Saturday, June 05, 2010

Embed and breakfast man: Micah P Hinson

Thank you, lovely leftist French tabloid Liberation, for bringing us Micah P Hinson covering John Denver:

Venuewatch: Fabric rips

Who knew there were any superclubs left still going? Apparently Fabric is still churning away, although now in administration and up for sale.

There's something exciting about the prospect of going to a nightclub being run by PriceWaterhosueCoopers, isn't there?

Both PWC and the club's management are both quite chipper about the prospects for someone taking on the whole thing and keeping it going. At least until the property market picks up and they can turn the whole thing into luxury flats, anyway.

Darkness at 3AM: Let's pretend

I'm prepared to bet a large sum of money that 'Saturday: issue press release saying we're bringing forward the release of the James Corden-Dizzee Rascal world cup of soccer single, citing public demand' was in the media plan from the off.

But the 3AMies are reporting it as news.

Perhaps, to be fair, they've brought forward the release date so it might be on sale while there are still some England players capable of hobbling from the halfway line to the goal mouth.

Kurious Oranj weekend: Kurious Oranj

Again, not the most visually appealing of videos, but who doesn't love a blog you don't even need to look at?

This is the Peel Session version of the title track from the ballet.

[Part of the Kurious Oranj weekend]

Avi Buffalo at Cargo

Ooh! Avi Buffalo have confirmed a date in August in London. Cargo, on the 24th.

Format madness: The Music Tee

Exciting news arrives from the people who look after Daisy Dares You:

Daisy Dares You is set to launch a brand new product in the UK

A brand new product? Could it be, at long last, the mayonnaise-filled sausage has become a reality?
Daisy Dares You is set to launch a brand new product in the UK - The Music Tee - next week at Selfridges.

The Music Tee? I'm trying to imagine what this could be - after all, as it's a new product, it won't just be a band t-shirt, will it?
Originally sold in the US, it's a new platform where artists can release a t-shirt styled with their album artwork and their album at the same time.

So it's a t-shirt and CD pack. That's not really a new product, is it? And it certainly isn't a platform.

In fact, you used to quite often get t-shirts free with records, until the BPI changed the rules after World In Action reported people coming in, buying a Rod Stewart record, taking the t-shirt and leaving the disc on the counter. So there's quite a long history of rubbish records having their sales inflated by being packaged with a t-shirt.
Artists who have launched their album in this way include Mos Def, Amanda Blank & The Plasticines.

T-shirts with band names on. What will they think of next?

This is just the warm-up, though, as there's a full press release, too:
Coveted by US music fans and fashionistas alike, The Music Tee is set to cause a frenzy with its much anticipated UK launch on June 9th 2010.

I suspect neither claim there is true.
It offers music in a new format, while simultaneously emphasizing “album art” as an emotionally compelling part of the experience.

You know, caught up in the guff here is the germ of a well-meaning idea: digital times have reduced record label art to a poky little offering, and finding a way to celebrate the artwork is a good thing. If it wasn't being oversold like this, you might even take them seriously.

Although, as everyone knows, band t-shirts stop being emotionally compelling parts of experiences after about the fourth wash, when they start a downward spiral through 'gardening wear', 'something you give your boyfriend when he stops over to wear in bed', 'handy thing to wipe up whatever that it is all over the work surface' to 'stuffing for repaired teddy bear'.
Uniting the worlds of music and fashion, The Music Tee updates your wardrobe and iPod collection at the same time and with festival season just round the corner is on track to be a big Summer season must-have.

Yes, who would dare go to Glastonbury without a tshirt that you need to carry the CD with you to make sense of what you're wearing.
“The Music Tee has been a phenomenal success in the US by giving artists a new platform to distribute their music. We continue to sign new major labels and content providers each day. For the UK launch we wanted to introduce fresh artists and will be kicking off with The Daisy Dares You Music Tee arriving in June. We are excited about engaging music and fashion fans in the UK while continuing to grow our collection of compelling artists.” comments Jeremy Wineberg, President of The Music Tee.

Still, you can't complain too much - what are we talking about? Fifteen quid to get a tshirt and a record, right? Maybe twenty?
The Daisy Dares You Music Tee will go on sale June 9th at Selfridges and online at Selfridges will also be stocking The Music Tees for The Plastiscines, Devendra Banhart, Monsters of Folk, Perez Hilton and Sliimy. Prices from £55.

FIFTY FIVE QUID? For a tshirt and a record you could get off the torrents for nothing?
From fifty five quid?

This blog post is also available as a pair of socks to allow you to experience the emotional intensity of reading with your toes. Forty pounds to you.

Kurious Oranj weekend: Dog Is Life/Jerusalem

The following track will continue in sound only...

[Part of the Kurious Oranj weekend]

Beyond phonograms

Where would you find someone with a heart so black they'd take on the task of trying to rebuild the image of gush-vandals BP?

Round the back of the RIAA, it turns out:

For an encore, Ms. Rosen, in her capacity as a managing partner of the London PR firm Brunswick Group, has been hired by BP to put a pretty face on the oil spill in the Gulf. Rosen is in the familiar company of log-rollers: BP has also hired 27 lobbyists who formerly worked in Congress or the executive branch.

Given the work Rosen did promoting knowledge and awareness of filesharing and easy ways to obtain unlicensed music, this can only be good news for manufacturers of wind turbines and solar panels.

Downloadable: Hot Hot Heat

Some Hot Hot Heat loveliness for your summer Saturday pleasure: Goddess On The Prairie.

[Buy: Future Breeds]

Kurious Oranj weekend: Overture from...

One track in, and we're already in the world of slightly alarming fan-made videos:

[Part of the Kurious Oranj weekend]

Modest Mouse lauded by Portland mayor

How does a city show pride in its successful sons? If you're Portland, your mayor might well hang a proper painted portrait of you in his office. Sam Adams has hung a portrait of Isaac Brook in his office:

Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse Unveils His Rokoff Portrait from Mayor Sam Adams on Vimeo.

There's a cameo of Johnny Marr in the washroom.

Erykah Badu: My tush? You couldn't handle my tush

Any suspicion that Erykah Badu's naked-on-the-knoll video was merely a publicity stunt designed to try and restart a career which had been sat for a while on the hard shoulder will now melt away as she tells Vibe it was actually just a political statement:

The singer also received backlash simply for disrobing in a video; online commentators suggested she was using sex to sell her music.

Badu scoffed at that notion, though.

"I look at some other videos. I'm not naming names, because I don't want that to be mentioned. There is the thing with sexuality," Badu told Vibe. "I'm naked for 13 seconds, and these people are naked the whole time and gyrating and saying come 'lick on my lollipop' and 'suck on my cinnamon roll' and, you know, suggesting sex. People are uncomfortable with sexuality that's not for male consumption. Could be 'cause I did it in public too. Do you think people would have been complaining if I had on high-heel shoes?"

Her protests are only slightly undermined by her whipping her clothes off for the cover of the Vibe as well. I expect that's there's some subtle point I'm missing.

Embed and breakfast man: I Am Kurious Oranj

A spot of ballet for the weekend. Back in 1988, The Fall entered into a didn't-see-that-coming collaboration with Michael Clark to create a ballet marking the tricentenary of the Glorious Revolution. The finished work featured Brix Smith sitting on a giant hamburger and a title punning on I Am Curious Yellow.

Back when the album came out, most reviewers would describe I Am Curious Yellow as a "porno", or words to that effect; I sometimes wonder if anyone was inspired by that to get hold of the film and a big box of tissues only to find they were going to spend their evening trying to make out subtitles detailing 1960s Scandinavian gender politics. Or if they just fast forwarded a lot.

And, while we're wandering off the point a little:

So, then, this weekend we'll be working through the album track-by-track, or as close to it as the internet will let us (I'm suspecting there's going to be a spot of skipping around the middle of side one.)

The first track wasn't the Overture, which is just to show what a counter-revolutionary old stick Mark E Smith can be, but Big New Prinz. Taken here from legendary Grandaland-only Wilson-arts-circus The Other Side Of Midnight:

In the comments on that on YouTube, someone suggests it's a mix of The Sweeney and The Glitter Band's Rock And Roll, to which somebody else replies "yeah, it's a total rip-off", as if simply everyone was doing that sort of thing back in 1988.

Mind you, AllMusic only gives the 2.5, which suggests the internet really doesn't know what it's talking about.

I Am Kurious Oranj

More to come across the weekend
Overture From I Am Kurious Oranj
Dog Is Life/Jerusalem
Kurious Oranj
Wrong Place, Right Time
CD Win Fall 2080 AD
Yes O Yes
Van Plague?
Bad News Girl
Cab It Up
Last Nacht

Pointer downwards

I don't know what addiction is troubling Bonnie Pointer, but surely even having an OCD-Crack double whammy (where you have to wash the pipe fifteen times before you can use it) would make it worth going on Celebrity Rehab?

Gordon in the morning: Because I'm worth it

Trumpeting off the front of Bizarre this morning is news that Cheryl Cole might want to think about opening a new savings account soon:

CHERYL COLE will get around £4.5million from love-rat hubby ASHLEY when she is granted a quickie divorce, The Sun can reveal.

Oddly, this story is credited not to Gordon, but to Lia Nicholls, showbiz reporter. Perhaps Gordon decided that he'd had enough Cole exclusives, after last week's story which told Sun readers, definitively:
GENEROUS CHERYL COLE is not asking for one penny from cheating husband ASHLEY in the divorce action she launched yesterday.

It falls to Lia to try and straddle the gap between Gordon's exclusive and her own:
The bumper payout comes despite earlier claims the singer, 26, did not want a penny.

The earlier claims came solely from Gordon Smart and Virginia Wheeler. Wisely, Lia decides not to mention the only people who'd made such a claim.

There is another question - if Cheryl not having any sort of settlement would have made her "generous", what does the decision to take four million off Ashley make her?

It turns out that this story is just another piece of speculation:
Insiders say he expects a £4million bill after he signed papers agreeing to lawyers' demands before jetting off to South Africa.

A source said: "He can't believe she will walk away with nothing. She worked as hard as him for their possessions."

Of course Ashley can't believe Cheryl wants nothing. He read it in The Sun, and who believes a word they see there?

The story ends on a slightly ominous note:
An England insider said: "The team have internet in their rooms and there's no question he'll be keeping tabs on her from afar."

Also, he knows a guy who breaks legs for a tenner. Be warned.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Twittergem: Dickon Edwards and The Fat Tulips

Surprising news from @dickon_edwards:

New London Review Of Books namechecks the Fat Tulips! Is the writer, Harvard teacher Stephen Burt, a closet tweepop-phile?

He's not making it up. Stephen Burt reviews a bunch of digital-media related books and lobs this in:
No wonder disintermediation has generated such moral panic: the changes that have made it so much harder for Disney or NewsCorp to control what you see and hear are the same changes that make it very much harder for you to limit what your kids see and hear. A Tasmanian teenager can now discover – and, through social networks, find other people who are discovering – the poetry of Lorine Niedecker, the music of the Fat Tulips and the manifestos of climate change activists; she can also find encouragement, on the frightening ‘pro-ana’ (anorexia) sites, if she wants to starve herself to death. She can thereby redefine herself, if she likes, as a poetry reader, as a climate activist, as anorexic. Yet she is more likely (as Watkins suggests) to define herself just as she would have without the internet – by social class, by pre-existing tastes, by her schoolfriends.

Yes, yes, the Tasmanian teenager might be able to discover Where's Clare Grogan Now? - but still can't hear Clare Grogan's solo album, can she?

Embed and breakfast man: Slow Club

Exciting discover this morning, as chunks of Slow Club's Tuesday night gig at Koko have appeared on the YouTube:

[Buy: Slow Club: Yeah, So?]

Gordon in the morning: making something out of nothing

It's a bit of a thin day at Bizarre, with Gordon reduced to trying to create a story out of nothing:

LEONA LEWIS'S boyfriend has been noticeable by his absence from her live shows.

Has he? I don't think anyone noticed.
Her bloke LOU AL-CHAMAA was not there for the opening night of her Labyrinth Tour in Sheffield. Or the second night in Liverpool. Or Nottingham on Wednesday.

Man doesn't hang around while partner works out of town. Colour me shocked. Gordon doesn't mention if, when he went to see Leona in Liverpool, he dragged his wife to stand by him and watch him scribbling in his notebook. There's no mention of Mrs Smart in the review. I would have thought that completely normal, but now I'm not so sure it isn't a sign of something.

Perhaps Gordon is just worried about Lewis not getting the support she needs. After all, the headline makes it obvious she's struggling along on her own:
Loner Lewis

Who can not fail to feel sorry for her, abandoned to entertain-sort-of hundreds of people in the north, all on her own, eh, Gordon?
[S]he has got her mum MARIA and dad AURAL on the road with her, as well as her manager and the rest of her entourage.

The singer's mum has taken up a full-time job as Leona's personal assistant on the tour.

Poor Leona. For a loner, she must find it bloody hard to get any time to herself.

In other non-news, Charlotte Church has gone on holiday. Or, as Gordon would have it:
Love split Charl on secret hol

A secret holiday? What does that actually mean? Do you mean she's sitting in a hotel now, eating breakfast in a suit, pretending she's actually on a business trip?
Charlotte, 24, jetted off with the couple's two children after telling friends she just wanted to "get away from it all."

It's one of those secret trips where you tell everyone you're going on holiday, then. So why do you insist it's secret?
The Over The Rainbow judge flew out of Cardiff to a mystery European destination saying she did not even know when she would be back.

Ah "secret" in the sense of "I do not know where it is".

Let's hope Gordon doesn't carry a grudge. You'll recall that he was very upset when Diana Vickers ignored one of his team. However could Diana win him back over?
DIANA VICKERS has taken Bizarre behind-the-scenes of her video shoot for new single The Boy Who Murdered Love.

The promo sees the X Factor star sexing up her image as she sprawls on a bed in a little white dress.

Yes, That would do it.

Feel free to delete that little bit of respect you found for Vickers, standing up to the Sun for a little while.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Rdio wants your money

Rdio? Seriously? Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the people who brought us Skype and Kazaa, have chosen that as the name for their music subscription service:

Like several others in the marketplace, Rdio -– pronounced “AR-dee-oh” -– promises streaming, cloud-based access to a library of millions of songs for a flat monthly fee.

Desktop and mobile access via iPhones and BlackBerrys costs $10 monthly, while desktop-only customers pay $5.

That’s an increasingly familiar price point: MOG, which went live last fall and is now preparing its mobile launch, will have the same two-tiered price system, while Rhapsody and Thumbplay both offer desktop-plus-mobile plans for $10; European fave Spotify offers free ad-supported streams and a two-tiered premium plan.

At the moment it's US-only, and doesn't appear to offer anything compelling in return for shoveling cash into the subscription slot in return for nothing to take away.

It's worth remembering that before they promised to change the music world with Rdio, Zennstrom and Friis set out to change the online video world with Joost. This has more of a Joosty feeling to it than a Skypey one.

Embed and breakfast man: Rebecca And Fiona

It's arguable that the last thing Swedish pop needs is a cross between Shampoo and I Blame Coco, but it's got one anyway, in the shape of Rebecca And Fiona.

Their press blurb is enough to set your teeth grinding to the very stumps:

both are over-achievers in whatever they engage in. Fiona was a gold-
medalist in rock climbing 2005 and Vice-Chairman of the Swedish National Student Bodies, while Rebecca has been playing significant roles in Swedish feature films since the age of eight!

And the wide-eyed 'acting' in the video for Luminary Ones is enough to have you reaching for the little cross in the corner.

But... on the other hand:

... it is pretty damn good.

Gordon in the morning: Isn't the World Cup over already?

The only good piece of news is there is still time to bung your ears up with plaster of Paris:

AN unlikely duo are in secret rehearsals for a show-stopping stint on Britain's Got Talent this weekend.

DIZZEE RASCAL and JAMES CORDEN will take the stage on Saturday night with the first public performance of their new World Cup song - Shout For England.

I know what you're thinking: how bad could it be?

Smart answers that question for us:
It's a mash up of No Diggity by BLACKSTREET and Shout, a No4 hit for TEARS FOR FEARS back in 1984.

So it's not just going to be irritating, but will also completely destroy a complex and dark song about psychotherapy by turning into a honking tune for face-painted soccerites.

And - spare us - there's a backstory to it, too:
A source said: "Simon has been sitting on this song and the idea for 15 years waiting for the perfect chance to get it in the charts.

Really? Simon Cowell was writing mash-ups in 1995, was he?

Is there any way this idea could made any worse?

Hang on - you at the back, with your hand up? You have an idea, you say?
Mobile phone firm TalkTalk are putting on free phonelines for Eng-er-land fans to ring up and record their efforts for the chorus.

Say what you like about golf, but at least it doesn't make things like this happen.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Mr McCartney goes to the White House

To pick up his Gershwin Award, Paul McCartney has made a trip to Washington:

"For an English kid growing up in Liverpool, the White House — that's pretty special," he said.

In a way that, you understand, the White House means bugger all to kids who grew up in Manchester or Ormskirk.

Still, having a gig at the seat of American power and getting a prize from Obama - that's quite a heady position. McCartney believes in all sort of things, and so surely will use this platform to share some insight about the challenges facing the President?
"He's a great guy," McCartney said of Obama, "so lay off him."

Good lord, that's worse than the way he used to pat Ringo on the head between sets. The rather bland statement is thrown into a bit more relief by the citation for the prize he's getting:
Librarian of Congress James Billington credited McCartney for "symbolizing and humanizing the global soundscape," with his music and his activism around the world.

Yes. The famous activist cry of 'oh, don't be too beastly to the President'.

Phil Selway goes solo

The solo album from the drummer. It's not, to be fair, the most eagerly-awaited contribution to any group's extra-curricular activities. Still, Phil Selway has been doing solo stuff for nine years, so he's not exactly rushed into releasing his album, Familial.

Oh, and the line-up helping out is pretty good, too:

Singer/songwriter Lisa Germano, former Soul Coughing bassist Sebastian Steinberg, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Sansone have contributed to the music.

It always bemuses me when drummers get other drummers in to play on their solo records, though. It's a bit like watching a dog take another dog for a walk.

Downloadable: Katrina And The Waves

Not actually Katrina And The Waves, of course: Brooklyn Vegan have an ep of covers of Katrina stuff. Fucked Up do Walking On Sunshine, as does Sam Amidon (to be fair, it's not the largest back catalogue to plunder). Sun Street is covered by Deer Tick, and the splendid Tuneyards do I Really Taught Me To Watusi.

[You might also like the Tuneyards weekend]

Cheryl Cole's adverts fine, apparently

This is a bit of an open-and-shut case, right? Cheryl Cole appeared in an advert for Nestle L'oreal, punting some hair gunk which said could give her hair like hers. Except it couldn't, because she had hair extensions in. Oh, and you can't even use the product if you've got hair extensions. Not the worst piece of duplicitous advertising, but still, worthy of a reminder not to fib, eh, Advertising Standards Authority?

Apparently not.

We considered consumers would understand the message of the ads to be that the product could have some positive and achievable effect on their weak, dull, limp and lifeless hair but that they would not be misled into believing that, by just using the product, it would replicate for them the fullness of Cheryl Coles hair, because hers had been professionally styled. We concluded that the ads did not misleadingly exaggerate the effects of the product.

That's a bit weird - 'it's okay to illustrate your product with a totally impossible result because, hey, the schleps who slap L'Oreal on their heads are already crushed by life enough to know they're never going to look like Cheryl Cole" - but I can understand the logic.

But advertising a product that you can't use with hair extensions by using a model with hair extensions in - that, surely, is wrong, ASA?
We noted ad (a) showed Cheryl Cole wearing hair extensions but did not state that the product was suitable for use with extensions. We considered the text "Styled with some natural hair extensions" was likely to be interpreted as suggesting the models hairstyle included extensions, not that the product was suitable to care for them. We also considered viewers were likely to understand that they would need to check before using a product on their particular type of hair extensions. We concluded that the ad was not misleading.

Why not go the whole hog and just get someone in wearing a wig and a hat?

Still, nice to see self-regulation knows the job is to always err on the side of the advertiser than logic or honesty. Because they're worth it.

Gordon in the morning: Leona Lewis lucky to not be bleeding, love

The need to put some zip into Leona Lewis' tour has led to her having trouble with her hydraulics:

One of the fancy new hydraulic lifts that takes Leona and her dancers up and down from below stage to the set broke.

It was stuck at the bottom - and in the darkness Leona plunged down it.

It sounds like BP have built the system, to be honest, as it seems to not work properly at all:
And on Monday night in Liverpool there was another malfunction. A platform that rises her to the roof jammed at an angle and Leona had to clamber off in her huge heels.

Still, it's not all bad:
She said: "My mum and dad have been with me for the first two nights so there's a lovely family atmosphere.

"And SIMON COWELL sent so many flowers my dressing room is completely full."

Me, I'd rather the cash had been spent on the stage set rather than down the florist. I wonder what Cowell said when he was on the phone to Interflora? "If you can get them there before the show starts, put 'good luck' on the card, but if she'll already have been on stage, can you put 'get well soon'?"

Backstage at the Leona Lewis gig is the only place in showbiz where 'break a leg' is a prediction rather than a charm.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Gorilla Vs Bear, RCRDLBL now part of a mighty empire

Buzzmedia (ne Buzznet) has apparently moved on from its self-imposed expansionist freeze, as it's bought up Gorilla Vs Bear to form part of the mighty beast.

Oh, but that's not all who are joining the boat. The press release says:

BUZZMEDIA (, the Web’s fastest growing entertainment publisher, today announced the addition of six established and influential music sites, including PureVolume, PopMatters, Gorilla vs. Bear, The Hype Machine, Concrete Loop and RCRD LBL. Each of these web properties are market leaders in their respective areas of music coverage, and together connect with over five million fans every month.

Sensible purchases and/or confederation deals - if you had the money, you could do a lot worse. And Stereogum hasn't got noticeably worse since it joined the BuzzGang. So why do I have a little voice at the back of my head going "oh..."?

MIA pitches strongly for the David Icke market

What's that MIA? It's a little hard to hear above the sound of all that foil:

"All governments are connected to Google," she said. "Governments can shift their search engines so only what they want you to see comes up. I want kids to be aware of this digital circumstances."

In regard to those specific sites, she said, "Everyone on the internet is like, 'Oh my God, come and join Facebook!' They're all so optimistic ... and really everyone is f---ing you up behind the screens. And I don't like that. It makes it difficult for me to interact with my fans knowing that. Google and Facebook were developed by the C.I.A., and when you're on there, you have to know that."

She said a lot else, too, but The Man deleted it.

In other news, Mossad has been worrying that its MySpace service is losing market share. And Vladimir Putin wants to know what the bloody hell he's been underwriting Bebo for all these years.

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Chicks On Speed

The Scotsman's Chitra Ramaswamy meets Chicks On Speed:

"Performing is a powerful action when you're not playing anything," Logan muses. "Now we're more into performance art. It's a field that still feels pre-pubescent, that doesn't have the weight of tradition like music. In the photo we're using for the show we're referencing the performance artist Valie Export, who cuts out the front of her pants. But we do it with American Apparel tights cut up by the audience. We always tend to have this self-deprecating humour that annoys art people and music people." Logan smiles, pleased at the thought.

Tipper Gore: single again

Tipper Gore, who set herself up as an exemplar of What A Happy Family Should Be Like, has separated from Al.

Early speculation is that it's all, somehow, Ozzy Osbourne's fault.

It was 20 years ago todaythe day after tomorrow

The Daily Record had a nice piece yesterday on the Big Day Out in Glasgow back in 1990.

You have to tip your hat to the organisers - they did get every big name in the nation who were operating at the time:

Wet Wet Wet, Hue And Cry, Texas, Big Country and Deacon Blue were enjoying massive success in the charts.

Okay, however much horror that line-up might strike in our cold hearts now, you've got to be impressed by the sheer heft there, right?
Their blue-eyed Scottish soul, along with chart fodder from the likes of fellow Big Day acts Goodbye Mister McKenzie, Kevin McDermott Orchestra, The Silencers and Love And Money, briefly defined an era in British music history, Scottish culture and even politics.

I'm not sure by any stretch of the imagination the Kevin McDermott Orchestra or the Silencers defined anything, but you know what they mean.

Pat Kane, though, suggests there was more going on than simply the bringing together of Lorraine McIntosh and Paul McGeechan onto the same stage:
"People were thinking, 'This might matter in some way'. It was consciousness-raising, like an alternative media, almost the way Gospel music was used during the Civil Rights movement. I know from one of Tony Blair's former researchers that he didn't want to give Scotland its own parliament in 1997.

"This guy said that if it wasn't for the evidence that Scotland was culturally militant, that they wouldn't have been able to point to anything in support of a Scottish government."

I suspect even Kane would accept he's slightly over-selling this, but perhaps not by much - it was a key part of Glasgow's City Of Culture celebration, and the success of that year helped shift UK-wide perceptions of Scotland. Nobody would give you a government simply because you had the power to deploy former members of Hipsway at a moment's notice, but you can believe it was a step towards something much bigger.

Gordon in the morning: Not the world cup

Why on earth does Gordon give so much coverage to a scratch team he played in having a kickabout? Complete with not just photos, but also video of the fun.

I'm using the words 'fun' in no recognisable sense, by the way.

Elsewhere, there's more football nonesense as - claiming an exclusive - Smart gives acres of space to Tom Cruise:

ODDBALL movie idol TOM CRUISE reckons his pal DAVID BECKHAM will land a starring role in the NEXT World Cup - when he will be pushing 40.

Really? Did he?
Tom, who became great mates with Becks after the midfielder signed for LA Galaxy, said: "I wish he was playing in the World Cup this year. But he will be back for the next one, you know."

So Cruise didn't roll his eyes into the back of his head and wail 'Beckham... in the squad for 2014'; he just shrugged and went 'maybe next time'. Given that Tom Cruise is probably even less interested in Girl's No Touch Kicky Ball (as the Americans call football) than I am, it's more than likely he thought the next one would be next year. Or possibly even at Christmas.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Countryobit: Judy Lynn

The death has been announced of Judy Lynn Kelly who, without the last of those names, achieved some success as a country singer between the 1950s and 1980.

Having started early - she was a teenager when she took Jean Shepard's role on a Grand Old Opry tour Shepard was too ill to complete - she was still young when she changed career in 1980. Her life since then had been spent in the ministry.

Lynn died in Jeffersonville, Indiana, apparently from congestive heart failure. She was 74.

Back before she swapped country for Christ, this was what she did:

And, just for sweet joy

Daniel Johnston's The Dream Is Over, from which our most-overused headline is ripped. [Requires Spotify.]

Don't tell me The Dream is over, I live in a dream

Ah, yes - one of our favourite headlines pressed into action again, this time as The Dream quits music:

“Nope, there’s not another album, this is it,” Dream said. “Nobody appreciates music so I’m out. I’m out. I’m good, so take that. Like Jay said, maybe y’all will remember me when I fade to black. So it’s out.”

Actually, Mr. Dream, there's a good chance people will remember Jay-Z. If your retirement was going to have a similar effect, I suspect you wouldn't be retiring in the first place.

Nobody appreciates music? I think you missed out a 'my' there, didn't you?

Having stretched his Isthmian Premier rap by comparing it to Jay-Z, he then decides he needs a comparison point from a higher level yet:
“It’s the last album, period,” he said. “I really would like it to be the last one if I could — in a perfect world…In the back of my mind, I’m thinking a fighter fights. You don’t retire on top. [Michael] Jordan didn’t retire on top.”

Even Dream realised that this was going a bit far, and before anyone could shoot milk out their nose and say 'in your dreams, Dream', he rowed back:
“I’m not saying I’m the best [like him], but I’m the best at what I can do. And I can stop now and say, ‘This album is pretty good.’”

It almost sounds as if, having pictured himself playing rap against Jordan's basketball, he suddenly realised how short he'd fallen, and realised there weren't going to be a public 'don't die' campaign, and realised that, far from being a clever stunt, his retirement is probably going to be a retirement.

Ofcom's piracy proposals as consumer-friendly as possible

Back in the UK, Ofcom has published a draft of its plans to "deal" with "piracy":

In passing the Act, Parliament’s intention was that Ofcom should apply the obligations in a proportionate way, with the code initially covering only the larger fixed-line ISPs, but with the clear message that, should levels of copyright infringement on other networks, including mobile, increase then those ISPs will similarly be required to comply with the obligations.

That's what it says on the Ofcom website - clearly, missing a word there, which I'm assuming will be "rise".

Those larger ISPs, in case you're wondering, will be defined by customer base:
Ofcom proposes, therefore, that fixed-line ISPs with over 400,000 subscribers will be covered initially.

This would mean that the seven largest ISPs – BT, Talk Talk, Virgin Media, Sky, Orange, O2 and Post Office – will be covered by the code from the outset.

The Post Office is the seventh biggest ISP in the UK? Whoever would have guessed?

So, in the short term, to avoid these measures you can just swap to a smaller ISP - although if everyone joins the same one, they'll find themselves back to square one.
ISPs will have to record the number of notifications sent to their subscribers and maintain an anonymised list of alleged serial copyright infringers.

Okay, so there will be a list, where everyone is given codenames. This list will be then shared with people who own copyrights - which would be, of course, anyone who writes anything at all, so we can all get a look.
Copyright holders can then request information on this list and pursue a court order to identify serial infringers and take legal action against them.

"Who is this Mr. Beaky, BT? Who is it really?"
Ofcom is proposing a three stage notification process for ISPs to inform subscribers of copyright infringements and proposes that subscribers which have received three notifications within a year may be included in a list requested by a copyright owner.

What's not clear here is how ISPs are supposed to identify the "copyright infringement" in the first place. It's almost as if Ofcom are doing the bare minimum forced on them by the DEA - there's a process, but it's as light-touch as they can get away with.

Not, I suspect, what David Geffen had in mind when he poured drinks for Lord Mandelson a third glass of desert wine.

EU considers the Gallo report

More attempts to stretch copyright beyond its origins as a fairly good idea for creative people to the basis of a fictional industry, as the EU takes delivery of the Gallo Report, a nasty bit of work which attempts to protect "intellectual property" like it was children. As La Quadrature:

The Gallo report calls for the creation of private copyright police, where infringement are dealt in an extra-legislative way, with cooperation with the Internet Service Providers, such as in the "three strikes" policies of the first HADOPI or DeBill laws.

Private copyright police. That sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? ComputerWorld has some ideas about how to get involved to stop the proposals before they become very, very bad law.

TMZ gets royally confused

In a pointless piece which says "look, Britney Spears and Lady GaGa have both worn bikinis on stage", TMZ stumbles a bit:

Here's reigning pop princess Lady Gaga at a concert in England on Thursday

Reigning princess? I know they're American, but even so...

Miley Cyrus doesn't understand Glee

Miley Cyrus has a problem with Glee. Not just that the plot sometimes throws up characters who edge beyond 1.5 dimensions - like, who could keep up with something so in-tense - but also she finds the idea of the programme bemusing:

The ever-outpsoken Disney star explained her feelings to Billboard, saying, "“Honestly, musicals? I just can’t . . . What if this was real life and I was just walking down the street on Rodeo Drive and all of a sudden I just burst into song about how much I love shoes?” She added, “It would get you hits on YouTube.”

I don't know what's more worrying - that Cyrus finds the idea of a programme where peppy kids burst into song to be wrong, or that she worries that living like you were in a musical wouldn't work in real life.

To be fair, behaving like you were on a sitcom in real life - getting a team of men to write some words for you to say, in order to make a bunch of unseen voyeurs laugh and applaud - would almost certainly get you sectioned. It doesn't make Hannah Montana any worse than it already is.

Mind you, if the show pumped arsenic into the house of every viewer, it wouldn't make it any worse.

Gordon in the morning: The upside of negative equity

Something we all can enjoy: Robbie Williams has lost a pile selling his Wiltshire house:

It was little more than a year ago he bought his Wiltshire mansion for £8.2m and it is now being touted on the market for "just" £7.5m.

Still, on the plus side he won't have to pay upfront for a HIPS survey, so that's a few quid he's saved.

In other news, Gordon's busily choosing a hat for the wedding of Nicole Sherzinger and Lewis Hamilton, who he reckons are about to get engaged.

You remember Nicole and Lewis; they were the couple who Gordon exclusively revealed had split up a few weeks back.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Arab Strap weekend: First Big Weekend

From the farewell Arab Strap gig. Not the greatest sound quality, but of historical interest:

[Part of the Arab Strap weekend]

Darkness at 3AM: I'm getting a sense of gullibility... is there anyone gullible here?

The 3AM Girls ask the big question:

But as Cheryl prepares this week to divorce her footballer husband, the big question is, just how reliable are the psychics the celebrities turn to for guidance?

They're not. They're a bunch of frauds, pouring out rubbish-for-cash and taking advantage of the vulnerable.

For some reason, though, the 3AM team seem to need to go and give these people some sort of publicity to come up with this sort of 'verdict':
Verdict: Eerily accurate in parts, but much of it was stating the obvious.

Although you could say the same thing about the 3AM Girls.

Next week, the 3AM Girls will be asking 'can people really make themselves invisible by closing their eyes?"

Woot-ton: The Prince and the showman

Prince William turned up at the Radio One Roadshow last weekend, it turns out, and Dan Wootton was there to see it.

Well, not actually there, but someone told him all about it, anyway:

I'm told he couldn't wait to throw his hands in the heir when Dizz performed. Watching from the side of the stage, Wills was certainly a posh Boy In Da Corner. But the polo-playing Prince also proved he wasn't Snoot Dog as he rapped along to EVERY word of his hero's song.

The polo-playing Prince? Because, presumably, being a prince isn't enough to suggest an air of wealth and privilege. William might have been, you know, one of those urban princes, and then the supposed craziness of a rich person knowing a song by a black person wouldn't be thrown into anything like enough relief, would it?

Arab Strap weekend: Don't Ask Me To Dance

An acoustic Strap performance - which, to be honest, doesn't require a great deal of effort for the unplugging - just outside a Glaswegian vegan cafe:

[Part of the Arab Strap weekend]

This week just gone

The most-read May 2010 stories have been:

1. Liveblog: Eurovision 2010
2. Bookmarks: The mighty Caitlin Moran Lady GaGa piece
3. Lloyd Webber and Cowell endorse Cameron
4. RIP: Paul Gray
5. Track: Pony Pony Run Run
6. DCMA orders takedown of track hosted on copyright owner's servers
7. Phil Collins loves the Alamo
8. Diana Vickers cuts The Sun dead
9. Peter Andre: Even chucking in a rollercoaster can't sell his tickets
10. Rapidshare cleared by German courts

These new releases were worth considering:

Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles II

Download Crystal Castles II

Rolo Tomassi - Cosmology

Download Cosmology

Villagers - Becoming A Jackal

Download Becoming A Jackal

Stornaway - Beachcomber's Windowsill

Download Beachcomber's Windowsill

Toshimaru Nakamura - Egrets