Thursday, December 31, 2009

Shirley Manson's new year message

Shirley Manson has kicked the arse of the New York for remaining stuck in the past:

"So sad to read that the New York State Senate voted down the Gay Marriage Bill. It saddens and sickens me that modern government and society has learned nothing from history but continue the vicious cycle of ignorance and intolerance whilst quoting and twisting from a bible that at its root, preaches love and understanding and equality for all.

"Shame on all those who judge others so harshly that they will rob them of their civil liberties. Shame on those who will attempt to strip others of their dignity and their right to walk among us as equals on this earth. Shame on those who teach our children to discriminate and hate.

"Love is love is love is love. And it is rare and divine. So let all of us attempt to preserve it... in any manner we can. And by all of us, I really do mean all of us. Because lord knows there's certainly not enough of it flowing around us in this life."

Her plans for dealing with budget deficit will be outlined tomorrow.

Folkobit: Tim Hart

A founder member of Steeleye Span, Tim Hart, died on Christmas Eve.

Hart had been working with Maddy Prior when the pair were approached by Ashley Hutchings, fresh from Fairport Convention, with a view to creating a new band. The original line-up, with Terry and Gay Woods, collapsed early on; the Woods were cut and replaced by Martin Carthy and Peter Knight.

This version of Steeleye Span enjoyed success on the folk circuit, but a further line-up change introduced a sound drawing more firmly on rock. Hart became, perhaps, the world's greatest electric Appalachian dulcimer player during this period.

The new mix worked well - the band did a stadium tour of the US and hooked up with Mike Batt. This collaboration led to the high-water mark for the band, the UK number five hit All Around My Hat, in 1975.

The band continued, but with diminishing success and in 1983 Hart quit. Beset by ill-health, he moved to the Canary Islands, where he worked as a writer and photographer.

Hart returned to Britain this year for treatment for lung cancer; this proved ultimately unsuccessful and he returned home to La Gomera last month. Hart, who was 61, is survived by his second wife, Conny, and two children.

This is All Around My Hat, performed on Crackerjack in 1976:

Quo B E

The establishment recognises the Status Quo: Partfitt and Rossi have been given OBEs in the New Year's Honours, for services bringing all the drugs to the Band Aid recording, or something.

Sugababes: Where nobody knows your name

Like me pledging that 2010 will be the year I grow feathers and a beak, the "Sugababes" are resolving to break America in 2010.

Presumably the idea of going to a country where nobody knows or cares who they are is appealing, so they can spend a few months with people going "who are you?" instead of "no, seriously, what have you done with the actual Sugababes?".

Quite why they believe a nation that has a Beyonce would be in search of a Heidi Range isn't clear.

Stuck On Repeat 2009: Valete

Al Alberts, singer, The Four Aces
Rashied Ali, drummer, Rashied Ali Quintet
Michael Alexander, bassist, Evile
Ron Asheton, guitarist, The Stooges
Clint Ballard Junior, songwriter
Danielle Baquet-Long, producer, writer, performer, Celer
Jay Bennett, multi-instrumentalist, Wilco
Bob Bogle, guitarist, The Ventures
Derek Boland (Derek B), rapper
Jake Brockman, keyboardist, Echo And The Bunnymen
Randy Cain, singer, The Delfonics
Jim Carroll, singer, The Jim Carroll Band
Johnny Carter, singer, The Flamingos
Vic Chesnutt, singer-songwriter
Liam Clancy, singer, Clancy Brothers And Tommy Makem
John "Marmaduke" Dawson, guitarist and songwriter, The New Riders Of The Purple Sage
Dave Dee, singer, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick And Titch
Willy DeVille, founder, Mink DeVille
Jim Dickinson, producer
DJ AM (Adam Goldstein), DJ
DJ Omega Supreme (Andre Kyle), DJ
Steve Dullaghan, bassist, The Primitives
Phil Easton, presenter, Radio City
Heinz Edelmann, animator, Yellow Submarine
Donald 'Ean' Evans, bassist, Lynyrd Skynyrd
Jon Eydmann, manager, Suede and Spitfire
Jerry Fuchs, drummer, !!!
Danny Gans, musical impressionist
Stephen Gately, singer, Boyzone
Bobby Graham, legendary session drummer
Kelly Groucutt, bassist, ELO
James Gurley, bassist, Big Brother & The Holding Company
Tim Hart, singer, Steeleye Span
Hugh Hopper, bassist, Soft Machine
Andy Hughes, ambient artist, The Orb
Lux Interior, singer, The Cramps
Michael Jackson, singer, The Jackson Five
Wycliffe Johnson, producer
Bob Keane, founder, Del-Fi Records
Shawn Patrick Kelley, founder, Cymbalism Records
James Klass, dj, Radio City, Juice
Gary Kurfirst, manager and exec
Greg Ladanyi, producer
Dewey Martin, drummer, Buffalo Springfield
John Martyn, singer and songwriter
Midnight (John Patrick McDonald Jr), singer, Crimson Glory
Taylor Mitchell, singer
Brittany Murphy, actor, dance music collaborator
Renato Pagliari, singer, Renee And Renato
Richard Palmer, Duke D'Mond, The Barron Knights
Andy Parle, drummer, Space
Les Paul, guitar man
Billy Powell, keyboardist, Lynyrd Skynyrd
Chris Puma, guitarist, Candiria
Steve Raitt, sound engineer
Kenny Rankin, songwriter
Jack Rose, blues singer and singer, Pelt
Sky Saxon, singer, The Seeds
Mike Seeger, singer and songwriter
Mani Singh Sangra, producer, Sangra Vibes
Mercedes Sosa, singer and activist
James Owen Sullivan ('The Rev'), drummer, Avenged Sevenfold
Mary Travers, singer, Peter, Paul And Mary
Beau Velasco, drummer, Death Set
Lucy Vodden, in the sky with diamonds
Gordon Waller, singer, Peter And Gordon
Ted Weber, amp manufacturer and inventor
Steven Wells, poet and NME writer
David 'Pop' Winans, manager, The Winans

and not dead: Chuck Biscuits

[Part of Stuck On Repeat 2009]

Lest we forget:

Stuck On Repeat 2009: December

"Difficult economy, sorry, lots of opportunities, Mr. Manson." Marilyn Manson was dumped by his label. Kasabian were delighted nobody tries to pap them, but work from the assumption that people might want to. Tony Hadley reckons there hasn't been a musical subculture since, ooh, his. The Village People threatened to sue Jamie Oliver for dressing up like "them" (i.e. like a policeman and that.)

Philp Green and Simon Cowell's plans to take X Factor to Las Vegas and online were only lacking an undersea island and a white, fluffy cat. Someone decided to run a campaign against the X Factor getting to number one by suggesting we all buy R Kelly instead.

Things look pretty grim for EMI right now. But shed no tears, for they, like the other major labels turned out to have happily been ignoring copyright law in Canada for years. The long-promised launch of MySpace Music in the UK finally happened, somewhat quietly, while the useful bits of new subsidiary Imeem were switched off. The Sunday Times suggested Amazon might open real shops. They might think again, as there's a risk Chris Brown might turn up to count his records. In the UK, at least, the Ticketmaster/LiveNation tie-up looked likely to get no regulatory difficulty

Jeremy Paxman asked Sting to justify his eco-campaign and his many houses simultaneously. Sting failed. Bono attempted to justify being megarich while pretending to care about poverty. Bono failed. Alanis Morissette explained she was high when she wrote her songs, which explains a lot. Pink got the huff with the Queen for not answering her mail.

Sadly, reluctantly, Jean MacColl ended her campaign to find out who really was driving the boat that killed her daughter Kirsty.

[Part of the month-by-month review from Stuck On Repeat 2009]

Zapsmart: Music on TV and Radio today

9.00am BBC2 - Great Railway Journeys
Alexi Sayle on the Hejaz Line. Really just an excuse for this, though:

10.55am Channel 4 - The World's Greatest Pop Star
Beyonce, apparently, although I'm given to understand there's serious demands to re-run the election.

1.00 Classic FM - Dial A Carol
Handy if you've been on hold for a week and still haven't given up, I suppose.

3.05 BBC2 - Ready Steady Cook
Kenny Ball and Chris Barber in an all-jazz cook-off. The year is nearly over.

4.00 6Music - Lamacq's Top 40 of 2009
The closest we're getting to a Festive Fifty, anyway

6.30 BBC1 - Top Of The Pops
I'm not entirely clear how this is different from the Christmas Day one. Perhaps Fearne will wear a different pair of shoes.

8.00 ITV2 - Fearne And Alesha Dixon
Challenging documentary as Fearne chooses between "fabulous" and "brilliant" and "amazing" to describe Alesha's life

8.00 Sky One - All Star Don't Forget The Lyrics
Two - count 'em - slices of the programme which makes the last round of Buzzcocks look like Gascoigne-era University Challenge

8.00 Bio - Bryan Ferry
Oddly, the Biography channel has chosen to spend the day playing concert films instead. Much of the day is Buble-stuff, but it picks up a little towards the end of New Year's Eve

8.50 Standing In A Street In Eastbourne Looking Through A Cardboard Box - Toploader pretend they're on television

9.00 ITV3 - Celebrating The Carpenters
Richard Carpenter forced at gunpoint to pretend insipid readings by lesser, current acts are in some way a tribute to the work of his late sister

9.00 Bio - Amy Winehouse Live
From when she did the sort of thing that she was originally famous for

10.00 Bio - Franz Ferdinand
Surprising choice for Bio's day o'gigs; perhaps they've lost their Bloc Party tape
10.00 ITV3 - An Audience With Lionel Richie
Close-ups of Ronnie Corbett and the Anglia weathergirl as Richie builds to Dancing On The Ceiling

11.05 ITV3 - An Audience With Cliff Richard
While 2009 turns into 2010? Seriously?

9.20 BBC4 - Guitar Heroes At The BBC
From Bowie to Horselips.

10.50 Five - The Cheryl Cole Factor
"How quickly can we gloss over the assault, do you reckon?"

11.00 BBC2 - Jool's Annual Hootenanny
As inevitable as a new year's day hangover, the big question remains: when did this change from feeling like a bit of festive fun into something more akin to an office party thrown by WOMAD and a bunch of Butlins redcoats? Dave Edmunds is on, but... oh, lord: Boy George, Lily Allen, Dizzee Rascal, Kasabian and Paolo Nutini.

Midnight Radio 3 - Late Junction
Where the sort of people that Jools hopes watches his programme will be for New Year.

1.20am BBC2 - Best Of Glastonbury 2009
This programme has been removed due to a copyright claim by The British Broadcasting Corporation.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Decade Null: Most played

God, it was a rotten ten years, wasn't it? The most-played tracks in the UK in the last ten years:

1. Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
2. Shine - Take That
3. I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - Scissor Sisters

Even can't be arsed to read the new NME

The NME coverline:

Oasis - 1991-2010 - The Full Story... so far

Got that? The party line is that Oasis, as an interesting cultural force, continue into the new year - and beyond. isn't convinced, puffing up the new issue:
Featuring classic interviews from the past two decades, new and unseen photos, and Noel Gallagher's track-by-track guide to 'Definitely Maybe', it's the ultimate guide to the band we sadly bid goodbye to in 2009.

Or are still going in 2010. Like the magazine you're trying to sell is claiming.

Lady GaGa performs useful public service

The more time the poisonous Fred Phelps and his uncharitable church are protesting outside Lady GaGa gigs, the less time they'll be spending disrupting people's funerals.

What's Phelps' beef with GaGa?

Phelps describes Gaga as immoral and disagrees with her personal politics.

Let's hope it's pissing down with rain the night of the gig, eh?

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Helping out the Pope

Expanding his remit from commenting on how many copies of Susan Boyle's album has sold, HMV Smartking Gennaro Castaldo has now taken to offering advice to The Pope. If Benedict thinks he is infallible, he should find out how infallible Gennaro is.

Castaldo considers that The Priests were outselling the Pope's own record this week:

But there is hope for The Pope, according to Gennaro Castaldo of HMV, who advises his Holiness to keep at it and perhaps appeal to the masses next time.

"This is The Priests' second album, and they have a pretty decent following which crosses over into the mainstream," he said.

"It makes an ideal Christmas gift for many people while The Pope's record, 'Alma Mater', on the other hand, is a bit of a one-off recording, and has quite specialist appeal."

The Pope is believed to have spluttered a bit at this, and was still muttering 'I've played the bloody Yankee Stadium' as he tumbled to the ground.

Stuck On Repeat 2009: November

Stung by a bottle, flung by a fan, Morrissey flounced off stage in Liverpool. Meanwhile, Scousers Echo And The Bunnymen pulled an entire US tour when they were asked to pay tax on the proceeds. Sting's house is haunted. One of them, anyway.

A surprising celebration of Band Aid was being pulled together by Fucked Up. The departure of Noel from Oasis wasn't going to stop Liam; after all, they'd been carrying despite any inventiveness having left a decade ago. Fall Out Boy gave it up, too.

Sony had an entire town thrown off the internet, and that was before Obama's White House pushed attempts to make global copyright even more strict than it already is. Peter Mandelson is topping that, though, by introducing a make-it-up-as-you-go-along copyright law. MySpace looked at its bank statements and decided it better start charging for music.

The Big Chill sold out to Festival Republic, who've already squeezed every penny and every ounce of character out of Glastonbury and Reading. Technics decks and Linn CD players came out of production.

Absolute Radio junked one of its rock stations in the hope 80s pop might bring audience to DAB, although the axing of George Lamb had already made digital radio much, much better. The Observer announced it was over for the Music Monthly. Borders started closing down.

Darren Hayman ended up in hospital after being jumped in Nottingham. Pete Doherty ended up in hospital after his heart stopped. That kept him off stage, although sadly he was well enough to insult the audience in Munich by singing the Nazi national anthem.

Adam Lambert's management asked Out magazine to not make him too gay; unfortunately, they forgot to ask Adam Lambert to not be so gay on ABC.

[Part of the month-by-month review from Stuck On Repeat 2009]

What the pop papers say: Happy New Year

The first NME for a brand new decade, under a whole new editorial regime has just landed on my doormat.

And how is this new era marked?

A "special collector's edition" devoted to Oasis.

Which, frankly, would have looked out of date at the start of the last decade.

Zapsmart: Music on TV and Radio today

6.00am ITV - GMTV
I know, I'm not going to have posted this before it happens. But nobody really wants or needs to see Chipmunk doing his new song in Ben Sheppard's face-hole, do they?

10.35am Channel 4 - JLS Love Jacko
For some reason, JLS list their favourite songs by the man who died before they were born, surely? Tomorrow, Diversity choose their ten favourite impressionist paintings.

2.00 Radio 2 - Great British Songbook Of The 1980s
Together at last: Chris Tarrant and Nik Kershaw.

6.00 Radio 2 - Best Of Maida Vale
That's what they're calling Charles Hazlewood's programme celebrating the studio. And yet the listings promise Jamie Cullum.

7.15 Radio 4 - Front Row
John Wilson should really know better than to build a programme around the "surprise" that women are having hit records.

8.00 ITV2 - Fearne And Peaches Geldof
Fearne Cotton peers into a deep, dark abyss. It's actually a rip-off of that Angel where the exorcised the demon that was afraid of the child it had possessed.

9.00 BBC4 - Sounds Of The 80s
Following straight on from, erm, the Electric Dreams from the 1990s, but you should never look a gift horse wearing eyeliner in the mouth

9.00 ITV - Piers Morgan's Review Of The Year
Well, he helped spoil it, he might as well clean it up. Of course Louis Walsh and Amanda Holden guest on it.

9.00 E4 - The Greatest Songs Of The Noughties
Well, in your opinion, maybe, E4.

10.00 Radio 1 - Rob Da Bank And Friends
Enjoying an early outing, one of the few upsides of the destitute Radio One schedules this week.

11.40 ITV2 - Ghosthunting with The Happy Mondays
"Thank god they commissioned it, I only had 'Jenny Frost: Coconut Shy Operator' left on my pitch list."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

BRMB sack DJ for sticking to the schedule

BRMB wasn't supposed to be broadcasting the Queens Speech on Christmas Day; so when it turned up in the Sky News feed instead of the news, Tom Binns cut in to the broadcast and got back to playing the sort of low-demand music BRMB thrives on.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of complaints and a death threat, and so now Binns has been permanently binned by BRMB.

David Lloyd, Orion Media Group's programme and marketing director, said: 'On Christmas Day, one of our presenters, Tom Binns, made some inappropriate comments surrounding the Queen's speech.

'We do not condone what he said in any way; whether said in jest or not. We are making contact with the small number of listeners who were offended by Tom’s comments and have complained to us to convey our apologies, and have also apologised on air.

'Tom will now not be featuring again on our radio stations.'

If there were only a small number of listeners who complained - and these were people who cared so much about the Queen's Speech they had chosen to listen to a station that it wasn't on - why have they sacked Tom?

Hiphopobit: DJ Omega Supreme

DJ Omega Supreme, Organized Konfusion's first DJ, has died following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Born Andre Kyles, Omega backed up Organized Konfusion's MCs Prince Po and Pharoahe Monch during the early 90s, before moving into management and artist development.

Omega's cancer had been believed to be in remission; he died shortly before Christmas.

Rich man slightly inconvenienced by world events

Let's not lose sight of the real issue at the heart of this twat trying to let indoor fireworks off on a plane above Detroit: it caused a slight delay for Rod Stewart in his travel plans.

Madonna-effect harms the children left behind

Not only did Madonna's decision to take a child rather than supporting Mercy where she lived mean that a Malawian children's home lost a potential source of regular, ongoing support, but the linking of Madonna to the home's name has destroyed the other support the Kondanani home needs:

A source tells the [Daily Mirror], "We find it a day-to-day struggle to survive. Some days we don't even know if there will be enough food to feed the babies. Donors are not giving because they are under the impression Madonna paid us vast amounts of money."

Head of the orphanage, Annie Chikhwaza, adds: "I was never offered a penny. I did not expect any either."

Well, no, the direct handing over of cash might have led to some cynical suggestions that Madonna was buying a child. However, you do wonder if she couldn't have found a few quid in one of her many houses to help the other kids out, don't you?

Metalobit: James Owen Sullivan

The drummer with Avenged Sevenfold, The Rev, has died, the group have confirmed,

James Owen Sullivan was one of the founding members of the band, which came together in 1999. The Rev had been his high school nickname; this, coupled with the band's reference to Genesis often led to Avenged Sevenfold being confused with a Christian outfit in its early days. An appetite for heavy drug use and a songbook drawn from the sort of subject matter considered shocking for American metal soon put paid to that.

In 2004, the band signed with Warners, drawing the sort of investment required to push the band to the Hot Topic shoppers. Their last album, 2007's Avenged Sevenfold, shipped half a million copies in the US and went into the top ten.

Last month, the band started work on a new collection.

The Huntington Beach Police Department say that initial indications are that Sullivan died from natural causes; he was 28 and is survived by his wife.

Government scuppers own initiative

It's a brilliant idea: the government is going to subsidise computers for the poorest families in Britain, acknowledging that access to the internet is a vital part of modern education and citizenship.

What a pity that Mandelson is busily undermining this initiative from the other end, colluding with the music industry in pretending that internet access is a luxury and promotes a plan which will make it impossible for the families receiving the computers to afford to be online.

Decade Null: Best selling albums

Yes, it turns out the first years of this millennium were as rubbish as you're remembering. These were the best-selling albums:

1. James Blunt - Back to Bedlam (2005)
2. Dido - No Angels (2000)
3. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (2006)
4. Leona Lewis - Spirit (2007)
5. David Gray - White Ladder (2000)

Roll on 2010. Or the day when they switch off gravity and we all float out into space.

Gordon in the morning: The quiet time

Was it worth opening up the office yesterday, Gordon?

Becks is a scarf ace

Alright, it's quite a good headline, but man wears scarf in winter as a story?

Even more oddly, The Sun has started to use png images instead of text for the headlines on its webpages. Even if you choose to not have images loaded automatically, still they come in as image files. Perhaps this is part of the paywall lowering - if you want to discuss the headlines in the pub, in the way Gordon insists you do, you have to pay to print them out on pieces of card?

Zapsmart: Music on TV and Radio today

10.40am BBC2 - Who Do You Think You Are?
Rory Bremner. He had a hit record as The Commentators. He counts.

God, the pickings are so, so slim this week.

11.05am Channel 4 - Lily Allen: Under The Skin
Unless she changes her mind, wipes the tapes and pretends she never really meant to make the programme in the first place.

Noon Radio 1 - Arctic Monkeys Live
From August 2009, so you can almost hear the first little voice in the crowd saying 'I think maybe they've spread themselves too thinly...'

1.00 Radio 1 - The Chart Of The Decade
For some reason, chopped into three daily chunks instead of being delivered in a single, magisterial, all-day, schedule sweeping gesture. If Radio 1 don't think it's worth a bit of fuss, why should we?

3.10 BBC2 - Ready Steady Cook
Toyah Wilcox cooks up something against the clock. The Thunder In The Mountains calls for a Rennie half an hour later.

6.00 Radio 2 - The Class Of 2009
Paul Gambaccini picks the best new artists of the year, and his choice should be enough to shut the Radio Centre's claims that Radio 2 is obsessed with young people and popularity right out the water.

8.00 BBC4 - Electric Dreams
Open University-tastic domestic electronics history 101 gets a rerun; tonight, it's the 1980s, which means there's a guest appearance from those members of Ultravox who don't get asked to make circus school documentaries for Radio 4.

9.00 Five - Celebrity Shock List
Seriously, who exactly is shocked by Lady GaGa? Entertained - briefly - maybe. But shocked?

10.20 Channel 4 - Alan Carr: Chatty Man Special
So, Channel 4 seem to have given up looking for a proper vehicle for Carr's talents and are just going to churn this out, over and over. Still, anything that spares us another series of Ding Dong. Spandau Ballet shuffle by, trying to avoid catching anyone's eyes.

10.50 BBC1 - Sting's Winter Songbook
Billed merely to reassure you that you're better off hanging out until last orders.

11.00 Discovery Real Time - LA Ink
The Game visits Kat Von D's tattoo shop. Even less happens than you might expect.

11.30 BBC Radio 7 - Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World
Stuart Lee and Richard Herring from 1992. In passing, it's worth noting that the Fist Of Fun wikipedia entry calls for a citation on the claim that the fake Rod Hull would believe the real Rod Hull would require gifts of jelly.

11.45 ITV2 - Ghosthunting With Louis Walsh And Boyzone
From, you know, before the very set-up of the programme started to sound like a bad joke

Stuck On Repeat 2009: October

Are The Libertines reforming? Pete Doherty says yes; Carl Barat says no. A-Ha announced plans to decommission themselves, albeit slower than a nuclear power station. Slightly-less-than-super supergroup Them Crooked Vultures told paying customers not to take photos. After the new U2 album sold poorly, Bono pointed the finger of blame - at their audience.

Believing The Guardian had slurred his reputation for professionalism, Liam Gallagher instructed Carter-Ruck to start proceedings. Yes, the guys who tried to make it illegal to report parliamentary questions. Ian McCulloch insisted that Lauren Laverne had no right to present a show about culture. (He's obviously got influence; she's been replaced by Andrew Graham-Dixon for the next series.)

D:Ream tired of waiting things to get better and shifted support away from the Labour Party. To be fair, Labour had dumped their tune first. No royalties, no loyalty. Glen Beck said that Muse had asked him to stop praising them, but - like everything else that Beck honks out - it had no truth to it.

MI5 suggested that cracking down on filesharers might just make it harder for security services to snoop on internet communications, so it's not all bad. PRS was told it had been overcharging for years. Edwyn Collins was prevented from sharing his own music by MySpace. Morrissey collapsed on stage and was rushed to a Swindon hospital.

The Mirror managed to leave Waterstones minutes before someone hit Leona Lewis. The Daily Mail discovered Noel Edmond's Blobbyland had been abandoned, upsetting any child who happened to have not grown since 1992. Before it returned to kicking the corpse of Stephen Gately. The Mail's Jan Moir managed to come across as more homophobic than Buju Banton.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cost of stopping 'piracy' double the cost of piracy

If you take the most extreme measure of how much unlicensed file sharing "costs" the UK music industry - the one-download-is-one-lost-sale model - it's £200million a year, according to the BPI.

So how much will the music industry's favoured measures to stop unlicensed filesharing cost to implement? Erm, £500million, says the Government.

The difference being, of course, that this is a real half a billion pounds, that we'll have to find, in order to fund a bunch of repressive security measures that will, at best, save a few private corporations less than half of the cost of that security.

How does that make sense?

Obviously, some sort of figures have to be made up to justify the move:

Impact assessments published alongside the Bill predict that the measures will generate £1.7 billion in extra sales for the film and music industries over the next ten years, as well as £350 million for the Government in extra VAT.

So we're paying half a billion now in order to let a few international companies eventually make that back? Possibly?

More worryingly, the report says that just the very first stage of the plans - the stiff warning letter - is going to wipe the equivalent of a town the size of Leeds off the web:
Ministers have not estimated the cost of the measures but say that the cost of the initial letter-writing campaign, estimated at an extra £1.40 per subscription, will lead to 40,000 households giving up their internet connections.

That's people who've not done anything wrong at all, the people who struggle to make ends meet, losing their web connections because the management of Sony Music are afraid that someone might be listening to Alicia Keys without paying. If Labour really want us to believe - in an election year - they're the party of social justice, can this legislation really go ahead?

Downloadable: Cats On Fire

It's a quiet time for any sort of release, never mind top-notch free mp3 singles. So hats off for Cosy Recordings, sharing out Cats On Fire's The Hague single.

Gordon in the morning: It is a bank holiday

Gordon's big scoop today? Pixie Lott wore a pair of glasses.

The singer, who went to London's Boujis nightclub on Boxing Day, had plenty of specs appeal as she left.

Oh, lord.

Stuck On Repeat 2009: September

Radio 4's mighty More Or Less investigated the claims of seven million unlicensed filesharers and discovered the truth was quite less eye-catching. The Dutch anti-copyright group BREIN were quite proud of 'confiscating' other people's property. YouTube and PRS struck a deal, which saw the PRS effectively accept the terms YouTube had offered in the first place but were allowed to pretend they'd won. Surprisingly, briefly, Lily Allen entered some arguments in favour of three strikes laws. Rotten arguments based on incorrect facts, but passionate arguments. Anyway, it turned out she lacked the courage of her convictions and pulled her blog when faced with "abuse" (i.e. people with different views.) Still, she didn't go as far as Sean Kinney from Alice In Chains, who compared file sharing with rape.

Just after buying a stake in 7Digital, HMV quietly dumped the Get Closer social network experiment. Nokia seemed to be in no rush to take Comes With Music to America.

This month's warmest return was Drugstore, although everyone was very pleased when James Allan from Glasvegas stopped being missing. Stuart Copeland told the Smiths to try reuniting. Because then he'd probably stop feeling so awful. Chas And Dave split, while the Sugababes continued despite no longer containing any Sugababes.

Making Sarah Palin look like Dennis Skinner, Blackie Lawless revealed his worldview. It's a restricted view. After getting a bad review, Chris DeBurgh sent an angry letter to the paper. It turns out sometimes sarcasm really is the lowest form of wit. Leonard Cohen collapsed on stage and Scott Weiland collapsed in the air but both recovered.

When he was alive, Michael Jackson would announce and then not deliver all the time. Fittingly, the big memorial concert in his honour never quite came off. Nor did the return of Beatlemania, when a month of non-stop Beatle coverage in the media resulted in just 50,000 sales across 14 albums.

Kurt Cobain was reborn as a halfwit in a computer game. Courtney Love angrily denied that she'd signed off on the deal and told us to watch for the lawsuit and product recall as proof. We're still waiting.

At the behest of the UN, Geri Halliwell was sent to Nepal to sort out domestic violence. That's what "adding insult to injury" means.

[Part of the month-by-month review from Stuck On Repeat 2009]

Zapsmart: Music on TV and Radio today

And this, surely, used to be Boxing Day? Slim pickings, certainly:

Noon Channel 4 - 4Music Favourites: Shakira
Nowhere near as much fun as she looked like she would be when she first appeared; it's almost as if the joy went out her work the moment she signed the sneakers contract

7.00 Radio 2 - Electric Proms: Shirley Bassey

7.00 Radio 1 - Radio 1 Live: The Live Lounge Tour
Jo Whiley collates all the times she's been genuinely amazed to hear a scruffy indie band do a cover of a pop song.

8.30 BBC1 - Celebrity Mastermind
This is the one we've been waiting for: Stuart Maconie in the black chair. Not clear yet if his specialist subject will be the collected works of Amon Duul or the genesis of the Wigan pie shop.

9.00 E4 - Celebrity Big Brother Top 20 Moments
Perhaps we might finally find out just how Maggot from GLC qualified. Didn't they just leave him in the house in the end?

12.45am ITV2 - Ghosthunting with Scott Mills
Looking for ghosts at Radio One. It does turn out that the wailing voice they could hear was actually Adrian Juste, who had been hiding in a cupboard ever since they dropped him from Saturdays.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The confused world of Otis Ferry

It must be hard, not actually having any purpose in life beyond the occasional journey to kill sentient creatures, but you have to worry for Otis Ferry, don't you?

The Sunday Times fill space in the quiet period between Christmas and the New Year by allowing him to honk on for a bit:

“We’re in the middle of the biggest f***-ups in British history, the economy,” he continues, focusing his shrewishly handsome features on me and exasperatedly swinging his Converses up onto the coffee table. “The sheer shitness of our country ... Hunting affects 0.0001% of the population, and then you’ve got Cowell and some woman [Emily Thornberry MP] standing up and saying, ‘Can we have our PM’s assurances that he won’t let his government repeal the ban on hunting?’”

So, Otis believes that hunting is a very, very minor concern, and set against the scale of other challenges facing the nation, is a terrible waste of time?
So he’s glad that David Cameron, who has hunted in the past, recently said that a Conservative government would put the issue of repealing the law to a vote.

Ah, so it's a total waste of time to talk about hunting when it's talking about banning it, but a sensible priority if you're talking about repealing the ban?

Ferry seems to believe that he's some sort of martyr - convinced that the Government, for example, has had him thrown in jail because "embarrassed" at how popular hunting is. That would be the hunting which only affects "0.0001% of the population", of course.

Still, don't run away with the idea that Ferry Junior is a one-issue twit. He's also unpleasantly right-wing on other issues, too:
His mission now is “saving rural England”, he says. “We have such a magical country which is fading so quickly. I’m really not racist, but immigration is a huge issue for me ... I don’t understand how it works and hate the thought of being accused of depriving poor Mrs Punjab of her [right to come here] but we’re all packed onto this tiny island, and I genuinely believe we are maxed out. But no one is brave enough to say there are too many people in this country.”

Well, yes. I can think of one person who we'd all be better off without, at least.

I don't know how much money Bryan spent on his kid's education, but if I was Ferry senior, I'd be seeking a repayment:
“I’m not some kind of pervert,” he says. “Are you a pervert for watching a cheetah pulling down a gazelle? Are you a pervert for watching David Attenborough? Is David Attenborough a pervert?” He flips open his laptop and shows me a recent episode of the BBC’s Countryfile on hare coursing in which John Craven referred to the watching of hare coursing as a “perverse pleasure”. “No, John,” he shouts at the computer screen. “Do the f****** investigation properly!” He pauses. “I sent him the dictionary definition of ‘perversion’, but he hasn’t replied yet.”

Otis doesn't see the distinction between a cheetah killing an animal to eat and the rich son of a rock star killing an animal for sport.

You've got to love the idea of John Craven getting a letter from someone which asked him to read the definition of perversion. That's one for the plastic gloves and a call to the police department, isn't it?
You can’t ban something because you don’t think it needs to happen,” he says.


There's one last chunk to digest before we move on:
He admired David Attenborough, “but then I saw him on Loose Women and I had to turn it off because he was flirting with these fat, ugly women. I thought, this is not the David Attenborough I want to be dreaming of . . .”

What a charmer.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Boyle point

How, or who, to explain the enormous numbers of Susan Boyle CDs sold in the last couple of weeks? Why, how about HMV's Fact Lieutenant Gennaro Castaldo?

Gennaro Castaldo, a spokesman for the HMV record-store chain in the U.K., attributed Boyle's numerous TV appearances in Britain following her second-place finish on Talent , to the sales results. Fans have followed her career from the start, he observed, "so when the album comes out, quite a few of them will go out and buy the album, too."

Ah. Thanks for that... um... insight, Gennaro. The quote presumably ended "look, sorry, I've just taken the turkey roll out the oven so I really need to get back into the kitchen. Call me in the new year, okay?"

Mariah Carey: The true meaning of bravery

The News Of The World likes to talk a lot about our "brave boys", but how can we understand what the paper considers to be "brave"?

Helpfully, there's a story which helps us calibrate this morning:

Brave Mariah Carey is...

... filmed without make-up

Never mind the movie she's made, surely someone should be pitching a film based on this selfless sacrifice?

Stuck On Repeat 2009: August

Back in August, the idea of a Bob Dylan Christmas album seemed a bit of a laugh. We're not laughing now. Still, it took the edge off the pointless Mariah-Eminem spat. Steve Tyler fell off the stage.

Afraid that Katy Perry was being asked a tricky question (i.e. a question) her manger unplugged the TV studio. Having been caught out arranging their tax affairs in a selfish manner, U2 decided that the best way to swerve accusations of hypocrisy would be to patronise everyone. The Edge then used the same approach to defend their environmentally-awful tour. Former Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton grew tired of waiting for the next police visit to her club and closed H down. Plans for a memorial to Kurt Cobain fell apart when someone spotted it contained a sweary word.

Steve Lamacq was asked to hand back his Radio One pass. Lammo went quietly, not like Malcolm Laycock's noisy exit from Radio Two. As they started to plan for government, the Tories revealed their plans to ruin music radio once and for all. Not clear yet if illumanti puppet Lady GaGa will be part of the Cameron cabinet. Worried that it's not entirely fair, Equity called for X Factor contestants to be paid. It's not like they're not acting, is it?

Another much-loved magazine moved to much-missed status as Bearded closed down. Somehow, Zoe Griffin's attempts to reinvent herself as a sponsored British Perez Hilton doesn't fill the gap. Conor McNicholas finished his spell at the NME with circulation at 58% of the level he found it at. The rotten idea of a 40th anniversary Woodstock flopped - one of the few good things about the rotten economy. Ant And Dec didn't have anything to do with Susan Boyle's breakdown, just like they didn't have anything to do with that phone-in fleecing.

Hitting the comebacks, Skunk Anansie explained they were merely pawns in their fans' MySpace games. It took a request from My Bloody Valentine to get The Membranes back together. And a lot of praying to finally get rid of Oasis.

News International bought iLike as it struggled to make some money from MySpace. In the pitiless, tireless search for a new format which might interest us, the majors came up with CMX. But then, whoever would have thought that Heather Mills running a vegan cafe on Hove seafront would work?

After a happy lunch with Geffen and Spielberg, Lord Mandelson suddenly decided that something really, really draconian had to be done about filesharing.

The Waco Tribune decided the people of Waco could do without the delights of Ted Nugent as a columnist.

[Part of the month-by-month review from Stuck On Repeat 2009]

Zapsmart: Music on TV and Radio today

This used to be called Christmas Sunday, didn't it? And used to get a special illustration across the top of the Radio Times listings. Why aren't Fox News investigating that, eh? Doubtless it's been renamed to avoiding upsetting people, right?

7.00am 6Music - The Best Of George Lamb
It lasts three hours. How?

2.45 Radio 4 - Joan Armatrading's Favourite Choirs
Desperately close to commissioning using 'Youth Hosteling With Chris Eubank' as a template

5.30 6Music - Stuart Maconie's Freakzone
A 1969 special. But it's always roughly a 1969 special at the Freakzone.

6.30 BBC1 - Comic Relief: The Net Result
Gary Barlow and Chris Moyles nip over to Uganda, partly to see where Comic Relief money went, and partly so Chris Moyles can feel like he's got liberal attitudes towards homosexuality.

8.00 Five - The Abba Years
Promises to include "the hugely successful spin-offs". Chess?

8.00 ITV3 - An Audience With Donny And Marie
Radio Times calls his "a huge slice of nostalgia", thereby confusing something you can remember with something you used to like.

10.55 Film4 - Backbeat
Doomed-to-sell-through-VHS but actually quite good Beatles biopic, focusing on the other one. Not Pete Best, no.

12.40am Channel 4 - Hits And Headlines: Christmas Number Ones
Headlines? At Christmas? It reminds me of the first time Murdoch made his staff go in on Christmas Day to produce papers for the 26th, and whoever was editing The Times that day, challenged by the BBC as to why they were there, muttered that the stock exchanges in the Far East were open - "and so maybe our stories will come from there." Because The Times is always leading on the Manilla stock exchange.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

eMusic doesn't want to look desperate or anything

Everything's great at eMusic. Oh, yes. Everything is top-hole, A1, no clouds in the sky.

I mean, obviously, , they'd sell given the chance. But, hey, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong:

EMusic CEO Daniel Stein didn't deny that the company would consider a sale.

"We're opportunistic stewards of capital," Stein said in an interview with The Post. "If an offer was made that created value for our shareholders, we'd listen to it."

He then continued "how about you? Would you like to buy us? We'd knock something off for cash. We could do a deal. I'll throw in new tyres... come back... please..."

Actually, eMusic is doing alright, but it seems to have reached a point where it won't grow much more without something extra to offer. It's thinking that extra might be a streaming service for its members, although why you'd go from not wanting eMusic stuff to own to wanting it to stream, and not going somewhere else isn't clear.

RIP: Vic Chesnutt

Although the reports of his death yesterday were premature, sadly it was only by a few hours: Kristin Hersh has confirmed Vic Chesnutt's death through Twitter.


Stuck On Repeat 2009: July

Brian May was vexed at the tracks Michael Jackson recorded with Freddie Mercury circulating on the internet. Nancy Pelosi told the Senate not to waste its time making an empty genuflection in Jacko's direction. It turned out that Jackson's total sales were routinely quadrupled in reports.

The always tiresome Taxpayers Alliance counted the number of people producing the BBC's coverage of Glastonbury, which the deemed an outrage. Charles Moore was even more outraged because Jonathan Ross was still working for the BBC. Now, if he'd complained about Fearne Cotton being given a daily slot on Radio 1, he might have found some supporters. Liz Kershaw wasn't happy at being moved from breakfasts on BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire. Over at the NME, Krissi Murison was given the job of managing the steadying decline as new editor.

Death Cab For Cutie had a go at Jared Leto - "he's not a real pop star, he's just a pretty boy pretending to be rock and all his fans are girls" they cried, before noticing everyone was staring at them and saying "what? What?" Panic At The Disco split, just a few days after Fall Out Boy denied they were splitting. (They were, of course.) Away from the eyeliner counter, Little Man Tate gave up the battle.

There was a panicky remodelling of Leona Lewis in a bid to get her to a second album. John McCain and his team finally apologised to Jackson Browne for using his music without asking while Phil Spector started getting letters from Charles Manson.

Gary Jarman had an emergency op to save his voice. The Smashing Pumpkins consisted of whatever Billy Corgan said they did, said Billy Corgan.

Hull ISP Karoo started disconnecting filesharers. Radio City's all-talk City Talk station got permission to erm, play music. Guy Hands was begging the banks to accept they'd never see half a billion quid they'd lent Terra Firma to buy EMI ever again - if you're a record label, taking money and giving nothing in return is known as "write off"; perhaps file sharers could say they're seeking a write-off of label investment?

One-man punchline Marilyn Manson threatened to visit journalists who gave him bad reviews. God, he's going to be so busy.

[Part of the month-by-month review from Stuck On Repeat 2009]

Zapsmart: Music on TV and Radio today

10.00am Radio 2 - David Tennant & Catherine Tate
They're off Doctor Who, you know.

11.25am ITV - I Dreamed A Dream
Who can forget that moment when the lost figure, looking a little odd and very sweaty, first appeared on Britain's Got Talent? It seemed like it was all a cruel joke, putting someone so ill-equipped in such a febrile atmosphere, leaving them to sink or swim. Still, Piers coped, and now he's going to interview Susan Boyle.

1.30 BBC1 - Bridge To Terabithia
You know, seeing films like this makes me think maybe it's better for all of us if Zooey Deschanel concentrates on the singing.

3.00 Radio 3 - World Roots
Ladysmith Black Mambazo still trying to make amends for helping out Paul Simon; this week's penance is playing the Dome, Brighton.

3.00 6Music - Curtis Mayfield
Seven hours of Mayfield. Seven hours.

4.05 Channel 4 - Come Dine With Me
The race to the saucepan bottom sees "Little" Jimmy Osmond feeding Caprice, Nancy Sorrell and some bloke who washes hair for a living.

6.15 Radio 4 - Loose Ends
Amongst the guests is Edwyn Collins

7.00 Sky One - Johnny Cash Christmas Special
From 1978. Which I think means Angela Rippon doing the high-kicking, doesn't it?

9.30 The All-Star Impressions Show
What the world needs now, it turns out, is Joe Pasquale pretending to be Lady GaGa. Make a programme that reverses that, ITV, and then we'll talk.

10.55 BBC2 - The Young Ones
Showing as part of BBC2's Slapstick night (oh, how low the ideas for theme nights have got), this is one of the ones with Madness as musical guest.

11.00 Biog - Donny & Marie Osmond
Some siblings gets their own Biography; some make soup for Nicky Clarke.

12.15 Radio 4 - Street Circus
Midge Ure goes to circus school. No, it's not a painfully self-aware surreal comedy.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Westcoastobit: James Gurley

Big Brother And The Holding Company bassist James Gurley died Monday.

Although legendary as part of the late 60s San Francisco scene in its own right, Big Brother's main appearance in rock history comes as the band which gave Janis Joplin her big break. The band shared a single house at one point, Monkees style.

The band crumbled after Joplin quit to go solo; Gurley spent two years caught in a legal nightmare after he injected his wife, Nancy, with heroin. She died of an overdose; murder charges were laid which resulted in Gurley eventually receiving probation.

He remarried in 1972, and spent the next two decades working with various acts, most notably the new wave outfit Red Robin and The Worms. Big Brother And The Holding Company were reactivated in 1987; Gurley remained with the band for a decade, before stepping down to concentrate on his solo projects.

James Gurley was 69; he died from a heart attack.

Folkobit: Vic Chesnutt

UPDATE 26th December: Sadly, Kristin Hersh has confirmed that Vic died during Christmas Day. There's a memorial donations page been opened.

UPDATE Christmas Day night: The report which orginally reported Chesnutt's death has been updated during the course of the day; Vic is now said to be in a coma, but still alive. Don Wilkie of Constellation Records has confirmed that he is in "the middle of a serious medical situation".

This was the original post from earlier today when The Examiner and Spinner were reporting his death:

Sorry to report the death of Vic Chesnutt, who has died after what is believed to have been a suicide attempt.

Following a car accident in 1983, when he was 18, Vic Chesnutt had been left a paraplegic. Two years later, he relocated from Zebulon to Athens, Georgia, first joining The La-Di-Das and then moving on to solo work. It was this folk-rock work which caught the eye of the local scene, leading to Michael Stipe producing Chesnutt's debut work. The respect in which Chesnutt was held amongst the alt-rock royalty was demonstrated by the 1996 tribute album Sweet Relief II, which attracted contributions of covers of his work from REM, Madonna, Garbage, The Smashing Pumpkins and others.

Beset by much tragedy in his life - the car accident, death of loved ones, drug problems and massive medical debts - Chesnutt told an NPR interview that he had attempted suicide four times in the past.

A tweet from Kirstin Hersh on Christmas Eve suggested that he had made another attempt; he appears to have overdosed on muscle relaxants, slipping into a coma from which he would not recover.

Vic Chesnutt was 45.

Gene Simmons gets lawsuit for Christmas

What do you give the man who has everything (or, rather, has everything covered with his band's logo and sold at a massive mark-up?).

If it's Gene Simmons, it's got to be a writ. A couple claim that he attacked them in a mall:

According to the complaint and restraining order application, Marlowe asked Simmons for his view on monogamy, and Simmons responded by telling Marlowe to get his shot and leave. The filings state Simmons then lunged and attacked Marlowe, taking the video camera, then turned on Manzo when she tried to get the camera back.

Apparently this was twenty-five grands' worth of distress. It's all up to courts now.

Stuck On Repeat 2009: June

The Grammys axed Polka from the awards. Kevin Bacon played a gig on the top of Pikes Peak. Still a little too close to other people for our liking.

After what seemed like forever, Conor McNicholas announced he was releasing NME from his editorial embrace. Vibe closed down altogether. There were rumours that The Face might come back, but luckily nothing so far; Hole was coming back, though, announced Courtney Love. No it's bloody not, said the rest of Hole.

In a comeback video, Iggy Pop lambasted all those who sold a watered-down version of The Stooges. Including, by implication, himself. Beth Ditto was cross with Katy Perry for insulting gay culture, while Katy Perry declared war on people who had the same name as her. American radio was accused of not playing Bono after he'd demanded they pay royalties. Any excuse, eh?

Malawi gave in and let Madonna take another child and, reverting to type, Pete Doherty was arrested after doing drucks on a plane. Nobody was surprised to discover that the rehearsed appearance of Sacha Baron-Cohen's amusing Bruno character (Danny LaRue) during Eminem's MTV movie awards was rehearsed. Lupe Fiasco was very upset with file sharing but Fleet Foxes took a more grown-up attitude.

Paul McCartney has lost his faith in politics - luckily, not yet in Rupert Bear or tofu. Noel Gallagher got all grumpy with the NME because it was trying to stir up animosity between Oasis and The Enemy - although, luckily, nobody read the offending piece to The Enemy. More trouble for Noel when he offered fans a refund after a powercut - and they took him at his word. Perez Hilton and Will I Am got into some sort of squawking fight.

The people who make the charts up decided to mess about with what constitutes 'indie'. After complaints she was in a diet coke ad, on a bicycle, with no safety gear, the Advertising Standard Authority were laid back with Duffy. Almost as if they didn't care if she hurted herself. Having thought about it a bit, the BPI admitted they might have messed up their response to Napster.

Marilyn Manson went onstage wearing a big hat. You know what upsets Larry Mullen, a rich man from Ireland? It's people in Ireland attacking rich men. It upsets him almost as much as The Kooks get upset by people who dislike pisspoor retreads of Toploader.

Oh, and Michael Jackson died.

[Part of the month-by-month review from Stuck On Repeat 2009]

Stuck On Repeat 2009: Album patchwork

This year didn't feel like a golden one for music. But even so, all this lot came out: