Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ooberman weekend: Bees

At this point, a quick tip of the hat to WayneClancy1's YouTube stuff, which is a veritable Oobertrove of goodness, before moving on to a 2000 Awards show performance of Bees:

[Part of Ooberman weekend]

Ooberman weekend: Stormtrooper

More dodgy camerawork, and a vague "yonks ago" as Ooberman play Stormtrooper at Madame JoJos:

[Part of Ooberman weekend]

Ooberman weekend: Shorley Wall

This is not, perhaps, the finest hour. The track is brilliant, but the re-release as a final single for Independiente Records saw a clunking video being churned out. This clunking video, to be precise:

[Part of Ooberman weekend]

Hull is offline people

Hull used to proud of its white phoneboxes, a symbol of civic independence. Their phones had never been subsumed by the Post Office, and as such when Thatcher decided to flog off British Telecom to pad the public purse, Hull were able to sit out the experience.

Trouble is, more recently the company was floated itself and hasn't had much to be proud off since. Especially since, in Hull, it has an effective monopoly on broadband provision. Oh, and has decided to become the first UK ISP to ban filesharers:

"We have always taken a firm line on the alleged abuse of our internet connections," said Nick Thompson, director of consumer and publishing services, in the statement.

"However, we continually review our policies and procedures to reflect own customers' changing needs and evolving use of the internet.

"It is evident that we have been exceeding the expectations of copyright owners, the media and internet users. So, we have changed our policy to move in more line with the industry standard approach."

Yes, it had been throwing people off the network for a single offence - and making them sign a contract promising to not do wrong again; it seems to think that prepending two warnings to this marginally less heavy-handedness is, in some way, an "industry standard".

It's also not clear why a company would be proud of going further than the already outrageous demands of copyright holders. Unless the company is staffed by people wearing khaki uniforms and is trying to provide some sort of day centre for supercharged neighbourhood watch types, that is. Does Karoo understand that its customers are the ones who give them money, and not the people who throw the Brit Awards parties?

[Thanks to Alan B for the story]

Dolly Rockers: won't someone think of the children?

It's a bit over-generous to describe the Dolly Rockers as "X Factor losers", when they got 12th place. Also-rans, maybe. But, I guess, if you're going to work up a froth of outrage about them, throwing in their appearance on Karaoke Cowell Richer adds a certain something.

Anyway, they managed to upset all of Thanet, or bits of it, at the Thanet Pride festival:

According to, the three piece-band began their set by asking if anyone was p****d and then continued to swear between songs, at one point asking if anyone else had ever had a s**t relationship.

One father said he was forced to cover his children's ears.

Thanet Pride events organiser Horace Hotman said: "We booked them a long time ago and we got them for peanuts.

"We do try and keep the language down because I always say that stage has got to be kept more precious than a television set because at least with TV you have the off button, but with Margate seafront you have everybody right there."

I love the way Horace suggests that had he waited to book them they'd have been commanding a premium price. But, splendidly, he does go on to dismiss the complaints in fine fashion:
On the swearing, he said: "That’s nothing really – if they have said the F or C word it would have been something different. People were probably upset that their kids didn’t get to say it first."

There is one curious footnote here, though, about the festival itself:
Organisers chose not to use the word 'gay' when publicising the event in an effort to attract as many people as possible and there are no LGBT references on the Thanet Pride website.

So it's a gay pride event, but one which is too nervous to use the words about which it is expressing pride? How does that work, exactly? Perhaps they should redub it The Pride Which Dare Not Speak Its Name.

Darren Hayes: Queer and odd

Over on Electroqueer, Darren Hayes responds to the flap about his recent interview about gay media stereotypes. Especially that he never gave such an interview:

"That interview never occurred. I haven't done press in over a year. That is a tabloid piecing together quotes from I think three different interviews from a while ago. All rather tacky in my opinion!"

What's more interesting, though, is the "tabloid" in question:
"I have a whole issue about mainstream pop and certainly television culture, and how damaging that is in terms of dumbing down being gay," he told [or rather didn't tell] Gay Times.

Gay Times? Not the first title you'd think of when trying to guess "what tabloid made-up an interview with a gay man", is it?

Ooberman weekend: Danny Boy

Something of a sidesway diversion now, as - at some festival or other - Ooberman belt out Danny Boy. If you have tears, prepare to look away now.

[Part of the Ooberman weekend]

Gordon in the morning: Pool feed

Interesting. Gordon returns once more to the Cole-Tweedy marriage, running a photo of Ashley Cole rubbing his eyes in a swimming pool.

To the casual observer, this looks like a bloke rubbing his eyes after swimming. But to Gordon, where everything is about one thing, it's bubbling with subtexts:

IT LOOKS like CHERYL COLE has finally got husband ASHLEY trained.

He was relaxing in the hotel pool ahead of the Chelsea v Inter Milan friendly in Pasadena, California, when two girls swam by for a chat.

He managed to cover his eyes with his hands to avoid looking at their bikini-clad bods - but maybe he was still taking a cheeky peek.

So not only has he managed to take a snapshot and put a whole different context on it, but he's loaded on a second possible context as well. Go, Gordon Smart.

Elsewhere, Gordon is applauding the Pussycat Dolls:
THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS have gone up in my estimation after racking up an £18,000 bar bill on a night out in London.

The Sun can never work out where it stands on alcohol, can it? The Pussycat Dolls piss away eighteen grand, and it's up in their estimation. If you're not famous, though, drinking too much is shameful and part of Britain being all broken.

Embed and breakfast man: Ooberman

Last weekend, in the comments on the Shonen Knife story, the conversation turned to Ooberman, and if it wasn't about time there was an Ooberman weekend.

Clinging to this as evidence of "public demand", like Cameron getting the results of a focus group, here we go with an Ooberman weekend then.

An honorary Liverpool band (Danny once even did a training course in a converted school in Everton, which is probably more Liverpool than most Liverpool bands manage, although he did wear an admiral's coat for much of the time), and one of the truly great lost bands of recent years. Although - but for the glorious era when Radio One had both Radcliffe and Peel in more-or-less slots where people were awake - they might have been even more lost.

They took the step not so long ago of releasing all their music, for free, which is an act at once both generous and realistic.

Dan and Sophia are currently readying a project called the Magic Theatre, but let's spend some time looking backwards this weekend, shall we?

To kick off, here's the big hit: Blossoms Falling:

More Oober
The official site
The Magic Treehouse - luxury-brand fan site
Ooberman on Last FM
Ooberman on Wikipedia

The Lost Tapes CD | The Lost Tapes mp3
Hey Petrunko CD | Hey Petrunko mp3

More Ooberman across the weekend
Danny Boy
Shorley Wall
Stormtrooper live
Bees live

Friday, July 24, 2009

Darkness at 3AM: Kasabian on tables

The worry is, I rather think we're meant to be impressed with this:

Diners at the swanky Gilgamesh bar in Camden got more than they bargained for when Kasabian's Tom Meighan got battered on champagne and started jumping on top of the tables.

The boys forked out £3,000 for Christian Audigier champers for the band and their mates Stephen Graham and The Enemy, after their "emotional" iTunes performance at the Roundhouse.

And with Tom shouting "Come on let's have it," the boys were necking it at a startling pace.

You would have thought spending all that money, the one thing you could be sure of was you were in the sort of place where Kasabian wouldn't be honking on the tables. Leicester have much better bands - can we have one of those instead, please?

Psychobit: John Dawson

John "Marmaduke" Dawson has died.

Born in Michigan, Dawson's lucky break was joining Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. This loose ensemble also found jugband space for Jerry Garcia, with whom Dawson would form The New Riders Of The Purple Sage. The presence of Garcia ensured that the band got work and found an audience supporting Jerry's more famous concern - although it wasn't until Garcia was replaced by Buddy Cage that The New Riders took on a life away from the Grateful Dead.

Dawson guested on Dead albums Aoxomoxoa, Workingman's Dead, and American Beauty, but it was the New Riders into which he threw his energy, touring with the band through a number of line-up changes until they eventually called it a day in 1997. Dawson wasn't a regular member of the revival of the band in 2007, but showed his support by turning up for the occasional guest slot.

John Dawson was 64; he died from stomach cancer.

Gordon in the morning: A right carry-on

Naturally, the story about "kinky German swingers in rubber" crashing Dizzee Rascal's video shoot is two parts hype to one part truth, but does give Gordon a chance to go to one of journalism's darkest places:

A local taxi driver told me...

Bloody hell, Gordon - you don't normally bother to offer any indication of the careers of your unnamed sources, and when you do, it's a taxi driver?

I'm thinking we're only a few days from Gordon's first "I made my excuses and left".

Elsewhere, Gordon is excited by an apparent endorsement:
Lady is Gaga for The Sun

She stepped out of her hotel in the Swiss city of Zurich wearing a suit plastered with newspaper print.

And one of the stories was The Sun's legendary front page: "Freddie Starr ate my hamster."

She knows a quality paper when she sees it.

Actually, it says "E STA TE M AMS". Oh, and given that right next to it is a panel from a National Enquirer, I don't think the jacket is meant to be seen as an exhibition of the best in journalism. Although who wouldn't want to see Lady GaGa wearing a bustier made entirely from the Guardian Society section?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: HMV shuts Southend store

It always seemed unlikely that HMV would keep two stores running in those places where it had taken over nearby Zavvis, and so it is proving: the Southend HMV is closing as the HMV-which-was-Zavvi takes over.

Not just any old record store, this, though: it was the record shop in Morrissey's Every Day Is Like Sunday video. It wasn't an HMV back then, though:

At this going down of the POS material, who shall speak for the store? Why, how about HMV's very own talking-talker Gennaro Castaldo?
HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: “HMV has recently taken on a much larger and better positioned site in the High Street, which has enabled us to extend our music, film and games offers in Southend.

“While we are in consultation with work colleagues based at the old Queens Road site, where the lease has now ended, we’re confident we will be able to find alternative positions for anyone wishing to remain with the organisation – both in the new Southend store and in other HMV stores within Essex.”

Not outside the county, though. Buggered if they're going to let the Southend staff turn up in Suffolk.

In the name of the artist

It can never be stressed enough that the music industry does what it does not for the backroom guys who love the smell of money, or to keep lawyers busy. Oh, no, they do it for the artists.

Artists like Calvin Harris. How delighted he was to discover that his own music had been scrubbed from YouTube. His own YouTube account.

You'll probably have already read the Twitterstorm, but just in case you missed it:

Youtube have now removed the ORIGINAL mix and video of Ready For The Weekend, due to a 'copyright claim'.


This is enough to tip me over the edge, i'm not joking

There are videos up there that other people have uploaded of the same song, and they haven't been removed!? But mine does!

It's the fucking BPI. FUCK YOU 'The BPI' what have you ever done for anybody you useless shower of cunts

Fantastic use of time combating piracy by removing my own videos, what a fucking revelation. Fuck the Torrent sites, this is the way forward

We already contacted them 3 DAYS AGO about the Fake Blood and High Contrast mixes and they've done nothing, just continued!?

The BPI are the worst organisation to ever walk the earth and their setup is shambolic and their online employees are all massive retards

Yet the Dave Spoon mixes remain!? And all my other music videos. Again, if the BPI try to remove JAM TV i'm going to the House of Lords

This is unbelievable, and it seems I am completely powerless to do anything. Sony have done nothing, the BPI have done nothing

I'm going to drive my car into the big window in the BPI's offices on my way to the studio this morning

I'm going to hire a 4x4 for the day so i make more of an impact, and hopefully reach the online monkeys at the back of the office

Then i'm going to jump out the sunroof and get busy with a frying pan. OR WOK

It's possibly the thought of hitting people with woks - or maybe the need to oil the wok afterwards - that calmed Calvin down a little:
Ok I got a bit caught up in the heat of the moment. Sorry to employees of the BPI who aren't massive retards. But please put my video back

Today, the video is back...
The good news is, the video is back up! The bad news is, i rented the monster truck for 3 days

Calvin was very, very unfair to the BPI in his anger. The RIAA and the IFPI are much more shambolic organisations. Much, much worse.

Mike G, to whom thanks for the story, points out that Harris has complained in the past about the "low" cost of downloads - "there's no pleasing some people."

Daily Mail reminded to think of the children

You'll recall the Daily Mail doesn't run paparazzi photos any more. Not since the death of Diana, when their team decided that it was beneath the title to pay people to poke long lens into people's affairs.

Mail leads the way in banning paparazzi pictures

That was the headline.

Oddly, though, one or two such pictures do sometimes slip in. Like recent photos of Take That's kids.

Not only was this a breach of the Mail's pledge to the memory of the late Diana, but also contravened the rules of the Press Complaints Commission. Oh, and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Two breaches, strictly speaking, as they ran photos of Gary Barlow's kids and Mark Owen's as well.

The result has been a stiff legal letter emailed to Paul Dacre and his Sunday equivalent Peter Wright, asking the paper to perhaps think about obeying the law and not running photos of kids without any reason.

In a lovely bit of attention to detail, the Take That solicitors point out that for some reason the paper had elected to pixelate out the faces of Mark Owen's kids, but not those of Gary Barlow's.

Happily, the solicitor's intervention seems to have reminded the Daily Mail of its obligations under the law and as a member of the Press Complaints Commission, and the offending pages have been replaced with a 404 error.

All's well that ends well, eh? And certainly it's unlikely the Mail will make the mistake of publising pictures of kids just because their parents are well known, that's for sure.

Oh... hang on... what's this?:
Melanie Brown's daughter, 2, shows off some zig-a-zig-hair with new Mohican crop

By Chris Johnson
Last updated at 4:19 PM on 23rd July 2009

She may be only a tender two years old.

But that certainly does not bar Melanie Brown's younger daughter Angel Iris from making a style statement.

Quite what mothers of similar aged toddlers will make of the eye-catching Mohican - which clearly involved an early introduction to the razor - is another matter.

Well, I guess the photos from the Splash agency only show the back of the two year old child's head. And, presumably, the Mail believes that the question of how a child's hair cut is a matter of serious public debate. Because how dare someone who was in the Spice Girls decide on her kid's hairstyle? Doesn't she think how it will look when the Mail puts a long lens photo onto its website?

Eurovision 2010: Czechs stub

Well, that's the Slovak votes up for grabs, then, as the Czechs decide they're not interested in Eurovision any more:

The Czech Republic has announced it is quitting the Eurovision Song Contest, saying there is a lack of interest at home in the musical event.

This is, then, a "lack of interest" and not a ministrop at having scored nothing at all this year.

They'll be back. They always come back.

Beatlesobit: Heinz Edelmann

Heinz Edelmann, the man who created the Pepperland sequence for Yellow Submarine, has died at the age of 75.

The New York Times obituary notes that his work on the Beatles movie obscured his more interesting and definitive work, before filling his obituary with anecdotes about his work on the Beatles movie.

It does reveal that one of the influences on his work for the film was Bob Godfrey, thereby taking us from Henry's Cat to John Lennon in one leap.

Twittergem: Tim Westwood


Excerpts of Jay-Z interview got leak - I'm heavy out there on the web. Called the Game a groupie & crushed the Chris Brown rumours. POW!

Pow indeed, Mr. Westwood. Pow indeed.

Gordon in the morning: Civvy street

Lily Allen is seeing a decorator, according to this morning's Gordon Smart showbiz carousel. Or, as Gordon puts it:

Lil has found love again with an ordinary punter called Sam Cooper.

"Ordinary"? This dismissal of a bloke simply because he has a job that doesn't have a televised awards show connected to it isn't surprising, but, judging by the number of Suns propped on dashboards of vans, Smart is looking down on half of his paying audience for being a bit dull.

It's not like Allen's last reported boyfriend was that extraordinary, is it:
LILY ALLEN's last boyfriend was a middle-aged, multi-millionaire art dealer with a stash of pricey oil paintings.

So a bloke with some sort of picture shop, then. One with too much stock on his hand.

Still, it's always nice to see gossip columnists panic when their prey starts to date off-list. Gordon is reduced to patting Cooper on the head and running a "Lily Allen colour chart".

Oh, and the headline:
Lily’s all emulsional

Yes. The headline.

Having spent most of the last couple of weeks helping out the JLS promotional campaign, today Gordon runs a knocking piece about JLS getting cross in a nightclub:
Aston and bandmates JONATHAN "JB" GILL, MARVIN HUMES and ORITSE WILLIAMS got stroppy when mates including Britain's Got Talent pals FLAWLESS had to queue to get in.

Then Aston flew into a rage because he was too hot and JB moaned at being pestered by fans before fed-up staff finally gave them a warning.

Why the sudden change? Could it be because they've managed to make Smart's retyping of their press pack look a little silly?
JUST days ago I told you how the JLS boys had ditched their girlfriends to concentrate on stardom.

But these lads work fast.

ASTON MERRYGOLD has been bragging to pals about dating a mystery older lady.


It's a pity they didn't get a photo of Gordon looking disappointed at the same time they did the "handing back CDs" and "celebrating with champagne" pictures.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Janes Addiction come up with workaround for photographers stealing their soul

Janes Addiction are delighted to have photographers come up and take pictures of their shows.

Oh, providing they sign paperwork passing all copyright in any pictures they might take straight to the band.

Which kind of misses the point about professional photographers, don't you think?

Madonna not getting involved

It's not her fault that the stage for her French gig collapsed, killing two men. And her reaction to the horrible event has done her much honour:

Madonna won hearts in France Sunday as she visited injured survivors and the family of a stage hand who died during an accident which saw her concert date in Marseille cancelled.

The city's mayor paid tribute to the US pop star's "humanity" as she visited the home of 52-year-old French victim Charles Criscenzo's family in nearby Aix-en-Provence before tending to colleagues being treated in hospital.

That was France24 reporting back on Sunday. It's touching. A gentle, caring attempt to do the right thing - to show the workers they were not forgotten, to comfort the bereaved, and to make sure that nothing stands in the way of a full, clear invesigation into the terrible... hang on, what's this?

Oh. Apparently scrub that bit about making sure nothing stands in the way of a full investigation, as Madonna has decided she doesn't really want to take part in the investigation. It is, it seems "impossible" for her to do so.

Liam doesn't like it when the hoi-polli get too close

Noted costumier Mr Liam Gallagher had a nasty fit of the vapours last night when he found himself too close to the people whose monies keep him in the manner to which he is over-accustomed.

The public threw some beer at Mr. Gallagher while he attempted to sing popular songs at Camden's Roundhouse. Mr. Gallagher and his brother, Old Mr. Gallagher, had kept the appointment to help promote the iPod recorded music device by way of a concert of musics, but the audience's exuberance proved to be out-of-control when some beer somehow splashed upon Mr. Gallagher.

Despite his fearsome reputation for "avin it" and his popular catchapenny phrase of "come ooooon", Mr. Gallagher did not find the experience agreeable in any measure and took leave of the stage. Old Mr. Gallagher covered his absence, completing the singing on the ditty The Masterplan.

Court observers have suggested with mischievous smirks that Old Mr. Gallagher might find it very acceptable indeed for his sibling to permanently leave the stage, as then the spotlight will no longer be split asunder by the two men.

Our clothing correspondent Mr Burlington Bertie explained thus: "Young Mr. Gallagher's upset must be placed in the context of the procurement of his finery. For most certainly, the casual observer might conclude his outwear to be that of the thrifty labourer, perhaps even purchased on a second or third time on the retail racks. The reality, however, is that a man must spend a premium wage on having clothes which look so low in cost and effort. And a man who has spent upwards of the price of a pony-and-trap upon a pair of pantaloons shall never take kindly to the splashing of cheap alcohol upon said pantaloons.@

Darkness at 3AM: Boots, Saturdays and Tweets

Here's how 3AM are covering a supposed airline incident featuring Little Boots and The Saturdays:

She may be a pop princess but there was stamping of Little Boots at a Heathrow check-in when the Lancs lass was refused an upgrade.

Little Boots - real name Victoria Hesketh - was gutted when she was told there would be no superstar treatment for her on the 11-hour Virgin flight to LA. Then to make matters worse she heard a rumour her pals The Saturdays had been moved to Upper Class on the same flight. But Frankie from the girl band assured the Blackpool singer there had been no special treatment for them either. The Saturdays were flying out to record material for their new album and speak to record companies about cracking the US. But even with their huge workload Virgin would not budge.

Wow, how do the 3AM Girls get these stories?

In this case, apparently by reading Twitter, and making up large piles of stuff to go round it.

This is what Little Boots tweeted:
ON SAME PLANE AS THE SATS! This flight just got a whole lot better.

Maybe I can dress up as 6th member and try get an upgrade?? I can so a good rendition of Up!! Flight is too full though :(

And this is what Frankie from The Saturdays said:
@iamlittleboots oh no don't worry were right there with you. No upgrade for us

Perhaps the reason the Mirror didn't want to acknowledge the source of their "story" was because the reality was it was a bit of good-natured mucking about; no 'rumours'; no stamping of feet.

Or perhaps the 3AM Girls are reluctant to point out to their readership that they could actually get the stories 24 hours earlier, for free, by reading Twitter.

Republicans apologise to Jackson Browne

The long fight between Jackson Browne and the McCain presidential campaign is at an end, with the Republicans writing cheques and issuing apologies:

Singer/songwriter Jackson Browne has resolved his lawsuit against the Ohio Republican Party (“ORP”), the Republican National Committee (“RNC”) and Senator John McCain. The lawsuit arose from a web campaign video produced by the ORP in support of Senator McCain's campaign for President of the United States which incorporated portions of the song Running On Empty, a song written and recorded by Mr. Browne. The lawsuit, filed in August, 2008 in the United States District Court in Los Angeles, alleged that this use of Mr. Browne's song required a license which was not obtained, and that the defendants were liable for copyright infringement, false endorsement under the United States Lanham Act and violation of Mr. Browne’s right of publicity for the use of his voice.

The financial terms of the settlement are confidential.

The ORP, RNC and Senator McCain issued the following statement: "We apologize that a portion of the Jackson Browne song ‘Running On Empty’ was used without permission. Although Senator McCain had no knowledge of, or involvement in, the creation or distribution of the web campaign video, Senator McCain does not support or condone any actions taken by anyone involved in his 2008 presidential election campaign that were inconsistent with artists’ rights or the various legal protections afforded to intellectual property. The ORP, RNC and Senator McCain pledge in future election campaigns to respect and uphold the rights of artists and to obtain permissions and/or licenses for copyrighted works where appropriate."

Fine words, although given that they came in settlement of a lawsuit which McCain and his team had fought, it'd be interesting to find out how the two can be squared.

Still: The Republicans have committed themselves to obtaining permission for music used in election campaigns in the future. That's quite a pledge to make in a legal document, isn't it?

Gordon in the morning: Half-senseless and beaten

Pete Samson - now, of course, The Sun's US editor - does some serious investigation into Michael Jackson's upbringing by, erm, watching Larry King Live:

Joe Jackson, 79, said of the allegations by his late son: "Never." In his first TV interview since Jacko's death he insisted: "I have no reason.

"That's my son. I loved him and I still love him."

He went on: "A lot of people in America spank their kids, you know? They say they don't, they're lying. Michael was never beaten by me. I've never beaten at all."

Samson appears to take all this at face value, despite - for example - Tito's recent claims that Michael would use his superpower dancing skills to avoid the blows. And Jackson pere's odd assertion that you should never believe someone who says they don't spank their children, shortly before asserting that he never spanks his children.

Where do people get the idea that Joe Jackson hit Michael in the first place? Perhaps, erm, when Joe Jackson told Louis Theroux this, six years ago:
Joe Jackson is seen saying in a show to be seen on Sunday: "I whipped him with a switch and a belt. I never beat him. You beat someone with a stick.

You see? It's not beating if you don't use a stick.
The one-time Jackson 5 manager also denied planning to put Jacko's kids on tour as the Jackson 3.

He told interviewer Larry King: "Not true. That's a bunch of jive."

Presumably when he tries to shove the poor sods onto stage, he'll call them The New Jackson Three or something in order to create his own loophole.

Elsewhere, Gordon Smart has grabbed Noel Gallagher to find out what Noel thought of Ronaldo rating them more highly than The Beatles:
Mr Big told me: "There's only one Ronaldo! I always knew deep down inside him somewhere there was impeccable musical taste.

"I'll be taking up his offer of tickets for the Madrid versus Barcelona game. I'm not sure whether even he could afford us for a gig though!"

Yes, for some reason Gordon has started calling Noel Gallagher Mr Big - which was the name Carrie in Sex And The City called her lover, if memory serves.

Still, Noel's witty riposte to Gordon is fascinating... like... meeting of minds... photoshop gurus...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jet attempt another take-off

Yahoo is incredibly generous to Jet tonight, almost as if they know what it's like to be a hotly tipped property which suddenly runs out of support. They pick up a Reuters interview:

After selling more than three million copies worldwide of their first album, there was really only one way Australian rock band Jet could go.

Selling more, do you mean? Because three million worldwide isn't really a lot; it's all right, as sales go, but leaves plenty of room for increases.

But, no, Reuters suggests that selling three million is some kind of peak; that it is the point from which there are no more lands to conquer:
Crash and burn.

But then again, even if three million did represent a copy for everybody in the world, plus a spare, there'd also be the option of maintaining that level of interest, wouldn't there?

Apparently not. Reuters collude in trying to remake 'overhyped band shrink back to more appropriate level' as some sort of rock history:
"You grow up reading those books about (troubled classic rock bands), and then all of a sudden you find yourself in that cliche. It's pretty surreal," drummer/singer Chris Cester said in a recent interview, accompanied by his older brother Nic, the band's singer/guitarist.

No, Cester. You weren't part of some classic rock story. You were just a band that didn't really have it in you to be selling millions of records. It wasn't some terrible calamity that did for your second record; it was just the whole not being very good.
"There's a lot of goodwill that I have noticed for our band, a lot of people who really want this to go well, which I'm really grateful for," said Nic. "We're not trying to fool anyone. This isn't like a marketing campaign. We're just a good band, and we write good songs and we love what we do. It starts and ends there."

It isn't like a marketing campaign, he says in an interview with a major news organisation timed to coincide with a tour starting to promote a new release.

Expanding Spotify

Spotify might still not quite have thought of a way of making money, but they're spending the cash they don't have in very imaginative ways: they've just signed up IODA. Which brings a whole bunch of new bands to the service, and "international partners". Like, erm, Bonnier Amigo Music Group. No, seriously, I'm sure they're bringing some great things to the party.

It's all good news. Providing they can work out how to make money. (I suspect the plan now is keeping fingers crossed for an advertising upturn.)

[Story via @glinner]

Mercury shortlist: Effort undermined by presence of Kasabian

No, seriously: what's the point of a shortlist for an award for the best album which features Kasabian at all? Sure, there's lots of names on the list which stand up to critical consideration: The lovely Lisa Hannigan album; La Roux's debut; Friendly Fires of course. You can see The Horrors have earned a place there - even if the early claims that they'd totally reinvented themselves were a little overstating the case, there's enough evidence of a band thinking things through to make them worth considering.

But Kasabian?

Their response to being shortlisted says, pretty much, where the band are creatively:

Kasabian's Tom Meighan said: "I like making music but it's really nice to get the recognition. I think it's deserved, why not, eh?"

It's like someone reading an abandoned Noel Gallagher thought of the back of a napkin, isn't it?

The BBC insist that La Roux are leading the nominations, although bookies seem to think that Kasabian and Florence and The Machine are.

Here's the shortlist in full, with - excitingly - latest betting odds:

Florence and the Machine, “Lungs.” 5/1
Kasabian, “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum.” 5/1
Bat for Lashes, “Two Suns.” 6/1
La Roux, “La Roux.” 6/1
Glasvegas, “Glasvegas.” 6/1
Speech Debelle, “Speech Therapy.” 8/1
Friendly Fires, “Friendly Fires.” 8/11
The Horrors, “Primary Colours.” 8/1
Lisa Hannigan, “Sea Sew.” 8/1
The Invisible, “The Invisible.” 10/1
Led Bib, “Sensible Shoes.” 10/1
Sweet Billy Pilgrim, “Twice Born Men.” 10/1

More interesting than the shortlist is the change in sponsor - following on from the now-defunct Mercury, Technics and the Nationwide Building Society is Barclaycard. A credit card company? Sponsoring a music prize? (Like, erm, Mastercard's support for the Brits?) So out goes the prudent, cash-careful Building Society in favour of a debt-driving credit concern. Interesting choice.

[Related: The Lisa Hannigan weekend]

Three strikes: To the barricades

It does make it so much easier to choose sides, doesn't it, when the team captains are Sarkozy on one side; Catherine Deneuve on the other.

Yes, the French government is trying, once again, to somehow make it okay to throw people off the internet for unlicenced files.

Sarkozy's UMP have already had to drop proposals to include punishments for sending files by email, as it turns out "we'll just have a quick look through your emails to see what is in them" isn't such a great vote-winner after all. Although why the principle is any different with any other file being zinged across the wires isn't clear.

Proposals for a lets-call-it-Big-Brother agency start being debated today.

Gordon in the morning: The other Cameron

Hey! Do you run a showbusyness gossiping column in a national newspaper? Do you struggle to fill it with people that your readers might have heard of, or care about? You do?

Here's a hint: when you do get a story that doesn't draw its cast of characters from runners-up on reality shows and children of people who once were famous, you might not want to draw attention to how thin your offering usually is by slapping a headline like this on it:

Cameron’s A-list love triangle

Diaz, by the way, not Dave.

Actually, given that it includes Jude Law, even then this story isn't really about a-listers.

And what on earth was going through the heads of whoever did the metadata for the story?

Yes, it does say "Cameron Diaz on sexcret London dates". A slip of the finger? A desperate attempt to cram the word "sex" into the URL?

Elsewhere, Ronaldao is musing on music:
He said: "Liverpool have The Beatles and Manchester have Oasis. I think we (Manchester) have the better band."

Isn't that like thinking Mike Yarwood's Steptoe impression is better than Harry H Corbett?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Lars Ulrich proud of what he did in the Napster wars

It is perhaps a cruel trick that Congress has yet to strike a medal in recognition of what Lars Ulrich did to Napster. He's proud of his work.

At first, I was assuming he was taking credit for helping push the kids off the crumbly old Napster service into the arms of distributed, harder-to-track, peer-to-peer filesharing; or even laying claim to some of the applause for the Pirate Bay. But, no, it does turn out that he thinks he, Metallica and the Music Industry won some sort of battle:

“I am proud of what we did, and what we stood up for,” he says, although admitting that the band faced criticism for its actions. “You have to give props to the other side because they did run a brilliant campaign, and they did portray me and Metallica as being greedy rock pigs and luddites who were completely behind what was happening technologically.”

That's, erm, because you were a little bit ludditey, weren't you? And perhaps 'greedy' is unfair - 'unwilling to adjust to a new economic reality' would be closer to the point. Which, actually, was what the luddites were all about - they weren't anti-technology so much as against what it meant for their earnings.

I'm sure at some point Ned Ludd gave an interview, shouting above the sound of a thousand machines churning away in the rooms behind him, saying how he made the world a better place by destroying three or four specific looms. "You've got to hand it to the loom-machine manufacturers, they did a pretty good job of portraying me as some sort of Luddite... which, to be fair, I suppose I am. But I'm proud that - through my actions - they had to build another, better, faster loom to replace the one that I broke."

Brendan Benson heading out

Of course, the NME has now added a helpful "The Raconteurs star" to his name, but still, I suppose we should be grateful they're running Brendan Benson tour dates at all:

Bristol Thekla (October 13)
Nottingham Rescue Rooms (14)
Leeds Cockpit (15)
Newcastle Sage (16)
Glasgow Oran Mor (17)
Manchester Academy3 (19)
Birmingham Academy3 (20)
London Electric Ballroom (21)
Brighton Komedia (22)

Cancer checks the Beastie Boys progress

This is how long we've all lived: The Beastie Boys are no longer fighting for their rights to party; instead they're fighting cancer. Or, at least, Adam Yauch is; his surgery for a cancerous tumour in his left salivary gland isn't life-threatening, but will play merry hell with the Beastie's schedule.

Popobit: Gordon Waller

Gordon Waller, the Gordon out of Peter And Gordon, has died, it has been announced.

Born in Braemar, Gordon met Peter Asher while the pair were at Westminster private school. Waller tempted Asher away from jazz and blues, and the pair soon started playing music together. Originally going as Gordon and Peter, the names got reversed and the pair got picked up by EMI. A song from Paul McCartney, A World Without Love, set them up nicely - they knocked the Beatles off the top of the UK chart and had the biggest-selling single in the US in 1964.

Success didn't last long, though, and - after a couple of years sharp decline - the duo split in 1968. Waller's attempts at a solo career struggled - there were some unloved releases, and a spell in musicals - before he figured that the money was behind the scenes and he swapped to music publishing.

Peter And Gordon reunited for the occasional date in the last few years, and Waller had been playing solo material live. In 2007, he toured a Beatles tribute show.

Michael Jackson: "Unseemly jostling" is such an ugly phrase

Please, people, do not find it in any way difficult to keep your breakfast down at the haste with which AEG has launched the auction for those last rehearsal Michael Jackson tapes. Yes, yes, technically they're flogging them off before his body is in the grave, but they did wait until the corpse was cold, didn't they? So very, very cold.

It can be a little confusing, after a month of solidly being told how Michael Jackson belonged to all of us, and was kind-of-like the pyramids and/or the moon, to discover that it turns out he was merely part of a merchandising operation and, actually, didn't belong to all of us at all.

This should, in no way, make you feel that the big memorial service was part of a marketing campaign.

Naturally, AEG will be taking some of the cash - bids opened at $50million, Sony look likely to win - to recompense the people of LA for the costs of staging the memorial, won't they? Hello? AEG? Hello?

Gordon in the morning: An awkward celebration

Here are some boys drinking Mr. Murdoch's best sparkling wine:

Somewhat unfortunately, this appears on the front page of Bizarre under the heading "JLS celebrate No1 by ditching girlfriends", which makes the whole thing look even more uncomfortable. Has Gordon replaced the girlfriends? Or is he merely celebrating them being dumped?

As you'd expect, the story isn't quite true, anyway - the band haven't "celebrated" getting to number one by dumping their girlfriends:

JB said: "We've all broken up with long-term girlfriends in the last few months due to complications."

And the celebration itself? Are you sure you're celebrating the number one, Gordon?
I grabbed the boys to toast their chart success and hear how they were coping with life in the spotlight.

Ah. Yes. Well done all round, then. It's just a little surprising that you're all wearing the same clothes that you had on last week when Gordon "returned" your "lost" CDs:

Perhaps they just don't own many clothes. I mean, imagine you were being asked to drink a toast to your success days before you'd actually achieved it - how awkward would that photo look, eh?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Woot-ton: Actually, that's how Facebook works

FrankMusic has split up with Holly Valance, and Dan Wootton reveals its serious:

"I've deleted her off Facebook, I'm not making her album - I'm done with her now. One day she'll realise she was really flaky."

Wow. Deleted her off Facebook. That'll show her. Although given that she dumped you, she probably won't even notice. Unless she really needs 12 people to send the results of 'what kind of tree are you' to before she can get her own results.

Neil Tennant misses Top Of The Pops

I yield to nobody in my admiration of Neil Tennant, but a grumbly interview about why Top of The Pops isn't on any more and people "stealing" music makes him sound like something out of a different era.

Mind you, the BBC News site suggests that Tennant has "slammed" the corporation, which is perhaps putting it a bit strongly:

He added he thought as part of the BBC's public broadcasting, the corporation should be keeping its "astonishing archive" of musical footage up-to-date.

"[That is] why we like the BBC, because they do things that should be done but don't always make complete commercial sense."

It actually sounds more like he understands it had to go, rather than "slamming" anyone or anything. Indeed, it doesn't actually sound like Tennant much cared for the show by the time it was axed:
The star, who has had hits with West End Girls and Always On My Mind, said a former BBC employee who now works for ITV had told him why the show had to go.

"He explained to me at great length that the public aren't interested in music unless its heavily editorialised - by which he means X Factor.

"If you look back over the presentation of Top Of The Pops in the 90s, cynicism crept into the way it was presented.

"In the past, everything - the rubbish and the good stuff - was presented with enthusiasm. And I think its up to the public to make the taste decisions - not the DJs presenting."

It's actually wider than that, Neil: instead of the running order being dictated by the chart positions of records, it became an editorially-selected choice; moving from a dumb list to a cheerleader service.

Tennant then offers what sounds like a pretty comprehensive argument against reviving the show:
"I think it must be really strange to be a new artist. Like if JLS are number one on Sunday, they won't have that great moment of being crowned that week's Kings Of Pop."

Anything that would make JLS labour about under the misapprehension that they were in some way pop royalty, surely, is broken beyond use?

Tennant then turns to those downloads the young people are all doing these days:
"It would be great if 30% of us could get a car for free, but it's not going to happen," he said.

"And I don't see why people should think they can."

Oh, Neil, Neil, Neil. You really don't believe that a manufactured car is like a digital music file, do you? That digital music is more akin to oxygen?

It turns out he doesn't buy the whole 'the supply is almost unlimited' argument, either:
He went on to describe an article he read on the internet, which suggested music should be free like water.

"I thought 'have you seen the water rates in London?'

"If you wanted to pay £700 pounds a year for music, I think we'd all be really happy.

He does seem to have worked in a complaint about the cost of water, too, which is quite impressive.

There's an important difference, though, between water and digital music anyway - water companies have to maintain the infrastructure which delivers the water. Oh, and are dealing with a finite resource which requires enormous storage space to smooth out the differences between supply and demand.

Not that - as far as I know - anyone has ever suggested charging for music as if it was water; the 'like water' case is actually about treating music as a utility rather than a distinct product - a pipe, rather than a bottle of water.

Oh, and the average water bill in the UK is £330 and the average charge by London supplier Thames Water being £295. I suppose Neil must live in a larger house than most of us, though.

Tennant's solution? Erm, something akin to the water rates:
"I think we should have a licence somewhere between the water rates and the BBC TV licence and then you could have it for nothing and it could be farmed out on a download pro rata basis."

What does that even mean, Neil? And why should some internet content - music - be licensed, when a lot of other stuff is available for free online? If musicians should get some money everytime a track is listened to, why shouldn't that licence cover people who make animated lego films, or write blog entries about Boris Johnson? What's so special about Paolo Nutini that he should be rewarded when his content is accessed online, when, say, Kirstie Allsopp tweets for free?

The licence idea appeals simply because everyone knows that online music, left to fight in the market place, is worth almost nothing. It's like bakers suggesting that people should be forced to have a bread licence, and then they'll be happy to let people take the stale bread from their dumpsters.

This week just gone

Most-read July stories so far are:

1. Panic at the Disco split asunder
2. Video: MGMT cover Til Tuesday
3. Charles Moore won't pay TV licence; happy to let BBC pay out to cover his libel
4. One of the Jonas Brothers has got engaged
5. Taylor Horn honks racism after immigration asks to see her papers
6. T in The Park: Blur nearly sidelined
7. Win Alison Mosshart's Nudie jeans and Diesel jacket
8. Chris Moyles complains the BBC is too timid
9. T In The Park: TV On The Radio play to emptying tent
10. Johnny Borrell: His high dating standards

These were the recommended purchases:

Slow Club - Yeah, So?

download Yeah, So?

The Rumble Strips - Welcome To The Walkalone

download Welcome To The Walkalone

The Duckworth Lewis Method - The Duckworth Lewis Method

download The Duckworth Lewis Method

The Marvelettes - Forever

download The Marvellettes Essential Collection

The Church - Untitled #23

download A Box Of Birds

Bowerbirds - Upper Air

download Upper Air

Nick Lowe - The Brentford Trilogy

download Quiet Please - The Best Of Nick Lowe

Steve Earle - Live At The BBC

download Steve Earle Live In Austin

The Dead Weather - Horehound

download Horehound