Saturday, April 25, 2009

Flaming Lips flap flames

After Oklahoma voted against Do You Realize being adopted as state song because, in part, of the band's response to an earlier honour, presumably Wayne Coyne is making soothing noises to try and sort out a solution, right?


Oklahoma lawmakers who voted against making a Flaming Lips tune the official state rock song represent a minority of "small-minded religious wackos," the band's lead singer says.

Well... I suppose that's one approach to soothing things over.

The governor of the state has since stepped in, and used his powers to sign the song into Official status, thereby overriding the democratic decision of the senate. Remember how we used to love it when Bush did that sort of thing?

Singing is like acting, right?

When we suggested that Hayden Pantypants from Heroes might not be worth a recording contract simply because she was in a television programme, some commenters angrily pointed out that she'd sung a theme tune or something in the past and as such was like, totally able to make an album.

So, perhaps the reaction to Gossip Girl's gossiping girl Leighton Meester being signed up for a record shouldn't be instant eye-rolling and suggestions that the label involved, Universal imprintTime-Act Music, are so devoid of ideas they've replaced their A&R department with a twelve year-old girl flicking through back issues of Seventeen and stopping at random to decide who'll they'll piss away money on next.


Lewd slips sinks Lips

Oklahoma were all about to adopt Do You Realize as the official state song.

Trouble is, some people carry grudges:

Republican Rep Mike Reynolds also spoke against the band, opting to diss the Lips because singer Wayne Coyne once dropped an F-bomb while expressing gratitude in 2007 for Oklahoma City naming an alley after the band.

“Their lips ought to be on fire,” Reynolds said.

Do you see what he did there?

They might have been able to get past the rudeness, but unfortunately Michael Ivins made the mistake of assuming it was the same year in Oklahoma as in the rest of the world:
A state representative took offense because Ivins wore a t-shirt emblazoned with a hammer and sickle – the longtime symbol for communist Russia when it headed up the now defunct Soviet Union – during the band's visit to the state capitol.

Republican state representative Corey Holland said he was bothered by the emblem,” reports The Oklahoman.

“I’m rising in opposition because of my disappointment in one of the band members’ decision to come in here wearing a communist T-shirt.”

In the end, the house voted against adopting the song as an official tune. Mainly because of a t-shirt.

In other business before the Oklahoma Senate on the same day, proposals to try and drag the state into the 21st Century were rejected by unanimous vote, while attempts to overturn the motion decrying electricity as "the clear and ill-intentioned work of a demon or demons unknown" lost by 49 votes.

IFPI lawyer waves to us from the other side of the looking-glass

With The Pirate Bay still happily buzzing away on the internet, the prospect of more cash-burning appeals processes to grind through, and even the chance that the judge who heard the case might turn out to have been so far from disinterested as to spark a retrial, you'd have thought that even the IFPI would be admitting all they've really done in Sweden is raise awareness of the word "Pyrrhic".

But no: Jo Oliver, general counsel to the IFPI, it's all looking great now. And, yes, that's Jo Oliver - it's not John Oliver taking the piss:

Billboard: You obviously won the argument inside the courtroom, but in light of the pro-Pirate Bay protests in Sweden, do you feel you won it outside as well?

Jo Oliver: The individuals behind the Pirate Bay have certainly been able to paint themselves as Internet freedom fighters, and they have some public sympathy with a certain portion of, in particular, the Swedish population. But we certainly think that, throughout this trial, there has been less and less sympathy for that position because it's become clear that these guys were deliberately engaged in this operation. It wasn't something they were doing for fun on the side in their bedrooms. It was a commercial enterprise. They intended to facilitate copyright infringement, they intended to make money from it, and they did.

So, even while acknowledging that the sledgehammer-judgement generated public sympathy, Oliver seems to think that somehow they achieved the opposite.

Billboard asks what will happen next:
Oliver: It will have a huge impact, particularly against BitTorrent sites and services. In cases like Grokster in the U.S., U.S. law doesn't apply everywhere, but that was a hugely influential decision (by the United States Supreme Court in 2005, which led to Grokster's closing of its site), and peer-to-peer services don't operate in the same way anymore because of that decision. I think the same will apply to BitTorrent services following the Pirate Bay decision.

Ow ow ow... sorry, I think I just cartoon-rubbed my eyes a little too much. Oliver is using the "success" of closing down Grokster four years ago as a model for what happens next? You mean, Jo, the time when you actually closed down a service, and it had no effect at all upon the volume of unlicensed music? That's your hope?

It's a bit like deciding to take your sick cat to the vet whose slip killed your dog, isn't it?

But, it turns out, the closure of Grokster and Napster weren't miserable failures:
I don't necessarily agree that other cases haven't had an impact. They've certainly changed the way people can operate on the Internet.

By inventing a piece of armour that stopped them stabbing us with small knives, we won an important victory, as they then had to invent the blunderbuss.
We have market-by-market statistics and, in some cases, P2P has been contained against the growth of broadband penetration, so there's different ways of cutting the numbers.

Only "in some cases", then? And can you actually prove that in those cases, this has anything to do with your activities, or is it just that later adopters of broadband are people who are less interested in exploring all the possibilities of the internet and so less likely to be installing bittorrent clients anyway?
The Pirate Bay was an incredibly popular service that has a certain symbolic importance.

That does suggest that, contrary to the claimed importance of closing down the earlier services, Oliver is now admitting that there was no real impact.

When Billboard challenges Oliver's claim that what we have here is a "very important precedent", she changes tack a little:
Billboard: But Napster and Kazaa were important legal precedents as well and other sites sprang up to take their place. What's different this time?

Oliver: Parallel with the development of the legal cases against sites like the Pirate Bay, we've also seen a huge increase in the number of options available (to access digital music) legally, which certainly wasn't the case around the time of the Napster case. There weren't the myriad of options that there are available now, like Spotify or Nokia (Comes With Music). You can't have a legitimate market unless those who don't have a license are stopped.

You'll note the tangential admission that the music industry dropped the ball totally by not getting a legal option in place a decade ago, but here again Oliver is managing to both elude the question and misrepresent the truth in one move.

Given that the 'precedents' of Napster and the others were still extant, it's not entirely clear why another precedent would make any difference this time. And can any intelligent person really claim that "you can't have a legitimate market" while unlicensed music is swapped with the sales generated by iTunes, Amazon and the smaller services? That Apple alone have sold billions of songs while The Pirate Bay has been bobbing about shows that simply isn't true. Perhaps Oliver hasn't quite understood that what licensed services sell is not downloads, but convenience and quality.

But you couldn't be counsel for a business organisation if you didn't understand what the business was, could you?

You might not find what you Seeqpod

Lots of people reporting that Seeqpod has been down for a day which - given its perilous financial state - doesn't sound healthy.

It's a victory of sorts for the RIAA, although only in as far as persuading people to returning to Google "*.mp3" is a victory.

Gordon in the morning: An extended advert for a rival

Having spent the last week trying to interest people in SunExtremistTalk, Gordon now shares the love by spending time promoting Rio Ferdinand's egomagaizne #5 by letting Rio trot in to the Sun offices and show off a bit:

And who should call the Big Man when he popped into the Bizarre offices but Jacko?

However, it wasn’t former Scotland and Hibs midfielder DARREN, as I first hoped, nor X Factor flop LEON JACKSON looking for a job making tea.

It was none other than oddball legend MICHAEL JACKSON, inviting Rio backstage at one of his O2 shows later this year to film an interview for the mag.

What a wonderful coincidence that Jackson just happened to phone while Rio was at The Sun, eh?
No wonder the awkward photo looks more awkward than usual, though. Smart seems a little overwhelmed:
Now that’s a decent number to have on the old speed dial.

You're the showbusyness editor of the UK's best selling newspaper. You shouldn't be jealous of a footballer's contact book.

Still, if Rio's Rio magazine has better contacts, it's not like he's going to unseat you with writing and insight, is it, Gordon?

Here's Rio's thoughts on Oasis:
I THINK Oasis are brilliant. They are the first band I got into of that type of music.

Frank Lampard got me into them.

The first album, Definitely Maybe, is a classic. I’d love to get the Gallagher brothers in for an interview but they’d never go for it because I am United.

Uh-oh. Nothing of very much value to add to the debate, a desire to put himself at the centre of the story, and some extra names dropped to remind you just how well-connected he is? Maybe he could challenge for your job, Gordon. If he ever learns how to make a weak pun, you should start packing.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - Billboard

Were you looking for a way to while away your weekend? GoogleBooks has put the entire Billboard archive online. Goodbye, weekend.

Play with Ditto

Is it disappointing or surprising that the Beth Ditto doll isn't a mass-market product, or even a limited edition, but just a one-off to punt her clothes line for Evans?

If it was really accurate, of course, it wouldn't actually be wearing any clothes at all, given that it is now the law that all photos of Beth Ditto must have her naked to MAKE A POINT of some sort.

[via @sheenabeaston]

EMI give president's chair to radio expert

I don't really know enough about Andria Vidler's day-to-day work at Capital and EMAP/Bauer to comment on if she's got the right ideas to steer EMI UK & Ireland as President.

However, the broader question raised by her appointment is a fair one: her background is radio and marketing. And, yes, she's been very good at it - particularly in turning Magic into a successful-solid-but-dull brand. But: radio and marketing? These, surely, are the two areas where EMI should be fairly confident about their approaches - it's a bit like a team who keep letting in goals focusing their attention on the strikers rather than defence, surely?

Comedyobit: Duke D'Mond

Richard Palmer - who performed with The Barron Knights as Duke D'Mond - has died.

Originally, the band were going to be a straight singing act. At least that was the idea when the members came together in Leighton Buzzard in 1960. They were still playing it straight-ish when they provided support for the Beatles' first headlining tour of the UK. Their act, though, started to contain more and more pisstakes, and by the time they released their debut single, Call Up The Bands, their role as a comedy act was more or less inescapable.

Although their humour might not have aged well - combining parodies of current hits with a little too much casual racism and sexism - in their day, the Knight's knack at turning out skewed parodies gave them a chart career spanning three decades. The band, or at least an iteration of it, is still touring today; Palmer left the band around four years ago following a fall.

The Barron Knights' website paid tribute:

‘He was rushed to a hospital in Oxford with internal bleeding, then went into a coma before having a severe heart attack. He then developed pneumonia and died.

‘All of us Barron Knights are devastated at losing a friend who was a member of the band for 46 years. He had a great singing voice and was very much a part of all our hit records and was a great performer on stage.’

Palmer died on April 9th; he was 66.

[Thanks to @alanconnor for the tip]

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - Ride & Radiohead

Ben Wardle's A&Rmchair leaps from Rob Fitzpatrick to Susan Boyle, via 1990s Oxford:

And I have to say I'm as guilty as anyone for subscribing to the looks fascism that has always existed in the music business. Or entire entertainment business for that matter. Half of the reason I was excited about Ride was that Mark Gardner was just so good looking. And the reason I, like a lot of people, passed on On A Friday wasn't that the demo didn't have enough strong songs on it - it was that the singer had a paralysed eye and we just couldn't imagine audiences getting past that.

Beyonce soundboard hoaxer was making some sort of point

Yesterday, there was a flurry of excitement as something purporting to be an off-key version of Beyonce singing, taken from an NBC soundboard, did a turn around the internet.

It turns out the piece, first aired on Howard Stern, was hoax by a bloke called Matthew Zeghibe:

“I was just trying to make a point. I wanted to show people how easy it is to manipulate someone’s voice. If I can do it with a clip I pulled off of TV, imagine what they are doing on records and during live performances. The entire industry has been so manipulated, because there’s such an emphasis on perfection, so when something like this happens, it causes such a stir.”

It's possible that, perhaps, someone distorted Zeghibe's voice, which might explain why his point doesn't quite seem to carry itself the full distance: "it causes quite a stir" - yes, and?

Perhaps it doesn't quite work because Beyonce is quite good at singing and making someone who's musical sound bad doesn't quite have the same impact as showing someone who sings poorly being made to sound good.

Europe makes Cliff's day

The European Parliament has voted to extend copyright in recordings to seventy years.

The BBC coverage is a bit shabby, starting with this:

Musicians in line for cash boost

and then going on to claim that "thousands" of "less well-off session musicians" will benefit from this "boost", even although almost nobody believes that.

In fact, the only sour note is buried deep in the piece:
UK Green MEP Caroline Lucas said: "I am disappointed that MEPs chose to ignore the voices of the artists they claim to be helping.

"It is clear that action is needed to better reward performers for their work, but the legislation approved today is absolutely not the solution.

"The copyright extension to 70 years will fill the pockets of a limited number of powerful corporations and harm performer rights and artistic creativity."

The one encouraging note is that material currently out of copyright won't be taken back in - which is what happened when copyright in published work was extended, with a number of public domain works vanishing again.

Clinic bookings

Not only can you now follow Clinic through the Twitter (they're @clinicvoot), but you can stalk them for real for they have shared their planned movements:

May 9th - Street Festival/Block Party, Graz AUSTRIA

May 21st - Clinic & The Seal Club Clubbing Club - EARLY EVENING PERFORMANCE 6pm - 9:30pm - oh, and that's in a genuine autospy theatre, in Liverpol University's Victoria Building.

May 25th - Cafe De La Danse, Paris FRANCE

May 30th - The Viking of 6th Ave - The Music of Moondog at the Barbican, London

The judge understands The Pirate Bay issues

It doesn't automatically follow that simply because the judge in the Pirate Bay trial, Tomas Norström, is a member of a lot of pro-copyright groups that he would have been biased when hearing the case.

But given that he was a member of organisations who offered up witnesses in the trial, it might have been wise for him to stand down rather than the conflict of interest being uncovered at the end of the trial.

Zee is at the end

Bad news for London-based or Sky-subscribing fans of Bollywood music: Zee media is closing down its radio assets, and so Zee Radio will vanish at the end of the month.

Gordon in the morning: Whole lot of Cole

Someone on your mind this morning, Gordon?

I guess we should at least pat him on the head for resisting the temptation to call the column Colezarre or something this morning, as the remaining few readers of FHM vote Cheryl sexiest woman of the year and that Cheryl is starting solo work:

CHERYL COLE’s bid for solo stardom is getting a helping hand from the songwriters behind legendary soul diva WHITNEY HOUSTON.

It’s a canny move from the GIRLS ALOUD star as the Grammy-winning singer is one of the most successful songbirds ever.

Whitney has shifted 140million records throughout her career.

Well, yes, she has... so which of the many songwriters Houston has worked with is Cole teaming up with?
Cheryl has been recording with R’n’B maestros SOULPOWER, who have also penned tracks for the likes of PINK, DESTINY’S CHILD and, ahem, VICTORIA BECKHAM.

Ah. Soulpower. Remind me, old press release, what did they write for Houston?
Renowned production team Soulshock & Karlin who most recently brought us the smash "Heartbreak Hotel" from Whitney Houston (featuring Faith Evans and Kelly Price)...

Ah. The one which struggled to even get a UK release slot, before stuttering to number 25. The one which stank the place up so badly they didn't even bother including it on the most recent Houston greatest hits.

Although Gordon seems to have a different view of the track:
They penned Whitney’s 1999 global hit Heartbreak Hotel, which saw her team up with other R’n’B divas FAITH EVANS and KELLY PRICE.

That's one of those global hits that managed to get to number two in the US, and, erm, seven in France, and... 61 in Germany.

It was, however, a fairly big hit in America.

Unlike Victoria Beckham's stuff. But, still, why should the tanking of a misjudged attempt to turn a fairly popular British manufactured pop band member into an American R&B diva worry Cheryl, eh?

You'll recall the fawning copy Gordon published when Spandau Ballet announced their reunion? There's acres more this morning as Gordon goes to watch a rehearsal:
I had the honour of being given my own sofa in a north London studio to enjoy SPANDAU BALLET’s rehearsal for their big TV comeback on Friday Night With Jonathan Ross tomorrow – and it was something special.

Not just watching them, but watching them from his own sofa. You know when you're somebody in showbiz when you get a sofa all to yourself. (Actually, my strange Uncle Doris used to get a sofa to himself at family gatherings, come to think of it.)

Still, I'm sure that Gordon's affection for the group, and excitement at being allowed a piece of soft furnishing all to himself won't go to his head and make him say something that would make him look silly, will it?
They were a stadium outfit in the Eighties and by the sound of things they are ready for Wembley again.

Yes, I'm sure Spandau are ready for the big trip to Wembley. In fact, I can think of no reason why they shouldn't even expect to be up to taking the tube all the way to Harrow & Wealdstone, should they really want to.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Smaller Swedish torrent trackers shut shop

Following the Pirate Bay judgement, a range of smaller Swedish based torrent sites have started to seal up their businesses and move on.

Music Ally is suggesting that this represents a sort-of victory for the music industry - but, seriously, did the IFPI and its associates really pour all that time and money into forcing MP3nerds off the internet?

The Pirate Bay remains afloat, and - apart from the less-than-valuable principle that Sweden might not be the best place to set up a torrent site - closing down a few hobbyists doesn't seem to be that wonderful an outcome.

IFPI figures express surprise at drop in earnings

The latest batch of figures released from the IFPI show European music sales dropping in value:

Despite global digital sales growing 24.1 % to $3.78bn and performance income by 16.2% last year, total sales still finished down 8.3% at $18.4bn after a 15.4% collapse in physical sales.

There are some who might say that managing to only lose 8.3% of your business in a luxury product market during a global recession which is the worst since headline writers first started overstating the depths of recessions is pretty good.

And, besides, why should this drop in value of sales worry us? A download single can be as cheap as 30p; a physical single will probably retail for at least two quid. Even should someone buy the a side and the b side, you're looking at perhaps 60p, probably no more than £1.60, for a download, compared with at least two quid. "Moving to selling cheaper products brings in less money". Isn't, for a company, the profit the thing?

It also forgets to engage with that simple truth we keep repeating: you are no longer selling a scarce product. You no longer control the supply. You are no longer a monopoly. Of course you will make less money. I'm sure your tables and charts are meant to worry us, to try and convince us there's a problem. But actually, your figures just show that - in music, at least - the free market appears to be working as GCSE Economics students would expect.

EMI stick to what they know best

There's been some suggestion from crueller corners of the internet that Terra Firma are failing at running EMI because they don't know anything about music.

They seem to have taken on board the criticism, as EMI have just announced a plan which plays to their knowledge base: issuing credit cards.

Oh, yes, "top" EMI artists will soon be appearing on special credit cards. The combination of flattering the vanity of famous people, offering the chance to achieve a veneer of cool by having your daily business connected to music in some way, and stacking up loads and loads of unmanageable debt: it's a very Terra Firma indeed.

Kasabian. This has got to be a joke, right?

Come on, surely Music Fans Mic's cover for Kasabian's West Ryder Pauper's Lunatic Asylum has to be a joke, right? Surely?

When Toad met Sony

Fascinating post on Song, By Toad, detailing a meeting between Sony BMG and a group of bloggers (Mr Toad, Winston from Winston's Zen, Jamila from Fucking Dance and Tim from The Blue Walrus.

This came about following Winston getting hit by a takedown notice for a track posted on the Zen; the outcome of the meeting is probably best filed under "a good start at opening the lines of communications" - or, as Toad puts it:

. It was interesting, certainly, and if it’s the start of blogs no longer being treated as the enemy, that would be nice. Both sides have to be very wary of lazy thinking though, and not assume that it will be straightforward simply because we are all such nice folks and had a nice night out. I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops though.

Nothing soothes a battle like being able to put faces to the 'other side':
The people we spoke to were really nice, and I think it’s really important that the online community engage with them, prove them right, and show the powers that be at Sony that bloggers are legit, and that most of us want to be a positive influence, not a negative one.

Toad is sharp on the risks of close engagement with the labels, though - that music blogs will, essentially, become part of the mainstream:
If blogs are treated as ‘proper music press’ then that pretty much involves being pulled into the same machine as everything else. We would become part of industry, part of the same juggernaut which a lot of us are fighting, and suckling from the same bloated expense accounts which make these massive labels as unwieldy as they are. We become, in essense, part of the problem. I don’t want to be sulky or snobby about all this, and I genuinely do want to engage with them, but it still makes me a little twitchy.

Which does open a massive philosophical debate: if you really believe that the four-label system is bad for music, do you wind up shoring it up by becoming part of their release-and-promotion procedures? Or is it better to engage and try and effect change to the existing system?

There's also a scoop, too:
In future they are pulling back from simply setting the IFPI hounds of hell loose, brandishing swords crafted from DMCA steel, and they are going to get a list of infringements and examine it themselves. This has changed since the Glasvegas business, and is a very very good thing as far as I am concerned.

That's good news as it suggests a less blunt approach, and it's also interesting news as suggests that the labels are already weaning themselves off the IFPI and preparing to live with one less RIAA variant draining their coffers to no good effect.

[Big thanks to @Imrania for the tip]

Gordon in the morning: Man might watch television

It's a creakingly quiet morning at Gordon's column this morning, with a vague muttering by a footballer that he might try and catch an episode of Coronation Street being shunted to the top of the pile:

AFTER six years living and playing football in Manchester, CRISTIANO RONALDO is finally catching the scent of Betty’s hotpot from Coronation Street.

The Man U ace has struggled to get his head around why Brits are so obsessed with the ITV1 soap.

Did nobody tell him that it's not so much an obsession, but the tabloids like to write about it when there's nothing much else to write about, which makes it look like an obsession?
But the Portuguese winger vowed: “I promise I will watch it next time it is on and I am home."

Yes, Gordon is reduced this morning to effectively reporting on someone circling programmes in the Radio Times. Coming tomorrow: Adele writes post-it note reminding her to set Sky+ to tape My Family.

Unbelievably, there's a lot on this important story:
He added: “I normally watch movies when I am relaxing at night, but if it really is that popular, I promise I will try and watch it the next time.”

I know, you're having trouble understanding these major developments. Luckily, Gordon has had an explanatory graphic produced:

It's not entirely clear why Ronaldo watching Corra would see him appear in the fictional pub at the heart of the series - perhaps Gordon imagines that's how it works if you have a very, very expensive television.

Ah, the caption explains it:
Winker's Return ... how Ronaldo might look in famous pub

Although if only he turned up in the middle of playing a match, and for some reason was staring into the top corner of the ceiling while ordering from a woman who'd be standing behind him.

Gordon's campaign to cover every outfit that ever leaves Lady GaGa uncovered continues today, although he doesn't seem to even know if he finds them sexy any more:
She is becoming a pantomime dame, this lass. So I’ve given her a Widow Twankey rating of four out of five for this get-up.

What does that actually mean?

And how does Gordon greet the Ivor Novello shortlist, and the nomination for The Leisure Society?
Ivor no idea who this Hemming is

UNKNOWN Nick Hemming battles it out with bands, like Elbow, for Ivor Novello awards.

It's encouraging that Gordon has discovered honesty and openness - but isn't it extraordinary that the self-appointed Prime Minister Of Pop has such a gap in his knowledge?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The music industry feels the win

Oh, the price of victory. It's escaped few observers that one of the main outcomes of the Pirate Bay judgement was to generate hours and hours of media coverage for the Pirate Bay and its services.

But still, the imminent closure of the servers will make up for the IFPI effectively bankrolling acres of advertising and a huge brand-awareness campaign, right?

Well... probably not: the Pirate Bay team have embarked on an appeals process, which could drag on for years. And, under Swedish law, the Pirate Bay won't have to be switched off until all legal avenues of appeal have been exhausted.

But, still, John Kennedy - you'd have known that would have happened before everyone started off firing legal complaints, right? Right?

Seagull ripped off

Nasty story from West Derby: Burglars have broken into Frank Maudsley's house and pinched his guitars.

The bassist with a Flock Of Seagulls might have lost more, too - he arrived home early from holiday to find stuff lined up in the hallway waiting for a second pick-up.

It's been upsetting - of course - as the Echo reports:

The bassist and singer, who tasted chart success with Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) back in 1982, said: “It’s horrible being broken into. You feel violated. We came home to absolute chaos and mess and we’re absolutely devastated.”

It might be worth Pete Waterman thinking about this the next time he starts to squeal on Channel 4 News that having a few tracks downloaded without a license is like being burgled. Because, clearly, it isn't.

Ivors shortlist: Pull up a chair

The generally benevolent influence of Marc Riley's 6Music show on British music has been endorsed, tangentially, by the shortlist for the Ivors songwriting awards:


Song: My Mistakes Were Made For You
Writer/s: Miles Kane / Alex Turner
Performed By: The Last Shadow Puppets
UK Publisher/s: Deltasonic Music Ltd / EMI Music Publishing

Song: One Day Like This
Writer/s: Guy Garvey / Richard Jupp / Craig Potter / Mark Potter / Peter Turner
Performed By: Elbow
UK Publisher/s: Salvation Music / Warner/Chappell Music

Song: The Last Of The Melting Snow
Writer/s: Nicholas Hemming
Performed By: The Leisure Society
UK Publisher/s: Copyright Control


Song: Dance Wiv Me
Writer/s: Nicholas Detnon / Calvin Harris / Dylan Mills / Tyrone Paul
Performed By: Dizzee Rascal
UK Publisher/s: Notting Hill Music / EMI Music Publishing / Hero Music / Universal Music Publishing

Song: Grounds For Divorce
Writer/s: Guy Garvey / Richard Jupp / Craig Potter / Mark Potter / Peter Turner
Performed By: Elbow
UK Publisher/s: Salvation Music / Warner/Chappell Music

Song: That’s Not My Name
Writer/s: Julian De Martino / Katie White
Performed By: The Ting Tings
UK Publisher/s: Playwrite Music (administered by Warner/Chappell Music) / Sony/ATV Music Publishing


Film: Quantum of Solace
Composer: David Arnold
UK Publisher/s: Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Film: The Escapist
Composer: Benjamin Wallfisch
UK Publisher/s: Air-Edel Associates Ltd

Film: There Will Be Blood
Composer: Jonny Greenwood
UK Publisher/s: Faber Music / Warner/Chappell Artemis Music


Broadcast: Fiona’s Story
Composer: Ben Bartlett
UK Publisher/s: Du Vinage Publishing

Broadcast: Trial and Retribution 2008
Composer: Anne Dudley
UK Publisher/s: EMI Music Publishing

Broadcast: Wallace and Gromit (A Matter of Loaf and Death)
Composer: Julian Nott
UK Publisher/s:Imagem Music


Song: Mercy
Writer/s: Steve Booker / Duffy
Performed By: Duffy
UK Publisher/s: Universal Music Publishing / EMI Music Publishing

Song: Sweet About Me
Writer/s: Gabriella Cilmi / Nicholas Coler / Miranda Cooper / Brian Higgins / Timothy Larcombe / Tim Powell
Performed By: Gabriella Cilmi
UK Publisher/s:EMI Music Publishing / Warner/Chappell Music / Copyright Control

Song: Viva La Vida
Writer/s: Guy Berryman / Jonny Buckland / Will Champion / Chris Martin
Performed By: Coldplay
UK Publisher/s: Universal Music Publishing


Song: Mercy
Writer/s: Steve Booker / Duffy
Performed By: Duffy
UK Publisher/s: Universal Music Publishing / EMI Music Publishing

Song: Paper Planes
Writer/s: Maya Arulpragasam / Topper Headon / Mick Jones / Thomas Wesley Pentz / Paul Simonon / Joe Strummer
Performed By: M.I.A
UK Publisher/s: Imagem Music / Universal Music Publishing / Domino Publishing

Song: Viva La Vida
Writer/s: Guy Berryman / Jonny Buckland / Will Champion / Chris Martin
Performed By: Coldplay
UK Publisher/s: Universal Music Publishing


Album: Rockferry
Writer/s: Bernard Butler / Duffy
Performed By: Duffy
UK Publisher/s: Stage Three Music / EMI Music Publishing

Album: Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends
Writer/s: Guy Berryman / Jonny Buckland / Will Champion / Chris Martin
Performed By: Coldplay
UK Publisher/s: Universal Music Publishing

Album: We Started Nothing
Writer/s: Julian De Martino / Katie White
Performed By: The Ting Tings
UK Publisher/s: Playwrite Music (administered by Warner/Chappell Music) / Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Yes, yes, there's the depressing obviousness of Coldplays and Duffy and the token nod to multiculturalism/political correctness gone mad Dizzee Rascal nomination, but The Ting Tings AND the Leisure Society both in with a shout? There must be something in the New Broadcasting House beer. (Guy Garvey, even, turned up in Riley a session last Christmas.)

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - Shoegazing

Drowned In Sound are currently celebrating the scene that celebrated itself, with a week of Shoegazing. How can you object to an idea which allows you to embed Telescopes videos?

Today, Scot Causer explores the links between shoegazing and psyche:

Don’t believe me? Listen in to early Verve and there’s no mistaking the influence of Barrett-era Pink Floyd in their sound. I hear The Cure crystal clear in Slowdive and Curve. My Bloody Valentine, The Telescopes and Spacemen 3 are all bands who clearly took psychedelia and shoegaze beyond the realms of conventional imagination and into other dimensions. All in all, it's great music which has carried forward its influence today in a number of acts who have been breaking into the mainstream recently.

EMI miss point of survey, again

There are reasons for approaching the survey suggesting that people who take music for free off the internet also buy lots of music with a degree of caution: it's a fairly small sample, much of the explanation for how the study works is in Norwegian; you might posit that nobody wants to be seen as a freeloader and, thus, people who download for free might overstate their purchasing on other occasions.

EMI, though, have decided to rubbish its findings by a more direct route of both misrepresenting and misunderstanding it at the same time:

EMI's Bjørn Rogstad told Aftenposten that the results make it seem like free downloads stimulate pay downloads, but there's no way to know for sure. "There is one thing we are not going away, and it is the consumption of music increases, while revenue declines. It can not be explained in any way other than that the illegal downloading is over the legal sale of music," Rogstad said.

But the survey doesn't make the suggestion that free stimulates paid - it merely tabulates that people who take some tracks will tend to be ten times more likely to be buying others.

And isn't Rogstad's open-minded assumption that consumption rising, revenue falling can only be explained by illegal activity, rather than a fundamental shift in how the market works and a drop in the per unit value of a tune.

"Here" they said "is some evidence that the people you deride as thieves are actually your best customers." And EMI couldn't even bring themselves to think what that might mean, and instead wailed about piracy.

Darkness at 3AM: They're Moyles better. Apparently.

The 3AM Girls have a little poke at Gordon, although not by name, for that's not how things are done:

Chris Moyles gave our dismal rival both barrels after yet another front page fiction, this time that the DJ was being dumped from Radio 1.

"He was told it was not true and he ran it anyway," said Moyles. "He says I am going after reports that I am too old. Reports made up by the same newspaper!" Ouch!"

Actually, isn't the 'Moyles is too old' thing more a Guardian obsession at the moment?

Pixies: June 15th

Ooh! Oooh! Pre-orders are being taken for Pixies - Minotaur, due June 15th.

Of course, the Minotaur was half-bull, but this seems to be on the level.

[via You Aint No Picasso]

Gordon in the morning: More good news

After having teased us with the made-up claims that Chris Moyles was about to be dropped, now Gordon toys with our emotions again, claiming there's going to be a five year gap until the next Oasis album.

Five years. Oh, if only.

Noel, apparently, has had enough of Liam. He's rude and arrogant, it turns out. Who knew?

Still, this huge scoop must prove the value of Gordon having gone down to watch Noel recording the radio programme with Russell Brand at the weekend, right? That is where the scoop came from, isn't it, Gordon? You got the big story when hanging out with Noelie and Russelling?

In an interview with Q Magazine, Noel continued...

Ah, so you were having your awkward photos taken with Noel a few days ago, and yet you're relying on actual journalists writing up proper stories to find out what's on his mind.

Meanwhile, I'm indebted (as is so often the case) to James P for bringing the delight of Gordon's magic voice from yesterday's SunTalk's play radio station. Curiously, Jon Gaunt and Gordon both seem to have forgotten Simon Rothstein's role in the Chris Moyles axing story altogether. Mind you, Jon Gaunt seems to have also forgotten how to present a radio station.

Gordon suggests that, with Moyles gone, Radio One will be looking for "a younger predecessor" - not quite sure how that's going to work - before suggesting, with a straight face, that Nick Grimshaw could be the natural choice.

Still, kudos to Gordon, turning up on the first day of the Sun's expensive foray into internet radio, and happily telling the host that people might have iPods and suchlike, but you can't really beat (broadcast) radio as a medium. It's a bit like turning up to a christening party and saying "well, it's certainly got his father's nose, but they can do wonders with plastic surgery these days."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Smashing Pumpkins push pay-as-we-play model

The only thing that's less than glittering about the plans coming from Billy Corgan is that the stuff you get is very-late-period, Corgan-as-Caligula stuff from Smashing Pumpkins. But it might be a neat model for other acts:

Billy Corgan has been hinting at future models for providing music and media from the studio to the fans during interviews and other press. Plans for this service are now underway and will be executed in the form of a 12-week paid subscription service for access to various media updates detailing the creative process within the studio. The media updates will be in the form of exclusive web-video and photographs. Subscribers will be able to watch the next era of Smashing Pumpkins music take shape.

Here are Billy's hopes and expectations for the upcoming project:

The goal is to create a working model that is not profit motivated but rather information and access motivated. In exchange for a fixed resource base fans will be let inside in an unprecedented way to the creative process of preparing to make the next SP album while also inspiring an inter-active dialogue that will help shape the work. Because of the open window, further efforts will be made to provide content so that anyone participating can more readily follow the arc over the 12 weeks, with unprecedented access to lyrical and musical content.

I guess you might have to be Billy Corgan to try and sell the idea that 'rehearsing and dicking about in the studio' constitutes a twelve-week artistic arc, but the basic idea is sound.

Madonna facts straightened a little

Despite Madonna's team's claims that the Adopt-o-matic had fallen off her horse when evil photographers startled her horse, the official police report somehow makes no mention of any third party being involved.

And the police seem convinced there was no boogerman-snapper, either:

And now local police Sgt Herbert Johnson reveals there was no mention of a photographer in the police report Madonna filed.
He tells, "There is no mention of photographers. It's a matter of spin control that went out of control. If they felt there was something else, they would have written 'paparazzi' in the form."

The paparazzi are odious enough; you don't need to make things up about them. And there's no shame in falling off a horse.

That was no pirate, that was your best customer

Other surveys have found similar results, of course, and this one only covers Norway, but even so: people who download free music (both legal and unlicensed) are much more likely to buy music, too:

In fact, among all 1,901 Norway-based study participants (all of whom were over the age of 15), it was found that those who downloaded "free" music were 10x more likely to download pay music. In other words, music pirates are the music industry's largest online consumers.

It's an awkward problem for the music industry - the people whom it blames for destroying its business are actually the ones who are doing the most to keep it alive. If the IFPI got its dream of throwing all unlicensed music listeners into chokey, it might find that its revenues tank as the former customer base stop buying downloads and transfer spare cash into razorblades, toothbrushes and snout.

[Thanks to Gary W]

PRS: Now hiring

Thanks to Ian for pointing us in the direction of the copyright investigator role currently on offer with the good people of the PRS:

Vacancy Notice
Job title:
Copyright Investigator
Public Performance Sales
Home Based
The Role:
The above vacancy in the PPS Copyright Protection Office has arisen, creating the
need to recruit a face to face Sales professional to cover Northern England, from
the Mersey to the wash upwards, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The ideal person
will be required to deal with Copyright Infringers who currently use PRS music,
but without the necessary PRS for Music licence being in place.
You will be required to manage the collection and processing of music data from
licensable premises to produce reports that may lead to civil action in the UK
courts for Copyright Infringement.
Key Responsibilities include:
• Conducts inspections of buildings / premises for music usage activities and
carries out personnel checks re: ownership of premises
• Issues copyright music licence contracts
• Conducts threat and risk assessments via undercover visits to premises
• Organises the collection of music usage data, collation and analysis of that
music data via undercover visits to premises
• Compiles and disseminates the music usage data using briefings, reports and
face to face meetings
• Ascertains the accuracy of data collected by checking various databases, this
then allows legal proceedings to commence if the customer refuses a licence
• Compiles legal infringement reports which are used in UK Court cases
• Attends UK Courts as a witness for PRS in current infringement cases
• Maintains manual and computer-based databases
The ideal candidate:
• Results driven and a sound record in achieving / over achieving revenue
targets and KPI’s
• Knowledge and experience of field sales techniques including preparation,
journey planning, influencing, negotiating, objection handling and
• Excellent communication and presentation skills required in promoting PRS
as a professional music service provider
• Strong initiative, dynamic, resilient, highly organised and self motivation
qualities are essential requirements
• You will possess good analytical skills and must be computer literate
(M/soft Office: Excel, Word and Outlook)
The successful candidate should ideally reside in the territories.
Salary: £30k per annum + annual bonus

There are a couple of things to notice about this. First: the job title says it's for a "copyright investigator", but they're actually looking for a sales person.

So is the PRS in business of selling or is it in the business of licensing? Both are about taking money off people, but there's a subtle and important difference between providing something that people need, which is a licensing role, and convincing people to buy something, which is a sales role.

Now, if the PRS wants to sell licenses rather than check compliance, fair enough. But there's something a little off with an organisation which equips its salesforce with a quasi-legal role, too. Door-to-door encyclopedia salespeople seldom had a separate role of compiling evidence to be used in court cases against those who didn't have the full run from Aardvark to Zygote.

And even then, perhaps the dual role wouldn't be so curious, were it not for this demand:
Results driven and a sound record in achieving / over achieving revenue
targets and KPI’s

The job is not about making sure everyone has a licence. It's looking for someone to hit - and exceed - revenue targets. And there's a bonus being dangled.

You start to see why mechanics get demands for radios in other rooms, and horses are suddenly finding themselves having to cough up for PRS licences.

And let's just consider this piece again:
Conducts threat and risk assessments via undercover visits to premises

Undercover visits? Do you also get a super-spy-decoder ring?

Hey - you know who would be perfect for this? That bloke with the hat who has been doing Tony Gordon's work for him. He already has the hat and the long-lens camera for playing at spies.

And, coming from Weatherfield, he meets that other vital criteria:
The successful candidate should ideally reside in the territories.

"The territories" being anywhere north of Peterborough. So you'd have to live in Manchester, or possibly Uist, or Belfast. Or maybe Scarborough. You know, somewhere local to outside London.

Let's remind ourselves, too, of the PRS' strange view of themselves:
Copyright Infringers who currently use PRS music

PRS music? What, exactly, is PRS music? It's music, surely, that presently the PRS handles some of the rights for. Even Capita haven't yet got so brazen as to pretend that TV Licensing owns the BBC.

And they're at it later on, too:
promoting PRS as a professional music service provider

But you don't provide "music services". You provide licensing services. You might add "for music" to your name, but you don't have anything to do with actual music, do you? You could just as easily be inspecting horsehoes or buckets.

Still, if you've got the right skills: your own trilby, a background in espionage and sales, and don't live very near the sparkling Regent's Park head offices, why not pop in an application? If the PRS don't strike a deal with the online music services soon, they're going to need to shake down as many small businesses as they possibly can.

Qtrax decides it's not hobbled enough

Last time we mentioned perpetual online punchline QTrax, it generated a comment (from, I'm sure, a real person who genuinely cared about QTrax) suggesting that we're taking money from Apple in order to rubbish the competition.

We're not. And, frankly, QTrax isn't competing with iTunes. It might be up against the ghost of SpiralFrog and whatever it is Napster are doing now, but not iTunes.

Still, as if the repeated launching and then non-appearance of the service hasn't already made you wonder if it wasn't all a cosmic joke, then this press release from BuyDRM might:

BuyDRM, a Microsoft-licensed PlayReady DRM solutions and service provider, successfully launched its KeyOS Silverlight DRM offering with Qtrax. Utilizing BuyDRM’s KeyOS technology, Qtrax will be able to expand their customer base and increase revenues. The KeyOS Silverlight DRM Solution provides a dedicated, scaleable and robust platform for Qtrax to securely deliver content to the majority of Internet users.

Not just DRM, but DRM wrapped up in Silverlight? That's like someone not just spitting in your chips, but then wrapping the chips up tightly in gaffer tape.
"We have been using KeyOS for over a year now and have been highly anticipating the launch of Silverlight DRM powered by PlayReady. With support for PCs, Mac and soon Linux, the KeyOS Silverlight DRM Solution will allow us to tap into previously inaccessible audiences- immediately increasing our customer reach, relevance and revenue," said J. Christopher Roe, CTO of Qtrax.

This assumes, of course, that everyone who could run Silverlight will, and that's quite an assumption. Certainly, the NBA in America dropped Silverlight this season, giving as one reason that the need to install Micrsoft's product is a barrier to use.

Admitted, it's not an impossible barrier, but why choose something that requires a hefty install process? After all, what online music services are selling is convenience - and if you can get the same songs elsewhere more conveniently, why wouldn't you?

Still, you might just get away with it if you had prime mover advantage. Oh...

And, as if on cue...

While Paul McCartney is all misty-eyed talking about how everyone got fair shares back in his day, and you could always ask a policeman to leave your doors open with change from a packet of Spangles because it was all trees, Pink Floyd launch a lawsuit claiming EMI has systematically been diddling them out of royalties.

Macca hails Pirate imprisonment

If you've been waiting for a Beatles-endorsed position to be taking on the Pirate Bay trial, good news. Paul McCartney has decided to share his mild views with the world.

Not for Macca the tired old claim that it's like stealing a CD to fileshare. Oh, no:

"If you get on a bus you've got to pay. And I think it's fair, you should pay your ticket."

Uh-huh. So, then, in McCartney's world, the massed weight of four multinational corporations and the Swedish legal system are like ticket inspectors.

Sadly, Paul doesn't quite explain why 'listening to a piece of music recorded forty years ago transferred digitally' and 'making a physical journey on a physical object that has to have petrol and maintenance work done on it' should be considered the same sort of thing.

After all, it's perfectly easy to counter 'you pay for a bus' with 'ah, but you don't pay to look at a cultivated field, do you? Someone made that, but you don't automatically consider it theft a person peeks over the hedge.
"Anyone who does something good, particularly if you get really lucky and do a great artistic thing and have a mega hit, I think you should get rewarded for that.

"I'm in favour of that sort of thing."

Up with that sort of thing! It's heartwarming that Paul thinks its especially important that someone who does something artistic be rewarded - after all, saving a child's life, or teaching a class of forty to read, or ensuring that there's enough bread for us all to enjoy toast next winter, that's good. But it's not like it's recording The Frog Chorus, is it?

And, again, McCartney fails to explain why it should be the order of things that if you did something brilliant forty years ago that you should still be getting rewarded for it now. Much less your descendents. Christian Barnard's family don't get a royalty every time someone's transplanted heart beats.
The problem is you get a lot of young bands coming up and some of them aren't going to last forever so if they have a massive hit that's going to pay their mortgage forever.

Or, perhaps like the rest of us, they could carry on getting other jobs as the bills continue to roll in.
"They're going to feed the children on that and if they don't get that money, if they don't see that money, I think it's a bit of a pity."

Ah - so Pirate Bay were, in effect, starving children.

I guess it does suck to be a young band now, knowing that if you'd been born twenty years earlier you might have been able to get a couple of decades earnings from a day of genius. Of course, now, you still can, it's just that the market place has moved on, and the value of the work is much, much lower. You might have to have a plan B if you want to feed children in the year 2019 using royalties on a song written in 2009.

As McCartney says, it is a pity. It must be galling. But it's what's happened.
"I've been very lucky because my main era with the Beatles was at a time when everyone did get paid."

Everyone? Everyone, Paul? Wasn't the 60s and 70s known for hapless artists signing away their rights for a pittance of buy-out? Sure, a few large acts did very well out of the time - but you're kidding yourself if you believe there are many of your contemporaries who are still paying the mortgage from proceeds of a big hit in the 1960s.
"Particularly for young bands and they've got a young family, I don't want to see them destitute after a couple of years when they were mega. So I think it's fair."

McCartney isn't, I don't think, suggesting that only artists with young families earn royalties; nor, even, that having children under ten should get you a higher rate from the PRS - although you can see why that idea might appeal to him.

What's especially frustrating about his intervention is that it actually hints at part of the problem with the current structure of the music industry - that there are a very few mega acts, who might earn enough to set themselves up forever. But there's a hell of a lot of "young bands with young families" who work hard and never even get into recouping their advance. McCartney is no more going to suggest that the system that has made him offensively rich be reformed than Cliff Richard would, but you'd hope he'd at least see that a system which rewards a couple of megahits far more generously than forty years of quiet inspiration might be worth taking a look at again.

Stalky photographer bloke says he didn't frighten the horses

The paparazzo who was hanging about taking pictures of Madonna on horseback has denied Liz Rosenberg's claims that he startled the horse and caused the accident. In fact, he says he'd left before the incident and only returned after hearing that she'd fallen off her horse.

You obviously can choose who you want to believe, but...

"If I had startled the horse, I would have gotten pictures!"

is quite a compelling argument.

Gordon in the morning: Must we fling this filth at our... oh, apparently, yes

If there's one thing that's been clear from the Sun's approach to the whole Andrew Sachs' answerphone story, it's that it was disgusting and wrong, and those involved should be butchered to a violent death to make amends.

Even this month, The Sun remains unequivocal, booming out from The Sun Says editorial page:

THE record £150,000 fine slapped on the BBC for broadcasting foul-mouthed insults hurts only licence-fee payers.

They will pick up the bill for a sick tirade by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand against 72-year-old comedy legend Andrew Sachs.

The smug multi-millionaire “stars” should be made to pay the penalty.

Until they do, viewers will rightly ask: Woss going on?

Brand and Ross are smug, and sick. It was tirade. The answerphone messages were a "foul-mouthed tirade".

Can you imagine anything, anything at all, worse than one of the smug pair being all smug about that unacceptable tirade? If we learn one thing from the Sun, it's that the phone calls weren't funny, and there's nothing more sickening than watching Ross and Brand making light of the calls.

Although... hang on, what's this in Bizarre this morning?
Now Brand's on Obama's voicemail
RUSSELL BRAND is back to his best on the radio – leaving cheeky messages for BARACK OBAMA and even joking with JONATHAN ROSS.

Jonathan Ross mocked Russell on air for being an unlikely West Ham fan because on the surface “he appears to be homosexual”.

This prompted another off the cuff song from Russell, reminiscent of the moment he rhymed “consensual” and “menstrual” in his Sachsgate song.

Sorry? It's almost as if... well, we're now treating the calls to Andrew Sachs as a big lark and... well, almost being smug about them. Why the change in attitude?
Ah, yes. Gordon was invited to the studio, gets to take an awkward-looking photo with Noel Gallagher and all of a sudden it turns out to have been a bit of a jape.

Best off all from Gordon's piece is this bit:
Russell told me: “I would love to spend more time talking to Noel on radio and what better thing to discuss than sport and football?

“I spoke to Jonathan Ross, I left an voicemail message and so far no one from the Daily Mail seems troubled.”

Ah ha ha, yes, the silly old Daily Mail. The silly, silly newspaper that got all over-excited about the Andrew Sachs phone calls and called for Brand and Ross' head. That would have been the newspaper that did that. It's not like The Sun joined in at all.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bookmarks: Some stuff to look at on the internet - Depeche Mode

Hanzan unboxes that Depeche Mode box set, takes photos, shares with world.

[via Currybetdotnet]

Glasvegas drop Coachella

Ah, that nasty "exhaustion and dehydration" has claimed another victim, with James Glasvegas succumbing to being tired and in need of liquids. As a result, Glasvegas have pulled out of Coachella.

Don Foster jumps on the Andrew Sachs bandwagon

You might have thought the Liberal Democrats would have been busy trying to shift a general dissatisfaction with Labour and Tory politicians into some sort of political advantage for a relatively untainted third party.

But, no, apparently they just want to bang on and on about Jonathan Ross.

Looking for someone to feign outrage that Ross made a joke after the Ofcom ruling on the Russell Brand show was broadcast on Radio 2, the Liberal Democrat Culture spokesperson Don Foster offered this:

Giggling, the presenter said: "You didn't get that address down, did you? I want to get the full thing, ... I can't read enough about it." Lib Dem culture spokesman Don Foster said: "If Ross can't show he understands... his responsibility, it may be time to clip his wings."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Foster has yet to add this gallery-playing half-thought to his In The News column on his website. Almost as if it made him feel a little dirty.

Woot-ton: Pay no attention to Gordon Smart's scoop

One of the most enjoyable things about the weekend is watching the Sun and the News of the World trying to rubbish each other's big stories.

Today, prepubescent gossip skipper Dan Wootton rushes to the defence of Chris Moyles. Perhaps wisely Wootton doesn't mention where the rumours of the axing came from, but gives room to the Radio One team to issue firm denials:

ALED HAYDN JONES, who produces the radio show, said: "Don't worry. There are no plans to move us."

Drivetime presenter SCOTT MILLS, tipped to replace Chris, added: "Chris is NOT going anywhere any time soon."

And the man himself also laughed it off by declaring on his Twitter page yesterday: "The reports of my (radio) death are greatly exaggerated."

None of those three, you might have spotted, actually having scheduling roles at Radio One.

Wootton even goes further to try and swat away some of the other allegations Moyles has faced in recent months:
And my pic, above right, shows gay Torchwood star JOHN BARROWMAN is a big fan too after he gave Chris a kiss when he appeared on Chris Moyles' Quiz Night on Channel 4 at 10pm tonight.

See? John Barrowman is a GAY and he's kissing Chris Moyles so, clearly, he's a BIG FAN who doesn't believe that Chris Moyles HATES THE GAYS.

Oh, unless Barrowman does think that Moyles has a problem and was kissing him to make a point.

Another horse rejects Madonna

The last time Madonna was thrown from a horse, you'll recall, The Sun insisted that it doomed her marriage. Who knows what horrific new era, then, will be ushered in by another horse deciding it doesn't want her on his back.

The blame, of course, is being put on the press:

According to her spokeswoman, the 50-year-old singer fell when her horse was "startled by paparazzi who jumped out of the bushes" to photograph her.

Which is disgusting if true, although does sound a little like Liz Rosenberg might have added a dramatic element to the storyline.