Saturday, June 11, 2011

eMusic waits for a surge

eMusic is not exactly growing, having had the same number of users subscribing for the last four years.

On the bright side, the company is now making a fifth more from each of those members. Partly this is down to having major labels fully on board, although surely they'd have been hoping that they'd have tempted new sign-ups rather than just persuading their existing user base to spend more.

The company is now "hoping" it's cloud service will be in place by Christmas, although they've been promising this since last summer. Christmas seems too late, given that Amazon, Google and Apple are already taking names and credit card details.

Joan Jett trying to close down cancer charity album

A bunch of bands covering The Runaways - a nice tribute to Joan Jett, and a way of raising funds for a cancer charity. Who could have a problem with that?

Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, it turns out:

The two-disc album, "Take It or Leave It: A Tribute to the Queens of Noise," features covers of songs by the Runaways, which launched the careers of Jett and Currie. It's supposed to be released June 28.

Jett and Currie say in their lawsuit that the Easton, N.J.-based record label used their names to promote the album without their permission.
The label, Main Man records, say they've not seen the lawsuit and don't appear to have even been contacted by Jett or Currie.

Houseobit: Darryl Pandy

Darryl Pandy has died, following a long illness.

Pandy was best known as the vocalist on Farley "Jackmaster" Funk's Love Can't Turn Around, which made the UK charts twice: once in the 80s, and once in the 90s:

The self-styled "round mound of chocolate sound" boasted a six and a half octave range, which coupled with his connections to the nascent Chicago house scene in the early 80s created him a solid niche. 5Chicago laments that his huge back catalogue is spread across a number of mostly now-defunct labels, and hopes for a project to try and reunite the work.

Farley Jackmaster posted a tribute on Facebook:

Our Brother In The LORD And My Lil Brother And Friend & Artist Darryl Pandy Has Went Home To The LORD To Sing In GOD'S Heavenly Choir. iLove You Darryl As iHave Told You Over & Over Again...
Love Can't Turn Around No Matter What...GOD Bless You In JESUS CHRIST HOLY NAME...

During his illness, a series of benefit gigs had been held in Chicago.

Michael Jackson: Sony issue a dire warning

Doctor Conrad Murray - whose office bears the sign "716 day with no dead international megastars on my watch" - is currently trying to prove his prescription services had nothing to do with the death of Michael Jackson.

As part of this process, he's trying to get all the footage of Jackson's rehearsals for those Greenwich gigs released. TMZ have seen the paperwork. Murray is convinced it'll show that Jacko was so ill at the time, a good puff of wind or a poorly made Pot Noodle could have killed him, and so take the heat off the Propofol script.

Sony, though, are reluctant. They start by murmuring that it'd cost a lot of money to transcribe all the tapes, and then start to have hives about the security:

Sony lawyers say, "When they were transported to the Sony lot in Culver City, the transport in an unmarked truck was accompanied by armed guards in the dead of the night."

When the tapes were in an editing bay, security guards were posted outside the door and no Internet access was allowed in the room.
I love the idea that they stipulate it was an unmarked truck, rather than something from the fleet of trucks with the "Sony transporting Michael Jackson rehearsal footage" livery you'd have been expecting.

Then, some chilling words:
And a Sony honcho also submitted a declaration which says the videos "have a high monetary value inherent in their potential for future uses. Those uses include one or more 'anniversary editions.'"
One or more. One or more.

Sony have a point, though: why the hell should an investigation into the death of a man, or another man's attempts to prove his innocence in that death, be in any way allowed to interfere with their attempts to squeeze a few more dollars from the corpse.

Gordon in the morning: Cardle meets Clyro

Matt Cardle believe he's been given Biffy Clyro's blessing for covering Many Of Horror, having met them at the Kerrang Awards:

Matt said: "I was a bit worried about meeting them because I had no idea what they thought of my song.

"I'm a huge fan of theirs so I apologised to them in case they hated it.

"But we had a really nice chat. As it turns out, I think they quite liked my cover. They didn't have a problem with it at all."
Gordon speculates that all the money might have helped, which is possible. It's equally likely that Biffy Clyro know that being angry with an X Factor singer for the songs they sing is a bit like hating a dancing bear for the music he shuffles to.

Smart reports that next time round, it'll be different as Cardle is getting a co-writer credit ("writing") for his new album:
He's been heavily involved in the writing process and is looking forward to showing off his new tracks.

It will be interesting to see how Matt spends his money.

I doubt he'll be too keen on a yacht.

Maybe just a new cap to replace the one that hasn't left his head for nearly 12 months.
The money from the new Matt Cardle album? I doubt it'll stretch to buying a copy of Steve Brookstein's most recent album.


Congratulations - at being suckered in by the establishment, dudes to Bob Harris on his OBE.

Bryan Ferry is now going to have to work out how to look suave with a CBE pinned to his dinner jacket.

The remaining two Goodies - Tim and Graeme - get OBEs to match Oddie's at long last (The Funky Gibbon, which surely is the main reason for giving a prize to them, wasn't a one-man track.)

But, perhaps best deserved, and longest overdue, is the OBE for Bernard Cribbins. Yes, there are the novelty hits. But there's also this:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gordon in the morning: Shirty

You know how often Gordon doesn't bother with actually reporting, and just buys a magazine, copies out the most interesting bit and runs that as a story?

Bless him, he's struggled to find something in Pixie Lott's Company interview, despite it being so slight a piece it needs a large paperweight to stop it just floating off on a passing thermal.

So, what's the big reveal, Gordon?

When asked by Company mag what traits she avoids in men, she replied: "Anything too try-hard, like when a guy has his shirt unbuttoned all the way down so you can see too much chest.

"It's so in your face and just not what I'm into."
Yes, Smart takes that as enough to build a second lead on.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

News Corp finds potential buyer for MySpace pig-in-a-poke

It looks like Rupert Murdoch has found a shoulder to take most of the effort of shoring up MySpace: a shadowy investment group which may or may not include Bobby Kotick is apparently the only bidder left in the game. Mr Murdoch's All Things D reckons Kotick - who is not wearing his Activision CEO hat for this one - and his other investors will take on 80 per cent of the declining property for a figure much lower than the USD100million that News Corp were pretending it might be worth.

Apparently the deal could still "fall apart" at any moment - perhaps if the shadowy investors suddenly go "hang about - MySpace isn't the one with the Like button and Farmville at all, is it?"

Gordon in the morning: Every rip-off is a waterfall

Pop quiz, hotshots: What could this headline possibly mean?:

Coldplay and Simon Cowell at hit again
Anyone? No?

The story is actually an interesting one - Coldplay are being forced to hand over cash to Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson, having "borrowed" the songwriter's riff from I Go To Rio and passed it off as their comeback Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall; Simon Cowell was forced to share a credit with the same pair after ripping off the song for Ritmo De La Noche by Mystic back in 1994.

That's interesting. But in what way does it make Coldplay and Cowell "at it" again? Coldplay have never touched I Go To Rio before, Cowell is not touching it now. It's a case where the headline hides the real story - that not only Coldplay can't be arsed to write their own melodies, but they're borrowing the same ones Cowell did.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Lupe Fiasco attempts some political commentary

Lupe Fiasco popped up on CBS' What's Trending show yesterday. Yes, CBS have a programme called What's Trending, which is sweet, isn't it? It's like when my Dad tried to get to grips with Teletext.

Anyway, Lupe decided to share his political insight with the world:

“To me,” Lupe began, “the biggest terrorist is Obama in the United States of America."
That Obama, then. Breathe again, Obamas elsewhere in the world. You're off the hook.

But tell us, Lupe, why do you believe that? Besides, presumably, because you've just finished ninth grade?
I’m trying to fight the terrorism that’s causing the other forms of terrorism.
Righto, Lupe.
You know the root cause of terrorists is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen.
I don't think US foreign policy always helps in terms of ensuring the world gets on, but isn't you analysis a little over-simplistic?
The foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists.
You're not really sure what a foreign policy is, are you, Lupe?

To be fair, a man who starts a song with the words "I'm not a turtle" isn't ever likely to be called upon to take the fifth seat on Question Time, so perhaps we're being unfair. After all, Mr Fiasco has said he won't be using his vote any time soon:
“No, I don’t vote,” he said. “I don’t get involved in politics. It’s meaningless. If I’m going to say I stand behind this person and write on a piece of paper that says, ‘Yeah, I stand for this person,’ then I have to take responsibility for everything he does cause that’s just who I am as a human being. So politicians aren’t going to do that because I don’t want you to bomb some village in the middle of nowhere.”
So you don't vote for, say, your local mayor because if you did, somehow you'd be bombing Afghanistan?

Unfortunately, Lupe's interview seems to have ended before he could be asked, for example, whether the US intervention in Libya is justified, or if he understands that voting is a process in which you choose a candidate who is the best fit for you, and you're unlikely to ever find someone who you agree with 100%. Or that if you don't vote at all, you're never going to see your voice and opinions reflected in government because you've chosen to opt out. But, hey, I bet the kids who skipped civics class to smoke were impressed.

ACS:Law lawyer now Potless:Bankrupt

Andrew Crossley, the man from ACS:Law who sent cash-demanding letters claiming illegal filesharing activities with often scant evidence, has been declared bankrupt.

It's not all bad news, mind: given his impecunious circumstances, he's had his £200k fine for being rubbish at protecting personal data reduced to £1000.

The Rag Trade: Weller does some designs

Oh, god: just when you thought celebrity fashion lines couldn't be more tragic, Paul Weller starts to design. For Liam Gallagher.

Oh, Paul. Why?

"I've wanted to design my own range for some time and Pretty Green felt like a good home for my clothes."
You're Paul Weller. He's the one out of Oasis who needs help opening jars. It's named after one of your songs. Aside from if you were taking instructions from the seven year-old Chinese kid who is doing the stitching*.
My main design reference is somewhere between 1968 and 1970.
I've checked the calendar, and that would seem to be 1969.
The clothes themselves sit between being smart and casual with quality materials and tailoring.
They sit between being smart and casual - so they're neither smart, nor casual, in other words.

The funny thing is, Weller sounds less like a man who has just fulfilled a long-held ambition to design his own fashion range, and more like a bloke who's trying to impress his girlfriend by describing a suit he once saw in a shop.

* - There's no reason to assume that Chinese children actually make the clothes, but despite having a very intricate legal page there doesn't seem to be anything about ethical sourcing or manufacture anywhere on the Pretty Green site.

This bit is interesting, though:
Please note that any returns requesting a refund on an order that contains a free poster will not be refunded unless the poster is included with the returned item(s).
Surely people weren't just ordering trousers in order to get a free poster, and then returning the trousers for money back?

Gordon in the morning: Plugging Kasabian

This morning, Gordon is in a mood to plug Kasabian. He starts with a tortuous football metaphor:

IF you look at the Premier League there are five teams in contention for a place in the Champions League.
Admittedly, it's a piece about Kasabian so kicking off with a dull, laddish statement probably isn't going to make any further dent in the number of people reading along.
The same goes for UK rock bands capable of the musical equivalent - selling out a stadium tour.

THE ROLLING STONES, MUSE, COLDPLAY, ARCTIC MONKEYS and now KASABIAN, who are about to join the fight thanks to their epic fourth album.
Perhaps going for the international soccer metaphor was a bad idea, given that Kasabian have only sold thirteen records in the US, and struggle elsewhere, so aren't really playing at the same level as the other four. (And no Take That or Paul McCartney? Sure, you might have to slightly stretch what you mean by "UK rock band" but if you don't mention those two isn't a bit like - rummaging for a football metaphor - only counting teams with British managers?)

Still, Gordon has heard the album:
The album features at least two of the best songs he has ever written.
Well, that's setting the bar pretty low.
Excitement is reaching fever pitch around radio stations and music mags and the band's label, Sony, have Pound signs flashing in their eyes.
Nothing says "rock and rooooolllllll" like the idea of a Japanese-based multinational electronics corporation expecting to make a large profit.
And the album, it almost goes without saying, will deliver the soundtrack for every football show for the next 18 months.
It's funny, I don't watch football shows and yet I'm already sick of hearing the music they haven't used yet.
And I bet my boots the lads will send a few shockwaves through their rivals when they hear this new album.
At last, something we can agree on. I'm sure most bands will listen to the album and go "bloody hell, that's shocking."

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Kerrang hits 30; gets new editor

Considering it was only ever a spin-off from Sounds, you'd have to be a curmudgeon to not applaud Kerrang for reaching its 30th birthday.

That's nine years more than Sounds managed, you'll note.

At the same time as it edges into its fourth decade, the title is getting a new editor, Gamesmaster's James McMahon. James used to write for NME, where he had spells looking after new bands and features; he's returning to his first love to take over the big green eyeshade at Kerrang from Nicola Browne.

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Debunking myths

Back in 2005, you might recall a story about an album with a barcode on the front which Tesco staff hadn't realised was meant to be decorative.

Wonderfully, this story has now won Gennaro Castaldo his first entry on myth-debunking website

[Thanks to @NerysX for the spot]

Songwriterobit: Andrew Gold

Andrew Gold, musician and songwriter, has died.

Born to a musical family - his mother's voice was the one appearing to come out of Audrey Hepburn's mouth in My Fair Lady - which may have helped calm his parents when Linda Rondstadt turned up at his High School and shortly after invited the young Andrew to join her backing band. From The Stone Poneys, Gold built a career which would see him appear on recordings by Loudon Wainwright III, Carly Simon and Cher.

He also had two hits in his own right - Thank You Being A Friend (and hats off to E! for boiling down his long and fascinating career into Golden Girls theme writer dies) and Lonely Boy:

From the perspective of a second child, that always seemed a bit of a whiny song to me. Amusingly, when his mother heard it - and realised there was a lot of biographical detail - she assumed it was written from the heart. He assured her it was actually made up.

Andrew Gold was 59; he'd been ill with cancer for some time.

UPDATE: As a commenter has pointed out below, while his US Top 40 tally was two, in the UK Andrew also had a hit with this:

And - at the same time - I'd completely forgotten Wax, his collaboration with Graham Gouldman:

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Gil Scott-Heron

A warm memorialisation of Gil Scott-Heron from The Economist:

Mr Scott-Heron was often described as the godfather of rap—a moniker he apparently bristled at. Yet it is impossible to listen to him recite "The Revolution will not be Televised" and not hear the way he anticipated Public Enemy, KRS-One and other rappers, who sought empowerment in the angry poetry of disenfranchised black America, and set it to a potent beat.

Insurers try to avoid paying up for Jackson

Insurance. It's a process whereby you give a company money so that, if something bad happens, they can tell you why they're not going to compensate you.

Lloyds Of London is trying to weasel out of paying up on the policy protecting promoters if Michael Jackson failed to play his London dates:

The promoter should have informed Lloyd's what it knew about the singer's medical history, "including but not limited to, his apparent prescription drug use and/or drug addiction," the suit states.
If this fails, there's every chance that the insurers will start to claim that Jackson isn't actually dead. Or possibly that the corpse should have been put on wires and made to do the shows.

Breaking news: HMV refinances

BBC News is just reporting that HMV has agreed a refinancing deal with its bankers, which will allow the chain to limp a while longer.

The package is made up of separate £70m and £90m loans, and a £60m credit facility, which can be called upon if needed.
That's good, right?
But the company faces an "exit fee" due on the £90m loan when it is repaid, which would rise to 14% by January 2013 if the loan has not been repaid by then.
Oh. So it's pretty expensive money, then - potentially company-destroying money if HMV doesn't have a solid plan to turn itself around.

Gordon in the morning: Keeping up

Gordon seems to have missed an interesting little story this morning in his haste to copy out Peter Andre's New magazine column.

Andre suffers a lack of understanding: having heard about Robbie Williams' testosterone injections, he can only assume this is about erectile dysfunction:

Singer Peter said: "Rob, I've got one word of advice - Viagra. I tried it when it first came out and it was hilarious."
In the UK, at least, Viagra is only legally available with a prescription, so it's possible that Andre is confessing to having obtained prescription medication illegally.

Maybe it was prescribed - but Andre is quick to make it clear he doesn't have problems:
He insisted in his new! magazine column that he had not taken Viagra for any trouble having sex.
To be fair to Andre, he did spend some time in Cyprus after his first career failed (older readers might dimly recall he used to be a pop singer before he became... whatever it is he does now) and Cypriot law does allow over-the-counter purchase of the drug, but even so, at the very least, Andre and New! magazine do seem to be advocating the use of prescription drugs without the prescription.


Equally curious is this bit of the story:
The reality TV star offered his advice after The Sun revealed Take That singer Robbie, married to Ayda Field, was having the jabs to boost sagging energy levels.
Gordon seems to have totally forgotten that "The Sun" did not "reveal" anything; it merely copied the story out of Esquire.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: Man in the window

It's for charity, of course, the man electing to live in HMV's Oxford Street shop window for 127 hours.

He'll be lucky to survive there for 127 hours, as doubtless within the first six hours there'll be a decline-inspired change of direction handed down from HMV head office and he'll discover his window has been replaced with a touch-screen eReader ordering booth.

Still, he's heading for his window, and who better to weigh up what he has in front of him than Gennaro Castaldo, HMV's head of sleeping in the office:

HMV's Gennaro Castaldo said: "Obviously, there's little comparison between the relative comfort of a shop window on the world's busiest shopping street, where tens of thousands will be able to observe you, and a rocky crevice in the middle of nowhere cut off from all human existence.

"However, this attempt won't be without its difficulties and challenges, and while Luke's arm will remain safely attached to him and he won't be forced to drink his own urine."
Yeah, it's not like he's in a Zavvi or anything.

The references to crevices and urine drinking are becauss the stunt has been inspired by 127 Hours, the movie about the bloke who cut his own arm off rather than spend any more time in Utah than he absolutely had to.

Alastair Campbell takes on The Wanted

If you half-glance at the Daily Mail, Alastair Campbell broke Tom Parker's leg during a charity football match.

Given what Alastair Campbell did to things like the BBC, and the truth, during the job he was famous for, you might think Parker came off lightly.

Over on his own blog, Campbell offers his side of the match, which unpicks the Mail story - not least the way the paper reports on The Wanted's singer being stretchered off, but neglects to mention that it was later on, and after the photos of a shouty Campbell at a skirmish. Not later on in the match; later on in a different match. (Naturally, The Sun also makes the same misrepresentation.)

The Mail's piece is all over the place all on its own - Campbell is being presented in the photos, headline and standfirst as the belligerent, but the detail actually admits that incident being photographed came after Parker had performed a vicious tackle. The paper also seems uncertain if Parker's leg was broken or not; at the outset it's snapped, but in the story itself it's just a "suspected" broken leg.

The Mail doesn't run a photo of the stretchering, but one pops up in The Sun story:

Not sure that's the big grin of someone whose leg has just been broken in a football match.

Gordon in the morning: The rise of the robots

It's one of those mornings when we have to applaud Gordon's work. His coverage of Take That being trapped when their giant onstage robots broke down mid-set is a lovely story, and a lovely image.

It's a pity that he does spoil it by trying to pretend he knew this was going to happen all along:

It could have been a lot worse. In classic movie comedy This Is Spinal Tap, bass player DEREK SMALLS is trapped inside a giant pod while roadies try to smash it with a hammer.

And U2 spent sections of their Popmart tour trapped inside a giant lemon which failed to open.

Something similar was bound to happen with Take That's massive robot.
Funny, if it was "bound to happen" you might have thought Gordon would have mentioned that in his review of the set, but back then the robot didn't seem so obviously flawed:
The last time they hit the road they had a gigantic mechanical elephant as the centrepiece of the production. And the lads have taken another step up in scale since then - introducing a giant 60ft mechanical man.

It is a staggering piece of kit, and a real symbol of the band's huge ambitions with this show.
A staggering piece of kit which, apparently, was so clearly going to fail at some point it wasn't even worth mentioning.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Producerobit: Martin Rushent

According to Louder Than War, the man who produced most of the key New Romantic and Factory legends, has died earlier today.

He'd made his name as an engineer - providing a wavy line from David Essex through to T Rex - before he moved over to the main position on the desk. United Artists had been impressed with the steady hand Martin had brought to Shirley Bassey's 1970s output and - when the money from those albums allowed the label to start hoovering up this new punk talent coming through, Rushent was an obvious choice to produce. His work on the first three Stranglers records saw him become a virtual member of the band; but by the time of the Black And White sessions Martin felt that there was little more he could offer and stepped aside shortly afterwards.

Managing to find a way to capture punky energy on record that involved a bit more than just turning everything up gave him a lead in the late 1970s market; his work with acts like The Buzzcocks and Generation X meant that he was well-positioned to shape the next generation of sound. Joy Division sought him out at miserablist edge of the new wave, while The Human League brought him in at the poppier end - his work on Dare winning him a Brit award, back when the Brits gave prizes to producers. (In fact, he was the first annual winner of a production award.)

Although things were going well for him professionally, personally the end of the 1980s were a less happy time. Falling ill with depression, Rushent suddenly found himself struggling to cope. If he never quite got back to his pre-illness financial position, he did return to health; he resumed working, but at a slightly less frenetic pace.

Amongst a massive collection of production credits, everyone has a favourite. For me, it's this:

RIP, Martin Rushent.

(At time of writing, there doesn't appear to be any formal confirmation of Martin's death on line.)

Glastonbury 2011: Mail declares BBC kicking season open

Only a couple of weeks now until Glastonbury, which means it's time for the Daily Mail to start complaining that it takes people to make television and radio programmes.

The person making themselves sound a tiresome twit this year is Chris Hastings. You might know Hastings from other bits of pointless BBC-kicking such as complaining that the Olympic Stadium is on the map at the start of EastEnders and a mild joke about putting the 'n' in cuts. It's not like Chris hates everything on the BBC, though - he likes it when the rudey ladies take all their clothes off.

Hastings does the usual counting of BBC staff covering the festival and drawing asinine conclusions:

Doubters also question why it has to send more than 400 staff, pointing out it sent about the same number to Beijing in 2008 to provide many more hours of Olympic coverage.
Oddly, Chris fails to mention who these "doubters" are, with their surprisingly specific doubts.

Perhaps if Chris had been able to meet them, he'd have been able to explain to those doubters that the BBC wasn't the sole broadcaster covering the Beijing games and that much of those on-screen hours were provided by the Chinese state broadcaster and so the BBC team were providing wrap-around content and not absolutely everything.

Chris might also have chuckled a bit and said "well, the 2008 Olympics ran between the 8th and 24th of August, a much longer period, and with a much lower concentration of action than is packed into the Glastonbury weekend, so you've got to think in terms of the number of hours BBC staff are working in total for the event rather than just the number of actual people, otherwise you might sound like an arsehole sounding off about matters you've not even given any consideration to."

Then, Hastings might have hugged the doubters and said "you know what else? In Beijing, much of the infrastructure was already in place, again provided by the Chinese. Whereas, of course, in Glastonbury the BBC is working from scratch and so needs people to build the vital systems for broadcasting." Stroking the heads of the doubters, Chris would then go "shh, shh - I know you've made yourself seem like you're some sort of moron, but it's alright; people will understand that you're just so blinded by hatred you don't care about even thinking through what you're talking about. After all, you're just expressing your doubts into some sort of massive circle-jerk of ill-founded hatred of the BBC - it's not like you have to understand anything, is it?"

(By the way, the Mail didn't think the BBC had sent the right number of people to cover the Olympics, either).

Still, Hastings doesn't just rehash last years story; he's found a whole new thing to be angry about:
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has found that the BBC has secured more than 200 rooms within a 14-mile radius of the Somerset festival for its employees.

The reservations include block-booking more than 14 separate hotels and guest houses.
The headline on the story demands to know "Why no tent city?" Yes, the Mail is fuming that the BBC staff are going to have rooms to sleep in at the end of a hard day's work.

Again, Hastings is probably showing his lack of knowledge here - clearly, he has no idea about the sorts of boxes of equipment most of the team will be moving with and which, quite often, is going to be sharing their bedrooms. Or perhaps he does know, and just wishes he'd had a chance to write stories about the BBC losing stuff from tents and awash with mud.

It's not just there are walls and floors, it's that they're close to the festival site:
As a result, ordinary festival-goers who prefer a warm room to a tent are finding accommodation increasingly hard to come by. Many are now having to stay in rooms as far away as Bath, which is more than 20 miles from the festival site.
First of all, "ordinary festival goers" don't stay at hotels, they tend to camp. Secondly, they might be finding accommodation tricky to come by because there isn't much there in the first place. Which is precisely why the BBC have had to fall back on places that cost a bit more.

And, yes, it might be a bit inconvenient to have to travel 20 miles in to see a band - but the BBC staff are getting there to work, so probably have slightly more pressing deadlines that some people who love the festival so much they don't want to miss out on a warm bed and a nice breakfast before going onto the site.

Hastings could have saved himself from looking foolish if he'd actually read this paragraph in his own report:
Last night one hotelier claimed bookings for BBC staff covering the festival at this month may extend to 400 rooms.
Having established that there's only about 400 BBC staff going to the festival, and that this isn't the only hotel being used as base, a journalist might have realised that the rooms aren't simply being used a lodging.

But then a journalist might also have quietly spiked the story that isn't one before running it again.

It's like Kasabian can see the future

Listen to mystic Serge:

Kasabian feel it is inevitable that they will become "shit".

The 'Empire' rockers are about to release their fourth album, and while they feel it will be a "classic", the band don't think they'll be able to make albums of the same quality forever.

Guitarist Serge Pizzorno said: "It's to do with being on a roll. Everyone at some point goes shit it's inevitable. It's about getting it down as quickly as you can, because it won't last.
Of course, this prediction would have been a bit more impressive had he made it at the start of first rehearsal. It's a bit like saying Pour Moi will win the Derby one day.

Still, Serge is nothing if not realistic in acknowledging the potential of Kasabian to be shit. Actually, I say "realistic"...
"It happens to the great writers of all time at some point."
... but he does seem to be convinced there are some sort of great writers involved in this story.

Vodafone goes to Glastonbury

Talking of companies with grubby tax records and Glastonbury, has Vodafone been trying to pretend it was able to get its customers into the festival?

Back in February, this message appeared on the Glatowatch forum:

Hi there,

I'm Natalie S and I do PR for Vodafone, and we wanted to share this link with you: [link to Vodafone video]

It shows Jenson Button & Lewis Hamilton setting up camp at their favourite music festival early... very early.

If you want to get your hands on tickets for some of Britain's hottest festivals this summer before they go on general sale, visit [link to Vodafone website]
Now, it's a bit spammy - Natalie S hadn't posted before, and hasn't posted since; and Vodafone don't have any tickets for Glastonbury so it's a bit off-topic for a Glastonbury board. But, to be fair, there was no suggestion there that there would be Glastonbury tickets for Vodafone customers.

The linked video was this one, which shows Jensen Button and Lewis Hamilton setting up a tent in a field having arrived early for a festival. Like how Vodafone customers get their tickets early. Aaaaah.

Again, the video is scrupulous in not claiming that there are any Glastonbury tickets available. Because they don't.

But hang on... what's this down in the tags on the Official Vodafone YouTube channel?
Let's look a bit closer...
Yes, Vodafone have added the word "Glastonbury" to the tags, which means while their video has been scrupulous in not pretending to have tickets they don't, somehow they're still hoping to drag people to their site using the Glastonbury name.

It's not illegal, but it's certainly murky behaviour. And those events who Vodafone are sponsoring might feel a bit miffed that the company thinks their brands aren't interesting enough to merit a tag on the video. It's a bit like discovering your husband has written someone else's wife's name in his wallet.

U2: Suddenly, Glastonbury seems a much more appealing prospect

Things like this should really be announced before the tickets go on sale: Art Uncut are going to target Bono and U2 during their headline set.

"Bono claims to care about the developing world, but U2 greedily indulges in the very kind of tax avoidance which is crippling the poor nations of this world," said a spokesman for Art Uncut, a group with strong links to UK Uncut.
The One campaign has offered an attempt at a counterpoint:
A spokesperson for One, the anti-poverty campaign group co-founded by Bono, said: "U2's business arrangements have nothing to do with illegal tax evasion and transfer mispricing in developing countries, critical issues which Bono and One campaign on.

"One is currently lobbying for radical changes in the law that would require extractive industry corporations to report payments to governments, to ensure these substantial resources contribute to the domestic tax base instead of being stashed or siphoned off."
The One spokesperson misses about sixty-three points there. Sure, Bono and U2 aren't doing anything illegal with their tax arrangements. But, erm, neither are the extractive industry corporations, which is why they're campaigning for a change in the law.

A miner or oil person might ask, fairly, why Bono should object to them making the most of an arrangement which minimises their tax payout when he does exactly the same thing. Because it harms people in the country where they're not paying a fair rate of tax? But the same is true of Bono's actions.

Still, Glastonbury believes in stuff, doesn't it?
The organisers of Glastonbury festival declined to comment.
Not even a 'we hope they don't disrupt the performance but welcome their right to raise a matter important to them'.

This week just gone

The most-read articles in the last week:

1. Tatu complain that everyone thinks they're gay
2. Cowell's emissaries deny Britain's Got Talent is fixed...
3. ... following anonymous posting claims Ronan Parke has been groomed by Syco
4. People still looking for R Kelly shagging video
5. Coldplay's new image: Mild midlife crisis men
6. Video: Emmy The Great
7. Avril Lavigne swears; upsets gentle ears of sports crowd
8. The smoking Gunns? Look East hears about Ronan Parke's birthday song video
9. Liveblog: The last Mark & Lard show
10. John Elway won't share his name with punks

These were the interesting releases:

Sparrow And The Workshop - Spitting Daggers

Download Crystals Fall

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School Of Medicine

Cults - Cults

Download Cults

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis - Smoking In Heaven

Download Smoking In Heaven

Seasick Steve - You Can't Teach An Old...

Download You Can't Teach An Old...

The Pierces - You And I

Download You And I

Blondie - Panic Of Girls

Download Panic Of Girls

Death Cab For Cutie - Codes And Keys

Download Codes And Keys