Saturday, September 05, 2009

Esser weekend: Satisifed

More Esser. Satisfied? Yes, it is:

[Part of Esser weekend]

Anti-filesharing group take more relaxed approach to actual property

BREIN, the Dutch copyright group, have been throwing their weight around a bit lately. Because sharing a musical file is morally on a par with stealing somebody's property, right? Like pinching a laptop off somebody.

Funny thing, though, because Tim Kuik who runs BREIN has been bragging about how he uses a laptop "confiscated from a hacker".

When invited to explain how he came to be using somebody else's property, he went all vague:

“It was once confiscated from a hacker,” Kuik added, noting that he couldn’t give out any more info because of the type of people his organization deals with.

Odd that. If he legitimately owned the laptop, I can't see there'd be any reason to not be a bit more explicit about how that ownership came about. Likewise, if he has some sort of way of making it seem alright in his head - although isn't the ability to construct a moral justification for their behaviour what the Intellectual Property industry condemn filesharers for?

Esser weekend: Work It Out

Back to Esser, who find themselves (bands named after the frontman are a grammatical nightmare) on a bandstand in Northampton Square as part of the mighty Bandstand Busking feature. The track is Work It Out:

[Part of the Esser weekend]

Seven million filesharers? More or Less

The good people at More Or Less have been having a poke around in the figures for filesharing cited by Mandelson and chums to justify the clunking fist.

It turns out - after they dug and dug - that the figure is based on a report commissioned by the BPI. So, not entirely impartial, then.

Oh, and the survey size was quite small. So it turns out these 7 million filesharers are based on the confessions of just 136 people. And they were only 11.6% of the sample, so the research company just whacked the figures upwards:

That 11.6% of respondents who admitted to file sharing was adjusted upwards to 16.3% "to reflect the assumption that fewer people admit to file sharing than actually do it." The report's author told the BBC that the adjustment "wasn't just pulled out of thin air" but based on unspecified evidence.

How would you even be able to have a solid figure for making that assumption?

Oh, and also, the seven million figure is not only based on deciding arbitrarily to boost the numbers of filesharers, but by also adding an extra six million people to the numbers online - Jupiter, who did the research, estimated the size of online Britain as 40 million people, but at the time, the official estimate was just under 34 million.

If you adjust the figures to reflect the truth, then the seven million filesharers turn out be closer to 3.9million. Still, on the bright side, the Government can now claim to have helped reduce the figures sharing unlicensed files by almost half.

Embed and breakfast man: Esser

How better to spend some time this weekend than a spot of looking at Esser? The BBC sum up young Ben up as "coming from Essex with a Flock Of Seagulls haircut", which seems to sell short Esser's talent and, come to that, Mike Score's adventures in backcombing.

Esser have been turning up in all the right places - Glastonbury, Lollapolooza, Marc Riley's imperial 6Music show - and a few wrong ones, like in front of the crowd waiting for Kaiser Chiefs to come on.

Just the one album so far, but it's pretty darn good. If you really want to cram it into a pointless soundbite, forget the haircut and try this as a description: Le Roux. Or, if your schoolboy French has let you down, a male counterpoint to what La Roux does.

Let's get cracking with Headlock:

Braveface - the album
Braveface - the mp3s

Harder, better, further, Esser
Esser Hq - official site
Esser MySpace
Esser Last FM
Esser Spotify
Esser on
Esser Wikipedia (as yet, only a stub - the Wikipedia equivalent of playing the Falcon)

More Esser over the coming hours
Work It Out - Bandstand Busking performance

Gordon in the morning: Did he mention the new Robbie Wi... oh, he did

Not that Gordon Smart is dragging out his 'return of Williams' stuff - and there's over a month to go - but he returns to Williams today, with material gleaned from interviews.

Not, naturally, interviews that Gordon's done:

On a punishing round of radio interviews yesterday Rob confessed that "a new Robbie had emerged" who no longer had any "pent-up sexual energy".

Still, at least Gordon put in the hours:
For the first time yesterday Rob's charm on the radio didn't make me sick in my own mouth, which goes to show he's a new man.

Or at least that Gordon would really really really really really really really like an interview with Robbie go on go on go on, please.

Elsewhere, Jet reveal their skills of second sight. Unfortunately, it turns out to be hindsight:
Nic said: "I'm not surprised they split at all. If anything I'm shocked they managed to make it work for so long. I'd say it's definitely the end. They didn't get on."

Yes, based on what they saw when they supported Oasis in 2005, Jet say they saw the split coming.

Perhaps unfortunately for Jet, a four-year-old observation of what everyone knew is deemed by Gordon to be the most interesting thing that came out of their visit to Bizarre to record some songs for The Sun.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Keyboardobit: Jake Brockman

In an eerie echo of the way his former Bunnymen bandmate Pete DeFreitas died, Jake Brockman, keyboard player, has been killed in a motorcycle crash.

Jake was also a founder of BOM and worked for the BBC Natural History Unit. Although a long-term live member during the 1980s, he became a full-time member of the band during the flag-of-convenience post-Mac era. At the time, the band seemed to be chasing a Flowered Up bandwagon, and it was all psychedelic colour schemes and swirls). His work can be heard on the Reverberation album.

Brockman, who was 53, was riding on the Isle Of Man when he was in a collision with a converted ambulance.

The Ken Bruce effect

It seems that sooner or later, every Radio 2 DJ reaches the point where they feel the need to speak out about the state of the network. I guess that, when the celebrities who have been parachuted into the network to the chagrain of Ken Bruce hit that point, then Ken will stop seeing them as outsiders in the wrong job, and embrace them as part of the Radio 2 family.

Until then:

"I have great admiration for people who do fast-moving live television, but an awful lot of television is just 'stand up, smile' and you really often don't have to think for yourself," he claimed.

"A lot of television personalities have done great radio, such as Jonathan Ross, but too often a famous face is parachuted into a prime radio slot with no experience of, or particular aptitude for, the medium."

He blamed the situation on management, who "have lost their gifts as talent-spotters and are too content to rely on a proven public profile to garner an audience".

This has come from his autobiography, apparently, so it's not clear quite how quickly it's been rushed into print as some sort of protest as against being a bit of crackle thrown in to sell the book to as many Christmas stockings as possible.

HMV close GetCloser

It's only a little over a year since it first trumpeted itself:

What is the soundtrack to your life? What are the best films you have ever seen? A
year in the making, has now landed to help you share the music and
film you love with like-minded people.
Build collections of music and film and share the stuff you're into. is
the first site of its kind to recommend, explore and connect you to music, artists,
your favourite cult movies and film experiences based on your unique taste.
As part of a new wave of social discovery sites for fans by fans,
helps you discover, rate, recommend, share and enjoy everything together.
Finding exclusive movie trailers, music videos, interviews and rarities is easy. The
more connections you make, the more you discover to bring you closer to your
favourite things. guides you on your way to building the ultimate music and film
library that any critic would be envious of. Bridge the gaps in your collections using
HMV?s extensive database and get closer to the artists, music and films we all
love at the click of a button.
With the active involvement of HMV?s suppliers at record labels and film studios,
the site is full of rich content from all your favourite artists new and old. With
exclusive live footage of intimate artist performances hosted by HMV stores, and
interviews filmed backstage at festivals and on the red carpet, will
be the place to access the latest behind the scenes gossip with A-list actors, artists
and much more.
Getting started couldn?t be easier, simply import your iTunes Library to build your DNA so like minded fans can be recommended allowing you to take
a nosey at their collections and pinch some ideas.
Tickle your cultural taste buds and be the one in the know by receiving film and
music updates according to your Profile DNA. Make connections between the
music and films you love, be it a story, an experience or a little-known fact and
explore and discover music and film using the connections made by other people.
Use the Gap Analyser to highlight the artists, music or films that you are bound to
like and really ought to add to your collection. Why not get even closer by using the
chat tool to share gossip with friends made through the connections cloud, or if
they?re not online, leave messages, join groups and create fan clubs on the site.
For the more pioneering music fans you can write reviews, and for the dedicated
followers will be the place to be for all the latest news and content
on your favourite bands and films. You can now sleep peacefully knowing you will
never miss a trick.

This constantly evolving community sees the gap bridged between music and film
feeding you with information from all angles and ultimately enhancing your sharing
experience. Get involved and divulge unique information about artists and films to
help the site grow into a bank of information for passionate fans.
Music and film fans alike get ready for a more diverse range of discovery as lets you access all areas.

Now, the world might have been sitting there saying "this sounds like a really weak attempt to create a web community out of little more than a list of products for sale and a sneak around someone's iTunes, and seems to be more about providing information to HMV than genuinely being useful...", but before they'd have got halfway through, it seems like HMV had already got there too.

The few people who had got closer to GetCloser got a closer email today:
We wanted to let you know that will soon be going offline.

But don't worry - although won't be there, much of the exclusive content you've come to know and love will be uploaded to hmv's new rewards scheme website over the coming months.

join purehmv for free*

To say thanks for being a part of, we'd like to offer you free membership of purehmv, which usually costs £3 to join. We'll also throw in 1000 bonus points to get you started.

If you've already heard of purehmv, you'll know it's a bit different from other reward schemes. Only purehmv gives you access to stuff money can't buy, like film premiere tickets, tickets to gigs and rare, signed stuff.

So three things:

First, HMV have burned through some cash they couldn't afford on trying to create a walled version of Last FM - which should give pause to other companies (hello, record labels) who think they can do the same.

Second, having failed to have a miniFacebook, they've decided to try and create a Tesco Clubcard instead.

But third: they want people to pay for their clubcard. The Guardian, it's true, is about to launch a members club where people - they hope - will pay to be part of a Guardian family. That might work, as you'd be supporting something that is a bit more than a profit maximising concern. But who would want to pay to allow HMV to collect data about what you buy?

[Thanks to Michael M]

Madonna: Childcare issues

Ah, remember how outraged Madonna's people were when Jon Bon Jovi suggested that she might be using her kids as some sort of props for her career?

This may or may not be worth remembering now that Madonna's getting Lourdes to dress up as Madonna-when-she-was-good for her new video.

Gordon in the morning: Not by popular demand

Lady GaGa seems to be tiring of the story that she's a hermaphrodite, prompting Gordon to once again run a video where it looks a bit like she's got a penis.

Watch it below to decide for yourself...

A couple of seconds of a lumpy skirt shot from an awkward angle. That's certainly all the evidence I need to judge a complex question about gender identity.
She also said in a recent web blog: "I have both male and female genitalia, but I consider myself a female."

I think that might have been "laughing it off", Gordon.

It's not clear why Gordon is so exercised by this question, unless - having run so many pictures of GaGa for his readers to look at (indeed, to look at themselves silly over), he has a strange worry at the back of his mind that he's looking at a man.

Dizzee Rascal, meanwhile, is less than impressed with the Olympics building work. He's said that it's doing nothing for the people of East London and all it has done is turned the place into a massive "building hole". It's an important question - the Olympics were pitched as being as much about the area as some sort of national pride, and if it's not delivering, then we need to be asking why. And it's lucky that someone from the area who is able to articulate the issues is willing to break ranks from the 'smile, it's for your own good' approach.

But is he being taken seriously?
Dizzee’s rap for Bonkers Olympics

Apparently not.

And with Robbie apparently back on the hero side of the Gordon Smart board, we're in for a lot more of this sort of thing, where James Corden gives his opinion on the new record. He likes it, but then he apparently also thought those Horne & Corden scripts were worth turning into a television programme to show to people.

Still, it gives another chance for Gordon to push the album:
Yesterday I gave the exclusive first review of his comeback single Bodies.

It's a cracker and on course for the No1 spot after it is released on October 12.

Blimey - Gordo is somehow getting sales figures for eight weeks' time?

You'd have thought the discovery that Corden and - god help us - Phil Taylor had also had exclusive first listens (before Gordon's self-trumpeted first listen, by the sound of it) might have given pause. But, no, endorsements is endorsements:
The Power gave the album top marks too.

And if it's good enough for Taylor, Corden and Moyles, it's good enough for me.

Evidently, yes. But isn't that a bit like praising food by saying "if it'll do for Kentucky Fried Chicken, it'll do for me..."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Drugstore reopens

This coming Monday, apparently, Drugstore are reuniting after seven years in exile trying to scrub the stench of being Britpop Neverquites from their fingers. And playing Dingwalls.

An overhyped indie band, a blues singer, an African legend and an Americana act walk into a TV studio...

They're looking for people to sit around in the background of Later With Jools Holland to add some atmosphere to the bit where Jools interviews Neil Diamond while neither of them touch their beers.

Apply for tickets now. If I'm not overselling it.

HMV come up with a digital strategy at last

Having poured millions and millions into trying to turn their shops into youth clubs with computer games and flick knives and coffee bars and gangs of youths (or without the flick knives, at least), HMV have come up with a better idea for coping in the new world: it's bought 50% of 7Digital.

No word on the deal from Mr. Castaldo as yet, while HMV do give the impression of a company that has stumbled on a good idea by mistake and aren't quite sure what they've got yet:

HMV said 7digital planned to launch a mobile application for BlackBerry mobiles soon.

And they're going to make a gum. Or something.

YouTube, PRS sue for peace

Here come the songs again. PRS and YouTube have struck a deal - terms "undisclosed", so I'm betting they'll be leaked online by teatime - which will see YouTube paying for music, and thus videos returning to the UK site.

A spokesman for PRS for Music, formerly known as the Performing Rights Society, said: "It is a lump sum deal which seems to work for YouTube's business model and offers recompense for our 60,000 members. We can be friends again."

A spokesman for YouTube said the "tens of thousands" of videos which had disappeared "will come back over the next few days".

Given that YouTube hadn't exactly seen a dip in popularity since it threw off the videos into the face of an aghast PRS, it's likely that Google has moved less than the PRS would have done.

They're chucking a "lump sum" at the rights agency to cover everything from last January "and lasting until 2012". That doesn't sound very much like giving an increased per-play rate from where I'm sitting, which was what PRS had been demanding.

Gordon in the morning: Another return to form for Robbie Williams

As everybody at EMI crosses their fingers and hopes that the record will allow them to at least pay the milkman this month, it's no surprise to see Gordon rushing to the front of the crowd to cheer Robbie Williams' return:

ROBBIE WILLIAMS is back with an almighty bang.

I have had the exclusive first listen to Bodies, the much awaited single from his new album Reality Killed The Video Star.

This, of course, must be different from the single much more usefully reviewed yesterday by Popjustice, then.

This would also be different from the return from the wilderness Gordon was proclaiming back in January 2008, in some way.

Readers with even longer memories will recall Gordon's boss and predecessor Victoria Newton running a panty, thrilled review of the Rudebox album, only to change her tune a few months later when (a) she'd actually heard it and (b) it became clear it wasn't very good.

Still, Bizarre isn't a voice in the wilderness this time, as Gordon is quick to point out:
Radio 2 are already planning to make the track record of the week and Radio 1 have stuck it on the playlist six weeks before its release.

Although, since you're the only person to have heard the record, Gordon, with your exclusive first listen, they must be doing that unheard, right?

This time round, Trevor Horn is doing the production:
He has returned from the wilderness and gone back to the winning formula of good old-fashioned commercial pop, produced by veteran knobs-and-dials man TREVOR HORN. His influence is a stroke of genius, with a rich new electronic sound.

So it's a rich new old-fashioned electronic commercial pop record, is it? One of those.

For most people, having Horn on board would be enough. But this is Williams, who can't stop the theatrical winks just in case we don't get it. Hence, the album is called Reality Killed The Video Star. The second choice was "With Trevor Horn Out Of The Buggles Making It And He's Cool And Everything, Right?"

Gordon ends with a chilling prediction:
I'm off to stick a few quid on at the bookies for The Brits to be "The Robbie Show" next year.

Let's not picture Gordon, down William Hills, pushing across a betting slip with 'Brits to be The Robbie Show' across at the cashier, and just spend some time weeping with our head in our hands. Because there's every chance, given the Brits' ability to be so very wrong, that he could be right.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Shante didn't

I picked up a story from the New York Daily News last week about how Roxanne Shante had had to battle Warners to get them to honour a clause in her contract to fund her PhD.

It turns out to be less than solid: Ben Sheffer has been digging for Slate and he finds no trace of Shante having completed any degree, much less one funded by Warners:

When told of Warner's denial that it financed her education, Shanté repeated, "Hip-hop paid for my education, kept me from going to the streets." But she was unable to provide detail. "To my knowledge, that [Warner] is exactly where the checks came from. … All I know is that it was done." In a later e-mail, Shanté wrote that she was informed by Cold Chillin's former CEO Tyrone Williams that Warner "along with another party that chose to stay anonymous paid for my education." Shanté did not respond to Slate's request that she put us in touch with Williams.

This seems to be a bit of a shift from "Warners were contractually obliged to pay for my eduction" to "the money I made from music, which came from Warners as far as I know."

It looks like the New York Daily News hadn't really done very much to stack up its story in the first place.

Basement Jaxx: On nobody's lips

I have to be honest, the first I'd heard of any rumours that Basement Jaxx had been dropped was when an email turned up from XL Records denying that any such thing had happened:

Contrary to a small number of internet stories that have surfaced over the weekend, XL Recordings would like to clarify that Basement Jaxx have not been dropped by the label.

XL Recordings will be releasing the band's new album 'Scars' on 21st September along with their new single 'Feelings Gone' featuring Sam Sparro.

The band, fresh from headline appearances at this year's Creamfields, Big Chill and Wireless festivals, will be heading out on a massive UK tour in December which will include a show at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday 17th December.

I'm sure there were such stories, and this isn't just a ploy to get mention of the album in front of people with a couple of weeks to go.

Comes With Music comes with a long delay in the US

Nokia doesn't seem to be rushing to bring Comes With Music to the US: it's putting back a planned launch to 2010.

Forbes is suggesting that Nokia has been underwhelmed by take-up of the service in established markets; network operators don't seem to be that keen on offering CWM, either.

Griffin done... The Holloways

Good news, everybody: Zoe Griffin is breaking into TV. Well, IPTV, but everyone has to start somewhere, right?

She's going to be on Jack TV:

My first interview for the channel is with Indie band The Hollyways and I am un-characteristically cheeky with them ;)

Tip of the day: JACK TV!!!

Emoticons and multiple exclamation points? Really?

Still, I'm really excited to see The Hollyways being interviewed. I've not even heard of them. Perhaps if jack TV takes off they might get guests with a bit of a higher profile, like The Holloways. But you have to start somewhere, don't you?

Gordon in the morning: If a Madonna falls over and makes no noise...

It's Wednesday morning, and Gordon has got video of Madonna flopping onstage. Twice. On Saturday.

Madonna sparks concern after at gig in Sofia

Sparks concern? Although, apparently, the news has been shared by a postcard?

Even a couple of years ago, it's hard to imagine that if Madonna went down on a Saturday night, she'd have to wait for the pictures to appear in The Sun for four days while Gordon made up polls about Oasis.

Meanwhile, Gordon's suddenly come over all moral about people showing too much flesh again, as he runs an advert for New Look disguised as photos of Kimberley Walsh:
THIS is a lesson to LADY GAGA on how to look sexy without exposing her Fallopian tubes.

Here is KIMBERLEY WALSH flaunting her best asset in this exclusive first shot from her modelling job for New Look.

It's a photo of Kimberley with a tight dress clinging to her arse.
The GIRLS ALOUD singer proudly showed off her curves in a tight black sequined dress.

It sounds a little like Gordon's line here is "you know, you can crack one out over a photo even if it's got clothes in it", but I'm sure that's not really what he means.

New Look and KitKat, Kimberley? That's quite some top-end modelling you're doing there. The top end of the High Street, perhaps, but at least it's a top end.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Aubrey O'Day clarifies her love of fascists, communists

There's a certain amount of chilling down of your cerebal cortex to be able to follow the latest twists in the life of Aubrey O'Day, out of Puff Daddy's play-band Danity Kane.

Having quit the sort-of-band to concentrate on showing her breasts to Playboy readers, O'Day was - it seems - a natural choice to appear on Sean Hannity's Fox News programme to talk about things like she was an expert.

She made the slight slip, however, of forgetting where she was and happened to mention an admiration for Fidel Castro. On Fox News. It's like going into church and suggesting that Satan is alright:

"I met him and worked with him when I was in Cuba," she said. "I'm not defending his behavior in many instances, but I do have to say that I will 100 percent agree he's an incredibly brilliant man."

Now, on a proper news programme, with a host rather than an I Speak Your Weight machine with a TalkRadio box spliced on top, this could prove to be an interesting entree into a discussion about the pros and cons of the Castro regime, and the extent to which the interests of that country's citizens have been sidelined in a decades-long battle between Castro and capitalism.

Being Hannity, though, he merely squawked "he's a murderer", like O'Day had said, ooh, that a man dying of cancer shouldn't spend his last days in a foreign cell.

Again, Hannity's stupidity wouldn't have been a problem if he'd been parading it in front of someone who was able to grasp an argument and use it. Instead:
[O'day] responded, "I'm sure I've met a lot of murderers in life. I'm not condoning [his actions]. [The United States has] supported a lot of murderers. I'm specifically addressing [U.S. Representative Diane Watson's] comment suggesting that he is a brilliant man. I'm sure many murderers are brilliant people."

" this one time, Professor Plum managed to use a candlestick in the kitchen - but how could he have found a candlestick without a candle in it in the dark?"

As if the aburdity wasn't already reduced enough, Hannity decided to take it further. Because you know who's like Castro? Hitler, that's who:
she said, "Listen, I don't condone Hitler one ounce, but yes, he was a brilliant man. Can you guys say that he wasn't? He ran a country and convinced everyone of horrible things."

"Excellent at organising a country, and pretty persuasive at pushing a sometimes unappealing agenda" is - we've weighed it - not quite one ounce of condoning. This, of course, is measured on the Bryan Ferry of "ooh, that architecture" Nazi scale.

Naturally, you can't go on TV and say "look, Hitler was smart enough to run an entire country" and not have your management team rush out some sort of half-assed statement to try and stop people thinking of Hitler when they're looking a photos of your breasts. And so it goes:
In the statement released to MTV News, the singer reasserts what she said on the show, emphasizing that just because she thinks they were smart doesn't mean she condones the notorious leaders' "evil behavior."

"Murderers and dictators generally are some of the smartest people out there — they just use their brain power for evil purposes," O'Day said. "I don't condone any of their evil behavior, but I was asked about their intellectual firepower ... and in my opinion you can't have a low IQ and wreak that much havoc on the world. What Hitler succeeded in doing was deplorable. And I hope we never see such an abusive use of power again."

Her people edited out the next paragraph which rambled on for a bit along the lines of "hey, in fact... people with IQs can do bad stuff, so why don't we just round them up and put them in some sort of compound where they can't do any harm? Like we could lay a trail of sudokos or something and gather them up...".

So, that's all cleared up, then. In short: Neither Hannity nor O'Day should be allowed near anything requiring the ability to think more than one big thought at a time. At least we can be sure neither of them are likely to wreak very much havoc on the world.

Turning off the music in Nigeria

In protest at the claimed non-payment of royalties by radio stations, Nigerian artists called for today to be a "no music day" on Nigerian radio.

Not quite sure I'm following the logic - if Nigerian radio stations don't pay to play music, why are they happy to take part in an event to draw attention to the problem rather than simply paying?

And since many stations just took the opportunity to play non-local music, the whole thing sounds like a bit of a own goal. Not that the foreign artists would have got any royalties, either. Perhaps Feargal Sharkey could go to Nigeria to help a music industry with actual problems? I'm sure we could spare him.

Jackson: It's what he would have wanted, had he appointed me as his spokesperson

Michael Jackson had "been working" on an album shortly before he died - which is no surprise; rumours that he'd be about to record something or other floated up every few months, often attached to a natural or man-made disaster, before the sound of hard-drives being wiped heralded the arrival of a cold, hard look at himself.

Now he's dead, though, who is to save Jackson from himself? Now, the prospect of a half-finished half-arsed album seeing the light of day cannot be stopped, especially when the self-regarding R Kelly is offering to "help":

Kelly had worked with the King of Pop on numerous occasions and claims Jackson reached out to him shortly before his June (09) death to discuss his upcoming release.

The pair never arranged any studio time, but Kelly is convinced Jackson would have chosen him to complete his final masterpiece.

Well, yes, why not? Assuming Macaulay Culkin was too busy filming insurance adverts, and Weird Al was still only really interested in the parody stuff, and McCartney was still screening calls, and LaToya would only do it if she could wear the hat, there's every chance that Michael Jackson would have entrusted his precious legacy to R Kelly. Eventually. Or Lil Wayne. Or maybe Eminem.

Kelly, though, is convinced he'd be first choice:
"I recorded five joints for Michael Jackson (in the past). And we had been talking on the phone about his new album, and I was going to finish what Michael was doing at the time. We're going to get it out though. Michael liked the way I would try to sing the songs just like him."

Kelly manages to sound both as if he believed that Jackson knew he was going to die and had asked him to finish the record - perhaps grabbing him by the arm and saying "listen, R, if anything happens to me..." - but equally convinced that Jackson is still alive and is going to help him with the record.

R Kelly then intends to help push the health care bill through in Washington - apparently Ted Kennedy called and asked personally.

Griffin done... Manchester

Zoe Griffin returns to (or, rather, gets some photos taken in) Manchester, and returns to her theme about how Manchester is where it's at:

Earlier this week, I argued Manchester was giving London competition for nightclubs and partying and I stick by that. Forget about Oasis splitting up - the Gallagher brothers have lived down South in posh Hampstead and Surrey for years.

So it's a place so cool that it's most famous sons, erm, went to live somewhere else? You make a compelling case, Zoe.

But she does have a photo of Katie Price in Manchester, so it's not like she can't back up her claims.
Check out how drunk she is!

Ha ha ha, she can't stand up. Hilariously liver-killing. Check it out indeed.

Gordon in the morning: George Sampson shows his working

It's not the first time that George Sampson has complained about his manager in the press, but today's story in Bizarre is a little more interesting, as Sampson shows his working:

The wee fella admitted: "Things aren't going so well with me and Simon. I suppose he's realised he can make more money out of other people. But I thought we were tight. I had one of the best-selling DVDs at the start of the year. We sold loads of copies.

"But I've just found out that Simon's company takes ninety per cent of the revenue. I get ten per cent. But I have to pay the production costs out of that. So I ended up owing them money.

"I'm not quite sure how it all works but that can't be fair, can it?"

Quite brave of Gordon to run a story suggesting that Cowell is ripping off the "lucky" winners of his freaktalent shows with unfair contracts while The X Factor is on. After all, Gordon, you need to stay on Syco's good side as much as Sampson does - clearly you do, otherwise you wouldn't be running those gnatweak JLS stories all the time.

Perhaps that's why, rather than doing what a journalist might do, and asking Syco for their response to Sampson's claims, Gordon starts to suggest that, you know, maybe it's all George's fault:
It sounds like a harsh lesson in showbiz economics to me. I wonder if George read the small print on the contract.

"... and, hey, a lesson like that? Cowell should actually charge him fifteen grand extra for the business studies tuition."

Then, Gordon starts to sound a little like a hired goon:
But one word of advice pal - don't make an enemy of Simon.

You need him more than he needs you.

The subs removed the line "Be a pity if you couldn't dance because of broken legs, nowharrimean, son?"

Still, it's not all looking black for Sampson:
Hopefully George can turn it around with his new movie about his life.

Yes. I'm sure they'll be queuing around the block for that one.

And, I know you'll have been unable to sleep waiting for the result of Gordon's some sort of poll about Oasis. He's counted the results:
An incredible 88 per cent of you voted in favour of NOEL, which bodes well for his future solo career.

Well, let's face it, the sales of Tailgunner had already told us that, hadn't it?

Gordon's right, though, the figures are incredible. Incredible that anyone voted at all.

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's about Brian Jones, one of the Rolling Stones

Since there's nothing else for them to do, Sussex Police are going to reopen the investigation into the death of Brian Jones:

"It's too early to comment at this time as to what the outcome might be," the Sussex duty inspector said, reading a statement over the telephone. Police did not give further details.

Yes, there's only been forty years for this to be poked about in. Far too early for any sort of answer to start to present itself.

The duty inspector said that, in particular, the force were keen to talk to all of Mr. Jones' laughing friends to establish where they were at the bitter end.

Downladable: The Raveonettes

I'm sure the younger, fitter blogs who haven't spent the last couple of days carrying sacks of compost about will already have furnished you with this link, which will give you an mp3 of new Raveonettes track Suicide.

UK Music's hidden data, hidden agenda

Here's some cheering news for the music industry - a survey which confirms that younger people are quite happy to pay for music - to own, not to stream - because they like owning stuff. Sure, they're only willing to pay a fair price - but that's what the market is all about.

If only the people representing the music industry knew about this information, eh? They could stop pouring money into legal battles, stop having to buy lunch for Peter Mandelson, and just concentrate on selling to this vast market.

If only they knew.

Oh, hang on. They do, and it was their survey: Feargal Sharkey has grudgingly admitted that UK Music had discovered exactly where that price point is, but won't admit it because "it's commercially sensitive".

Although UK Music is supposed to be an umbrella organisation campaigning for everyone, so shouldn't it be sharing that information with everyone? Or would it be a little awkward, given the line from the RIAA-BPI massive that new, heavy-handed rules are the only way to allow the incumbents to develop a digital online business? "We need to have people thrown off the internet... because otherwise we might have to adjust our prices to a level dictated by the marketplace like, ooh, everyone else.

Sharkey would not be drawn on the stance of UK Music – which represents record labels, managers, writers and musicians – on this week's Government U-turn on disconnecting alleged file sharers. The Government extended its Digital Britain consultation period this week to allow time for responses on its plan, which does not involve court oversight.

Sharkey said that UK Music would be having a board meeting in September to decide its stance, but did say that something had to be done.

Funny, he didn't seem to be saying "ooh, let's wait for the board meeting" when he was on the BBC News Channel's five o'clock News Hour to praise them as being an important part of the "debate".

You can hear the full interview with Sharkey at the Out-Law website.

Embed and breakfast man: Camera Obscura

BBC One might have dropped the ball in providing Bank Holiday viewing - Mousehunt? Really? Didn't I order every print of that movie burned after a miserable forty minutes watching it in the pissing rain at Glastonbury before suddenly realising I was giving myself pneumonia to watch something with Lee Evans in it?

So, in order to give you something a bit more worthwhile to watch, here's Camera Obscura doing some good work for Pitchfork:

Gordon in the morning: When parents split

Apparently not realising that nearly everybody is Switzerland on this one, Gordon Smart asks us to pick sides in the Oasis split. Yes, it's time to decide...

... whoses side are you on? (Shouldn't that be "whomsese's side?")

It's not quite clear why we'd be choosing sides - I really hope there's not going to be a final conflict, with one side in cheap parkas and the other in overpriced Pretty Green leisurewear slacks - but Gordon seems to think we'll want to:

I WANT to know who YOU are backing in the Oasis break-up?

Backing to do what?
Are you in TEAM NOEL at this horrible time?

Horrible time? Admittedly, this article is pretty terrible, and the concept of the poll is a bit queasy, but I'm sure it'll be over soon, Gordon.
He is the chief songwriter and the brains behind their success.

Ah, yes. The master of selling old rope.
He's also a very funny man with a quip ready on any subject at any time.

It's a pity there's never been any evidence of this in public, with the wider world just seeing a man whose idea of wit is to say the first thing that arrives in his head, but shoutily. "I hope Alex James and Damon Albarn catch AIDS and die". That would be trademark wit.
He's the elder statesman of rock.

That might come as a surprise to anyone who was making rock in the 60s or 70s. Perhaps "the party chairman of Beatles cover bands"?
Vote Noel if you think Liam is to blame for the split.

Eh? Wasn't the vote to say who you were "backing" somehow, rather than voting for the person who isn't to blame for the split.
Is it the frontman's anger that has driven the pair apart? Should he have learned by now to keep a lid on it?

Hmm. Well, given that all your stories, Gordon, say Liam and Noel had a massive row because Liam was being a cock, that would seem to be a question which doesn't seem to have anything other a rhetorical aspect to it.

Oh, hang on... by "frontman", you appear to mean Noel. But isn't Liam the frontman, doing all the singing and all?
Or are you in TEAM LIAM? After all, the younger Gallagher is the voice and attitude behind Oasis.

There's been a voice behind Oasis? Like ventriloquism, you mean? Or have you dropped an "of" in that sentence?

Still, you're right - belligerent, fighting, wrong-headed, perpetually wounded and carrying self-belief without a bag to put it in - it's not like Noel could have done that on his own, is it?
The band would never have had such a massive live following without his on-stage persona.

Psst... I think Gordon had got this far through and realised that, effectively, since Noel could bore for England on his own, and the quality of singing isn't that important, Liam's biggest contribution to Oasis was balancing out the load on the private jets, and so he's desperately trying to find something to make him irreplaceable in the set-up.
Liam is one of the greatest frontmen of all time. You can't take your eyes off him when he's on form.

Shouldn't, rather than can't. In case he throws an ashtray at you.
Maybe you think Noel is just too old for rock 'n' roll.

So the vote now is who is the least-old member of Oasis? But wasn't being an elder statesman a good thing to be?
Vote Liam if you think he's keeping the rock flame alive.

So it's not a vote on who you're backing, or who you think is the one who is the one who wasn't the one responsible for the split, or the one you think is least likely to be over 40, but a poll on "who is keeping the rock flame alive", whatever that actually means? (Given the band have just cancelled a load of gigs, neither of them seem to be keeping anything alive, do they?)
Who played the bigger part in Oasis - Noel or Liam? You decide by voting, below.

Ah, so it's a poll on who was more important in the band, then. Not who keeps flames alives, is younger, isn't to blame, or who you're supporting in the split?

It is important, though, as the results will be verified by the Electoral Commission, and the winner offered a seat in David Cameron's first cabinet as "minister of what the young people like as far as we can tell".

Sunday, August 30, 2009


We should have been settling down to discover how Radio One would be celebrating John Peel's 70th birthday.

Still much, much missed.

Jackson's doctor: He's had a long time to come up with an explanation

So, if I've got this straight, Conrad Murray's defence is going to be that he only made Jackson so completely groggy that when trying to self-medicate, it was Jackson who killed himself.

God alone knows what ideas he had on the notepads crossed out: "Jackson killed by cartoon raccoons"? "Jackson forgot he'd already had pie full of Propofol at tea time"? "Jackson's spleen must have been spontaneously pumping its own Propofol into his system, some how"? "LATOYA DID IT LATOYA LATOYA..."

This week just gone

These were the most popular August stories:

1. News Of The World prints picture of Michael Jackson's death bed; but not online
2. RIP: Andy Parle
3. Mark Lester: The girl is mine, or at least I was your daddy sperm
4. Brian Molko collapses on stage
5. Malcolm Laycock canned by Radio 2; makes a fuss
6. Radiohead: Download Harry Patch tribute song
7. RIP: Mike Seeger
8. Radiohead premiere new track on Today
9. RIP: Shawn Patrick Kelley
10. RIP: Willy DeVille

This all looked kind of interesting, and new:

Imogen Heap - Ellipse

download Ellipse

The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away

download Blueberry Boat

An Anthology Of Chinese Experimental Music

download Chinese Experimental Music

Uh Huh Her - Common Reaction

download their song off the Hotel For Dogs soundtrack. Or don't; I quite understand

The Fall - Last Night At The Palais

download A Past Gone Mad

Daniel Johnston - Welcome To My World

download Welcome To My World

Arctic Monkeys - Humbug

download Karaoke - In the style of the Arctic Monkeys

Brendan Benson - My Old Familiar Friend

download The Alternative To Love

Blitzen Trapper - Black River Killer

download Black River Killer

Sally Shapiro - My Guilty Pleasure

download My Guilty Pleasure

Rotring Tikky Mechanical Pencils with Ergonomic Wave Grip