Saturday, June 19, 2010

Korn lead BP boycott

Whoever would have bet on Korn coming to the aid of turtles and shrimp fishermen? But they have: they're organising a boycott of BP:

Korn’s Jonathan Davis is urging artists to boycott troubled oil giant BP over the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a statement issued Friday, the rock singer says he has gathered a coalition of artists, including Lady Gaga, Creed and the Backstreet Boys, and they have agreed not to use fuel sold by BP or their affiliates on their tours this year.

Let's hope BP don't just sell any surplus oil to one of their competitors and thus manage to make the boycott a little less effective or anything, eh?

But even so: it's nice to see Korn doing something positively for once.

Freebutt weekend: On Histories Of Rosenberg

Just to stress once more: I like this band. Other people might not. Sure, the band might look like they're having a good time, but I suspect they could be biased.

From February this year, On Histories Of Rosenberg playing an as-yet-untitled song at the Freebutt:

[Buy: On Histories Of Rosenberg]

[Part of the Freebutt weekend]

Freebutt: The council statement

An anonymous commenter on the Freebutt story seems quite upset that No Rock's coverage of the Save The Freebutt campaign hasn't been balanced enough for their liking and demanded to know why we hadn't put the other side of the story. Apparently, only quoting Brighton And Hove Council on the original post somehow doesn't count.

Still, to avoid the Glasgow Media Group being alerted and heading down to investigate the shoddy quality of reporting on a sarcastic music blog, here is the council's most recent press release:

The council has made plain it has no interest in closing down a Brighton music venue over noise problems.

Officials say that while the Freebutt pub near The Level is causing a nuisance to local residents, it feels the situation can be resolved.

In a statement the council said:

“The council doesn’t want the Freebutt closed, isn’t trying to close it and does not believe it needs to close because of noise.

“We have written to the pub asking for a convenient time to visit so that their electronic noise limiter can be reset. We feel that if it was working as expected they could still run excellent gigs without bothering local residents.

“While the council feels live music is very important to the city, people’s right to peace in their own home is sacrosanct. The family home was there when the current management took over the Freebutt so they would have known noise was an issue.

“Their campaign material appears misleading and we have concerns for the feelings of residents. The council has a duty to investigate and remedy complaints on noise and can not be diverted by campaigns such as this.

“It has now been four months since the pub received a noise abatement notice and although the council acknowledges that some works have been carried out to manage the noise, further action is still required.”

The council doesn't actually say why it feels the campaign material "appears to be misleading" - to be honest, the Council and the Freebutt seem to be the same on details; the question is whether the noise limiter could be taken down further without ruining the point of having an event which relies on amplified noise.

So, just in case anyone was under the impression that the Freebutt were in disagreement with another party without, somehow, the other side having a different view of the matter, hopefully that's clearer now.

Downloadable: Tokyo Police Club

More free goodness - I don't really need to tell you about why you might want to use your broadband allowance to suck down a DOM remix of Tokyo Police Club, do I?

Downloadable: Suck Shaft

Not entirely sure that I'm going to be able to make the "start of a new Stockholm based club concept", but I'm almost tempted to give it a try, as these guys are going to be there:

Suck Shaft: There Are Children Here

The club night is at Debaser in Stockholm on the 16th July; it's called Atantis, if you're in the area.

Freebutt weekend: The Strange Death Of Liberal England

From June 2008, and a launch party for Angelou:

[Buy: Forward March]

[Part of the The Freebutt weekend]

See you, Sia

Sia is preparing to sort of retire from music - or at least the music industry:

"I'm going to promote the shit out of this record. I'm seeing it as an investment.

"After this record I'll make records and I'll put them out but I will not promote or tour them. I'll just write pop songs for other people."

And the main reason she's quitting? Partly the demands of the major labels - in her case, Sony:
"I've never been a 'priority' before," she told The Age.

"This buzz doesn't just come because of a good song. It's marketing. Which is sick. This is a sick business. It's so sad. Knowing now what goes into making a successful artist, it's disheartening."

But she's also had enough because of the behaviour of Perez Hilton:
"When I was outed by Perez Hilton as bisexual, I suddenly started being asked a lot of personal questions, which was really difficult. I'd had a relationship with a woman when I was 20, but nobody cared then.

"As it came at the same time as my fame, it made me withdraw, and I started to have panic attacks. It was then that I was prescribed antidepressants - fame made me develop a panic disorder."

Well done, Perez. Thanks - once again - for your contribution to making culture just a little less glittery.

Embed and breakfast man: The Freebutt

So, with the Freebutt under threat of the axe, what would be lost to Brighton? Let's dip into some of the slightly poorly-lit and often dreadfully distorted soundtracks of acts who have played the venue, shall we?

First up, Xiu Xiu - they visited on 27th May 2010:

[Save The Freebutt]
[Buy: Xiu Xiu - Dear God, I Hate Myself]

More Freebutt moments to come
The Strange Death Of Liberal England
On Histories Of Rosenberg

Venuewatch: Save the Freebutt

Thanks to @electroweb for pointing me in the direction of the Save The Freebutt campaign site, which has a full explanation of what's going on behind the headline of the story.

According to the venue, the resident complaining about the noise - just the one resident - is refusing to allow anyone in to their building to verify their claims, and the Environmental Health Offices of Brighton And Hove Council have not exactly handled the case well.

The Butt's statement in full:

Internationally renowned and locally loved music venue and cultural hub, The Freebutt, is under threat of closure for apparent “audio nuisance”.

The owners have instigated a campaign to save the Brighton institution and save the South Coast from loosing one of it's main musical attractions, after Brighton and Hove City Council warned that they could enforce a current noise abatement order on the venue any day now; ending the hope of ever putting on any live music in the venue again.

Despite constant attempts to fix the problems and come to an agreement on how to move forward, owners now appear to have reached a dead end with council officials, after asking for some reasonable time to sort out the alleged sound issues which they had previously been told to do nothing about. This could lead not only to the closing of a historic venue but the loss of 15 creative jobs in the city and a dent in tourism figures after what owners believe to be a series of Environmental Health Department blunders.

When the music venue was taken over in 2009 by four young Brighton entrepreneurs, they were aware of the historic problems with sound bleed that the venue had previously suffered but were also very aware of the vast amount of sound proofing work that the previous tenants had undertaken. Prior to take over they had contacted the Environment Health Department of Brighton and Hove Council (herein referred to as EHO) who informed them that not only did The Freebutt have no currently outstanding noise abatement notices, it had also not suffered from any sound complaints for over 6 months.

In good faith their first key job as new owners was to re-instigate the volume limiter (which is a device that will cut off mains electricity to the plugs on the stage should the volume sustain above the maximum set level for 15 seconds) at a self imposed yet council agreed level of 105dBA. Unfortunately in February 2010, even
though nothing had changed to either the volume limiter or the physical construction of the building, the Freebutt were served a noise abatement notice upon them requesting them to cease causing a public audio nuisance by 10th May 2010.

Upon advice from EHO and their recommended audio consultant they undertook works within the first seven days of their notice period in attempts to eradicate the sound frequencies bleeding out into the complainant’s home. Upon completion of these works the Freebutt requested that EHO make a further site visit to the complainant’s during operating hours to establish if the volume of music being performed in the Freebutt was still causing a problem. Unfortunately at no point during this process would the complainants personally allow Freebutt managers access to their home, even under the supervision of EHO.

Despite constant chasing of EHO to visit the complainant's home and assess the works that had been carried out, it took them until 29th April 2010 to arrange a site visit, during that time EHO directly recommended that the Freebutt do not waste money on any further works as they had received no further complaints for a number of weeks, it was even said that the case may be dropped altogether.

When EHO did finally visit the complainants on 29th April 2010 it was decided that there was still a continuing problem of sound bleed from The Freebutt into the complainants home. Yet again the owners were told to cease causing an audio nuisance before 10th May 2010, which was by that point just 10 days away. By now, EHO and the complainants had sat on this case for over two months yet the Freebutt had just ten days to solve a problem which they still knew practically nothing about or how to fix.

Incorrectly believing that the sound issue was caused by a fault within the Freebutt volume limiter, EHO then incorrectly reduced the venue's set level to 105dBL (approximately 95dBA), effectively shutting all business down due to it's completely inappropriate and unworkably low volume for live music in a venue of the Freebutt's size. Fortunately this problem was resolved the following Monday, with the limiter returned to the jointly agreed level of 105dBA. EHO requested that the Freebutt remove a number of electrical sockets that could in theory bypass the volume limiter, these were isolated and removed within four working days of their request.

During the following week the owners discussed further with EHO and their contracted audio consultant on how the Freebutt could move forward to resolve this continued problem. The first step to be undertaken by the Freebutt management was to self impose a further limit of 1dBA upon the volume limiter, making the audio levels in the Freebutt quieter than they have been for a number of years, if not ever. Unfortunately EHO’s recommended audio consultant did not feel that he himself had enough audio expertise to provide any form of educated analysis of the frequencies bleeding through or where exactly in the building the Freebutt would require further sound proofing. In fact EHO informed the Freebutt owners that not only was the noise bleed still a problem but that it was worse than ever before.

The Freebutt made the decision to contact the audio specialist company ‘24 Acoustics’ on 11th May 2010 who recently and successfully tackled the audio bleed problems and sound proofing of the Boileroom venue in Guildford. Their audio expertise does not come cheap by any means but the Freebutt agreed with EHO that the Freebutt would hire them as to provide a much more detailed analysis of the problem and would undertake
any work that they recommended to rectify this issue once and for all.

The Freebutt forwarded a proposal to EHO as the owners believe that to truly solve this problem the Freebutt need to finally establish where exactly in the buildings structure the sound was bleeding from and at what frequencies. Unfortunately EHO do not have the technical expertise to provide this crucial information, the only
audio analysis received to date is a series of noise diaries from the complainants which simply say "sound heard: drums" as well as an EHO provided single set of dBA levels recorded on one single night which no members of the Freebutt management or third party impartial audio specialists were allowed to attend the recording of.

EHO contacted the complainants to arrange a time which they would be available to allow access for ‘24 Acoustics’ to establish the sound bleed on their side, the Freebutt accepted a long time ago that the complainants will not allow the Freebutt management access to their property but hoped that they would allow inside impartial audio specialists who would have been chaperoned at all times by council officials.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and the complainants refused access to not only ‘24 Acoustics’ but also anybody at all that wasn’t a council official. This obviously very quickly rendered any possibility the Freebutt may have had of sound proofing the building completely redundant. However, EHO still demand that the sound bleed problem be eradicated, with their next step being to reduce the volume limiter to a level that their untrained ears deem appropriate and thus undoubtedly crippling and shutting the independent business all together.

From day one, the Freebutt have worked openly in conjunction with EHO to try and locate and remove any and all sound bleed issues, unfortunately due to a lack of support from both the complainants and EHO, the Freebutt have no remaining avenues to pursue in sound proofing the building. If EHO do reduce the venue's volume limiter by even just 1 or 2 more dBA the Freebutt will be unable to function as a live music venue as nearly all amplified instruments as well as un-amplified drums will ‘trip’ the limiter, thus cutting the performance. The business would obviously have to close, causing the unemployment of 15 people, all but 2 of whom are under the age of 30.

The four managers of the Freebutt are key pillars Brighton's music scene and local community, two having spoken at an open discussion on Noise Abatement issues at this year’s Great Escape music festival and conference and regularly attending local resident meetings to discuss ways that the Freebutt can help improve the local community. The Freebutt are also in discussion with local residents to have ‘open days’ where the local children can learn new skills such as how to play an instrument and the basic workings of how a music venue works. The Freebutt certainly does more for Brighton than just pay its rates.

Co-owner Tom Denney said, “The Freebutt is without a doubt a Brighton institution, having played host to some of the most important local, national and international acts of the past two decades. The Freebutt puts on upwards of 800 local musicians every year, giving them the opportunity to perform for an increasingly growing local community of music lovers, as well as putting on international touring artists and bringing in tourism trade from places as far away as Israel.”

Co-owner John Fisher said, “Our venue is a key part of the fabric of the Brighton creative community, not only does it provide a creative outlet for Brighton’s local musicians but has also served as a learning space putting for drum classes, art exhibitions, live performance art, and even University lectures.”

Co-owner Andy Rossiter said, “We are in no way saying that the Freebutt is a perfectly sound proofed building but as section 7.1 of the Brighton and Hove licensing policy 2008 states, not only should the council recognise the need to encourage live music, dancing and theatre for the wider cultural benefits of the community generally it should also be aware of the need to avoid measures which deter live music, dancing
and theatre – such as imposing indirect costs out of proportion to the income of the licence holder and to the risks presented. Only necessary, proportionate and reasonable licensing conditions should impose any restrictions on such events.”

Co-owner Alex Murray said, “What we want is the opportunity for not only a reasonable period of time in which to carry out any necessary work but also the cooperation of both EHO and the complainants in helping establish where exactly the sound bleed problem is originating from. Without some educated analysis of the frequencies bleeding and the structure of both buildings there is absolutely no way that we will ever be able to eradicate this sound issue and will thus force the closure of a historic Brighton music venue and loss of a huge number of music industry jobs."

Obviously, having peace and quiet in your own home is important, and nobody would deny that. But the resident's refusal to help solve the problem suggests that this isn't about sound or noise at all, but more about trying to close down the Freebutt by other means.

There are petitions circulating in Brighton - Resident Records and Rounder Records have both got copies for local people to drop by and sign.

Gordon in the morning: Liam makes plans

So, here's a surprise: after Liam's finished off his film about The Beatles, guess what he's going to do next? Any ideas, Gordon?

When asked if he would ever write a book or make a film about his wild years in Oasis, he said: "Yep, without a doubt. Very soon. Before I forget them."

From a film with some men pretending to be the Beatles, to a film with some men pretending to be some men trying to be the Beatles. Who knew Liam did metafiction?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Venuewatch: No Butt? Yeah, but, no but...

Brighton's Freebutt, which was taken into fan-ownership a year ago, is locked in what might prove to be a battle to the death.

Despite having fitted a noise limiter, the venue is still upsetting its neighbours; they have complained to the council and now Brighton And Hove are telling the 'butt to keep things more quiet, or lose their licence.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said it did not want the venue to shut but that residents' right to peace was "sacrosanct".

Sacrosanct, eh? That's an interesting principle the good people at the council have introduced there, and one which might make any activity which disturbs a single person impossible in the city. They're going to have a hell of a time digging up the roads in future, for a start, aren't they?

It's Friday - EMI are running a bit late with this week's reshuffle

Like a really crap variety show magician, staring into the hat where he thought the bunny should be, EMI refuse to accept the trick has failed and are still hoping to come up with a magic word to make it work. Let's have another management restructure, eh?

"More music is being used than ever before, despite the continued decline in global music revenues," the company said in a statement released this morning. "As a result, the management structure of EMI is being changed to enable the company to reposition itself as a comprehensive rights management company that can take full advantage of all global opportunities in all markets for music."

The clunking 'music being used' might offer a really big hint why EMI is doing so poorly they just don't relate the thing they do to how it gets used - "I'm going up to my bedroom to use some music" and "I might nip down the club tonight to use some music" aren't phrases that trip off the tongue. McCartney doesn't sit down to plan what music he will be using when drawing up a set list.

The second part of that sentence, thoughm must be even more depressing for the people left at EMI who care about what they do: "More music is being used than ever before, despite the continued decline in global music revenues" really shows that EMI haven't yet grasped what they're dealing with. The note of surprise that major labels are taking less while people are still enjoying music; the suggestion that there's some sort of obvious link between the two sides. EMI still believe that 'love of music' and 'EMI revenues' exist as an equation rather than a non-sequiter. Until they understand it's EMI and not music which is of declining importance in the not-even-that-new world, they can shift management around until you can't screw any more nameplates on the office doors, and it'll do no good.

So, are they at least drafting in new people to help with the coming to terms?
Former EMI Publishing head Roger Faxon has been named Group Chief Executive and Charles Allen formerly non-Executive Chairman of EMI Recorded Music will become an adviser to EMI and its shareholder, Terra Firma.

Yes, all they're doing is formally combining publishing with recorded music, and keeping the people who've managed to make the firm what it is today. In other words: they're polluting the bit that was doing okay with the bit which was sickly.

Godspeed return

Godspeed You Black Emperor are properly back, building a full UK tour out of the original, finger-in-the-air, temporary tattoo ATP regrouping.

And, yes, there are dates:

December 7 - Manchester Academy
8 - Glasgow Barrowlands
12 - Bristol Anson Rooms
13 - London Troxy

The US is due a visit in 2011. After that... probably more, by the looks of things.

Gordon in the morning: Get orf my land

On the front of the Bizarre pages this morning, there's an interesting-sounding headline:

Kylie Glasto Blow

- which suggests a rather tightly targeted celebrity-endorsed product being prepared for next weekend.

The story, though - or 'something Gordon read in a magazine' - is rather more what you'd expect. Kylie won't be invited to play Glastonbury:
She was due to play the festival in 2005 but had to pull out after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

And now dairy farmer Michael doesn't want her on the bill.

He tells Recognise magazine: "She was going to do it years ago but then she was ill.

"We've all moved on. We've moved on to different things now."

What does that actually mean? Is Eavis suggesting that Kylie has no place on a bill which can find space for Shakira, U2 and Damon Albarn's Comedy Monkey Band? You find pop-snobbery in the oddest places, but I can't think of such a tightly-directed piece of pop snobbery in recent years.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gordon in the morning: Come into the garden, Noel

Morning, Gordon. What do you have for us today?

I revealed last month that [Noel Gallagher] now demands to be called "Dr Octagon" by pals because of the octagonal summer house being put up in his ten-acre garden in Chalfont St Giles, Bucks.

Yes, yes. You're not mentioning this again simply because the Pulitzer Panel haven't been in touch yet, are you?
And a new planning application has shown DAVID BELLAMY-esque ambitions.

He's going to grow a beard? He's going to become a botanist?
It said: "The family intend to enhance the shrubs and trees with more planting and native meadow flowers."

That's gardening, Gordon. David Bellamy is a scientist. You're probably thinking of Alan Titchmarsh or Percy Thrower.

Still, it must be difficult finding a single line in a planning application and trying to turn it into a news story.
Just wait until Dr Octagon hatches his plans for world domination from that bunker. He's like a rock'n'roll Scaramanga.

Albeit, erm, a Scaramanga who wants to be David Bellamy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gordon in the morning: Men watch TV, cash registers

Gordon's big splash this morning actually isn't that bad: Coldplay have reversed their decision and will now allow Glee to use their music.

They'd turned the programme down right at the start - oddly, the sudden realisation that there's loads of money to made having your songs on a show that spawns mulit-million selling CDs seems to have made the band think again.

It's a great story; unfortunately, that's the entire story so Smart is forced to try and fill up the rest of the column with lazy stereotyping and, erm, reprinting chunks of TV schedule:

Let's be honest - it's a show for the girls and the gays.
I can't say the telly musical has got my vuvuzela blowing.

It was the final episode of the first series on Monday night on E4.

The Italy v Paraguay game clashed with it... no contest.

But there's no denying what a brilliant idea it is and what an entertaining show.

So you think it's brilliant and entertaining, but you don't like it. I see.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

GCSEs in Charlotte Church

When I saw this headline in the Telegraph:

GCSE pupils to study words of Charlotte Church

I assumed they were talking about lyrics, and was coming up with a post that was going to suggest there'd be a comprehension question about what she meant by telling a Dorothy on Over The Rainbow that she was "a lovely girl with a lot of talent".

But then I opened the story, and apparently students are going to have questions set from her Channel Four comedy programme. Which was a better joke.

The idea is that "the kids" will be able to relate to this more easily than, ooh, something difficult - but surely no teenager would have ever seen Church's Channel Four show? Or, indeed, if anyone did?

Gordon in the morning: Scoring goals

Is there an exciting World Cup-meets-celebrity story for Gordon to get his teeth into this morning?

No. No, there isn't.

Instead, there's some fluffy rubbish that suggests that Ayda Field has gone into hiding to avoid the event:

ROBBIE WILLIAMS' fiancée AYDA FIELD has walked out on him because he's obsessed with the World Cup.

No, she hasn't. There follows a lot of guff about how she's moved back in with her mother because of all the football. I suspect what's happened here is that Gordon has got confused and typed out the plot of a not-very-good ITV sitcom by mistake. We've all done it, haven't we?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sausageobit: Jimmy Dean

In the UK, Jimmy Dean is probably an unfamiliar name, but you'd recognise his song: Big Bad John, a mainstay of Radio 2 during the 1970s.

In the US, though, Dean - who died at the weekend - was better known for his second career, as provider of breakfast foods to the masses. The meats were made possible by a successful restaurant chain; the chain traded on his ABC variety show. And that was payback for his one big hit.

That, originally, had been a b-side; the label had originally hoped for I Won't Go Huntin' with You Jake to be Dean's big breakthrough. The decision to flip the disc, though, called for a quick re-record, as the line "lies a hell of a man" was a bit too profane for US radio at the time.

Dean appeared in a movie based on the song, and recorded a pair of diminishing-returns sequels to the original track, but by 1969 he was more interested in selling slabs of pork and pancakes on sticks. He sold up to Sara Lee in 1984.

Jimmy Dean was 81.

Mick Karn unwell

Thanks to Peter D for alerting me to the sad news from Mick Karn that he's got cancer, compounded with financial difficulties:

With great sadness we regret to inform you that Mick has recently been diagnosed with advanced stages of cancer. Mick is currently in a positive mood and undergoing further tests and treatment. His family and friends are close with him, supporting him in practical ways, and surrounding him with their love, friendship and care.

Mick has been struggling financially for some considerable time now and we are hoping that this appeal may help to raise funds for any necessary treatment and perhaps go some way towards providing a small degree of financial support whilst Mick's immediate family provide the care and comfort we would all wish for him. We are hoping that his friends, fans and musical colleagues will, over the coming months, offer any support they feel capable of giving. Quite aside from the sheer brunt of daunting medically-related costs, Mick's clear and major concern is for the security and well being of his wife and young son.

If you would like to make a donation whether as an individual or as a group, you can do so via the paypal link [found on Mick's website] which has been set up for this sole and express purpose. Any support you are able to give, no matter how small, could make a difference in helping Mick cope during this difficult period. His friends will be looking at a variety of ways to raise funds.

Since the original message, there's been an update, with some better news from Mick:
Your comments and well wishes have left me speechless, in the same way that our news had affected you. The support and love you give me is felt by all of us here, every day.

At the time of first posting my news I was striving to obtain a medical card that would pay for treatment here in Cyprus and I am pleased to say that in recent days, since becoming officially diagnosed through a series of specific tests, the state will now take care of my basic medical costs, including referrals to Hospitals within the EU in the event that any procedure cannot be carried out here in Cyprus.

This is great news and comes as a genuine relief but I wanted to make clear that the donations that have been received will remain in a fund which will be used to augment the state care and allow me to look into alternatives that will help my fight with cancer, including options such as advanced treatments in the USA and other non-state-funded medical alternatives. It also affords me some peace of mind as, during this difficult time, I am not able to provide for my family's needs in a way that I would otherwise wish, and their security is my primary concern now. Obviously, their lives are dramatically impacted upon by my condition and your kind support helps me to feel that they will be able to manage a little better if I am not able to be with them.

I hope this makes sense to all of you who have made a donation because words cannot truly express the full scope of my gratitude and feeling of good fortune to have so many friends, both near and far, familiar and undiscovered until now, who are willing to help us out in this incredible way.

In other words: there's medical treatment, but there's still family finances being a worry. Donations through the website, if you'd like to help.

Rich people have different problems to us

Oh, the horrors of the modern world. The New York Mets have had to issue an apology to Seinfeld after letting Lady GaGa enter his box without asking after:

she complained about the paparazzi at a game on Thursday night.

Hmm. Lady GaGa complained about paparazzi, did she? Are you sure that the 'oh, they're looking at me' wasn't a blatant attempt to gain, rather than avoid, attention?
Quick-think officials moved her to a vacant celebrity box, where Gaga took off a leather jacket to reveal her underwear and then proceeded to flip her middle finger at the snappers down below.

Anyway, it turned out they've shoved her into Jerry Seinfeld's private box by accident.

What made it worse was all these photos appeared in the newspaper, after Lady GaGa had told her boss she was visiting her sick father in Baltimore.

Against Me: You might want to think about your PR

So, you're a punk band, or at least hope people will believe you are. And a famous person says that you're like, so punk. Sure, you might want to get your PR team to get it out there. (Although if you're so punk, what are you doing with a PR team?)

But think: do you really want to send out emails with this as the subject line?

Leno Calls Against Me! One Of The Best Punk Bands Ever

Jay Leno? Seriously? Jesus, Iggy Pop, maybe. Patti Smith, certainly. The Ghost Of Malcolm McClaren, if you must. Nick Kent or Greil Marcus. Loyd Grossman knows a thing or two.

But Jay Leno is pitching your position in the punk pantheon? That's like having your grandma tell people you're fantastic in bed, surely?

Jay-Z and the dinosaurs

Jay-Z apparently not as smart as we're lead to believe:

Rap icon JAY-Z was stunned when he first took over as president of Def Jam Records in 2004 - because the company's top men were living in the past.

Really, Jay-Z? That surprised you?
The hitmaker, who went on to sign Rihanna, Ne-Yo and Young Jeezy to the label, couldn't believe that some of the players in the organisation hadn't had a big hit since the 1980s.

You couldn't believe that?
He tells Rolling Stone magazine, "You had record executives who've been sitting in their offices for 20 years because of one act: 'But that's the guy who signed Motley Crue!' (I was like), 'Seriously? That was f**king 25 years ago.'

And that surprised you?

Next week: Jay-Z incensed to discover that Heinz releases loads of new brands every year which fail straight away. "There's this one guy still there because he came up with Big Soup. Sure, it had chunks in, but that was fucking ages ago."

Mel C: You've made this pledge before

First time round, when Mel C pledged 'No Spice Girls reunion', we put our faith in her.

I'm not sure I'm buying her reassurances this time:

She tells Britain's Daily Star newspaper, "There's no chance of that happening. Don't believe what you've read elsewhere, because I'm telling Daily Star readers we have no plans to tour again.

"We all have our own projects going on and have families too so we couldn't find the time even if we wanted to."

I understand that "believe what you're reading in the Daily Star" is the exact, legal opposite of swearing to tell the truth on the Bible.

Gordon in the morning: A rolling Dappy gathers Kate Moss

The idea that Kate Moss spent the weekend trying to catch N-Dubz's eye isn't too unlikely - after all, owners of young bands are warned to spray regularly to avoid an infestation. But there's something about Gordon's story which doesn't quite add up:

IT won't be long before KATE MOSS is greeting pals with "Na, na niiiii" and wearing NANA bling - as she's a massive fan of N-DUBZ.
The supermodel spent most of the weekend at the Isle Of Wight festival following the trio around.

Hmm. Odd thing is, though, there's just one, really crappy, cameraphone picture offered to support this claim. Perhaps she was genuinely stalking them, and spent most of the time hiding behind bins.

Nobody in the photo really looks like they're that thrilled to be there. Kate Moss least of all.

I'm not a psychologist, but I think the look on Moss' face is 'oh, God, if this photo ever appears anywhere, what's left of my alt-cred will flow away'.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lily Allen: Becoming zero

Psst, Lily Allen: if you really want to fade into oblivion and not be the focus of public attention, you could start by not doing an interview with Closer telling them about how you wish to vanish.

Go-Betweens Weekend: Right Here

Blah Blah Blah - an Australian TV programme, it says here - in 1988:

[Part of The Go-Betweens weekend]

Glastonbury 2010: News of the World re-runs last year's faux Glasto outrage

Oh, for crying out bloody loud, I thought we'd sorted this out last year? But, no, the NOTW is fuming again that it actually involves people to cover several stages for three different media live from Glastonbury:

THE bloated BBC is again sending an army of hundreds of staff to cover Glastonbury - defying orders to cut costs.

Orders from who? Where there orders to reduce the budget for Glastonbury coverage? Isn't it an assumption that just because the number of people involved is roughly the same, that the costs haven't been reduced - for example, they might be using fewer vehicles, or being told only to work a certain number of hours rather than go into overtime. Or freelance staff might be getting fewer hours.
Around 400 Beeb workers are off to the festival at taxpayers' expense, the same as last year.

Actually, many of the workers aren't "Beeb workers", they're freelancers, and - unless there's the odd reporter from the World Service, they're not working at taxpayer's expense, they're licence-fee funded. And, in fact, with BBC Worldwide selling coverage overseas, a potion of those numbers would be paid for by commercial activities.
And that's after lavish BBC spending on the event in 2009 - an estimated £2MILLION - drew stinging criticism.

Yes, it did, but only from idiots and vested interests desperate to try and portray the event as a beano.
But despite vowing to control costs in the wake of the recession, BBC chief Mark Thompson has astonishingly signed off a fresh Glasto spend-fest.

Simply because you're taking costs out of an organisation as a whole doesn't mean you cut back everything. Even George Osborne, the first Chancellor to be incapable of telling a SpeakAndSpell from a calculator, understands that you might decide one area of spending is worth maintaining at previous levels while making cuts elsewhere.

For example, simply not having to pay Jonathan Ross next year more than covers the entire costs of Glastonbury.
The news will be music to the ears of the legion of presenters, technicians, producers and - of course - executives who can pack their bags for Somerset.

"Great! We're going to have to work seventeen hour days up to our arses in mud! Hoorah!"
But critics accused the BBC of being "woefully out of touch" by spending lavishly when Britain is sunk in debt.

Really? There aren't a few people who might say 'given that times are quite tough, it's wonderful that we can all share in one of this nation's great cultural events simply by switching on the TV or radio - and at no extra cost to ourselves.' Or did you not ask?

Still, who's such a fool as to give the NOTW an on-the-record quote which, while pleasing to James Murdoch, will out them as being someone who doesn't really grasp the subjects they're talking about?
Tory MP Philip Davies said: "The BBC is the same over-bloated organisation it's always been. It's bizarre it is not chasing the same cutbacks as everyone else."

The poor people of Shipley. They must have felt that choosing a bloke who used to work for Asda as their MP would mean he'd at least have a grasp of how organisations work. But it appears not.

Look, Philip, let's take you back to when you were at Asda. You remember when there'd be the big signs up saying 'Cut prices'? That didn't mean that everything was reduced, did it? Some things were made to cost less, and other things would cost more. Because what it was all about was balancing prices across the whole.

It's the same with the BBC. Just because the cost of one piece of programming costs a little more (and, frankly, there's not a shred of proof that's the case here) doesn't mean the BBC isn't making savings elsewhere.

I wonder if Philip Davies sits at home fuming "the BBC says it's making cuts, and yet the weather forecast still covers exactly the same area as it did before? They really should only be forecasting for 75% of the country to save money.

Wait until he finds out that the BBC are spending money on the World Cup - when they didn't spend a penny on it last year.

Davies, of course, knows profligacy when it sees it. In the last Parliament, he claimed more in expenses than any of his fellow Bradford-based MPs. And, oddly, I can't find him being angry at the 2.33% pay rise MPs got last year - but perhaps there's no reason for MPs to make "the same cutbacks as everyone else" that I've missed.

The News Of The World then offers another odd comparison:
The four-day festival at the end of the month is one of the biggest events of the BBC year, with coverage across TV, radio, and a dedicated website. The Beeb sent nearly as many staff to last year's festival as to the Olympics - despite TV viewing figures averaging just 800,000.

Actually, the BBC only sent 74 people to cover the Olympics. Unless the NOTW is thinking of Beijing Olympics, where there were 473 members of staff there. I'm a little lost as to what point is being made here, unless the News Of The World actually thinks that covering Glastonbury and an Olympics are somehow identical in their scope? I can film my cats playing in the long grass on my own - surely we just need to send one bloke with a Flip, right? And maybe Zane Lowe?
Matthew Elliott, head of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "The BBC continues to spend as if there's no tomorrow. By all means cover the event, but the number of people sent is clearly excessive."

Really? It's clearly excessive, is it, Matthew? Care to explain how? Do you have evidence that supports this, or did you merely go 'ooh, that's a lot of people, it must be too many'?

Obviously, if you can point to teams of camera crew who turn up and then disappear for three days, without filming anything, that would be scandalous. Or if there are five producers overseeing every sequence shot, that might be worth raging about. It might be you feel that having red-button coverage of the stages is an extravagance then say so - although since it will be getting filmed anyway, the marginal cost of making this available to licence fee payers seems to be good, rather than bad, use of the money. But at least point to something you actually believe is excessive, rather than stand there blinking.

I suspect the News Of The World will run the story again next year, and probably even in 2012, whether Glasto happens or not. See you in twelve months, then.

Go-Betweens Weekend: The House Jack Kerouac Built

An unidentified Australian TV programme, from a time we can only use Robert Forster's hairline to have a stab at guessing:

[Part of The Go-Betweens weekend]

Wendys give kids the horny Donna Summer

Wendys - the square burger joint - had been giving out free CDs with their kids' meals.

That, in itself, is puzzling. What does a six year old want with a CD? Will they even know what it is?

Still, surely the CDs will feature music that connects with the children, though?

Celebration by Kool and The Gang, ABC by the Jackson Five and Last Dance by Donna Summer

Oh, yes. What kid wouldn't be excited to get hold of a song their grandparents' grandparents probably got sick of back in the past. On a - what is it called again, mummy? - on a compacted disc. Cheer up, it'll be back to Spongebob figures next week.

Or possibly a little sooner, as although Wendys swear blind they put the clean version of the Donna Summer track in the meals, parents were equally adamant they could hear the original words ("so horny") rather than the family-friendly version ("so bad").

Although, clearly, no child would have bothered to play the Donna Summer single, even if they knew what to do with it, Wendys have still quietly pulled the track from the meals.

It's bad, but at least, unlike McDonalds, Wendys didn't hand out twelve million poisoned drinking cups to the kiddies.

Go-Betweens Weekend: Cattle And Cane

There would have been more Go-Betweens yesterday, except Sumesh came through the window with a poisoned cut in his tail, and so instead of noodling about in the YouTube archive, the morning was spent trying to get a reluctant cat into a box and up to the vets.

Anyway, he's better, and so where we were we?

Ah, yes. 1983, in Club Manhattan, Bradford. Cattle And Cane:

There is, so far as I can tell, no Club Bradford in Manhattan.

[Part of The Go-Betweens weekend]

This week just gone

According to our Google logs, these are the people with the most-sought nipples:

1. Janet Jackson
2. Miley Cyrus
3. Edith Bowman
4. Jennifer Aniston
5. The Cheeky Girls (apparently any one of the four will do)
6. Konnie Huq-Brooker
7. Lauren Laverne
8. Lily Allen
9. Women
10. Amy Winehouse

This week's most interesting releases:

The Drums - The Drums

Download The Drums

The Acorn - No Ghost

Download No Ghost

Owl Service - View From A Hill

Download A Garland Of Song

Die So Fluid - The World Is Too Big For One Lifetime

Download The World Is Too Big...

Marc Almond - Variete

Download Variete

Hindi Zahra - Handmade

Download Variete

Morcheeba - Blood Like Lemonade

Download Blood Like Lemonade

Rox - Memoirs

Download Memoirs

Lousie Wener: Different For Girls - A Girl's Own True-life Adventures in Pop

Obviously that last one's a book, and while we wish with all our heart it didn't feel the need to carry a thumbs up on the front from Fearne Cotton, it's still worth getting.