Saturday, August 09, 2008

REM head indoors

Blame it, if you like, on the rift that runs through the city, but REM have been forced to relocate their Cardiff gig from the Millennium Stadium:

Bob Gold, the band's European manager, told the BBC sales had not met expectations and it was decided it was better for the band and the audience to move into "a smaller, more intimate venue".

That 'more intimate' venue is Cardiff International Arena, so it's not like you're going to be at risk from Stipe knocking your pint over if he gets a bit jumpy.

Placebo: Steve out, Steve in

It probably makes sense that Placebo have replaced former drummer Steve with another Steve - it makes it so much easier when you don't have to learn a new name, doesn't it? It's a bit like when Elsie Tanner's second husband was, luckily, also called Tanner.

The band have poached Steve Forrest from Evaline, the band who supported them on their 2006 tour. Future support acts will do well to count their members as they pack up on the last night, lest Brian has pinched a bassist or a keyboard player.

Mariya (to whom thanks for the tip-off) points out that Evaline don't appear to have heard the news yet, as their MySpace still lists Forrest as a member. [UPDATE: It's been changed in the last hour to list Greg Petersen as drummer. We're assuming - since Placebo is their #2 friend, this is all been done with good grace.

Bittorrent not keen on all sharing

Valleywag's story that Bittorrent was laying of twelve staff proved to be slightly flawed - there was a last-minute decision to save some of the employees. The original generated a huffy official statement, but also a surprising request from Bittorrent's PR person Lily Lin, who tried to persuade Valleywag to offer up the name of the original anonymous tipster who told them about the job losses.

"Any chance?" begged Lin, alongside the sort of threat that even Slartybartfast would have thought a bit weak - "I've heard rumblings of legal implications".

Smooth ruffles Scottish pride

Smooth Radio's recent junking of several local slots in favour of London-based network programmings hasn't gone down well in Scotland. The prospect of Mark Goodier and Fiona Philips in place of the old, Glasgow-based presenter hasn't thrilled everyone.

Having said that, the only person that The Herald could find to go on the record about how terrible it all is was Norman Quirk, who had been with the station back when it was owned by SAGA and left at roughly the time the new management came in, so he might not be the most unbiased person to talk to.

Punks for McCain

Jonathan Cook, from Forever The Sickest Kid, has thrown his weight behind the bid to get John McCain into the White House. Let's not write him off as a know-nothing commercial punk, though: he's got well thought-out reasons. It's because, erm, when Obama chartered a plane, he painted out the company logo and put his own on instead:

Obama The Patriot - Removes American Flag From His Plane

Barack Obama recently finished a $500,000 total overhaul of his 757. And as part of the new design, he decided to remove the American flag from the tail...

What American running for President of the United States would remove the symbol of his country? And worse, he replaced the flag with a symbol of himself...

What in the world does this guy stand for besides self promotion? GRRRR sorry I am on a tangent.
John McCain 08 FTW!

Presumably Cook isn't such an idiot he doesn't realise that every presidential candidate who has ever hired a plane has had it repainted in campaign colours. So you can only conclude that this is just a desperate bid to try and prove something using spurious 'evidence'. (For the record, McCain has repainted his Swiftair plane with his campaign colours - that, though, wouldn't be self-promotion, would it?

A little Nude video action

It's not, perhaps, something you need your eyes open for, but here's Radiohead, doing Nude, at All Points West, yesterday:

[via Brooklyn Vegan]

Presley peacock pantsuit purchased

What we're led to believe is Elvis' favourite outfit, a peacock jumpsuit has been sold for a third of a million bucks. There's no word on who has that sort of money to waste on something showy and pointless.

In other news, Senator McCain has been heard chuckling to himself and muttering about how people will really, really his inauguration.

Cliff aims for number one... again

Cliff Richard is battling against time to get a number one - he's hit the number one spot in every decade since the 1840s [check this] but hasn't managed anything since the Millennium. So, he's trying to persuade his legion of fans to get behind his new single, Thank You For A Lifetime:

"I may be greedy, but to notch up a number one after 50 years would be just fantastic. I've got the song, I can only hope for the support."

At Cliff's age, hoping for support is a common feeling.

It doesn't seem to have occurred to Cliff that the reason why he had hits in the previous decades was because he had some decent songs - except for the 1999 Millennium Prayer, which we suspect might have only sold because some Christian groups thought it would somehow upset Radio One. That Cliff is trying this time with a song about himself, rather than Jesus, might prove to be his undoing.

Sixteen months, Cliff: the clock is ticking. See if you can't rustle up a new Wired For Sound.

The downside, of course, is that if he does manage it this decade, we're going to have to go through this all over again at some point before 2019.

Gordon in the morning: Dancing days

The front of Bizarre has a link to a story about George Sampson with the somewhat alarming headline:

Uncle Sampson woos George

It turns out that this isn't anything to do with ill-advised interfamily relations, but the news that there's a vague possibility that the musical Sampson is in might transfer to America. Hence Uncle Sam-pson.

Although there's nothing more than a vague possibility and an off-the-record claim that there are talks about transferring, Gordon has somehow crunched the numbers already:
It could earn the fleet-footed fella £250,000.

It could also earn him £7.50, or three squibillion pounds, or a six year spell in a Soviet-era gulag.

Gordon likes George, though. We think:
But George is a great lad who deserves his success. It’s nice to see all the fame and female fans going to a lad who is shy, humble and ego-free. For now.

The surprising emphasis was Smart's. Perhaps he just can't imaging that when Sampson is picking up a made-up half a million quid he'll be able to keep his feet on the ground.

Whatever did happen to Paul Potts?

Elsewhere, the story about David Walliams doesn't really need any commentary:
THIS picture will send Bizarre’s DAVID WALLIAMS gay-o-meter pinker than JORDAN’s wedding.

The Little Britain comic managed to wear men’s clothes for dinner with TV presenter DALE WINTON and actress BARBARA WINDSOR.

But he couldn’t have looked much more feminine as he planted a tender kiss on camp Dale’s cheek.

I hear David enjoyed his meal at London’s posh Scott’s restaurant – candy floss and a pink salmon salad.

The Press Association might not be what it once was

The wires clatter, and out comes a report, filed by the Press Association. What could it be? Abdication? Assassination? War?

No, it's the news that Antony Costa is thinking of buying a ticket to LA:

Antony Costa has revealed that he could be the next British star to travel across the pond in pursuit of fame.

Victoria Beckham, Cat Deeley and Simon Cowell have all been making waves Stateside, and now the former Blue star is considering making the journey.

Costa, of course, does differ from that trio, who moved across when at the top of their fame and, thus, traveled first class, while Costa is looking into how much it would cost to wrap himself in brown paper and get FedExed to Hollywood.

Still, it's not like Costa is without contacts in La La land:
"I might want to go to LA because my brother is out there at the moment studying drama," Antony revealed.

"I just want to go out there and see what it's about, and get my name about."

There's every chance his brother might be able to put in a word and get him to understudy a tree in a forthcoming student production of The Wizard Of Oz.

It's fairly safe to say that, when Cowell crossed the Atlantic, he did so with a better plan that "seeing what its about."

Dizzee does it for himself

Who knew that Dizzee Rascal is more C86 than underground grime? He's genuninely indie:

"Dance Wiv Me was the first fully independent song to go to No.1 in 14 years."

He's proud of his achievement - understandably so. The main difference between Rascal and most indie acts, though, is that he's quite keen to remain indie.

And, he tells the Daily Record, he's keen to return to Scotland:
He added: "I think Scotland is very urban in the sense of rough council estates.

"You've got black people in Scotland and always had a good history of black music.

You had Average White Band so there's always been relations to urban.

"You're not that far away from England, know what I mean?"

Dizzee played at Glasgow University during last year's Freshers' Week.

He said: "I went to their ball. It's good to rave with the students.

"It was my 23rd birthday and they mademe feel really welcome."

Ah, yes. You'll generally find the Freshers' ball at Glasgow consists almost entirely of kids from the rough council estates.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ditto naked, Gallagher in bed: Best fronts ever?

The Periodical Publisher's Assocation has decided to celebrate the diversity of magazines - that's what they said - by organising a poll to find the nation's favourite all-time magazine cover.

They've drawn up a shortlist, which includes a Nova and an Oz cover; a Private Eye front page that seems to have been chosen more-or-at-less at random (although a random choice are removing the funny-but-controversial ones); two with Victoria Beckham on (a Heat and an OK) - because that shows the variety on the newstands, doesn't it.

The shortlist also includes a Radio Times - a Doctor Who cover, because all Radio Times front pages have to have Doctor Who on by law and two Vogues.

There are a couple of actually inventive covers - Empire's breathing Darth Vader and Take A Break's scratch-n-sniff bloke's armpit - and Loaded's scribbled on Keegan, which was quite a brave move at the time and exactly the sort of inspired wit which the magazine stopped doing after about issue three.

But what's this? Vanity Fair's "London Swings Again" shot of Gallagher in bed with Patsy Kensit. This has been chosen by Mother & Baby's Miranda Levy:

For me, it has to be Vanity Fair's 'London Swings Again' cover. It's March 1997, Tony Blair is two heartbeats away from Number 10, and here are Liam and Patsy, swathed in a Union Jack bedspread, giving us buckets of contempt and attitude. This was the age of Blur v Oasis, Geri in platform boots at the Brits, Damien Hurst's formaldehyde sheep. A cover that sums up an era.

March 1997 was nearly two years after Blur versus Oasis and Damien Hirst's Away From The Flock was from 1993. And while the original Time "Swinging City" piece was important, as it was praise from elsewhere, Vanity Fair UK's lumbering jump on the bandwagon looked more like an attempt by a few London party-goers to convince themselves they were at the centre of things, and misjudging quite badly.

Even more surprisingly, the awkward Beth Ditto nude cover has made the cut, with a nomination from Decanter magazine's Guy Woodward:
Attitude, impact, humour, relevance and courage. Demands attention, and shows brilliant powers of imagination and persuasion, along with the courage to go off-brand in terms of content while remaining absolutely on-brand in terms of message.

Putting a naked woman on the front of a magazine isn't really much of an act of imagination, and persuading Beth Ditto to remove her clothes doesn't take much persuading. Indeed, that this was a tired, over-sold retread of the PJ Harvey cover from years back (and the snarky Silverfish one that followed it) suggests that it wasn't that far off-brand.

And what was the message? That the only way a female singer could hope to get a cover of the NME is by getting her tits out? That - goodness - larger women can remove their clothes too? But if it was humorous, is the joke meant to be that it's a fat woman on the front of the magazine? If it was a statement, why was the picture airbrushed? We don't think the NME really knew what it was doing when it ran the cover; perhaps we should vote for it to win in a bid to finally find out?

Head like a hole; throat liked a splintered, debarked willow

You can give away your music. You can even make the bits to remix it available free. But even then, you can't protect your throat from market forces. Trent Reznor has canceled shows, and croaked out an apology:

"Just want to personally say how sorry I am to have to do this. I never take postponing a show lightly and if there were any possible way I could pull this off I would. This is a very frustrating and maddening situation for me and I appreciate your understanding. I'll make it up to you."

"I'll make it up to you" makes it sound less like he's an unwell man who's pulled gigs and more like a husband who's decided to play golf rather than going to see his wife's choir performance.

Kennedys remove Flouride

The never-been-the-same-since-Jello-quit Dead Kennedys are another member down - Klaus Fluoride has decided that thirty years is enough:

Over the past thirty years, I have had the great fortune to have been a founding member of Dead Kennedys, It’s been tough at times but particularly rewarding working and collaborating with men like Biafra, 6025, D.H., Brandon, Jeff, Ted, Dave, Steve, Skip and especially Ray. However a recurring medical condition called Angioedema has caused me to make the difficult decision to begin withdraw from the road and as a touring member of Dead Kennedys. Thus I have taken my leave as a performing member of the band for the foreseeable future.

It's not the end of Fluoride playing live, as - like most punk musicians - he also plays in another seventeen thousand bands.

Swapping songs for email addresses

I'm From Barcelona are offering you a sample, sneaky preview of their forthcoming album, and all they want for the free song is to know your email address.

Warners see golden egg; wonder if axe for killing goose is tax-deductable

The growth of those computer games where you can pretend you're playing an instrument is great news for record labels, right? They've suddenly - with absolutely no effort on their part - got a lucrative new income stream.

Brilliant, right?

Now, though, Warners have decided to get greedy:

The company’s chief executive, Edgar Bronfman, compared the clout of Guitar Hero and Rock Band to MTV and the iPod, saying, “The amount being paid to the music industry, even though their games are entirely dependent on the content we own and control, is far too small.”

Entirely dependent? You might want to double check that it's entirely dependent before you get too greedy, Bronfman.

You And Me And.... can you smell burning?

Mini-dramas on the road for You, Me, And Everyone We Know, as their van catches fire:

Basically, it was as if our house burned down but fortunately our equipment was saved due to the quick arrival of the firefighters. In the end, all of this is just stuff and we're stoked to be alive. Thankfully, with the help of Dear Hunter, Lydia, and Eye Alaska, along with the support of our friends and family we are happy to have worked out a way to continue on the rest of the this tour. This train don't stop come hell or high water.

In leu of being out a van and the major majority of all of our personal belongings, we're going to look into setting up some kind of donation account where you might help us literally get shoes back on our feet if you can find it in your hearts to do so. Otherwise, just do us a favor and come see us at some point during the rest of this tour. It would mean the world to us.

The photos of the burned out van show that we were nearly down all of You, Me, And Everyone We Know.

The fire had been started when their tyre blew out; sparks set the grass at the side of the road aflame. The grass fire then returned the favour.

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

While there's also some lovely mp3s attached, this entry from Moistworks is recommended for the writing:

I wasn't cool either, though I think I feigned it successfully. If nothing else, I had the best record collection of anyone I knew. This grotesque bit of overcompensation--it was mix-tape heaven, the mother of all audio love letters--was itself embarrassing. Sure, I had some fabulous Bowie bootleg no one else knew existed, but it was always with a vague sense of shame I dropped the needle for my friends, since owning the record in the first place meant I'd spent sweaty-palmed afternoons prowling for vinyl all by myself. Time I might've spent otherwise, had I been socially able.

You're a very lovely Ladytron

Here's some more of that unlistenable oh-so-fucking-hip shite I regularly ra-ra on this site - Ladytron's MySpacetastic exclusive new video:

Ladytron-Runaway (Myspace Exclusive)

Ozzy plans two more albums

Ozzy Osbourne - who played the husband in The Ker-azzy World of Sharon Osbourne - has announced plans to record two more albums in his home studio:

“I am recording another album soon. I've got a Pro Tools machine downstairs in my house now, which I record from home now. I can't turn the fucking thing on.. It's like the brain of the house,” he said.

I'm not sure how the sessions are going, but am given to understand that visitors to his house reported him singing into a Wii Remote balanced on top of a compact Dyson.

Genius steals. But not all stealing is genius.

In the same way that stealing John McEnroe's headband wouldn't automatically mean you'd be good at tennis, there's a limit to the quality that you can thieve:

Chris Martin has said that a Blur song was the first inspiration for the band when they began recording their new album.

According to the singer, Sing from BLUR'S debut album LEISURE was a starting point for the writing of COLDPLAY album VIVA LA VIDA AND DEATH AND ALL HIS FRIENDS, reports Xfm.

"Sing was the first song we plagiarised for the new album", said Chris.

Happily for the EMI lawyers, though, Coldplay changed the song beyond recognition by making their version not very interesting.

That J? That was ours, too

More from the ever-churning world of claim and counter-claim about who wrote what: Mary J Blige is facing a two million dollar lawsuit claiming she has been passing off Drama Family Entertainment company songs as her own.

Drama Family Entertainment? Is that really a company name? It sounds like a brainstorming whiteboard that the Hallmark Channel might have come up with.

Label to band: You're not unsigned, actually

Memfis - Swedish prog metal, since you ask - have been making much of how great it is to be free of the shackles of record labels. Free and easy for them, from now on.

The label which released their first record, though, has now released a statement, begging to differ:

"Just to let you know regarding the news on MEMFIS' myspace site. The band says that they are free from the deal with Dental Records. This is something we must deny, as we still have an option for another album AND the band has agreed on it. Due to matters beyond our control, all of the sudden the band have decided that they are free from the deal, which is something we cannot agree on, especially since we have spent a fortune on marketing for the first album ('The Wind-Up'). So we really need the band to recoup before they go anywhere else, and if they try we will take measures. Because a contract is a contract."

It probably didn't sound quite so menacing before they translated it from the Swedish. Hopefully.

Gordon in the morning: Rod Stewart puts cocks in McFlys' faces

The lead story on Bizarre this morning is rich man buys expensive car, which has left Gordon time to work on a story about Rod Stewart defacing McFly's passport by drawing cocks on them.

Somewhat oddly, Gordon opens the piece with this:

I ALWAYS thought ROD STEWART was a lord — but he has cracked me up with some childish tomfoolery.

Let's not worry that Gordo probably meant to use "child-like", which would be carefree and humorous, rather than "childish", which is a disapproving word and clashes with the claims that he's been cracked-up, and look instead at the revelation that Smart thinks that Stewart is a lord. What does that mean? Why does he mention it?

Purely to allow the headline to be:
Rude Rod is lewd of the McFlies

But even when Gordon has taken the time to write a paragraph just to allow the lord/lewd not-quite-pun, it still doesn't work - unless Smart believes that drawing a cock on Danny McFly's passport was meant to be sexual? And why would that then make Rod of rather than at McFly?

Shiny new band: Plushgun

Imagine White Town covering Take On Me.

In fact, don't bother imagining, as it'd probably sound a little bit like Daniel Ingala, who trades as Plushgun. Daniel's got an album's worth of bedroom guitar/synths due in January of next year; his debut (digital-only) ep comes out [US] in a couple of weeks. Meantime, this is Just Impolite:

Or you can download an mp3 of the song. Or even visit them on MemememeSpace

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet

Based on "if value, then right" - the definition of the sort of spurious nonsense dreamed up by entertainment industry lawyers when they claim you should pay more for ripping a CD you've already paid for as you're getting 'new value' out of the CD - David At Joho The Blog confesses to twenty crimes:

I have retold the joke about the man who meets a pirate in a bar without ever once explicitly acknowledging that I was not its author.

[via Boing Boing]

Phil Collins now as big as Elvis

Elvis has left the building. Or, rather, the top ten. Billboard has decided to redo how it calculates its all-time chart records. They've decided the days when it was called the Top 100 (rather than the Hot 100) no longer count, and as a result Elvis is no longer sharing second place with Mariah Carey, but dropped to 14th place, a slot he shares with Phil Collins.

Elvis would have probably rather dropped out the charts altogether than be slapped on the back for being as good as Phil.

Songwriterobit: Robert Hazard

Robert Hazard, songwriter, has died.

Born Robert Rimato, Hazard's greatest gift to pop was as songwriter of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, but he was also a performer in his own right. His band The Heroes had one of those fairytale strokes of luck in building a national profile - Rolling Stone had sent Kurt Loder to cover a gig in Philadelphia; he stumbled across Hazard's band playing in a bar and wrote a feature on them. Loder's predictions of "limousine life" never quite were fulfilled, but they did tolerably well - a self-produced ep was picked up by RCA and given national distribution in 1982. However, Hazard took the decision to drop the band's name from the band's name - becoming just Robert Hazard - and dropped some of the original members, while RCA interfered overmuch with the plans for the debut album. The resulting record failed to sell.

Hazard then revamped the Heroes again, this time as the New Heroes; in 1991 he reunited with the original line-up to mark their tenth anniversary, but only for one night.

After a brief spell with another group, The Hombres, in the late 90s, Hazard took a break. He returned, refreshed, for 2003's Seventh Lake and the following year, Blue Mountain. A second career-changing stroke of luck came in 2006, when the vice-president of Rykodisc saw him playing in Philadelphia. Hazard signed a long-term deal with the label, but had only managed to release one disc before falling ill.

Hazard made a last post to his MySpace on July 24th:

A heartfelt thank you to all my fans and friends who have been so supporortive to my music and the direction I have taken over the past few years.

I have been truly blessed as a performer and a songwriter to have you with me on this wonderful journey

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances beyond my control

I have been forced to cancel the rest of my summer tour schedule
We will pick up again in the Fall

In the meantime I will be preparing for a new CD and more show dates
Please stay tuned to your local venues for rescheduled dates in your area

Until we meet again….

Hazard had recently had surgery; his death is believed to be related.

Courtney: You can't keep a good woman down, but I'm quitting

Nylon TV has taken its video camera off to have a word with Courtney Love.

"I've had three successful records" she kicks off with - yep; Live Through This, Nevermind and Nirvana: MTV Unplugged.

"Nobody really wants my job" she insists, although since her job seems to be publishing incoherent rants to the internet, we'd actually suggest seventy-five per cent of bloggers are already rehearsing for it.

Love also reveals that after her next record she's going to quit music to concentrate on "apparel and TV production..." Given that she's admitted she's not been able to keep her own credit card bills in line, what sort of production does she think might require her special skills?

[Via Holy Moly]

The Clash want your cash

After having spent the summer watching John 'I never did' Lydon trying to flog Sex Pistols DVDs, it's almost something of a relief to know that the focus of the not-punk-anymore market is shifting to The Clash this autumn: the 1982 Shea Stadium gig - where they supported The Who - is out on CD in October; accompanied by a DVD which we're apparently forced to describe as a career-spanning retrospective and - leading it all off - an official biography.

Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah, I wanna start a fight

Popjustice's Song of the day is Pink's So What. Judging on this, it sounds like she's regained her pop form. And it's got a brilliant singalong chorus, too.

Amy Winehouse asks for Amy Lame's job - if ET lets her

The NME is dutifully reporting that Amy Winehouse is going to be a "radio agony aunt", something it has extrapolated from the Daily Star, which claims she's "asked" to go on when Mitch co-hosts the Danny Baker show with Gary Crowley.

The NME might want to approach the story with a little more caution, given that the last big Winehouse story the Star broke was this one:

Amy's demise could have inadvertently sparked a link between the human race and life on other planets after new research suggests aliens have been desperately trying to contact the star.

As sightings of UFO'S soared in recent months - with nearly one being reported every week - betting analysts Blue Square have been working out the odds on where the next alien-bod could be spotted.

But researchers were amazed to discover that when the E.T sightings were plotted on a map of Britain they formed the shape of Amy Winehouse's bee-hived head.

Alien watchers everywhere are now convinced that life on other planets is desperate to contact the skinny limbed Rehab singer and help her to change her destructive ways.

"Alien watchers everywhere" are convinced of this, are they? They wouldn't be saying 'why would you try to contact someone by making a massive join-the-dots picture that, if you're half drunk and squint, might look a little bit like you?' Obviously, I'm not expert with matters alien - I did some work experience once summer helping out with their probing, but mostly it was just making coffee for Tharrrg The Mighty Crusher Of Galaxies - but it does seem they'd be better off hovering over house, wouldn't they?

Akon goes to the pictures

To be honest, when I first read the headline

Akon Stunned After Michael Jackson Takes Him To Cinema In Pyjamas

I expected the report to end with the words "when he came round, it was after midnight and someone had stolen his popcorn..." but instead, it turns out that it's just a report on going to the cinema with Jackson:
"He actually took me to the movies with him, that was an experience,” Akon said.

“I was like, 'Are you going out like that?' He was in his pyjamas and I was waiting to see if he was going to change. He grabs a scarf and puts it around his head.

“Then, he grabs the kids and puts a scarf around their heads. So I grab a scarf and put it around my head, and off we go."

It's not entirely clear why Akon put a scarf round his own head - it reminds me of that anecdote about the blok going for tea with the queen and following her steps of pouring milk into a saucer and breaking biscuits into it, only to discover she was preparing hers for the corgis.

It's also not clear if Akon was wearing his pyjamas, either.

What's funny is that Akon still feels that it's great to be working with someone who wanders the streets in his pjs, and hasn't carried through the working 'goes out in nightwear - might have lost all sense of judgement - judges me to be the perfect person to work with'.

Iron Maiden: No, seriously, don't call it a comeback

Iron Maiden have thrown a little strop and demanded their names be removed from the shortlist for the Vodaphone Live Music Awards.

The band are humped they were up for 'best live return':

In a message on their web site, the band told people not to cast votes for them because they "are not quite sure where we are returning from.

"We have asked them to remove us from the nominations and they have done this," the message adds.

The event organisers, we're given to understand, admitted they'd been dubious about including Iron Maiden in the category in the first place, although it wasn't words 'live return' they'd been unsure about.

I won't sail this ship alone

Tantalising co-headline tour in the offing for October/November, as Cerys Matthews and Paul Heaton team-up. Oh, let's hope there's at least one duet per night:

Glasgow ABC (October 25)
Newcastle University (26)
Norwich Waterfront (29)
Leeds Met University (30)
Sheffield Academy (31)
Liverpool Academy (November 1)
Cardiff University Solus (4)
London ULU (5)
Wolverhampton Wulfrun (6)
Manchester Ritz (7)
Hull University (9)

Something nice to say about Sting

We don't often have a kind word for Sting, so let's be fair: the last ever Police date is being used as a fundraiser for public TV in the US, which is a good thing.

We were amused by this, though:

Still, fans might wonder: Is this really the last show, or will the Police just re-reform in five years and do it all again?

"I would bet the ranch that this is absolutely the last show ever," said Bill Zysblat, who produced the Police's reunion tour with Live Nation. "(Frontman) Sting has been quoted as saying it's important that things have an ending, that it was never meant to be forever, and this is a happy ending -- for everyone."

So, the guy responsible for producing the tour is agreeing with the official line that if you don't go to this one, you'll never see The Police play again. And you'd have thought he'd say "ach, they've already book the rehearsal space for the 2011 jaunt..."

Mother and child reunion

Usher has re-hired his mother - probably the only manager who'd forgive you for canning them in favour of some bigshot.

Usher's blaming Benny Medina, the man he replaced his mother with, for the slump in his sales. Also, he couldn't make pancakes the way mom did. And do you know how embarrassing it is when Benny Medina spits on a hanky and wipes the ice-cream off your face in front of your friends?

Gordon in the morning: Perhaps they're doing it deliberately

Surely, there must be a competition at Bizarre to see who can get the worst pun actually into the paper. It's the only explanation for this:

Cheeky singer is yawny Allen

Meanwhile, Gordon's love affair with Oasis reaches new heights as a rubbish photo of Liam jogging sends Mr. Smart in the sort of sports commentary you'd have got on On The Hour:
He’s no Haile Gebreselassie but if he carries on like this it won’t be soul he’ll be digging out, it’ll be his 32in Levi jeans from 1995.

Just imagine, eh, Gordon, those tight jeans clinging to Liam's arse as he swaggers about. And as he turns round, perfectly cupped by that aging denim - perhaps just a faint hint of fraying down to the right...

No. I'm feeling a little queasy now, and I never got as far as the phrase "threesome with Serge".

The team have, of course, turned in a crap not-a-pun for this story, too:
Manc singer is Liam Galloper

Actually, that's not that bad - by current Sun standards, anyway. Although you don't gallop when you jog. Unless you're able to go slowly faster than a cannonball.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The original plan fell through when the pig dirigibles couldn't carry the weight of the cabins

Cruises. They're great, aren't they? Being trapped on a floating hulk of metal; having to dress up for the captain's table; Looooooveee... eeexciiiting aaand newwwww..... You know the only thing that could make cruises even better?

If they were prog rock themed.

Now, though, comes the great gig in the sea:

This one-of a kind voyage will feature the music of Think Floyd USA: The American Pink Floyd Show, and will celebrate material from Pink Floyd’s earliest days through the present. Think Floyd USA will take listeners on a musical and visual flight through the Pink Floyd galaxy performing all of Pink Floyd’s classic hits from legendary albums such as Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and the all time classic, The Wall.

Oh, we can see it now: Hey! Purser! Leave those ships alone!

The organisers proudly insist this is the "first Pink Floyd themed cruise to the Bahamas", as if to leave open the possibility that there might, perhaps, be some boats crossing the Med with Radio KAOS pumping across the dancefloor.

The really wealthy, of course, go on yacht-rock-themed yacht trips.

Fact check, Pussycat

The Telegraph runs an eye-catching headline:

Britney Spears to play lesbian killer in Quentin Tarantino film

The claim is that Tarantino is remaking Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill, and that Britney is going to be in it.

Trouble is, as I Don't Like You In That Way points out, Tarantino isn't currently remaking the movie. More to the point, while he might sometimes cast stars whose acting career has faded, he tends to not choose those whose acting career has faded because they have trouble reaching the acting standards required of a DFS commercial.

So why would the Telegraph bother with the story? Could it be an excuse to run a giant snatch - I think that's the word - of Madonna snogging Britney at the MTV Music Video awards 1973 or whenever it was? Private Eye ran a story recently about how Telegraph writers are being encouraged to write stories which feature words which do well on Google - a three-way with "lesbian" "Madonna" and "Britney Spears" in would almost be a dream, wouldn't it?

Modern conundrums

E! Online struggles with a reader's problem:

I really like that M.I.A. single "Paper Planes." But I hear she supports terror. Is that true? Is she a terrorist?

—Mela, Los Angeles

Mela, Mela: given the state of the world we live in, where just happening to be in the wrong place at the wrong time can see you flown to Cuba and being force fed down a long tube, do you really think that the authorities would cheerfully allow a terrorist to pop up on the MTV every few hours?

Given, though, that the music industry insists that buying a dodgy CD is effectively a way of funding terrorist organisations, it's an interesting moral question: if MIA was a terrorist, would it be more or less acceptable to buy her CDs off a bloke in the pub?

Baby changed

CD Baby - the online indie CD store - has changed hands, with father of the baby Derek Sivers announcing he's handing it over to He reckons they'll be better parents for the service, which will carry on doing pretty much as it has so far.

There's no money in torrents

Sometimes, there's room for schadenfreude for the music industry: BitTorrent Inc is having financial difficulties and is having to lay off twelve of its 55 staff. It's plan for profit - an online shop stuck on the torrent backend - turned out to have a fatal flaw, in that people who use bittorrent tend to not be used to paying for the service.

Kanye West wants his fans to be all eclectic

Given that Kanye West has been going off the boil a little of late, it's probably quite brave of him to suggest to his fans that they widen their musical horizons. He might try to be a little more coherent, though:

"Nas is the only MC of my generation — maybe Rakim, but he was the generation before me — Nas was the most respected MC in every genre of rap. Nigga, he could do a song with Puffy or Wu-Tang."

Goodness, as wide as Diddy or the Wu-Tangs, eh? That's pretty adaptable.

But Kanye has more:
"How is Soulja Boy killing hip-hop? He had one of the biggest songs of the summer. If anything, he's helping keep it alive. You don't have to be Lil Wayne in order for people to say your shit is fresh.

"Open y'all's fuckin' minds. Be accepting of different people. Let people be who they are."

It's not clear if West ever goes round commenting on blogs suggesting that people's tastes are wrong and it's clear they must be bitter or haters. But it's nice to see West moving on from his usual favourite subject of himself. At least for a short while:
"You know how many people came at me, calling me 'gay' cause I wear my jeans the fresh way?" he said to the audience. "Or 'cause I said, 'Hey, dude, how y'all gonna say 'fuck' right in front of a gay dude's face and act like that's OK?' That shit is disrespectful.

"It took me time to break out of the mental prisons I was in. The stereotypes of the fear of the backlash that I would get for believing in what I believe in, for accepting people for who they are."

I don't know about you, but I lost that somewhere around the idea of wearing jeans in a fresh way. And I can't begin to understand what a stereotype of a fear of a backlash is, but I think he's saying it's harder to be tolerant than it is to be victimised. And that there should be some sort of parade for people who wear their trousers freshly.

Watch Ros

Here, then, is a chunk of Sigur Ros live at MOMA, New York, with thanks to Current TV:

Truck found; still empty

They've found the truck that was stolen from Iggy and the Stooges; trouble is, it was without the kit.

Noel Gallagher rails against the Berliners

While more than happy to snuggle up to the fawning flaps of Gordon Smart, there are some members of Fleet Street who will not be welcome at Noel Gallagher's house. He has no time for Guardian types, oh no. Asked about his ignorance parade over Jay-Z, rather than focusing on his own stupidity, he decides to attack:

"If people in the fucking Observer and the Guardian wanna get on their high horse about it, there's not a great deal I can do."

Of course, this is only to be expected - after all, Noel used to be married to the diarist of the Sunday Times Style Magazine, so his judgement on journalistic quality is unimpeachable.

He goes on. Of course he goes on:
"It really pisses me off," he continues, "all these spotty herberts whose mams and dads voted for Margaret Thatcher all those years are now sitting on some moral fucking high chair."

We've had a large swig of coffee to try and work out what he's talking about - a moral high chair? Is he confusing a horse with a chair? Is he suggesting that Polly Toynbee's parents used to vote conservative? Does it really matter how ones parents voted when you're developing your own politics? Or are we all supposed to always vote exactly the way our parents did? Given that Noel is vocal in his dislike of Thatcher, shouldn't he applaud someone who grows away from such a malign influence? And since The Guardian was the only paper which consistently attacked Thatcher, isn't it a paper whose views he should find at least some common cause with? Or.... could it just be that we're struggling to find coherence in a place where there is none? It's weighing down... heavy... need some... help to do heavy lifting...
[Thanks to James M]

Sony takes it all

There's not much surprise - although their corporate pages don't mention it anywhere - that Sony has bought out Bertelsmann's stake in Sony BMG.

Well, no surprise that it's happened - it's been expected all week - but you'd have to wonder why Sony is so excited. The analysts line is that this is going to make it easier to integrate Sony music product into other Sony businesses; but we can't imagine that the poorly organised Sony corporate structure is going to make it any easier just because there's three letters gone from the letterhead.

You wonder if the real plan is to make it more-or-less impossible for anyone investigating the original merger of Sony and BMG to enforce a divorce, while allowing Bertelsmann to escape a sector in which it has lost heart.

Headline matters

Those surprising festival headliners, Kings Of Leon, are streaming their new single Sex On Fire over on their MySpace.

We've typed Sex On Fire into a medical search engine; they're suggesting you buy a whole load of yoghurt and contact any partners from the last six months.

Not that it could be a test for a global model, or anything like that

Under the cover of thick smog and the sound of party officials muttering "can't we just tell them the Olympics are off?", Google has launched a legal music download service in China. Search returns legal downloads; everyone takes a slice of advertising revenue:

"The Internet industry should by no means stand in the opposite camp against the music industry," Google China President Kai-fu Lee said in a statement.

"Google always believes profoundly that mutual interest, rather than monopoly, is the key to sustainable growth."

We suspect either that quote has been machine-translated, or possibly written by a machine in the first place.

Oasis are OMG like, the best - NG, Burnage

Over at Hip Young Gunslinger, they've noticed a surprising groundswell of excitement at the prospect of the next Oasis. So many people, full of enthusiasm. For a record that's not due for another couple of months. Why, you couldn't hope for that sort of thing from an orchestrated publicity campaign, could you?

Gordon in the morning: Call Esther Rantzen

This morning, Gordon Smart has got a definitive fab whacky Macca thumbs aloft photo, which he has headlined, erm:

Thumb trip for Paul McCartney

I took a couple of cups of strong coffee before I worked out the pun - thumb/some. I say "pun", though that's being over generous.

Still, let's not be too hard on Gordon, for today he reveals his hidden pain:
PUNK star JILTED JOHN has been the bane of my life thanks to his classic 1978 self-titled track which told the tale of Gordon the moron.

It’s a cracking tune but a bit tedious after 14 years of having your older brother sing it to you every day.

It's odd he had it sung to him over 5,000 times and yet didn't actually notice it wasn't about Gordon but about John and Julie and that Gordon was merely an incidental character on the edge of the tale. But then Smart does tend to assume that anytime there's a Gordon involved, he'll be at the centre of things.

And you'd have thought that Smart could have silenced his brother by pointing out that Gordon is "cool and trendy" and, even in John's estimation, better looking than the man he's jilted.

Still, Gordon has at last found a hook upon which to print this story of childhood misery, with Jilted John's new song about Keira Knightley:
The lyrics go: "Keira, Keira, eat your dinner. Keira, Keira, you can’t get much thinner. Go to a restaurant with Michael Winner. Keira, Keira, eat your dinner."

Gordon proclaims this "brilliant" - which perhaps misses the point that it's meant to be intentionally rubbish - and slaps on the headline:
Jilted in Keira thin-phony

Thin-phony? In what world does Sym sound like Thin?

She was like that with William Reid, too

Actor-turned-person-who-put-out-a-record Scarlett Johansson has been accused of - you might want to sit down for this - sending an email to Barack Obama. And, also: getting an email in return.

The rightwards-leaning US media has reacted like Victorian women discovering the vicar has allowed a fallen woman to sleep in the Rectory, and Scarlett isn't happy:

"It seemed to me to be like a product of extreme sexism, and I kept thinking to myself, 'God, if this was just, like, Kal Penn or George Clooney or any of the other (Obama) surrogates or supporters ... there wouldn't be (any) question about it. Nobody would even talk about it," she said.

Nestle's George Clooney, of course, wouldn't send an email. He'd be linked to Obama on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

This has to be a first, surely?

Has E! ever shown interest in Danny Baker's holiday fill-in before?

Kaiser Chiefs demand interest, excitement, sex music

Ricky Wilson doesn't like modern indie. Not a bit:

"Indie bands are big, so a lot of record companies are pushing indie bands and going 'we've got one and they dress in vests'," Wilson said. "That indie by numbers is boring."

And how are the Kaiser Chiefs going to mark themselves out as different from the indie-by-numbers? By working with Mark Ronson and including a duet with Lily Allen on the new album. Let's hope they can cope with the cold wind of rejected mainstreamism, eh?

They don't they don't they don't do what they oughta

Over on the splendid Daytrotter site: Sons And Daughters in session.

Keane leave themselves wide open

Oh, it's an open goal, and so the rest writes itself: Tom Chaplin talks about the new Keane single:

Keane Frontman Tom Chapman says the band's new song, 'Spiralling', is them “ignoring rules of good taste”

[Yes, Gigwise called him Chapman. He's so dull they can't even remember his name.]

Was I mentally ill because I listened to Slayer, or did I listen to Slayer because I was mentally ill?

In what we're sure is a well-researched study, the Australasian Psychiatry journal has announced that if you like metal, you're more likely to have mental health problems than if you don't:

A study, published in today's Australasian Psychiatry journal, found that teens who listen to pop music are more likely to be struggling with their sexuality, those tuning in to rap or heavy metal could be having unprotected sex and drink-driving, and those who favour jazz are usually misfits and loners, prompting a call for doctors to include musical tastes as a diagnostic indicator in mental health assessments.

"There is no evidence to suggest that the type of music you listen to will cause you to commit suicide, but those who are vulnerable and at risk of committing suicide may be listening to certain types of music," the author of the study, Felicity Baker, said yesterday.

Yes, Baker does seem to have concluded - albeit without showing working - that the answer to the High Fidelity conundrum is that you listen to depressing music because you're depressed. But there's "no evidence" that listening to one genre of music will make you kill yourself. She can't stress that strongly enough.

But not so strongly she wouldn't suggest that doctors include a quick run through of what's on your iPod before deciding if you should be sectioned.

Now, we've always tended to assume that people who wear t-shirts promoting certain bands are basically crying for help - we'd donate heavily to anyone collecting to give Kasabian fans kittens to hug, for example - but this sort of reductive nonsense, which we'd suggest seems to be little more than putting on a white coat to trot out some stereotypes, is going a little far.

But, still, it's in a respected journal and so must be based on some long-term, in-depth, carefully-constructed studies, right?
She said an Australian study of year 10 students had shown significant associations between heavy metal music and suicide ideation, depression, delinquency and drug-taking, while an American study had also shown that young adults who regularly listened to heavy metal had a higher preoccupation with suicide and higher levels of depression than their peers.

So, the bulk of this work has been done on Year 10 students - not, then, by asking adults with mental health issues what music they listened to in their youth as a comparsion, for example. Or by tracking people over a long period of time. And how can they be sure that people who choose to listen to a loud, "outlaw"-themed musical genre might just not be more comfortable talking about their suicidal feelings, than, say, indie-pop kids? Or more likely to try and shock by claiming to take drugs?

It does throw up interesting possibilities of medical negligence cases in the future hanging on the misdiagnosis of a patient's favourite bands - "Goth? Did you really believe late-period Cult to be Goth, Doctor McMurray? Even a year two medical student would have seen Astbury had shifted to full-on cock-rock and diagnosed severe mental trauma in this patient..."

The sane last word, though, goes to Michael Bowden, a child psychiatrist and the head of medical programs at the NSW Institute of Psychiatry:
"The key to understanding any teenager is to treat them with respect by listening to what they have to say, rather than typecasting them according to the type of music they listen to," he said.

But then he would say. You know what namby-pambies these opera lovers are.

Musician's retirement home faces closure

The Musician's Benevolent Fund has announced plans to close Ivor Newton House, the only residential care home for musicians in the UK. It means that residents, some nearing 100, are going to be forced to move out of their current home.

The Musicians Union is organising a petition calling on the MBF to overturn the plans to shutter the building; the MBF claim it isn't "viable" to not turf out octogenarians and nonagenarians and sell the lucrative property in Bromley.

But here's a thought: if the MBF can't see a way of making it viable, why don't all those richer, older celebrities like Cliff Richard dig into their pockets and keep the place afloat? After all, Cliff and his chums are always stressing that they've been seeking to get mechanical copyright extended not to line their own pockets, but to help out less-well-off musicians. Why, here's a chance for them to demonstrate that in action. They could even pledge to sign over any earnings from copyright being extended past fifty years straight to the MBF, on the proviso that services like Ivor Norman House remain being offered. Wouldn't that make everyone happy?

Darkness at 3AM: Crushed

A scoop for the 3AM Girls. Or at least something they read somewhere. Kym Marsh used to have a little crush on the man she now co-stars with:

"I used to fancy Simon [Gregson] - and now I act with him."

Of course, it's not that unusual for former members of Hear'Say to now be working with the objects of their teenage passions. We know for a fact Danny always did love the Big Mac.

Whatever happened to Rik Waller?

Let's check in with Rik Waller, who was off one of those talent shows a few years back. How goes the career, Rik?

I find myself with adolescent minded retards constantly trying to outwit me, believing that somehow, in their few naive years on this planet, that they have unlocked the secrets of life and will one day rule the World.......

Funny how freedom of speech gives arseholes the world over the right to talk crap about subjects they know nothing of........
Sometimes I think Diablo is the only one who understands me......

Okay. Um... good to touch base with you, Rik. Backwards, people, walk backwards, slowly...

'Lab results

Currently over on - and exclusive to - Wired's listening post blog, a rare 1996 Stereolab live video, the first in a run of 'lab exclusives that they've got in the run-up to the new record.

[Less exclusive, no less lovely: The Stereolab/McCathy weekend]

Mitch fills in for Danny

I'm a little surprised at the decision of Mitch Winehouse to take up an offer to co-host a show with Gary Crowley on Radio London. He's doing the show while Danny Baker is on holiday - just one day, mind, but the list of other co-hosts ( Lucinda Ledgerwood, Phil Daniels, Katie Melua, Clare Grogan, Sandie Shaw, Alison Moyet, Toyah Wilcox, Sharleen Spiteri and David Grant) is an awkward slice of company for Winehouse to be rubbing shoulders with. Nobody would deny him the chance of having a spot of fun, but this does look a little like someone using a sick daughter as a stepping-stone to being a minor celebrity. Unless there's some other reason he's been invited?

Mind you, he is a London cabbie so a phone-in show could just be his natural element.

In other Baker-related news: He's going to be doing 606 all next season. Back where he belongs.

Pop rolled

Sadly, stories of bands having their kit nicked after gigs are all too common, but normally the victims are the sort of groups who have to hump their own stuff to the van. Last night, though, Iggy Pop and the Stooges became victim to gear-pinchers, after someone made off with their van in Montreal.

Police are asking anyone offered a pair of see-through vinyl trousers and very, very sweaty guitars at a cheap price to get in touch.

Gordon in the morning: The ceaseless Gallaghers

Gordon, of course, views it as a treat; saner minds see it as a threat: Oasis. Live. Forever. Or not quite forever, but eighteen months:

The lads are due to announce their plans in the next few weeks — and the tour will be their boldest yet.

The band, who had a 1994 hit with Live Forever, will start their dates in the UK this autumn, head off for more gigs, then return more than 12 months later to wrap things up at home.

Gordon has this from a "source", of course:
"It is on the kind of scale you would expect from THE ROLLING STONES."

Why, yes indeed, it is. The Rolling Stones is the very band which springs to mind.

The source continues:
"The fellas who have hatched the plan are very proud and excited."

We're sure they're excited - all that money, all those zeroes - but "proud"? At coming up with the idea of slogging round stadiums for months, something the source admits the Stones were doing two decades ago? Camp Oasis taking pride at an idea they've ripped off a rock dinosaur act? Hard to imagine, isn't it?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Too thick to leak

The default No Rock eyebrow position when we hear of bands in need of publicity whose tracks "leak" onto the internet is half-raised; now, our suspicion that the leak/moan about leak strategy is well in play has been confirmed - The Wall Street Journal reports that Torrentfreak has caught Buckcherry redhanded.

The "leak" of Too Drunk To Fuck outraged the band:

Buckcherry wrote in a July 3 MySpace posting that "we hate it when this s- happens, because we want our FANS to have any new songs first." In that post, the band provided a link that allows fans to download a copy of the song, and soon after posted a music video on its Web site. A July 22 news release from Atlantic quoted the band making the same complaint.

The trouble is, it turns out that the leak came from the band's manager, Josh Klemme.

But, of course, the record industry couldn't be using illegal filesharing as a marketing route, could it? Because that could create a hypocrisy-feedback-loop out of which we might never escape.

Choose a provincial date; avoid Kate Moss

Also lining-up wintery-tinged live dates are the Kills, heading off this November:

Glasgow - Oran Mor, 4th
Newcastle - The Other Rooms, 5
Middlesbrough – Arena, 6
Sheffield - The Leadmill , 8
Stoke-On-Trent - The Sugarmill, 9
Nottingham - Rescue Rooms, 10
Coventry – Kasbah, 16
Norwich - The Waterfront, 17
Cambridge - The Junction , 19
London - Astoria Theatre, 20
Brighton – Concorde 2, 21

Whale away

Noah And The Whale - who apparently went down a storm at the Cambridge Folk Festival - are going to brighten stages all round the nation. Like, on a tour:

20th, Oxford- Academy
21st, York -Duchess
22nd, Leeds -Cockpit
24th, Dundee -Fat Sam's
25th, Glasgow- Stereo
27th, Manchester -Academy 3
28th, Dublin -Whelans
29th, Belfast- Limelight
31st, Liverpool –Bumper
1st Nottingham - Rescue Rooms
2nd, Exeter - Phoenix
3rd, Portsmouth - Wedgewood Rooms
4th, Norwich - Waterfront
6th, London - Koko
7th, Brighton - Concorde 2
8th, Coventry - Kasbah
9th, Bristol - Thekla
10th, Cambridge- Junction
11th, Birmingham - Glee Club
12th, Sheffield - Leadmill
13th, Bournemouth - Old Fire Station

Gordon in the morning: Raving over Dave

Gordon Smart can hardly believe how popular David Beckham is:

KIDS in America have voted DAVID BECKHAM their No1 sports idol — just a year after he arrived to woo them.

Nearly two out of three chose the LA Galaxy star as best athlete of 2008, ahead of national heroes including basketball ace KOBE BRYANT and golfer TIGER WOODS.

Of course, his Teen Choice award had nothing to do with willingness to turn up to accept the Teen Choice award.

Gordo is also thrilled at another "honour" for Beckham:
Becks — snapped in a suit beside a boxing ring — is pictured on both the front AND back cover of the US version of Men’s Health, the top-selling men’s mag in the States.

In other words, Beckham has appeared on the first copy of Men's Health that they've not been able to sell the back cover to advertisers - an honour on a par with, say, being the first guest on a TV show where all the advertising slots are filled with public service announcements.

Still, this is fascinating:
More than 20 million viewers will watch him receive it from Hannah Montana star MILEY CYRUS on prime-time TV tonight.

Oh. It turns out "it" is actually the Teen Choice award.

Meanwhile, Keane have given Gordon a treat. I say treat:
And even though I have been a fierce critic of their canon of heart-stirring rock ballads in the past, the chaps gave me the first listen of the new album Perfect Symmetry.

Gordon likes their new music. But, unfortunately, he chooses to describe liking Keane like this:
It feels like confessing to dressing up as a woman at weekends...

So: being a TV is something you should be ashamed of, is it, Gordon?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sleeper weekend: Delicious & Little Annie

Back to Glastonbury 1995, then, for two more acoustic tracks - Delicious and Little Annie:

[Part of Sleeper weekend]

Crush against the front

The Rage Against The Machine set at Lollapalooza almost turned into the wrong sort of historic last night: Despite the best efforts of security and band, the crush was out of control.

Matters weren't helped by a number of fence-jumpers:

There was also at least one reported security breach of the venue's perimeter fence, according to both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, resulting in an unknown number of fans without tickets rushing into the park and reportedly injuring some security personnel in the process. Spokespeople for the festival could not be reached for comment at press time, and a Chicago Police Department spokesperson said that officials had not received calls for help from the festival, despite multiple reports that police on horseback had responded to the fence breach.

Chicago Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford said that as of 12:30 a.m. Sunday (August 3) his department had not received any calls for assistance from the private firm handling emergency services for the festival; MTV News is attempting to reach that firm. It was unknown at press time how many injuries occurred during the show, but an MTV reporter near the front of the stage witnessed at least a dozen dazed, limping and panicked fans being escorted to the medical tent, including one who was taken out on a backboard.

It seems a bit odd that the Police don't seem to have been called while police were responding - let's hope that's down to the fog of war rather than a sign of inadequate communication.

Punkobit: Alex McCulloch

Sorry to hear of the cruel, untimely death of Alex McCulloch, lead guitarist with Preston's Me Vs Hero. The band are asking for people to respect Alex's family and their privacy; the comments on their blog entry is offered as a space for online tributes.


Over now, on MySpace: Rare Victory, a musical tribute to Grant McLennan, featuring The Orchids, Trembling Blue Stars, Luke Haines and others; we've posted about this before, but it's worth mentioning again.

John Lydon burns the last of his bridges, fills river with petrol, sets it aflame

There are many who find it hard to believe that John Lydon could have been involved in a racist scuffle the other week, and who will be looking to their hero to prove that he's not the sort of tiresome old twit who attempts to defend unpleasant reactionary attitudes by pretending he's just so refreshingly anti-PC.

He's had his chance, in an interview with the Daily Record.

He starts off having a go at Pete Doherty for being a "coward":

"Doherty's got trapped in a publicity campaign that has run out of order.

"Another fool who is given a golden opportunity to do something wonderful in his life and he'd rather be selfish and cowardly. Drugs are the modus operandi of the coward.

"Pete is a fine lad that needs to sort himself out. This is Mister Rotten telling you I waltz on stage sober because no drug in the world is as good as being absolutely 100 percent honest with your audience. Nothing compares to that emotion. People like him and Amy Winehouse are getting it wrong as usual."

Given that the Sex Pistols' fame is built, to a large degree, on Sid Vicious and his heroin habit, while Lydon might have a point, you could perhaps fill a couple of sides of an ethics class exam asking if it's more cowardly to be addicted to drugs, or to allow your band to carry on exploiting someone addicted to drugs until they die.

Still, a bit of low-grade hypocrisy is only to be expected. Lydon seems to blame Sid's death all on the record company and the stress they put the band through - although didn't Johnny brag to the Star the other week about how he'd never danced to a record label's promotional schedule? - and says that he still misses Sid, so that's alright then.

However, having had his thoughts turn to Winehouse, he decides he's got more to say:
"Poor old Amy. Aimless Winehouse would be a better term."

Aimless Winehouse! Oh, how amusing.
"I love all kinds of music but the one thing I have never done is imitate black music in her idiotic way."

Excuse me?
"I don't like pale imitations and shades of things and I am always wary when people go jazzy because jazz is the best cover up for a lack of talent the world has ever known. It don't wash real with me.

"And the cover up for her which is probably the guilt trip is that she requires vast amounts of drugs to hide the fact that she is fake."

There's just so many reasons why he's wrong, but let's just take the implicit suggestion that white people shouldn't play jazz, and the explicit statement that jazz (which Lydon identifies as a solely black form of music) is "a cover for a lack of talent." Ghettoising and damning an entire genre just to stack up a weak pun based on Amy Winehouse's name.

As if there was any point, he then goes to have a pop at gays as well:
I felt the same way playing at the Isle Of Wight. It is orchestrated deck chair seating and gay rainbow flag waving. It's very, very absurd.

Lydon doesn't explain - and the Record doesn't seem bothered to ask - why waving a gay flag is in some way absurd, or, indeed, if the freedom to wave a flag that reflects your sexuality wasn't meant to be one of things that punk was supposed to have been about in the first place. Lydon doesn't explain if he's uncomfortable with having gays in his audience (although we bet he'd respond that he's got several good-ish gay friends), or merely he thinks that gay pride in itself is absurd. To be honest, I don't much care. I can't wait until the US economy stabilises and he can go back to selling flats to the retirement market or whatever his day job is meant to be.

Sleeper weekend: Louise Wener

A quick scrabble round some desleeperbloked Louise Wener stuff.

First, here's Lou playing Poker with the bloke out the Barclaycard Advert and the bloke out the Pimms advert. Presumably she must have creamed them, which would explain why they did the adverts. If you don't want us to spoil the result, don't worry, it's got something to do with cards: Not embeddable, unfortunately

Next, a brief snatch of Louise pre-guest seating on Shooting Stars, Vic and Bob's welcome-wearing-out gameshow:

Finally, her doing what she does every bit as well as playing snap for money and standing on a revolving disc - singing, inevitably, on TFI, doing Life's A Gas:

[Part of Sleeper weekend]

Poor Showbiz Zoe

Hankies out, please, as you consider the plight of Zoe Showbiz, out the Showbiz With Zoe Showbiz column in the Sunday Mirror, and - more precisely - just how buried she's become in the new integrated Sunday/Daily Mirror website. Mind you, perhaps it's a wise decision, what with stories like this one:

I was impressed by Island Records' new boyband Avenue at their first showcase gig. Despite a minor car crash that made them late, they performed dance moves that would give Take That a hernia. Their best tune Last Goodbye - a new single out on September 1.

That's such a soft story you could wrap eggs in it and send them through the post. Avenue, apparently, were something to do with the X Factor. We're given to understand the minor car crash was when they drove their vehicle flat out at the big gates in a bid to break out of their horrible lives - "for God's sake, let us return to obscurity... or, um, remain in obscurity but without having to learn dance routines..."

Mel C offers an explanation

No Rock invested its faith in Mel C to save us from a Spice Girls reunion. She let us down, and the world suffered the consequences - Gordon Smart making jokes about his erection, a lukewarm, legacy-trashing comeback track, Geri Halliwell released back into the wild. And Emma Bunton sitting in for Judy Finnegan.

Now, Mel C explains why:

"I was the one who didn't want the reunion. I took a hell of a lot of persuading because I was so reluctant to go back into it for all sorts of reasons.

"Part of it was I felt we could never recapture those times, and there was a big part of me that just didn't want to be reminded of who I was back then.

"It's amazing to think that as part of the biggest band on the planet I spent most of my time completely miserable because I had a terrible eating disorder.

"At the height of it all I wasn't eating and I was exercising so much my periods stopped and my bone density was low."

But her main worry is the impact her skinny image may have had on her fans: "The worst thing for me was that I was a role model to millions of young girls," she says.

There's an awful lot of good ideas for not doing it. So how much - sorry, what was it - that persuaded her to get back on the saddle?
"Eventually I thought: ‘Why not?' The other girls really wanted to do it. At first I was frightened of being overwhelmed by all those old feelings, but then I started to feel that maybe this was something I had to do.

"The idea of putting on a great pop show was appealing, as was the idea of spending time with the girls.

"It was an incredibly positive experience. We're all older and wiser, and we put a lot of ghosts to rest on that tour.

"When it was over, I was finally proud to be a Spice Girl. All those frightened, negative, mixed feelings had disappeared.

"Whatever was said, we all got on incredibly well. We've had our fights and feuds, but we're now more like sisters than friends."

We're trying to process this - so the time she was in the band was horrible, forcing her to make herself sick and setting up a horrible set of expectations in young fans - so the idea of "spending time" doing that again was somehow attractive?

Perhaps it seemed so in retrospect. Or at least when the cheque had definitely cleared.

Still, it was nice for Mel to take a trip down memory lane. She's even been revisiting old rumours:
"I've just come back from Canada," she says, then leans forward and adds: "But they're a bit behind with their gossip. They kept asking me whether I was a lesbian, which was funny and quite sweet.

"I haven't been asked that in years. I know everyone thought I was gay when I had my hair cut and put on a bit of weight, and, of course, because of my tattoos."

Yes. Of course "because of tattoos." Especially the "I am as queer as a Bryan Adams collaboration" one she's got on her left thigh.

Sleeper weekend: Click... Off... Gone

The number of times Sleeper appeared on TFI Friday, you might almost suspect that Chris Evans had a small part of his heart that would, forever, be at Lou Wener's beck and call. This is from Christmas 1996 - we're guessing, based on Evans' gear, although it could also be from the period when he started to believe he was Lord Of Entertainment.

[Part of Sleeper Weekend]

This fortnight just gone

The ten most-read individual stories this fortnight have been:

1. R Kelly's video admissible evidence; he got off twice

2. McFly remove their trousers, show penises

3. RIP Joaquin Tavares

4. Lily Allen removes costume; puts on another

5. Beth Ditto removes clothes to sell self, NME

6. Busta Rhymes objects to gay men touching him

7. Binki Shapiro bulks up Strokes side-project

8. Von Sudenfed video pops up on YouTube

9. Nip slip slap stopped: Court drops Janet Jackson Superbowl fine

10. Jimi Hendrix sex videos from before sex videos, videos

These things were being released and at least worth a consideration:

The Passions - Thirty Thousand Feet Over China Reissued with five bonus tracks

CSS - Donkey

Jonathan Richman - Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild

Various - Swinging Mademoiselles Deux

Teenage Jesus And The Jerks - Shut Up And Bleed

Ida Maria - Fortress Around My Heart

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis - Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

Private Schulz Ah, Schulz, still complaining, I see