Saturday, June 04, 2011

Twittergem: Kaiser Chiefs

@MrTrick points out that nobody (apart, perhaps, from the Kaiser Chiefs) is going to get rich remaking the new album:

Since the Kaisers album site went live the top 5 sellers of the album have managed to shift 91 copies between them.
Actually, I think that's a pretty impressive number of sales. Because why would anyone buy somebody else's prepackaged collection when they can make their own, and possibly sell it on.

Gordon in the morning: The pants war

Having spent the last few years desperately trying to talk up chart battles where there were none, Gordon moves into the clothing department:

ROBBIE WILLIAMS is launching a fashion firm to rival LIAM GALLAGHER's Pretty Green.
I'm not sure how you'd measure this to decide on success - is the winner the person who gets the largest coverage of column inches compared to the actual square meterage of cloth they sell?
Robbie's clothes will be in stores this autumn with T-shirts from £35 and three-quarter-length Mod-style coats for £350.

There will also be accessories such as flat caps and polka-dot scarves.
A source said: "Robbie's aim was to create a collection with a heritage feel combined with a modern style."
Hang about, Gordon? "A source said"? That's not an unattributable, off-the-record briefing type statement. It's like Woodward & Bernstein reporting back from Deep Throat that "the president's economic policy will stay the course for the next two years, with early signs of an upturn in the automotive sector."

Maybe there's just a template in The Sun's computer system that only allows Gordon to attribute comments to magazines he's read them in, or anonymous sources.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Look East edge around the Britain's Got Talent story

Bryan and Susan Gunn have just popped on Look East talking about Ronan Parkes.

Stewart White offered a "and I believe he was discovered at your birthday party" which felt like either a poorly briefed question, or just a really clumsy way to wrench the lid of the can of worms.

Susan asked "who discovered him?", (on the grounds that there were no outside guests at the party), before then saying there was no party "two years ago" for anyone to not have been present at anyway. Which would seem to be a fairly firm, if slightly confusing, rejection of one of the key claims in yesterday's anonymous note.

She then launched into a further spot of explication - that Ronan had sung at a different family party, but again where there were no outside representatives. Some of the guests had, though, put footage of Ronan singing online.

So, the story yesterday was definitively wrong, at least in some of its early detail.

Equally, though, it turns out it was at least possible for anyone to have discovered footage of Ronan Parkes singing online. Doesn't mean anyone from Syco or Sony did, but you can start to see how, if someone was trying to slap together a plausible-sounding story, that element might have got garbled as the tale was being weaved.

Girls Aloud: Dark doings behind the scenes

A few years back, Kaiser Chiefs popped up on light ent confection An Audience With Girls Aloud. It turns out now that Ricky Wilson had got cold feet about the idea:

"By the same token, it felt like the wrong thing at the wrong time. We tried to pull out, but we were basically... threatened. That's all I can say about that right now."
I'm struggling to think of a scenario where anyone organising a Girls Aloud special would be so desperate to keep the Kaiser Chiefs onboard that they resorted to the old "be a pity if anything happened to your drummer" routine. It's fair to say that the band had perhaps started the southwards part of their career cycle at that point.

In other Kaiser Chiefs news, they've launched their new album The Future Is Medieval as a pyramid sales format. You choose ten tracks from the twenty on offer, and make a 'personal' CD. The twist is that, if you can get someone to buy 'your' version of the album, you get a pound. Which is a novel idea, kind of a limited affiliate marketing scheme.

Three strikes could be out

A UN report into legislation, such as the HADOPI law in France or the DEA in the UK, which allows suspension of internet connection, says that the measure may be contrary to human rights principles. The Telegraph says:

“The Special Rapporteur urges States to repeal or amend existing intellectual copyright laws which permit users to be disconnected from Internet access,” says [Frank] La Rue’s report, which will be presented to the UN’s human rights council today.
The UK government have mumbled something about how they think there are "balancing rights" of intellectual property, which suggests that Cameron and Clegg don't quite understand what a fundamental human right is.

Gordon in the morning: More on Mick's manhood

So it turns out that we're still talking about the size of Mick Jagger's cock. Last year, you'll have shut out of your mind, Keith Richards claimed that it was so miniscule, it was no tool at all.

Today, though, Pete Townshend has decided to defend the honorable member:

He said: "I think it's sad that we will only remember Keith's book because of what he said about the size of Mick's genitals. Which, by the way, to use an apt term, is b*******.

"I've seen them and they are not small. And it is not just the balls that are big."
Pete doesn't appear to consider that, perhaps, he happened to see Mick fully deployed while Keith couldn't stir Mick to such heights.

Gordon describes Pete's testimony as "first hand experience". If Mick was that huge, surely he'd have needed a second hand?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Simon Cowell denies BGT fix claims

After this morning's anonymous claims that Britain's Got Talent is fixed comes the denial:

However, a spokesperson for Cowell made a statement which denied the rumours, which said: "There is no truth in this story whatsoever. Ronan first came to Syco/Sony's attention when he entered this year’s competition.

"Syco/Sony Music will not hesitate to take whatever legal action is appropriate to prevent further publication of these unfounded allegations.”

BPI decides to extend its moral guardianship to the internet

As if not managing to find a way to make money online wasn't occupying enough of the BPI's time, it's just announced a scheme which will fail to stop children seeing porny pop videos and hearing bad words in songs.

The risible "parental guidance" sticker - itself based on a weak idea by Tipper Gore - is moving online. New Media Age:

From today (Thursday), online content will have to display the parental advisory logo, for the first time since the scheme was introduced over 15 years ago.

According to the BPI, some digital music stores have already been showing the label against content but most audio and video streaming services, including Spotify and Napster, had not yet implemented a consistent parental guidance system.
Napster hasn't implemented a parental guidance system? That must be worrying news, should anyone under the age of thirty ever find out what Napster is.

The BPI hasn't stopped to think how its system - which, presumably, will only apply to music-related content put online by its members in the UK - could be considered a "consistent parental guidance system". Unless there are people whose sole online activity consists, consistently, of watching music videos made by EMI UK, Sony UK and the other two.

Still, it's good to know that the parents who have hitherto not noticed, say, Rihanna's video being full of S&M-lite imagery, will clearly be checking the little symbol at the start of the video now. "Goodness, now there's a warning at the front, I've suddenly spotted that this video being flung at my popkids is full of filth."

GaGa says 99cents is about right

Talking to the Wall Street Journal, Lady GaGa has said that when Amazon flogged the new record for less than a dollar, they were probably right:

“No. I absolutely do not, especially for MP3s and digital music. It’s invisible. it’s in space. If anything, I applaud a company like Amazon for equating the value of digital versus the physical copy, and giving the opportunity to everyone to buy music. It also wasn’t really 99 cents, because Amazon paid the difference on all of those purchases as part of their promotional campaign for one of their new services. I think it’s amazing and it was a really nice surprise and I felt honored that they chose my record to be part of it.”
The interesting bit is tucked away in the middle - 'sure, sell them for 99cents. Providing I still get my full pay from somewhere'.

Maybe the next album could be sold exclusively through Family Dollar?

Britain's Got Talent got a mole?

Interesting document has turned up online from someone claiming to be an employee of Sony, telling an interesting tale about Ronan Parke.

Parke is a contestant on the current Britain's Got Talent. According to this account, he's also the preselected winner. And has been signed to Syco for two years, during which time he's been groomed (yes, like that) for a brief crack at the preteen market.

It has to be remembered that this is an anonymous account, and by its nature a one-side-of-the-story. There are, presumably, enough people who have been disadvantaged, disgusted or disrespected by Simon Cowell, his various franchises and ITV in general to make the obvious default position 'how do I know this isn't written drenched in bitterness rather than truth'?

I hope Ronan is not damaged by this experience, unforunately, history warns otherwise...but whatever, the genie is already out of the bottle and come this weekend, Ronan's life will change forever. Whether it's a good or bad experience being a 12 year old star in today's music industry, only time will tell. But as an industry insider I have serious reservations about what is about to happen to Ronan Parke and I doubt he or his family are ready for what's coming.
But if there's any truth in it at all, it's not just Ofcom who should be worried by the claims. There's a case for Social Services to be involved, as well.

GaGa? More like MehMeh, says Lefsetz

Bob Lefsetz has an interesting take on the smidge-over-a-million that GaGa sold:

Yes, by conventional SoundScan standards a tick over a million copies in a week is a significant sum.

But is there anybody in the U.S. who did not know GaGa had a new album out? Was there a problem finding a place to buy it?

What we’ve learned here is most people just don’t care. They don’t want GaGa at any price.
He reckons the problem is that there's no longer a mainstream; that once GaGa had sold to her sizeable fanbase, there isn't anyone who is that bothered.
Oh, the mainstream media tells us Lady GaGa is a superstar. But she’s not, not by the standards of yore. How many people actually went to her show? How many people have purchased her music? If she were a network TV show, they’d cancel her. And network TV shows have a fraction of the audience they once had. Three networks used to have 90% of the audience. Now four and a half networks have less than 30%. The rest is made up of endless cable channels, endless niches. Many of them quite profitable, in some cases more profitable than the networks, because costs are watched and a premium is charged for their audience.

In other words, maybe you can’t afford to spend so much making your album. And if you’ve got hard core fans you can get a lot of money from them. That’s the game.
There's a thread missing from his argument, though - that a lot of people who lap up Lady GaGa don't react to her as a musician. Lady GaGa is the Sarah Palin of politics - a lot of people will come and look, and enjoy the sideshow, and either enjoy the meat dresses and moose shoots, or enjoy not liking them; but the fascination is one of watching a sideshow. Enjoying reading about GaGa wearing a hat made of seashells doesn't mean you're going to buy her record, any more than those people who enjoy Palin's disruption of Republican politics would actually want her to be signing the budget off in the White House.

Embed and breakfast man: Emmy The Great

Ooh, this is lovely - a new video from the great Emmy The Great:

That's Iris, off of Virtue, which comes out the Monday after next.

The album that knows where you are

If you're in America, and at the National Mall, you can prick your finger on the sharp side of the cutting edge by downloading the first location-aware album. What the hell is that, The Next Web?:

Users will be able to download the album [iOS here, free] over the Mall’s WiFi. The phone’s geolocation will sync up with an impressionistic map rendering created for the app. Hit play and as users create their own path through the Mall, they’re creating their own special listening experience. If a user say cuts over to the reflecting pond then over to the FDR memorial, they will have a completely different experience than someone who takes the opposite route and the music was designed for this experience.
Sitting in Britain, it's hard enough to imagine an Arndale with a reflecting pool in it, never mind a soundtrack*.

This feels a bit more at the art project end of the musical scale. And, of course, it helps to promote the band involved. They're called Bluebrain, if you're interested.

* - I know. I know. The national park at the centre of Washington that runs up to the Lincoln Memorial. "This Mall is kind of crummy, there's no shops open at all..."

Gordon in the morning: This won't hurt a bit

Gordon reports - in the "has read in this month's Esquire magazine" sense of reports - that Robbie Williams is getting a bit of help:

"To cut a long story short I went to get some HGH. It's what all the old fellas are on out there in LA that's making them look 40 instead of 60.

"It's improving their health, their memory, their hair, skin.

"Could give you cancer. I weighed that up. Thought I'd have it anyway. Went to see a Hollywood doctor. Had my blood tests. Went back. He said, 'You don't need HGH. You've got the testosterone of a 100-year-old man.'

"And then everything made sense. It was kind of an epiphany that day."
The testosterone of a 100 year-old man, and the outlook of a twelve year-old. Naturally, Williams has started to inject himself with testosterone. Oddly Smart doesn't seem to see any link between this dependency and Williams' previous use of drugs and alcohol.

And what effect is it having on Williams?
Esquire editor ALEX BILMES pushed him by asking if he would be unfaithful if he could guarantee it would remain a secret.

He replied: "Actually, no, because I don't want to break Ayda's heart. That's the last thing I want to do. I met Ayda, I fell in love, that's what happened.

"But I would be way more tempted because at the end of the day I am a man, with the stuff that makes you a man - go forth and multiply. And multiply with absolutely everyone."
Again, Smart doesn't seem to draw any sort of link between what Williams is putting in his body, and what's coming out of his mouth.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Avril Lavigne swears in the Tropicana

It's strange that the report of Avril Lavigne's apparent cussing of technicians cannot find space to say what she swore, but does make sure the naming rights holder of the venue gets a full mention:

The frustrated Sk8er Boi hitmaker finally unleashed on the technicians as 25,000 fans looked on in disbelief.

A Rays spokesman has since issued a statement which reads, "The [Tampa Bay] Rays demand profanity-free performances from all of our concert performers, and we are extremely disappointed... It is not consistent with the atmosphere that Tropicana Field is known for."
I suspect most of the 25,000 fans who were looking on in disbelief were more surprised that Avril Lavigne was still going rather than that she swore.

But what did she say? What did she say?

Luckily, the New York Daily News knows:
"[Sound system problems] fucking happen on a baseball field," she yelled into the mic at the family-friendly stadium.
She'd snapped when people started booing her. And, clearly, assumed they were booing because she hadn't started playing, rather than because she'd turned up to try and play.

Lavigne did try to apologise:
"We just had so much fun tonight and we want to take the tirade out and say thank you to the Tampa Bay Rays!" she said. "I'm truly sorry if anyone was offended by my language."
No apology for anyone who was horrified by the music.

Ringo still hoping everyone's moved on

Having tried in May to get beyond having told Jonathan Ross he doesn't miss anything about Liverpool, Ringo's tried again today:

Speaking after a performance ahead of a European tour - which includes a date in Liverpool - he said: “There’s lots I miss, of course.

“I did that joke with Jonathan Ross and I’m still paying for it, it seems - where three people from the Wirral complained.

“But of course I love Liverpool"
It's a sign of just how much he loves the city that he's only just got round to popping back now, and so finds himself belatedly fighting a fire from a TV appearance he made three years ago.

Still, having a pop at Wirralites will unite the Scousers behind him, right? Although, to be fair, people from the Wirral go to Liverpool more often than bloody ex-Beatles manage.

According to one of the comments on the Echo article, the Empire has a lot of seats left at all prices for Ringo's date. That's not strictly true - there's only one seat in the stalls left. But over 350 upstairs left untaken. You'd suspect this is less down to anything Ringo might have said, and more down to the getting on for seventy quid for a ticket.

Facebook hopes music will stop the inevitable decline being inevitable

Mark Mulligan has done a guest blog for Hypebot:

How Zuckerberg Is Using Music To Keep Facebook From 'Doing a MySpace'
Hmm. MySpace used music in a bid to stop MySpace doing a Friendster, but Zuckerberg is being a bit smarter:
Zuckerberg’s music strategy is simple:

Make Facebook an integral part of the music experience without ever getting bogged down in paying to license the music from record labels.
And, more importantly, without having the panoply of hosting to bother about.

Still, if this does fail, he could always put the site in a sack and try to flog it to an old media company.

Serge from Kasabian tries to blame universe or something for new songs

Kasabian are currently writing a new record.

Even Serge Pizzorno sounds like he can barely cope with the stench:

Speaking to NME in a video which you can see at the top of your screen, the guitarist said how the album was written: "I feel like I wasn't even there, like a spirit came down and took over, I'd just be milling about and I'd wake up in the morning and go 'Who's done that?' I really feel like a spirit wrote the album."
"...or possibly it was hoodlums. Maybe some hoodlums broke in and wrote it? Either way, it was like that when I found it. I really, really cannot claim any sort of responsibility for this record. Not in any way. This... this won't come out of my damage deposit, will it?"

Gordon in the morning: Coldplay go punk

Look, everybody! It wasn't the fridge making that strange dirging noise all night, it was the return of Coldplay. Gordon is delighted by their re-emergence.

It's exciting, isn't it?

Last year Chris Martin [...] hinted the band were ready to show their rebellious side.
Ooh, rebellion, eh? Well, with the Arab Spring and the global austerity blanket, there's plenty of anger and revolution to channel. So what's the comeback single about, then?
The band revealed artwork for their upcoming single Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall yesterday
Every Teardrop Is... A Waterfall, you say? I imagine Cameron is gathering COBRA around him as we speak.

But hang about - we might be being a bit unfair, because while the music is the same, sappy, Young Fotherington-Thomas In Love, there's a new image. Right, Gordon?
[There are] shots of their brave new look.
A brave new look?
Wow, Chris Martin is wearing a denim jacket, like he's really not going to take any shit when he returns a packet of screws to B&Q. And someone's turned up wearing a jerkin.

Gordon, in what way is this "brave"?
[F]rontman Chris is sporting a new slicked back barnet - paying homage to CLASH rocker JOE STRUMMER.
Possibly Joe Strummer. Possibly whoever was batting seventh for Essex in the summer of 1958.
It's definitely going to get the Coldplay fans talking - and probably the Zoolander fashion crowd too.
It will get people talking - "I thought C&A had closed years ago", for example - but it's touching that Smart thinks that people interested in fashion are going to be that surprised by middle-aged men wearing clothes that try to recapture someone else's youth. Badly.

There's spray paint too, you'll have noticed. And only seven years after Starsailor did a Banksy-themed video.

Smart digs out a quote from Chris Martin last year where he warned that he wasn't going to "play it safe" any more. Gordon seems convinced that this is what Martin has done:
Sounds like a real punk ethos. Joe Strummer would have been proud.
Would he? Would he really?
[I]t could make for an interesting summer ahead if Coldplay are about to embrace the punk spirit.

He'll be telling us he's given up eating Fairtrade bananas next.
Their single is called Unicorns Are Pretty But Don't Touch The Sharp Horn, Gordon. They've not embraced the punk spirit, they've just hired a new stylist, and passed it off to gullible journalists as some sort of edgy new direction.

I suppose, to be fair, Malcolm McLaren would probably be grudgingly respectful.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In battle between 'a bit special' and 'big pile of cash', special never wins

Coachella, one of the few festivals which still felt like a proper experience, is going to run a repeat of the 2012 weekend. The following weekend.

Same bill; seven days later. It's like the ultimate in timeshifting. Soulless, money-grubbing timeshifting.

John Elway takes on the punks

There's a band in Fort Collins who took the name Elway, as a way of (a) dumping their original, rotten name of 10-4 Eleanor and (b) paying tribute to their roots through John Elway, who used to play American "football" and sell cars in Denver.

John Elway found out, and was not flattered. He's now instructed his people to send a letter to Elway, the band, asking them to not use the name any more.

They're going to stick with the name. Not least, you suspect, because a band who by their own admission usually play to "about 30 people in a basement" are suddenly picking up coverage from CBS, Yahoo, and USA Today. Albeit the sports pages, but still, it's coverage.

Elway insist that they're not actually using Elway to mean John Elway - instead, they're using him as part of the local vernacular; Mr Elway, to be fair, hasn't sent a legal cease-and-desist. Not yet, anyway.

Twittergem: Goblin

This is a succinct Tweet encapsulating the Goblin problem in 140 or less, from @Tismey:

Given 'Goblin' another go. Utterly charmless and misanthropic. If you have to keep reminding people it's a joke, you're Doing It Wrong.

Scottish court convicts woman despite OCD

Scotland has handed down its first conviction related to unlicensed music use, with Anne Muir pleading guilty to one charge. Torrentfreak reports:

On May 10th 2011, it was widely reported that Anne Muir, a 58-year-old woman from Scotland, had pleaded guilty to criminal file-sharing offences. The conviction of Muir, a grandmother from Ayr, represented the first case of its type in the country.
Today the decision on sentencing was handed down.
Muir had faced 10 criminal charges but pleaded guilty to only one of sharing music but “not to any extent”.
“Ms Muir did not make any money. What she did was not commercial,” said the Sheriff. “She is a first offender so imprisonment would not be beneficial.”
Muir was put on probation for 3 years and ordered to attend mandatory cognitive therapy treatment sessions for her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
So, the court found she had OCD, and decided that even so she had to be given a criminal record as well? If there's an acceptance that she had a mental precondition to hoard, and that this has led her to hoard music (and karaoke tracks), then why is she also being given a criminal record?

There's something else odd about this case:
Muir, an auxiliary nurse, was said to have amassed a collection of media including some 7,493 music files and 24,243 karaoke files which she made available via an unnamed Direct Connect hub. Sources at the BPI and IFPI, who conducted the initial investigation into Muir’s activities, placed a ‘market value’ on her collection of £54,792.
So that's 31,376 tracks with a market value of £1.72 a track. Are there any karaoke tracks which sell online for more than a quid? In fact, on CD, karaoke tracks seem to be worth about 5p a pop. How on earth did the BPI get to a market value of nearly fifty-five grand?

I mean, sure, it must be certain of its figures as it wouldn't be perjuring itself, but that seems a surprising valuation by any stretch.

Vacation, Vacation, Amplification: Stay NoFX

Heading to Vegas? Want to stay a while? Worried that your planned trip isn't hardcore?

Why not stay at the Punk House, Fat Mike from NoFX's vacation home for hire?

If holiday cottages don't actually sound punk to you, it is self-catering so there's a DIY vibe to the whole place.

No, no, it really is punk. Look at the accommodation:

Master suite with a full bath
Couples bedroom
Third bedroom with 6 punk beds
It's got punk beds! Which might just be a bunk bed with the first letter turned upside down, but that's punk, right?

What better than hiring this place, and letting rip...
It is not a place to throw a big party or play really loud music. Bands will not be playing there.
Hey! What sort of place is this punk house anyway? Where abouts is it?
Location: Cul-de-sac
A cul-de-sac? What kind of punks live in a cul-de-sac?

Gordon in the morning: Dead letter office

Lady GaGa is photographed in a red leather cap. Rather a mundane quasi-fetishwear choice for Mrs G, but Gordon is going to have a go nevertheless:

LADY GAGA'S kinky postman has been leaving his hats lying around again.
Really? She must have pinched it from her kinky postman? The USPS does a kinky outfit, which they not only issue to staff, but the staff leave laying about? It's unpleasant when Smart peers up women's skirts, but the attempts at whimsy are as unsettling in other ways.

Monday, May 30, 2011

CBS radio boss states obvious, but still needs saying

Dan Mason heads up CBS' radio division, and as such is king of 130 stations. He's just told his team to do what should be obvious:

It would seem one of the basic tasks of any disk jockey: tell listeners the name of the song they just heard. But last week the head of a major radio company felt compelled to instruct its programmers to start identifying more of the songs played on the air, by title and artist name.
The record labels are delighted, as well they should be. Mason admits that his new policy is effectively putting right a jaunt up a research-led blind alley:
In an interview, Mr. Mason explained that at some indeterminate point in history — he and other radio veterans place it at the mid-1980s — song identification began to vanish from the air as programmers struggled to squeeze out anything considered “clutter.”

“You were always conscious about the amount of talk you would put on,” he said. “But the truth is that people tune in and tune out, and it was probably underestimated at the time how much people really wanted that information.”
It's a first step toward putting right a lot of pisspoor decisions taken by heads of radio companies. Let's hope Mason has some more plans, and for now, embrace the return of the back announcement to American radio.

Rock sick list: Sean Kingston

Sean Kingston is in hospital in Miami following what sounds like quite a serious jetski accident.

Ringo says "sorry", sort-of

Back in 2008, Ringo Starr upset Liverpool by telling Jonathan Ross (remember him?) that there was nothing he missed about the city. Now, having had a chance to think about it - by which, we mean "having booked a gig in the city" - Starr has clarified his comments:

Starr, 70, said: "I apologise to those people (who were offended), as long as they live in Liverpool, not outside.

"No real Scouser took offence, only I believe people from the outside.

"I was brought up there, I went to school there, all my childhood, my youth was there.

"It's silly that whoever took offence, took offence."
This is, perhaps, the most brilliant empty apology in recorded history. Starr says sorry to anyone, providing they live in Liverpool, and then says that nobody who lives in Liverpool could possibly be offended.

Starr's suggestion that only people who still live in Liverpool are "proper" Scousers is also a bit bemusing - especially as he also seems to be claiming that he is a proper Scouser on the grounds that he lived there until he earned enough money to move somewhere else.

Still, how has his apology-of-sorts been received? Let's check the comments section on that ClickLiverpool article:
Ringo made a gaff and has apologised. Now lets rock with him at the Empire Theatre. Welcome back Ringo!
Ah, that's great then. Which part of Liverpool did that warm, open welcome come from?
Eddie M, Manchester

TI helps out

TI is currently in prison, after ignoring his parole terms relating to his love of drugs. But he's actually doing something nice while inside:

"I've been blessed to receive tons and tons of mail from my fans, family and friends, as well as get visits on a regular basis. Unfortunately some guys aren't as fortunate," T.I. said in a statement obtained by MTV News. "There are a lot of good dudes in here that haven't been able to see there loved ones in years. Their families can't afford the trip so I wanted to help out."
He's paid out for families of fellow prisoners to visit this weekend. Sure, there's an element of brand-rebuilding going on here, but it's still a nice thing to do.

Darkness at 3AM: Beyonce minus 1

The 3AM Girls report that Beyonce has flopped:

OUCH. Just 72 hours after releasing her second single, 1+1 – and even performing it on the American Idol finale – it appears Beyonce has had an embarrassing change of heart.

Following a barrage of less than positive comments from viewers, the track has been mysteriously binned and another has been released as the new single.
Obviously, when your reporting consists of little more than copying stuff off Perez Hilton, you might have little gaps in your story. Nowhere do the 3amies mention that 1+1 wasn't released in the UK at all; nor that it wasn't even a 'proper' release in America.

The US release was classified as a "promotional download" - in other words, it wasn't meant to be a full-fledged release. It looks like Beyonce's people just lobbed it up for download to capture the people wanting to buy the song after it was on a top-rated US TV programme. Rather a shrewd move, surely?

It's still available on the US Amazon site, and doing fairly well for a track not getting any marketing push.

But, still, if Perez says it's been somehow "ditched", that's probably more important to the Mirror than facts.

Gordon in the morning: An apology

We might have given you to understand that Gordon Smart spends most of his time perving over women's breasts. I now would like to acknowledge that is unfair, and...

ASTON MERRYGOLD can't be short of a few bob - and with the band's new film out this week there will be even more cash rolling in.

So it's a mystery why he can only ever afford miniature T-shirts.

The JLS singer was out and about in London last night with another of his chest-baring tops.
Apparently any breasts will do.
Although it probably saves fans from ripping his clothes if he's already got there first...
Breathe, Gordon. Remember to breathe.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

This week just gone

The most-read May stories:

1. Tegan And Sara say 'let's stop treating Tyler The Creator as anything other than a dick'
2. Liveblog: Eurovision
3. Morrissey hides behind Poly Styrene to explain rudeness on the radio
4. Domino Records launches a radio station
5. Tyler The Creator responds to Tegan And Sara
6. Blue at the Eurovision
7. Amazon's 99p GaGa makes clouds fall over
8. Noel Gallagher: 21st Century wit
9. Costa frontman Peter Andre opens his own shop
10. The Beatles were lucky to have me, reckons Ringo

Released this week, and worth thinking about:

Comet Gain - Howl Of The Lonely Crowd

Download Broken Record Prayers

Pete & The Pirates - One Thousand Pictures

Download One Thousand Pictures

Art Brut - Brilliant! Tragic!

Download Brilliant Tragic

David Sylvian - Died In The Wool

Download Died In The Wool

Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts

Download Demolished Thoughts

The Sea And The Cake - The Moonlight Butterfly

Download Carousel

Robin Guthrie - Emeralds

Download Carousel

The Feelies - Here Before

Download Here Before

Neil Diamond - The Bang Years

Download The Bang Years