was "highly unlikely" his sister was responsible for splitting up Rodriguez's marriage, adding the claims seemed "absurd".

"First of all, despite everything else, she's still a Catholic girl and I don't think… although he is kind of her type, so it's difficult to say," Mr Ciccone said.

It's almost like, you know, he's not spoken to his sister for ages and has about as much clue as any of the rest of us as to what's actually going on, isn't it?

No Red Rocks & Grohl fun

The Foo Fighters have postponed their Red Rocks gigs due for this week - Dave Grohl isn't well:

"As much as it kills us to postpone shows, I'm in no shape to deliver the kind of balls-out performances that you guys deserve. We're already looking forward to September when we can make it up to everyone ten times over. It's gonna be great."

Let's hope it's not getting cold in the mountains come September, mind.

Actors who can sing

We're going to have to go and have a doctor hit our knee, as our jerk-out-reaction whenever we hear the words "... taking a break from acting to release an album" seems to be seizing up. Not only is Zooey Deschanel's She And Him project better than her entire acting CV put together (yes, even the episode of Frasier where she was Roz's cousin. Even including that one.)

Now, Shawnee Smith and Missi Pyle have set aside the handicap of being Jill Cleveland in Murder, She Wrote and the woman with the monotone voice in Boston Legal to put together the imaginatively-titled Smith and Pyle, and it's actually sounding - well, quite good. At least on the basis of advance mp3s Spankin and Sugar.

Foreigner affairs

Good news for Americans who refuse to buy CDs unless they have that FBI warning on the sleeve: Johnny Foreigner is getting a US release for Waited Up Til It Was Dark. Not til October, mind.

Meanwhile, enjoy some video fun with the JFs.

Gomez: It's a tour

Further to yesterday's news of a Gomez date in Manchester, it turns out there's going to be a full tour of Bring It On shows:
Sheffield, Plug – August 28
Newcastle, Carling Academy – 31
London, The Forum – September 2
Birmingham, Carling Academy – 3
Manchester Univeristy - 4

The band are believed to be playing the album, track-by-track, all the way through. Earlier plans - where they were only going to play Whipping Piccadilly and then have a ten minute chat with Jo Whiley as she tells them how great they are - have been shelved, although might have been more historically accurate.

Oasis leaks

Despite Noel Gallagher's grumpy insistence he wouldn't give away his music, not him, oh no, something believed to be a new Oasis track has leaked online.

People who have heard the song report it sounds like an old man trying to remember how to play Maxwell's Silver Hammer while drunk. Which makes it sound quite plausible that it is a new Oasis track.

Black Kids in strange places

They'd been backlashed before they released the album, so we're excited about the Black Kids tour as part of the critical reappraisal phase of their treble-speed career:

Birmingham Academy (October 22)
Oxford Academy (23)
Leeds Met University (27)
Cambridge Junction (28)
London Astoria (30)
Portsmouth Pyramids Centre (November 2)

Labels must change

Peter Gabriel - wearing his We7 hat, of course - has called on record labels to reinvent themselves:

"There's still room for record companies but they should reinvent themselves as a service industry and not as owners.

"The structure of the old album and waiting for that to be finished still has some merit but you can do a lot of other things and I think it should be a lot looser and mixed up."

You have to wonder why Gabriel believes that there is a role for record companies, as if it's a given. There might be a way for those companies to continue to exist, certainly, but the radical reinvention they'll require means they won't be the companies they are now. In other words, in the long run, the record companies of today may only have their stock market initials in common with the beasts they are tomorrow.

It's surprising that Gabriel has assumed there must be a role - it's like telling coal delivery companies that they'll still have a role when the country goes all nuclear; it's simply a matter of giving their delivery team lead trousers.

Miniliveblog: Tony James on Today

Tony James is on the Today programme talking about Carbon Silicon's "steal this record" campaign for the new album.

They've played a snatch - it sounds like they've stolen the music themselves, from Cockey Reject.

Sarah Montague addresses her first question to "Mick Jones" - whoops.

Is this marketing? "We've always started off giving our records away for free."

Adrian Crooks from the Performing Rights Society isn't thrilled - "royalties are a vital income source for musicians..."

Tony: "Me as well."

Adrian says what's interesting is that "someone has paid, somewhere along the line... there has to be a money flow." But is that true? Won't people put stuff online without the thought of reward?

Where does the money come from, Tony? Tony suggests that the costs of making music are a lot lower now - what you're putting in is "your time and commitment." How do you get paid? "We're still able to sell CDs, if we get played on the radio, we'll get paid."

Does Crooks accept that the records will be stolen anyway? It's up to the artists, he concludes.

It still doesn't make the record any good, though.

Chinese Democracy: First release

In a move which is either an audacious start to an album lead-in campaign, or a sign that there aren't any tracks strong enough to release as singles, the first official fruits of the Chinese Democracy sessions are getting a release on the Rock Star 2 game soundtrack.

Shackler’s Revenge will be one of the songs you can add to as a musician (if you accept that when you make Mario go round in his little cart, you are in some way driving.) Typical: after fifteen years, you still have to finish the bloody song yourself.

The deal is being read as signs of an autumn release for the album (perhaps only for the Wii, though.) That sound? It's buttocks tightening in Doctor Pepper offices.

Gordon in the morning: Continuing Winehouse woes

Yesterday, we were worried about Mitch Winehouse.

Today, Gordon is reporting that he collapsed from stress at the end of last week.

This leads to some Simon Bates style croaky-voiced editorialising from Gordon:

And there was the usual two fingers up to her ailing dad too – as she lit up a cigarette on stage.

Mitch spoke this weekend about how even smoking was putting her damaged lungs in serious danger.

But she sparked up anyway in front of cameras and thousands of fans.

Amy does not seem able to change her lifestyle to save herself. Let’s hope she can to save her dad.

Ye-e-s. That'll work.

More worryingly still, Winehouse still seems convinced that Blake is coming home in seven days time, rather than getting a custodial sentence. That's going to be a bit of a crunch, then.

Elsewhere, Gordon offers the prospect of Jessica Simpson faking an orgasm, which, erm, turns out to be a clip from Mike Myers' dreadful The Love Guru, and so was circulating about a month ago when the film was first released in the US.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Til things are brighter

The entertainment industry is hoping for good things in the recession, as people shift their sights from big spending to small treats. And at the front of the queue hoping for a couple more bank failures and a string of repossessions is HMV's Gennaro Castaldo:

"The economic environment has obviously become more challenging for all consumers and retailers alike, and our sector is certainly not immune," said HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo.

"However, at such times shoppers look for even more value, and they may also feel nervous about making large purchases, so CDs and DVDs may seem even more appealing, particularly as they've already come down in price quite a bit."

Yes, Gennaro. With the price of bread reaching a point where toast is looking like a giddy purchase for the super-rich, who wouldn't expect the Ultravox back catalogue to suddenly start shifting?

Castaldo is pinning his hopes on slightly-different versions of products with excessive mark-ups:
"Labels are playing their part by releasing more special editions and box sets of particular releases, which can make a title more desirable and collectible to own or to give as a gift," said Castaldo.

Yes. Given the choice of a five-quid album, or a nine-quid album with a cardboard box to keep it in, people who are feeling the pinch will really, really think the expensive box is worth sacrificing a meal for.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Festival misery

It's been a bit of a miserable weekends at the festivals: Not only the bloke being stabbed at T in the Park, but some poor woman at Oxegen got third degree burns after "a friend" somehow hit in the face with a "makeshift blowtorch" and a man was found dead in his T in the Park tent.

We're still trying to work out under what circumstances you'd require a blowtorch, makeshift or otherwise, at a music festival.

Another go for Gomez

Gomez are gathering in Manchester in September to play Bring It On all the way through, to mark ten years since they were thought of as the next big thing ("ten years since the album's Mercury Prize victory").

T in the Park 'despondent' but upbeat over stabbing

Geoff Ellis, T In The Park organiser, is trying to keep the serious stabbing at T in the Park in some sort of context:

"We're despondent about it," he told NME.COM. "Does it cast a cloud over the festival? Well, as serious as it is, it is an isolated incident, and we've had a really well-behaved festival here so far.

"Unfortunately we're seeing things like this in society today, it seems to be on the rise in general. The security here is really robust – we've got a big fence around the site, for example, but it'd be foolish to say that it's impossible to get illegal things [such as knives] into the site."

It's true enough - you can't really expect a pop festival to stop people getting stabbed on-site if, say, secondary schools have trouble doing the same, but "let's focus on the thousands of people who haven't been stabbed" seems a little too glass-half-full in the circumstances.

We're a little freaked out now, to be honest

Thanks to the anonymous commenter who pointed out in response to our line about Iron Maiden turning into storm chasers that, actually, this weekend Iron Maiden cancelled the Metalway festival appearance because of storms:

Due to massive storm damage to the staging and PA and lights in the the last 24 hours or so, today's Zaragoza [show] cannot take place. At this stage it looks unlikely, due to the extent of the damage, that the Metalway Festival can be rescheduled. MAIDEN are sorry that it seems unlikely that they can appear for their fans in Zaragoza. MAIDEN's equipment had not arrived on-site when the storm occurred so this has no effect on continuing MAIDEN's shows in Scandinavia and elsewhere."

Positive streaming

The Hold Steady's new album, Stay Positive. Want to hear it before buying? It's streaming over at Imeem.

A problem Glastonbury hasn't quite had to face yet

There's been a bit of trouble at the Rocklahoma music festival - not people writhing in agony at the name, but high wind and thunderstorms blowing away two stages from the site:

Intricate rigging, amps and metal pillars holding lighting, banners and electrical gear on the north and south side stages “fell in slow motion, like someone took a finger and pushed them forward,” said 12-year-old Nate Cook, who had taken shelter in a nearby merchandise tent when the rain started.
“The lights went off, everything went,” said Tommy Gunn, whose band, Hollywood Harlot, was scheduled to perform on the stage on Sunday. “Stu* was thrown everywhere, it was a total mess.”

Probably the first time Hollywood Harlot has got a namecheck in an extreme weather story, we'd guess. Or any metal band, come to that. Unless Iron Maiden have been doubling up as storm chasers.

The show did go on, though. We loved this bit in the Tulsa World round-up of the event:
"We watched the sun come up," said Mark Lundbert, 40. "We went to bed at 4:30 or 5."

Lumbert was sporting a skull and crossbones T-shirt, sunglasses and a backward visor covering his long hair. Most people are surprised to hear he's a Unix administrator for an insurance company back in Denver.

You know what? We bet they aren't.

Debbie Harry's embryo face

We love Debbie Harry - even when she tried to insist on being called Deborah Harry, we still loved her. The only thing is...

"I had these cells injected in to me in my early thirties," Debbie reveals. "I read that the famous heart surgeon Christian Barnard was involved in a Swiss clinic researching fresh cell replacement.

"I went along to Switzerland to have a course of 11 injections, from the embryos of black sheep.

"They would take from the liver, glands, bone and whatever and make up these injections.

"It turned out that I was the youngest person to ever have the treatment. Whether that treatment lasted this long, I don't know. But I feel great."

... we don't think we'll kiss her on the cheek, thank you.

Weekend in New York: There Is No Time

A fan-made video for There Is No Time, which actually has the message "if you think things are bad in the late 80s, Mr. Reed, you wait for fifteen years or so..."

[Part of A Weekend In New York]

Maybe we should worry about Mitch, too?

When I suggest that the papers are "worried" about Amy Winehouse, I don't obviously mean in any sense of the word "worry" that normal people would use; but it's still clear that a lot of people - amongst the rubberneckers and gawpers - are genuinely concerned that something terrible is going to happen to her, and wish it would stop.

Part of that might require removing the attention she's being forced to live under.

But it's starting to look increasingly like people should be looking out for her Dad, too: his constant stream of updates to the papers are getting increasingly strange and it seems like the strain is having its toll:

Dad Mitch Winehouse says his superstar daughter has vowed to get clean after receiving a message from his late mum, jazz singer Cynthia Winehouse, who died in 2006.

Now, it's clear from the quote he didn't quite say this:
He said: "We keep having dreams about my mum. Amy had one the night before last in fact.

"My mum said to Amy, 'I'm not very pleased with you, Amy - I'm unhappy with you'.

"Amy asked, 'Why Nan?' and she replied, 'because you're not fulfilling your potential'.

"Maybe my mum needs to work a bit harder from the other side."

Even so, this constant stream of strange and stranger press statements - the very public clutching at any straw - can't be healthy for him, or for his daughter. The editors won't avert their eyes, but surely someone could suggest to Mitch he make himself less available?

Rav: he gets paid for this

We're not going to pass comment on Rav Singh's Kylie piece this morning. We think the commentary writes itself. Especially since it looks like the article did:

Kylie's an X Red Cap!

By Rav Singh

KYLIE MINOGUE shows off some sexy manoeuvres wearing a daring red Army outfit.

The pop princess certainly got my, er, Attention, in a ‘uniform’ that was slashed to the thigh—well she was kicking off the English leg of her X tour.

Oh yes, I was Spinning Around when she put on that number for the Manchester gig. Glad you’re back to your best.

This week just gone

The questions people have come to No Rock to answer this week - according to search terms - have been:

Where can I see the R Kelly video?
What happened to Samantha Mumba?
Rock stars - where are they now?
What is the proper name of the London attraction Ally Pally?
Where is Beatles Band?
Where are free kittens from?
Who's gay in hip-hop?
What is point?
I heart a rock band with women singing shut up i hate on scuzz want 2 know who they are
At what age did they have sex in the old days?
Why did the BBC not show more of the Verve?

These we offered up as the interesting end of releases:

Black Kids - Partie Traumatic

Patti Smith & Kevin Shields - The Coral Sea

Cute Is What We Aim For - Rotation

Biffy Clyro - Singles 2001-2005

So So Modern - Friends and Fires

Albert Hammond Jr - Como Te Llama

Leila - Blood Looms And Blooms

Eat Static - Back To Earth

Various - 12" 1990s Fools Gold, World In Motion, and... some less glittery stuff over three discs

Sam Cooke - The Gospel Soul