Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Donnas: Torry retires

Torry Castellano, drummer with The Donnas, is retiring, hurt. In her own words:

Hey All,

This is a very difficult message for me to write. As many of you already know, I've been dealing with a painful shoulder injury for the last 2 years and I have had to take time off from playing the drums. I have tried numerous different therapies, including physical therapy, sometimes up to 3 times a week, trigger point shots, exercises, and rest, but none of them have gotten me to a place where I can play again. Unfortunately, unlike when I had my wrist problems, there is no specific surgery that can help with my shoulder.

As I am still in pain, my doctors have come to the conclusion that I cannot play the drums anymore because if I continue I will be in pain for the rest of my life. After much thought and many conversations with the other girls I have decided I have to retire. My retirement has brought me a lot of sadness because I love playing the drums and being a part of the Donnas family, which of course includes all of you. I've loved all the experiences that we've had together and I really want to thank all of you for your support and the fun times. Even though I can't play anymore, I would never want the other girls to have to give up something that they love and I know that they will continue to make and play great rock 'n roll.

I've had to think about what I'm going to do now. While I have been resting my shoulder, I've been taking some classes and doing this has really helped me to have something to put my energies into. I've decided to continue with this, and I will be starting Stanford University in the fall. I know that I'll miss living near the other girls, but I'll be seeing them and the rest of you at their future Bay Area shows.

No matter what, I will always be a Donna and be a part of the Donna's family. I know you guys will continue to support the band and I'll be there too, as the #1 Donnaholic.

Tuning into Ed Vaizey's vision of the future

Just had time to catch up on Ed Vaizey's digital radio switchover speech in full, which is a little bemusing.

First is that he works from the assumption that the future of digital radio must be DAB. Indeed, Vaizey only gives a few lines to the possibility that there's more than one way to get radio stations digitally to people's ears, and that is to sniff that the internet won't work:

First, radio’s digital future will not be delivered by the internet alone; at least not in the immediate future. There would be massive implications for capacity and energy use if all listeners listened to the radio on the internet.

Instead we believe radio’s future is a mixed ecology, with DAB, which is mobile, free at the point of access and cost efficient providing the ‘spine’ of the digital radio offering and the internet providing the added value. We have already seen a trend towards the integration of internet and DAB in radio receivers. We welcome this not least because it allows the listener to decide which platform best suits them.

This isn't very convincing - yes, there would be energy and capacity implications if people listened entirely to internet delivered online (along, as Vaizey fails to mention, with the 'how do you get it to people when they're on the A303' question.) But that doesn't mean it's a non-starter.

After all, there's energy and capacity questions about doing anything online.

And the integration of IP and DAB radios is a bit of a red herring - I nearly bought one of those myself, but went instead for a much cheaper IP/FM device. On the basis that why would I pay extra for a device which offered me no extra stations for the extra cost?

And what does Vaizey mean about the 'added value' services being on the internet? Is that an implication that the DAB stations add no value to British radio? Surely not? But if the added-value stuff is on the internet, why would people be listening to DAB - especially if they've bought a radio that can receive both?

"Rather than listen to the internet station which is really good, I'll tune into the DAB one that's a bit like it."

And where does Vaizey see these 'added value' propositions coming from - later on, when he's rubbishing the idea of dumping DAB for the more-station-for-your-bandwidth DAB+ standard, he makes this observation:
The benefits of DAB+ are primarily a more effective use of spectrum, but DAB already offers significant capacity for new services and there are only so many which the market can sustain.

So there are a load of added value services which will appear online, to be delivered in a way which burns energy and consumes bandwidth - but if you think it might be better to adopt DAB+ to distribute these extra services, suddenly they become too much for the market to stand.

Perhaps Ed should have held off making his speech about radio until he'd had a chance to think about his position for longer than the length of a Heart FM news bulletin.

The lack of coherence shines out of the key detail of the speech, too. The idea of digital switch-over:
On this point I should be clear. We agree that 2015 is an appropriate target date; a point at which all parts of the supply-chain can focus on. If, and it is a big if, the consumer is ready we will support a 2015 switchover date.

Vaizey seems to have decided that DAB makes sense, and that migration from FM to DAB is the policy. He wants everyone working towards 2015 as the moment when that will happen. That is a clear, coherent position.

We will only consider implementing a Digital Radio Switchover once at least 50% of all listening is already on digital, or to put it another way when analogue listening is in the minority.

At the same time he insists he won't switch off FM while it's still the main way people listen to radio.

So why, exactly, does he think people will choose to swap from FM to DAB without the push of the possibility that buying an FM radio now is a way to purchase an expensive future paperweight?

"We'll switch off the FM network at some point in the future, but not until everyone gets round to not using FM anyway" isn't really a policy, it's just an observation.

Dunstable rallies to save its Heart

Even after years of having been abused and rebranded by Global and the previous owners, Dunstable's Heart FM is still held in high esteem by its local audience. They're, understandably, upset at the suggestion that their local station is going to be shunted off to the godforsaken hell that is checks paperwork Milton Keynes.

So far, the campaign hasn't progressed beyond the not-actually-doing-anything of a Facebook page, but the organiser is heartfelt:

Jo Dawkins, 39, of Pitstone, launched a Facebook campaign to halt the move. The web page now has more than 750 followers and is growing daily.

She is worried that the move could spell the end of all the local news the station normally reports on.

The mum also fears for the popular presenters who currently front the show.

It does demonstrate that the localness of the local stations is precisely what makes them special to the audience. Global may or may not take any notice of the Facebook page, but perhaps they should be listening to the free focus group they've got here.

Pete Doherty misses gig

Yes, there's nothing like the old standards, is there?

Audience already turning up at the venue, this time in Nice, only to discover Doherty wasn't going to show because he was "in hospital".

Oddly, though, despite having needed hospital attention on Thursday, he was well enough to play a gig on Friday and fly to the UK for this weekend's lucrative T In The Park.

Gordon in the morning: Still ill

Following on from the plea of one of her less successful Girls Aloud colleagues yesterday, much of the nation is indeed praying for Cheryl Cole's swift return to health, if only to spare us the daily updates and the pain of watching Gordon trying to come up with new angles, day-in, day-out.

Today, he's reduced to this:

[Tweedy's] estranged hubby ASHLEY COLE closely quizzed a TV girl about Cheryl's relationship with US dancer DEREK HOUGH.

Cheryl, 27, was rushed to hospital with a fever on Sunday after catching the potentially fatal disease on holiday in Tanzania last month with Derek, 25.

The next night, love-cheat soccer ace Ashley, 29 - on hols in Los Angeles - cornered TV assistant Marla Jackson after hearing she worked with Derek on US TV show Dancing Wth The Stars.

Oh, yes: it only takes a spot of water on your sort-of-ex-sort-of-wife's lungs, and you come crawling back.

Or is he really worried about Cheryl?
"He asked if Derek had had a lot of girlfriends, what his sense of humour's like and whether he's a big drinker."

That sounds more like someone trying to decide if he should ask for a date, doesn't it?

Elsewhere, there's a new high water mark in awkward Bizarre shots:

Aside from the hyperawkwardness of the picture - nice to see Snoop's 'are you sure this guy is important in the media?' face - is the pressing question of what in the name of old glory is Gordon wearing? Did he steal that from Little Lofty, the Fisherman's Friend trawlerman?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Lady GaGa fans demand pizza to poke in their faces

A PR email promoting something or other flops into the inbox, boiling with rage about Lady GaGa. Apparently some people have confused her with Jesus out of those books:


Thousands of fans from all across the nation waiting on line for 24 hours for Lady Gaga’s free concert were promised free pizza from Lady Gaga herself on Twitter. The fans went hungry all night long when there was not enough pizza to go around and thousands were glued to their coveted spot and had no food.

To be honest, if you're planning to queue up 24 hours for something, and think 'I won't bother taking any food, as there's a vague promise that I might get a slice of pizza here on Twitter', you may only have yourself to blame if you wind up a little happy.

Gordon in the morning: The Dogg and the Peacock

For the 40th anniversary of Coronation Street, we were treated to a cameo from Noddy Holder as a van driver. A van driver who, for no discernible reason, felt the need to bellow "it's Christmas" at the good people of Weatherfield, as if he was Noddy Holder. And as if it was Christmas, which it wasn't.

If you believe Gordon Smart's colleague Stuart Pink this morning, the 50th will be marked by a cameo from Snoop Dogg.

Mr. Dogg made some throwaway remarks about popping into the programme for the birthday, which Pink seems to have accepted at face value:

"I'd love to be in it.

"My people have reached out to the producers and we are going to do it.

"They should definitely put some Snoop Dogg in there. The butcher's will be the cool spot.

"I'd have my man David Beckham in there working with me. He's my guy."

Given that ITV's current plans are to have the viaduct collapse and a tram crash into the street - a storyline they've already done once before, although it was a train rather than a tram that time - at least Dogg's come up with something more original than the production team.

Despite this clearly being something that won't ever happen, it hasn't stopped Pink trying to come up with an example script of How It Might Be. Cue some dead-weight of Betty buying meat off Snoop but - ho! ho! - he's just trying to sell her drugs.

Meanwhile, as a nation wonders if Northumberland Police will have caught Ralph Mope or whatever he's called before Cheryl Cole is fit and working again, the stepfather of the bloke who went to Tanzania with Cole has now decided to try and get some the limelight thrown by Tweedy's life-threatening illness:
CHERYL TWEEDY'S close pal DEREK HOUGH feels so guilty about her getting malaria he's given up work to look after her, it emerged last night.

His stepdad Aaron Nelson, 54, said the dancer believes it is "all his fault" that the X Factor judge has the deadly illness.

How lucky we're between lucrative series of Dancing With The Stars, eh? Otherwise some of those lucrative jobs might have been really lucrative indeed.

Nelson claims Hough feels like it's all his fault:
The stepdad added: "Derek feels it's all his fault. He organised the holiday as something wonderful. For it to end up like this is terrible. He feels dreadful."

Given that he didn't ask the travel agent to include a life-threatening disease in the package, this seems a bit thin. To a cynical eye, this might seem more like an attempt to build some profile as (the husband of the mother of) the wailing boyfriend, turning down lucrative jobs so he can be photographed going in and out of the hospital.

GIRLS ALOUD bandmate NADINE COYLE last night urged fans to pray for Cheryl.

Well, that's good news, then. We can send the doctors home if God and the prayer-efforts of Girls Aloud fans are on the case.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

George Galloway creates

What is it with former scourges of Thatcher and light musical theatre?

Yes, it's true: George Galloway really is working on a musical about Dusty Springfield:

The star who shines brighter than all the rest on this trip down memory lane is Dusty Springfield - as fresh today as a spring field should be. And, as it happens, one of the many projects on which I'm working - with Scots writer Ron McKay - is a stage Musical, eponymously entitled Dusty.

Angels who read the Daily Record - and I know there are many - urgently required.

If Ron McKay is doing the writing, and the music is coming from the back catalogue, presumably Galloway's role is to come up with the dance routines?

It's not entirely clear if Galloway is aware of Dusty The Musical, an, erm, musical about the life of Dusty Springfield. It was on Dragon's Den, although I suspect George wouldn't be a big fan of Jones and Paphitis trying to outbid each other to reshackle the working classes.

Still, maybe one will be the thesis, and the other the antithesis, resulting in people deciding to go and see Ben Elton's Queen thingy instead.

Before George gets to the request for funds, he worries about The Kids Today:
I'm the last man buying music on CD, it appears. When I was a kid, my father had a stack of brown paper-wrapped 78RPM records.

Younger readers may never have seen one. they were hard, brittle, and made a delightful sound on the turntable.

Many were made by His Master's Voice, which today's youngsters know as HMV without a clue of the source of the acronym.

I suspect most of today's youngsters aren't really sure what HMV even is, never mind the source of the abbreviation. (Not an acronym, George.) Probably doesn't help they downplayed the dog in the logo.

Grammys change rules to pretend to not know previous winners

There was some mutterings of discontent when Lady GaGa didn't win best newcomer at this year's Grammys. But there was a good reason: she'd been nominated the previous year for Just Dance, and it makes sense: you can't, surely, be a newcomer if you were a previous nominee.


However, having felt frustrated that it couldn't give GaGa a prize because of, you know, commonsense, the Grammy Academy have come up with a tortuous new rule which means they don't have to worry about continuity any more:

"More and more, the first release of a new artist is as a featured artist on someone else's album or the new artist may release a single long before the release of his/her/their entire first album," the Academy said in a statement.

"By current rules, if the other artist's album or the new artist's single receives a nomination, the new artist may never have the opportunity to compete in the best new artist category. With this change, each artist will have at least one opportunity to enter in this important and highly visible category."

The upshot of the rules means that you can still be a "newcomer" even if you've had twenty number one singles and been nominated for year after year of awards - but providing you haven't won anything, or released an album, you're still a newcomer in the Academy's eyes.

I wonder if they have the same flexible approach to virginity?

Cellobit: Daniel Cho

Regina Spector's cellist, Daniel Cho, has died after drowning in Lake Geneva.

Cho, who also played with Coldplay, Katy Perry and others, had been in Switzerland for the Montreux Jazz Festival. His death was announced on-stage by Regina Spector during her set at the Festival last night.

It's believed Cho - who also wrote about football for ESPN online - had been swimming near Chateau de Chillon on Tuesday when he got into difficulties.

John Lydon mutters something about Duffy

Hey, kids: this piece is going to discus Duffy and a man called John Lydon. If you're under, say, 30, you might want to ask your parents who these people were.

The world talks still of the 2008 Mojo Awards, and the bit where John Lydon attacked Duffy. Well, actually, the world has moved on and barely recalls Mojo doing awards much less the incident, but Lydon has never allowed nobody caring to stop him honking away.

To our surprise, it turns out that Duffy attacked him, and not the other way round:

"She leapt on my back. I'm not a maypole for her to go swinging off. Until you know who is doing that you are in a compromising position. If you want to say hello to me, then stand in front of me and say hello."

Actually, having seen the butter adverts, it's clear that Lydon would be a maypole for swinging from if the price was right.

Still, it's nice that Lydon has set the record straight. And by 'setting the record straight', we mean 'waited two years before attempting to justify throwing a woman about with a hitherto unmentioned part of the story which nobody who was around seem to have noticed happening and would still be a nasty overreaction anyway'.

Interesting to hear that Lydon's happy for people to walk up and say hello while standing in front of him. Bloc Party might beg to differ.

Songwriterobit: Harvey Fuqua

Harvey Fuqua, a member of Alan Freed-endorsed The Moonglows, has died.

Freed had signed the Moonglows when they were still called The Crazy Sounds; they had their first success - the top 20 hit Sincerely - after moving to Chess.

Harvey reorganised the Moonglows in 1958, adding his name to the band's, and - perhaps more significantly for music history - adding a chap called Marvin Gaye to the line-up.

Fuqua went on to establish Tri-Phi and Harvey Records, before taking up a role with Motown developing artists. He wrote, produced and supported any number of acts, even helping out with The Weather Girls.

In 1982, Fuqua reunited with Gaye to work together on the Midnight Love album; the sessions included Sexual Healing. The track turned Gaye's career around, and saved him from what had looked like a pretty terminal decline into drugs and an unhappy ending.

The Moonglows were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2000; that year, Fuqua released a solo album on his own Resurging Artist label.

Harvey Fuqua, who was 80, died in Detroit on Tuesday of a heart attack.

Gordon in the morning: Is it possible to find something worthwhile to report about Cheryl Tweedy's malaria?

Even Gordon knows mother visits hospital to see unwell daughter is a pretty lame story, which might be why he's sent one of his team to cover it.

But hang on... here comes an exciting new angle:

JLS star ORITSE WILLIAMS sent Cheryl his best wishes, saying: "I've had malaria and it's pretty bad. Get well soon, Cheryl."

I know that JLS don't exist without publicity, but trying to showboat on someone with malaria is pretty low. Let's just hope Tulisa N-Dubz isn't trying to knock together a "it's like when I had swine flu, only it wasn't, but it was sort of like it..." press release.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Ken Dodd cleared for take-off

No disrespect to the King of The Diddymen, but I'm not sure I'd feel entirely relaxed if I saw Ken Dodd's face peering out the side of a plane I was clambering aboard.

Downloadable: Stars

A spot of apparently-not-as-good-as-they-used-to-be stuff from Stars- We Don't Want Your Body for taking away from RCRDLBL.

Festival prices: "ooh, they'll have to go up, they will"

Thanks to Mark B who sent me a link to this story, which predicts a possible rise in gig prices as PRS demand more, and George Osborne pretends he has no choice but to hike VAT:

Melvin Benn, who runs the Reading, Leeds and Latitude festivals, described it as "blatant money-grabbing".

With VAT also rising by 2.5%, Mr Benn, who runs Festival Republic, said the cost of an average festival ticket would go up by about £10.

Given how the festivals Benn are involved with have been hiking prices, Benn should know a blatant money grab when he sees it.

In 2008, a ticket to Leeds cost £145.

In 2010, the same ticket cost £180.

It's strange that a man who thinks nothing of slapping an extra £35 on a ticket over two years suddenly gets outraged for his customers at the prospect of another tenner going on.

That's not say the PRS demands are entirely fair - they're talking about an increase in the percentage take they get from the ticket price:
PRS For Music's Debbie Mulloy said: "It's been over 20 years since we last reviewed this tariff and it's part of a general review of all our tariffs.

"This is one sector where there have been massive amounts of change and we felt a good review was required to make sure everything was still fair and reasonable."

The rate would not necessarily increase, she said. "There's no foregone conclusion here. It's not as simple as saying we want the rate to be higher. There are a number of things we have to assess."

As Mark B pointed out in his email:
No doubt the possibility of reducing the tariff will also be considered

The PRS is suggesting it might charge larger festivals more than smaller festivals, but doesn't entirely explain why. If you're getting 3% of ticket prices, then you already get more for a larger festival than a small one.

If the suggestion is that the percentage rate should be higher for a bigger event, the moral justification for that is far from clear. In fact, morally, you could argue that PRS get a lower percentage cut than they do from ticket sales at smaller events.

If you look at an afternoon-in-a-park type affair, the main attraction is music. If you look at Glastonbury, many people go for attractions other than the music. And if the work of the PRS members is less crucial to bringing in the punters, then surely their share of the ticket take should go down?

PRS might regret having opened this particular Pandorica.

Gordon in the morning: Axed Factor

There could be a swirling, howling black hole at the heart of The X Factor - besides the usual ones - as Gordon reports that Cheryl Cole is going to be out of action for six months. Can we have a banner headline, please?

Exclusive: Cheryl will be too sick to do X Factor
  • 6 month malaria break

  • Album on ice, gig axed

That seems pretty definitive.

It suddenly sounds less definitive once Gordon's cleared his throat and got going:
SERIOUSLY ill CHERYL TWEEDY may have to pull out of X Factor this year as she battles to survive the killer disease malaria, it emerged last night.

Frail Cheryl, 27, could also be forced to scrap a gig at the V Festival. And her management are ready to put the October launch of her new album on ice.

So the headline's screeching facts turn out to just be possibilities by the time the article starts - which means it appears Gordon's "exclusive" boils down to 'if she's too ill to work, she won't be able to work.'

The "battles to survive" bit in the intro is surely a more compelling thing to splash on rather than "might not play the V Festival", but - although she is pretty ill - "battles to survive" seems to be more than a little hyperbolic in itself.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Daily Mail fumes at digital switchover

The Liberal-Tory coalition's decision to carry on with the planned 2015 date of digital switch-off for analogue radio hasn't made the Daily Mail happy. In fact, the Mail has gone into full-on meltdown panic:

Around 20 per cent of all radio listening happens in cars but only 1 per cent of all cars currently have the capability to receive digital stations.

Well, yes. The idea of a switch-off date is supposed to drive take-up of digital radio. Do you need a sit down, Daily Mail? You look a little red...
Motorists will either have to replace their car radios at a cost of some £300 or buy special ‘conversion’ kits that must be attached to the windscreen, often alongside Satnavs, which could also cost more than £100.

Not alongside Satnavs, surely? That's terrible.

Naturally, you can actually pick up a proper DAB radio for half the cost cited by the Mail, and while the adaptors could cost more than a hundred quid, you'd be an idiot if you paid more than fifty.
DAB sets for the home cost from £20 for a basic radio to £200 for waterproof, rechargeable versions that can be used outside.

And, doubtless, the government will insist we buy waterproof ones - political health and safety having gone mad.
The plans will hit motorists and pensioners hardest but most ordinary homes have two or three radios – and the expense of replacing them all will mount up for everyone.

It's not entirely clear why pensioners will be hit harder than anyone else - perhaps they'll be forced to buy two radios.

There's a pretty strong case for not switching off FM, certainly not yet, but the Mail fails totally to even approach the case. (And no, Mr. Dacre, saying 'it's hard to get a DAB signal on Snowdon' isn't the case you're looking for, either.)

Nor is this:
every household will have to own either a digital radio or have a TV in the next five years.

Imagine that - every household in the country with a TV. It's a mad dream, isn't it?

Island not entirely thrilled by the new Tom Jones album

When people ask major labels 'why is it so important you survive, despite the outdated business model?', major labels often scrabble about in their notebooks for a while, before coming up with the justification that they provide vital support for their artists.

Let's join Island Record vice-president David Sharpe in the middle of an email showing some of that support in action:

"Imagine my surprise when I walked into the office this morning to hear hymns – it could have been Sunday morning. My initial pleasure came to an abrupt halt when I realised that Tom Jones was singing the hymns! I have just listened to the album in its entirety and want to know if this is some sick joke????"

Jones moved to Island last year for a reported £1.5m. Sharpe continued: "We did not invest a fortune in an established artist for him to deliver 12 tracks from the common book of prayer [sic]. Having lured him from EMI, the deal was that you would deliver a record of upbeat tracks along the lines of Sex Bomb and Mama Told Me ..."

There's some suggestion that the 'leaking' of this email might be part of a subtle campaign to promote the album. But:
The Daily Mail quotes Sharpe as saying that he stands by his email, and that he "paid for a Mercedes" and ended up with a "hearse".

I don't think any organised campaign would have come up with that - any attempt to build a viral campaign which involves an executive saying 'this record is a bit like something you'd take to a funeral' would be inept in the extreme; probably even more inept than even Island would manage.

The real question, though, is what was Sharpe thinking in the first place? He paid large sums of money for Jones to churn out more Sex Bomb style stuff - despite it having been painfully clear from the last couple of EMI albums and that toe-curling Wyclef Jean stuff that this was a mine which would not reward further working. He seems to have been convinced he was hiring a Mercedes, but he'd been bidding on a Smart car.

Lopez upsets Greek Cypriots

Jennifer Lopez has taken up an innocent-sounding and lucrative offer to play a gig in sunny Cyprus and managed to find herself caught in one of those hyper-angry European megarows that blow up over the island.

Because she's taking a big payday from the Turkish-occupied bit. The Guardian reports the almost-instant campaign against the gig:

A web campaign led by indignant Greek Cypriots to convince Lopez to change her mind has attracted thousands of signatories angry that she should even consider performing in territory that is not officially recognised by the United Nations.

"It is with dismay and shock that the people of Cyprus and especially the Greek Cypriot women in the Republic of Cyprus and elsewhere in the world heard the news that you intend to attend the inauguration of a hotel in the occupied by Turkey [sic] part of our native country," says a letter that forms the basis of the campaign.

Lopez still seems happy to turn up, though - sure, the terrible fate of the island is bad, but it's not like the Greek Cypriots are offering an equally large sum for her not to go, is it?
Despite the furore, the five-star Cratos Premium insists the event will go ahead, promising a "very special birthday party … full of surprises for Jennifer Lopez".

I suspect she's already more than a little surprised.

Gordon in the morning: George Micheal pops into Snappy Snaps

Back - I'm afraid - to Cheryl Cole's sick bed this morning, as Gordon reveals that when he told us yesterday she was suffering from exhaustion-oh-no-it's-gastroenteritis he actually meant to say malaria.

Which, just in case you don't know:

in extreme cases can KILL

Is that right, Sun doctor Carol Cooper?
MALARIA can kill

but Cheryl looks to be lucky. There are four forms of the bug, and in Tanzania, where she picked it up, the milder ones are most common.

I'm not sure I have any faith in a doctor who calls malaria "a bug".

What can you add to the story, Gordon?
Sources also revealed Cheryl - whose spokesman confirmed she has malaria - had secretly battled painful stomach cramps while filming the ITV talent show.

But I'd imagine that's normal for anyone working on the X Factor, the way miners used to have scabs down their spines.

In other news, George Michael has had another car crash. Jess Rogers has the details:
GEORGE MICHAEL has been arrested after his car crashed into a SHOP on the night of a gay festival, The Sun can reveal.

The troubled singer, 47, was held on suspicion of being unfit to drive after he lost control of his Range Rover and it smashed into a Snappy Snaps.

I'm not entirely sure why it happening on the night of Pride is in any way relevant, but Jess seems convinced it is:
The singer - who only last year ended a two-year ban for drug driving - was held at 3.35am on Sunday after London's Gay Pride parade.

It's almost as if Rogers is trying to suggest there's some causal link between celebrating homosexuality and not being able to drive a car, or perhaps just that simply being gay is liable to make you incapable of steering. I'm sure that wasn't the intention, though.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Prince declares internet 'over'; Google announces plans to power down

Yes, as he prepares to release his next album exclusively through the Sunday Mirror, Prince has declared the internet to be at an end:

He explains that he decided the album will be released in CD format only in the Mirror. There'll be no downloads anywhere in the world because of his ongoing battles against internet abuses.

Unlike most other rock stars, he has banned YouTube and iTunes from using any of his music and has even closed down his own official website.

He says: "The internet's completely over. I don't see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else. They won't pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can't get it.

Not entirely sure iTunes gets angry when they don't get the new Prince album - it's a bit like believing that a butchers' would be annoyed if they didn't get first dibs on a hedgehog roadkill.

Prince seems to be the angry one here - why won't someone else pay me to make a record upfront? - but it's touching that he believes him not putting a record on the net constitutes an effective end to the whole business.

As if there's someone in an office block with a polished brass sign outside saying 'The Internet', sucking a thoughtful tooth and saying 'well, we managed to rub on by without The Beatles, but if we can't guarantee late-period Prince, I don't think there's much point in us going on. Timmy, you go and unplug the computer; I'll ring the naked ladies and tell them we don't need any more pictures.'

Before the internet finishes, though, Prince has a couple more thoughts:
"The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated.

The internet isn't like MTV, though, is it? That's a bit like saying, I don't know, Prince is like silent movies or something. Confusing a medium with a channel.
"Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good.

"They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."

It's possible that Prince has made a terrible mistake and stuck his iPod headphones into his calculator. Is he worried about digital music being numbers? But then why would he be releasing CDs?

Still, let's not be too quick to rubbish Prince's grasp of what's popular and what it isn't. He is, after all, distributing his new album through the Sunday Mirror next week. Who could deny his understanding of the modern media market?

Ozzy hated The Osbournes. He is just like us after all.

Who would have guessed? Ozzy never really wanted to be cast as a clown in a reality show, and it was all Sharon's idea:

"You know what? That TV celebrity that I became, I f**king didn't like it," he said. "Sharon loves flying around the world and being a TV star. I don't. I can't stand it, because my heart is in music.

"I hated every second of it. She kept pushing me into this f**king stuff. I said, 'I tell you what, Sharon, don't even f**ing ask me, don't even go there with me in future, because I don't want to know'."

This will come as something as a surprise to anyone who saw the programme, as it didn't appear that Ozzy even knew people were making a TV show in his house, much less that he was experiencing any emotion as a result.

The interview, with Metal Hammer, doesn't quite explain why he did the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter adverts.

Justin Hawkins laughs in face of Sun reunion claims

The Sun was confidently predicting earlier that The Darkness are about to reunite. Justin Hawkins says it isn't so:

[The Sun] also suggested that the group had bonded following the birth of drummer Ed Graham's son.

However, writing on Twitter about the speculation, Hawkins joked: "I was startled to read that I've been spending time with a small child that I didn't know existed! Congrats Ed, I think...

"Neither Dan nor I were aware of a 'bitter feud' that has lasted half a decade. We've been at war for over 30 years."

He added: "Whoever paid this 'source' should really ask for their money back, because what they have bought is essentially horse s**t. If there was any truth in the Darkness reunion rumour then it wouldn't be a rumour.

"However, delighted to read that The Sun would be glad to have us back. Warmed my cockles no end!"

Surely someone at the Sun should have asked themselves if it would be possible for Mr Hawkins to keep a reunion under his hat.

Everyone's happy about 6Music. Except the Tories

It's brilliant news about 6Music, isn't it? Don't you agree, Tim Montgomerie?

Oh. Apparently not:

Disgraceful that 6 Music has been saved. When will the BBC share in the pain?

Some people suggest that Montgomerie's website, ConservativeHome, is the paid-for pipe-hole through which Lord Ashcroft pipes his thoughts. That would, of course, be confusing ConservativeHome with David Cameron.

Montgomerie's sour little moan that something which a million people enjoy is going to carry on shows a lack of any grasp of the detail here - if 6Music continues, the nine million quid which would otherwise have been saved will have to come from somewhere else in the Corporation budget - it's not like closing 6Music would mean the BBC giving back a few quid to licence fee payers.

Just wanting a network to shut because you believe the BBC should be hurt is, well, the sort of nasty, spiteful reaction that will be familiar to anyone who remembers the last Conservative government.

The BBC didn't screw up the economy. 6Music listeners didn't screw up the economy - maybe there might be the odd investment banker amongst them, but generally. George Osborne might be pursuing an ideological series of deep cuts to the State, but just because he's dead set on making the nation a more miserable place doesn't mean the BBC has to follow suit.

Still, it's not like Montgomerie doesn't know a thing or two about value for money, as a little later on he tweets:
At 62p per person per year, the Queen is excellent value for taxpayers' money

6Music costs 17p per person per year, helps generate income for the UK creative industries, cross-subsidises bands and artists and entertains a million people a week. More importantly, it doesn't have numerous other forms of income, own large swathes of the country or require extra inputs of support in the form of police protection when it goes out. I'd argue that 6Music is excellent value for your licence pence.

But then, I'm not trying to hurt the BBC.

Breaking News: 6Music saved by BBC Trust

BBC trust order the BBC to think again on closure plans. Bad news for the Asian Network, though, as they're not minded to save that:

"The trust concludes that, as things stand, the case has not been made for the closure of 6 Music," the trust ruled. "The executive should draw up an overarching strategy for digital radio. If the director general wanted to propose a different shape for the BBC's music radio stations as part of a new strategy, the trust would consider it. The trust would consider a formal proposal for the closure of the Asian Network, although this must include a proposition for meeting the needs of the station's audience in different ways."

Gordon in the morning: Cheryl ColeTweedy flops

Gordon is styling his exclusive:

Shattered Cheryl collapses

- which is at least better than Collapsed Cheryl Shatters, because it's easier to scoop someone up than painstakingly reconstruct a person using a bag of bits and some strong glue.

So, she collapsed, you say, Gordon?
The pale singer, 27, fainted in a studio on Saturday.

Oh. Fainted. Perhaps she should try eating those KitKats she's so fond of advertising?
A doctor was rushed to the North London session and diagnosed severe exhaustion before ordering complete rest.

Well, you would be exhausted rushing round North London on a Saturday to go and see a woman who has had a bit of a swoon.

Oh... hang on, it's Cheryl who's exhausted? Oh.

Cole-Tweedy has now had the doctors sign her off The X Factor "until further notice".
Staff at the studio were stunned when the beauty arrived looking "washed-out" and "gaunt".

Yet she refused to postpone the session - insisting she would be fine despite a high temperature and nausea.

Hang about - high temperature and nausea? Those aren't actually symptoms of overwork, are they?
The star was diagnosed with severe exhaustion by a doctor who sped to the scene.

He ordered a complete rest from work and tests later showed she had a vicious gastroenteritis bug.

So she's got gastroenteritis? Sure, that wouldn't be helped by working too hard, but even if her job was sitting still listening to people sing, gastroenteritis would still knock you over.

So this story is 'woman gets gastric flu', not strictly the 'woman works too hard and falls over because Ashley Cole is evil' tale Gordon is trying to make it.

Not that this stops Smart lobbing one of his thinking pieces into the pot:
UNTIL today I thought Cheryl was handling her separation without breaking sweat.

She hasn't let her steely professionalism slip once since that halfwit footballer took leave of his senses and played away from home.

Thank God England are toss at football, eh, Gordon? Could you imagine if you were having to be nice to Ashley as we headed towards a World Cup final?

So: you thought it was all going so well. But this has changed your mind, has it?
But something had to give at some point, and this is the first real sign she isn't Superwoman.

Unless she is Superwoman and one of the current Sugababes line-up had smuggled Kryptonite into her L'Oreal.

If I've understood Gordon up to this point in his thoughts, he was convinced that everything was fine, but something had to give. Righto.

Gordon's aware that most of the country will be shrugging and finding it hard to be sympathetic:
For every reader grafting in a factory wondering what she's got to be exhausted over, it's a lot harder being the nation's favourite Geordie than it looks.

To be fair, if she's pulling double shifts being James Bolam as well, it's no surprise she's flagging.
X Factor is a big gig. The pressure is on all the time. Not just to be on her game with the acts, but looking perfect.

Won't someone pay somebody to do her make-up and pick her dresses out for her?
Then there's the touring and gigs. She doesn't just stand and sing.

She moves about the stage a bit - and let nobody fool you that opening and closing your mouth at the right point is simple.
There's the new album, recording sessions and promo. It doesn't leave much time for relaxation.

At this point, though, Gordon, your fictional factory worker might point out that Tweedy is incredibly rich, and if she chose to retire tomorrow, that would be fine, whereas a factory worker who feels it might all be a bit much has to carry on until death or retirement. Depending on what Osborne allows to come first.
The clock was ticking on the emotional turmoil timebomb. Now it has detonated she can deal with her demons properly.

That doesn't actually make any sense - 'my turmoil bomb has exploded in gastric flu, which means I can deal with my demons'.
I was out for dinner with Cheryl two weeks ago and she looked like she was burning the candle at both ends. Some time off will do her good.

You thought she was burning the candle at both ends, but - at the start of this thought piece - you said you thought she was coping well? Aren't those somewhat conflicting positions to hold simultaneously?

And if you thought you saw this coming... how come you kept quiet?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Popguns weekend: Someone You Love

Never mind the quality, enjoy the quality:

Suddenly I was part of everything
The moment I heard you saying my name
My world was aflame

All the things that I may have dreamed of
Before that day are not now important
And this is what you've meant

[This concludes The Popguns weekend]

Jedward: Not even a walking disaster area any more

We were talking earlier this week about people who hung around long after their fifteen minutes was up - people, indeed, for whom Andy Warhol had been over generous in sharing out the fame.

What a time, then, for Jedward to reappear and reveal that they can't actually stand up and perform at the same time.

Jed - or possibly Ward - managed to fall over while doing Ghostbusters and was "rushed" to hospital, says the Mail. It also says he finished the song. Not entirely sure you can be rushed anywhere if you put it off until you've finished your Ray Parker Junior cover.

Popguns weekend: Live in Brighton

Another live Popguns track, Gone - this time live on homeground, at the Brighton Free Butt. These date from a mini-reunion in 2003:

[Part of

The Kings Of Leon are only human

The Kings Of Leon don't like it when they get negative press:

Speaking to Q, the singer said: "A lot of people talked bad about my songwriting at the start, especially in America. They made us out to be a joke band and I spent the rest of my career trying to prove them wrong. I get online and I read what people are saying and if people say something negative, man, it really hurts me."

Mmm. Perhaps, you know, if you hadn't had the tiresome beards, people might have taken you a little more seriously. And if the songs had been... well, better, you might have not had so many people saying 'it's all beards covering up the lack of invention'. Perhaps.

Popguns weekend: Live in Plymouth

Thanks to Pat Walkington - who was the band bassist - there's a few chunks of live Popguns online.

Waiting For The Winter, live at The Cooperage in Plymouth:


Don't Smile, from the same gig:

... and Bye Bye Baby:

[Part of The Popguns weekend]

Listen with No Rock: Heartbeeps

A spot of Cheryl Cole-age for streaming over at, with Fight For This Love being covered. Covered in cream and kisses.

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Elena Kagan

Ben Sheffner combs through Elen Kagan's record to date in an attempt to calculate how she might vote on big copyright cases should she be confirmed on the Supreme Court:

Still, it's reasonable to conclude that she likely takes a broad view of fair use—not necessarily a bad thing for labels, which have cited the fair use doctrine when defending themselves against sampling claims. And the industry can't help but be concerned that, while at Harvard, she may have absorbed, at least through osmosis, the highly skeptical view of copyright that pervades academia.

The verdict that the music industry might find her having, you know, thought for a living "concerning" is both delightful and a reminder of why the record labels are beyond hope.

Dane Bowers tries what I believe is called a 'zinger'

Dane Bowers has taken a lazy pop at Victoria Beckham, his erstwhile collaborator in shame:

"I think she should stick to fashion design but she’d probably say that herself," he said. "The whole fashion thing is definitely where her future lies."

To be fair, Dane, I suspect you'd be better off trying designing jeans rather than releasing any more records.

Still, Dane is a little more generous about Beckham later on:
"She’s the first person to say that she’s no Mariah Carey but she can hold a tune. You don’t make it as far as the Spice Girls did if you can’t sing at all."

Although the presence of Mel B and Geri Halliwell in the band suggests his theory might be fundamentally flawed.

Popguns weekend: Waiting For The Winter

This is a lovely song. It's also lovely because it comes taped from Transmission. A programme of which those who lived in the North of England spoke of lovingly, which frustrated indiekids in the TVS region never got to see. Unless they found themselves in a bedsit in Leeds, and working through a pile of shaky VHS tapes.

[Part of The Popguns weekend

Trombonobit: Benny Powell

Benny Powell, trombonist with The Count Basie Orchestra has died, it was confirmed yesterday.

Powell was a member of the Basie Orchestra between 1951 and 1963, although he'd often pop back to help out on special occasions. Subsequently, he lead his own groups and got a regular gig as part of Merv Griffin's houseband. He moved into education during the 1980s; for sixteen years he had taught jazz at New York's New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. (It does raise the question of if there's an old school teaching contemporary music somewhere in the State.)

Powell was 80. He had been having spinal surgery which appears to have led to a fatal heart attack.

Glastonbury 2011: Register now

If you haven't yet unpacked your sledge-with-wheels, or attempted to wash the paint from the amusing flag you'd made out of a bedsheet, you might not want to bother. Glastonbury 2011 is already inviting you to register.

The deep thoughts of JLS: Aston

I won't have ketchup in a posh restaurant - it's disrespectful to the chef. Now, if my mum cooks a meal, I'll try not to put ketchup on it!

Aston Merrygold only uses the HP at The Ivy.

Popguns weekend: Still A World Away

They used to get a bit stoppy when people suggested they were interesting because their drummer had been in The Wedding Present. Which is understandable, because who would want to think that the job your drummer was sacked from was the highpoint of your offering?

[Part of The Popguns weekend]

This week just gone

The most-read June stories were:

1. RIP - Stuart Cable
2. Breaking: Stuart Cable found dead
3. Michael Jackson museum ‘can’t use Michael Jackson’s name’
4. RIP: Frank Sidebottom
5. Glastonbury 2010: It was the best ever. Again.
6. AEG makes grudging, piddly payment towards costs of policing its Michael Jackson circus
7. Mick Karn - seriously ill, needs your help
8. Free mp3: Hot Hot Heat
9. News Of The World outraged that broadcasting live events requires people
10. Lloyd says ‘I told Chris Brown to cry. But that doesn’t mean I told him to cry.’

These were the releases, actually from the week before :

Stars - The Five Ghosts

Download The Five Ghosts

Cerys Matthews - Tir

Download Tir

Sleigh Bells - Treats

Download Treats

Delays - Star Tiger Star Ariel

Download Star Tiger Star Ariel

Kele - The Boxer

Download The Boxer

Boo Radleys - Giant Steps luxurious triple CD box set

Download Giant Steps

A Flock Of Seagulls - Listen

Download The Best Of...

Various - To Scratch Your Heart: Early Recordings From Istanbul

Download The Best Of...