Saturday, July 23, 2011

Popobit: Amy Winehouse

There's a lot of tears, crocodile and genuine, around this evening.

Who's to say that the brutal, too-soon shut-off wouldn't have happened anyway? We all have friends lost to addiction and illness, gone way before their time, and it can happen just as easily to a shopworker as a pop star. But for a shopworker, at least, you don't do it in the full glare of a million eyes searching for a narrative; nor do shopworkers have large, well-rewarded management teams who are supposed to be looking out for you, protecting you.

Some of the reaction from around the web - ignoring the tweets of those who seem to think that this is about them for now:
Popjustice has a post headed Amy, and a focus on the music:

All we really want to do is listen to the songs and watch the videos so that is what we are going to do.
The BBC News obituary is careful when recalling the part tabloids paid in making things worse for her:
A month later she went into a rehab facility following the publication, by a tabloid newspaper, of pictures of a woman they claimed was Winehouse, allegedly smoking crack cocaine.
Sky News, for some reason, wheeled on Michelle Gayle on the grounds that - as Gayle put it - she "knows people who knew her" and "met her twice".

Still, that's one more time than the Mail's Paul Connolly, who circles round trying to think of something to say:
I met Amy once, way back prior to the release of Frank, and I found her witty, intelligent and sparky company. She certainly had a mischievous glint in her eye but I did not have her marked down as a potential member of the 'stupid club.' It looks as though I may have been wrong.
Yes, the stupid club. Winehouse dying at 27 means the belief that somehow 27 is a dangerous age to be a popstar is going to have a greater grip on the imaginations of editors desperate to fill a quiet news day. Still, at least Time magazine manages to put a slightly more positive spin on the grouping:
Amy Winehouse Becomes the Newest Member of the Forever 27 Club
The Stupid Club name comes from Kurt Cobain's mother, by the way. But you probably knew that. Time's Glen Levy ponders if Amy would have known that she was in this supposed dangerzone:
But one wonders if Winehouse herself would have been aware of the Forever 27 club? There's so much about them online that it would surely have been difficult for any singer, let alone someone of Winehouse's stature, to have not known.
It's not clear what Levy thinks would be happening here - does he think an elder statesman of the music scene takes 26 year-olds to one side and informs them that they're going to have to be quite careful in the coming twelve months?

He snaps out of it, briefly, and realises that it might have been the least of Winehouse's worries, before returning to try and warm-up his lukewarm theme:
Of course, it's impossible to know what was in her mind during these final days (indeed, what with stints in rehab, court appearances, a troubled marriage and a recently canceled tour due to a shambolic performance in Serbia, where she appeared too drunk to perform, she clearly had problems that were there for all to see) but her passing does seem somewhat post-modern (which isn't intended to come across as trite).
Oddly enough, the suggestion that you're not trying to be trite really just underlines how trite the piece is. It's - what, four, five hours - since her body was found; she had an amazing career by any standards. Is there so little to say you're reduced to pointing out that she died at the same age as some other people? (Apart from anything: Otis Redding was 26 when he died. The Big Bopper was 28. It's just coincidence.)

Luke Lewis' NME blog is pretty good - clear-headed and fair, warm without being mawkish:
The cliche when reacting to the deaths of famous people is to say how "shocked" you are. That doesn't really apply in the case of Amy Winehouse, who was found dead earlier today (July 23) of a suspected drugs overdose, aged 27.

It's deeply sad, of course, and tragic - but not shocking. Winehouse had been on a wilful fast-track to oblivion for a long time. Indeed, one of the most heartbreaking things about her all-too-brief career is that the second, downward spiral phase - the shambolic gigs, the stints in rehab - lasted longer than the happy first flush of fame, when she was simply a phenomenal performer, with a confessional vulnerability that drew you in, and a voice that could pin you to the back of the room.
And how does The Sun choose to remember her?
Did you see what happened? Ring the newsdesk on 0207 782 4104.
Hounding her in death in exactly the same way the paper did in life. There are people mourning a daughter and a friend. But don't let that stop you, News International. Don't let that give you a pause.

Breaking news: Universal confirm Amy Winehouse death

It's the ending that everyone had been afraid of: Amy Winehouse, dead at 27.

Castration Squad weekend: Ex-Girlfriend

And finally, here's a recording from KPFK:

[Concluding Castration Squad on a Saturday morning]

Castration Squad weekend: No Mercy For The Dead

A further slice - no, let's not say 'slice', given the band name - of Castration Squad:

[Part of Castration Squad on a Saturday morning]

Embed and breakfast man: Castration Squad

Having mentioned them in that last post, it's a delight to discover that there's some pieces of Castration Squad on YouTube. Let's have a quick dip, yes?

You can read about the genesis of the band on Alice Bag's website.

The footage all appears to come from a live performance at LA's Waves theatre in 1980. This first track, A Date With Jack, is the result of Tiffany Kennedy's obsession with JFK:

More to come in the next few minutes
No Mercy For The Dead

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Alice Bag

As part of WFMU's Women Of Punk week, they've spoken to Castration Squad and The Bag's Alice Velasquez. That's Alice Bag as was:

NAmag: Seeing as this is part of our "Women in Punk" week, what do you think the legacy of female artists from the first wave of punk is in 2011?

AV: You're having Women in Punk week? I think you need 52 of those!

The legacy of punk is not determined by gender. Any legacy that punk has left behind is as much due to women's contributions as it is to men's. The DIY ethic, the challenge to the status quo, the confidence to pick up an instrument, a paintbrush, a camera or any other tool that you have not been trained to use and to discover your power for yourself without feeling intimidated are all part of having a punk attitude. I see punk attitude in the women of Saudi Arabia who recently got in the driver’s seat of their cars to challenge that country’s restriction on women driving. I see the legacy of punk in hacker groups like Anonymous who target corrupt governments and corporations. The legacy of punk is not in its musical style, it’s having the audacity to actively participate in shaping our world.

Portable minidisc permanently ejected

Missed this a couple of weeks back: Sony have killed the MiniDisc walkman.

I do have, somewhere, my entire minidisc collection - which was the covermount that Q magazine gave away back when the format first launched. I don't think there was anything on it - I seem to recall that there was a Wonka-style golden ticket thing going on whereby you were supposed to take the disc to a shop that sold the players, pop it in, and you might win a player of your own. And, on the plus side, you'd already have a blank Minidisc to record the Top 40 onto. I really must get down to a minidisc player shop some day.

The format will continue to be supported for professionals and hifi separates, so it's not quite the end. And it has outlasted Digital Compact Cassettes by fifteen years already, so it's not all bad news.

Gordon in the morning: Mr Gallagher buys an iPad

In an attempt to try and find a story every day between now and the release of the album, Gordon Smart reveals Noel Gallagher has bought an iPad.

Talking about embracing t'internet, he said of his new iPad: "I'm now forced to use words and terms I never even knew existed like 'pop up server' and 'RAM' and f****** 'user' this and 'password' that. I've never had to come up with AND REMEMBER so many passwords!

"It's like some super spy s*** in WW2, and who decided where to put all the b****** letters on the keypad? Nonsense."
Yes, Noel, this new-fangled QWERTY keyboard that's come in in the last 138 years - how is anyone supposed to get to grips with that?

On the bright side, it's heartening to discover that Noel Gallagher has moved on from trying to be Paul McCartney onto trying to be Michael McIntyre. I can't wait for the toaster jokes.

Doubtless Smart has run this because his ultimate boss was also pulling the 'perfectly capable man pretending to be old and doddery and not really getting to grips with this modern world' schtick earlier this week.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Who will buy EMI?

Reuters suggesting no end of likely suitors for EMI, including Sony and Universal. If either of them take over the company, we'd be one step closer to the inevitable single-major world. It'd be a sad day, but at least it'd make things easier for the RIAA.

However, there are other organisations kicking the wheels:

Citigroup is keeping its options open as to EMI. The auction could include separate offers for EMI's music publishing and music recording businesses, or an offer for the entire company, three of the sources said.

The interested parties have signed confidentiality agreements to get access to EMI's financial information so that they can decide whether to put in bids for the company, which are expected in August, the sources said.

Potential buyers including Access, MacAndrews & Forbes, Sony and Platinum Equity have talked to investment banks about financing an EMI buyout, these people said.

Banks including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and UBS AG have expressed willingness to finance a potential deal, two of the sources said. All the banks declined to comment for this story.
Suggestions that the winner will get to ride Damon Albarn like a pony could not be confirmed at time of publication.

Embed and breakfast man: Joan As Policewoman

Fresh and new this week, a video for Chemmie, off the current album.

[Buy: The Deep Field]

Celine Dion: Not that she takes herself too seriously or anything

Celine Dion discovered there was a site called "ridiculous pictures of Celine Dion" and, rather than having a wry smile to herself, or thinking "gosh, yes, my advisors do allow me to appear in a number of stupid photos that make me look ridiculous", she had it closed down.

Thereby making herself look even more ridiculous, and drawing much more attention to the endeavour.

Perhaps the people who let her do those awful photos hugging babies are the same people that suggested a legally-drafted admission of a lack of self-awareness or sense of humour was the way to go with this one.

Meanwhile, here is a photo of a lovely horse:

[Horse under a Creative Commons licence by Freefoto]

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Placebo

A couple of months ago, Filament magazine [NSFW] ran an interview with Placebo's Steve Forrest that they'd originally printed in the magazine in 2009:

If you were stranded on a desert island with Stefan and Brian, who would you eat first?

Definitely Brian. Both of them would be easy to take down, but although Brian is a small man, he does have more meat on his bones than Stef, and would probably keep me and Stef alive until help came. Plus I don’t think Stef would feed both me and Brian, so just to fill my belly I would have to then kill Brian, but would only be able to eat half of him due to already having had a helping of Stef, and that would just be a waste.

Cooking with Orange and apples

Esther Walker, who is sort-of Sue Perkins but in real life, has got a recipe blog where she serves up some tasty cookery with a slice of yarn.

Her apple and raspberry crumble recipe comes with a story about dating Jason Orange. The full thing is worth your time, certainly, but the original meeting is quite special. She was working at The Week:

"Hello," I said, wondering if he was lost.
"Hi, are you The Week?" he said.
"Yes we are," I said.
"I was wondering... can I have a look at one of your magazines? Only... I've heard good things about it but can't find it in any of the shops."
"Oh yeah," I said. "It's mostly subscription only. Come in and wait for a sec and I'll get you some copies."
This was during what Esther calls the "toxic dodo" years for Take That. It's more than likely Jason was bumming the magazines to keep him warm on the park bench at night.

[Thanks to Michael M]

Embed and breakfast man: Orange Juice

A quick burst of this to celebrate Orange Juice's award at the Mojos:

[Buy: Coals To Newcastle]

Mojo Honours 2011

You can tell the Mojo Awards are aimed at a more mature audience, as they're sponsored by a gentle scotch rather than a bourbon.

The winners, then:

Breakthrough act: Rumer
Not entirely sure what she's supposed to have "broken through". I know the idea of the idea of an artist struggling for years and then breaking through all that crapola are as outdated as a Beady Eye bassline, but if you're going to give Rumer an award for starting her career, perhaps the category name should be redrafted to something more appropriate? "Most mentioned in arts sections of newspapers"?

Song of the year: Heathen Children - Grinderman
To be fair, that's a choice you're unlikely to see picking up a Brit in the same category. And not just because of qualification problems.

Outstanding contribution to music - PIL
"Good news... Lydon's agreed to come. If we give him a prize. No, no, we've already done the Sex Pistols... well, yes, we could do 'best butter advert by a musician' but I think Douglas the Lurpak butter man plays the trombone...

Public Image did make an outstanding contribution, but the prize should be collected by Wobble, not Lydon.

Classic album - Screamadelica - Primal Scream
Shouldn't this be a re-release of the year prize? That would make some sort of sense.

Merit award - Martha Reeves And The Vandellas
Look, I know the categories are basically just excuses to bring top people into a small hotel room, but has there ever been a case of such a big, ballsy act being given a prize with such a tiny, mimsy name? I used to get merit points for keeping my colouring within the lines.

Inspiration award - Gary Numan
See, does this imply that Numan didn't make an outstanding contribution or have any merit, but did inspire other acts?

Best album - Suck It And See - The Arctic Monkeys
Grim news for the Monkeys, as not only did this album underperform, but now it's been flagged that their audience has shifted into a more comfortable pair of trousers.

Best live act - John Grant
If you say so.

Best compilation - Sweet Inspiration: The songs of Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham
A nice trade-off of the massive number of categories in awards like this (you used to see with the Sounds readers' poll) is that quite often the lower names in the list do provide gentle surprises like this. I'm given to understand the Now Thats What I Call Music table threw bread rolls when this one was announced.

The Les Paul Award - Steve Cropper
And the Owen Paul Award went to Roy Cropper.

The Mojo Medal - Bob Harris
Amusing most self-importantly titled prize going to least self-important recipient conundrum.

Classic songwriter - Squeeze
Cracking songs, yes, but... why Squeeze rather than Difford & Tilbrook?

Vision award - Upside Down: The Creation Story
Vision award. In other words, TV and film. Presumably they were afraid to split out those two categories in case it made the awards giving drag on a bit.

Catalogue release - Orange Juice - Coals To Newcastle
Careful! This isn't a compilation, although it is. And it's not a re-release, because it wasn't. Lovely to see Orange Juice getting a well-deserved prize, though.

The Mojo Maverick - Donovan
Whether his excellent work with The Singing Corner was mentioned isn't recorded.

The Mojo Hero - Eddie Floyd
Not a maverick, though. Let's be clear about that.

The Mojo Icon - Ringo Starr
Neither a maverick, nor a hero.

The Mojo Hall Of Fame - Brian Wilson
He isn't a hero, an icon, or a maverick.

Here's an idea, Mojo - why not scrap the salami-sliced thin and often spurious categories next year, and just have, say, ten Mojo heroes? Perhaps you could organise it by a theme - so 2012 could be "The Mojo trailblazers", and 2013 could be "The Mojo catgeory-jumpers"? Your awards don't really rely on the last twelve months to frame them, so why not stop trying to force an NME Readers Poll style grid onto something that's a bit more you?

Gordon in the morning: The man in the next room

Gordon Smart manages to drag out Noel Gallagher stays in expensive hotel; has room next to the sort of person who stays in expensive hotel into a long, long tale this morning.

It boils down to Noel wondering why his room service was taking so long, and discovering the King Of Tonga is in the next room.

Amusingly, Smart thinks this scrappy holiday anecdote is more interesting than the first listen to Gallagher's new single. Actually, it probably is.

More meat dresses

An email from the wonderful Morag in response to yesterday's piece about GaGa's meat dress not being entirely original:

in 1982 linder sterling made a dress out of chicken meat (she stressed it was leftovers from takeaways being a veggie) which she wore during a performance at the hacienda, partly as a protest about the venue showing soft porn. she ripped the skirt off (this was the year bucks fizz won eurovision) to reveal a massive dildo. Wonderful.

i suspect someone will have a medieval version with ruffs to best me on this but nevermind
Here are the remains of that very dress:

Nobody thought to gather up the scraps to put in a museum, as far as I know.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Breaking news: Parfitt quits

He's been there for thirteen years - which is an ice age, a coal age and a Preston Guild in both youth culture and BBC executive terms - but MediaGuardian has flashed that Andy Parfitt is standing down as controller of Radio One.

Gordon in the morning: Enter the executive fashion editor

Making an entrance this morning is a colleague of Gordon's new to No Rock, Erica Davies.

Who is Erica?

Executive Fashion Editor
I suspect that Erica is a fashion editor who has been told that she is an "executive" of some sort - which, we now understand, at News International means you cease to know anything about anything anyone else might be doing. Not, to be clear, someone who edits articles about executive fashion.

She's been wheeled in to provide a surprisingly brief piece about how some of Lady GaGa's key looks are... how shall we put this? Homages?
Actress Bette Midler, 65, lashed out after GaGa dressed as a mermaid while in a wheelchair at a gig in Sydney last week. She tweeted: "I've been doing singing mermaid in a wheelchair since 1980. You can keep the meat dress and firecracker tits - the mermaid's mine."

Eighties star Grace Jones, 63, also claimed GaGa had copied her.

She said: "I've seen some of the things she's worn that I've worn and that kind of p***es me off."
To be fair, Erica - or some hapless researcher - has done some gathering of photos which shows that, if it is a homage, there's a whole lot of homaging going on. Perhaps it's cover versions?

But, still, the meat dress is GaGa's own idea, right?

Not really, no.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Do we love We Love Pop?

Here's something that feels counter-intuitive: the launch of a pop magazine. An actual pop magazine.

It's called We Love Pop. Or, rather We [heart symbol] Pop.

There's some odd things about it, though. The editor is Malcolm Mackenzie, who previously was in charge at thenowdefunct thelondonpaper, Murdoch's short-lived London freesheet. It seems a bit of a strange shift from pushing bite-sized fact-gobbets into commuter hands to creating a pop magazine for teenagers, don't you think?

The title is described by Media Week as being:

The first issue of the magazine is out on Wednesday (20 July) with a cover price of £1 and its launch will be supported by a marketing campaign, including point of sale, outdoor media and digital.

The magazine will target a core audience of 13-15 year olds with in-depth interviews with pop stars, behind-the-scenes exclusives, photos and a "high-end cover gift" designed to appeal to a savvy teen audience.
What MediaWeek neglects to mention is that, unlike Smash Hits or Number One, this is clearly pointed at girls. And just because you might say 'surely liking pop isn't gender specific', the magazine cover is slathered in pink and has "boys" as one of the coverlines. It couldn't be more offputting for teenage blokes if it had a photo of a dick caught in a zipper on the front page.

Given that teen magazines have mostly been closing rather than opening, the very idea seems a bit audacious. Who would put money into such a title?

TeenToday lets the cat out of the bag:
Fresh off the back of the runaway success of X Magazine (couldn’t find it anywhere, lasted about 4 editions, editor jumped ship) we’ve heard that Universal Records in partnership with Egmont Publishing are about to launch a brand new pop mag called (wait for it…) We Love Pop.
So despite all the claims of the market wanting the title, the real people who want a pop magazine is... a record label. I suspect this won't last much beyond finding out that the forces that crushed the successful Smash Hits brand are less kind still to a fledgling.

CORRECTION: I misread the MediaWeek article yesterday; Malcolm Mackenzie was music editor of thelondonpaper and not the actual editor. Which makes a bit more sense. Thanks to the commenter who pointed that out, and apologies for the error.

About Bera, with a sore head

I'm not entirely sure that, when asked why you make music, the reply "I was born into the business" is one you want to hear from a sixteen year-old. Really? It's not that you're driven, or love music, you've just gone into the family business?

It seems a plausible explanation for Bera, though, who at the age of 16 talks about making music like his mummy was a press pack and his papa was a Rolling Stone. Well, not a Rolling Stone, more, perhaps a Tigerbeat:

“I’ve been in this business since my childhood, and I’ve been trying to get as much information as I could from every relationship. Even though some of my projects didn’t work out, they still gave me a lot of experience,” says Bera. “As you know, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’ right?”
As you know.

He's sixteen, and already dead-eyed-talking about "trying to get as much information" from "relationships".
“I have a really cool relationship with [label Georgian Dream], we’re friends before anything. I respect them a lot and they respect me for who I am. They know what I can do and what I can’t and I know it too. I’m not trying to do Michael Jackson, Usher or Chris Brown… My first role on stage is to be natural and sincere,” says Bera.
No, he really is a person. This might sound like the sort of thing you'd expect a computer-generated J-Pop star to have had programmed into their 'interview response' file, but Bera is flesh and blood.

He's asked about longevity:
“It all depends on the consumers, on my fans. I’m thankful for what I have today, for what I get from them and I’ll be grateful forever,” says Bera. “Even if everything ends tomorrow, I will know that we made it, because people already gave me so much love and emotions.”
Yes, he really does describe the people who like his music as "the consumers".

Did I mention he was sixteen? Normally with teen stars, you worry that the music industry bullshit will swallow them whole and spit them out. With Bera, it's the reverse: he appears to have swallowed the bullshit and is now doing the spitting out.

Mercury Music Prize 2011: The shortlist

The Mercurys have a knack of choosing terrible days for their big announcements, don't they? Obviously, holding your shortlist launch on the same day as the Murdoch-Murdoch-Brooks fibathon isn't quite on a par with the eclipsing of the 2001 prize giving, but even so, it's hardly the best time to do it.

Here's the shortlist:

Adele - 21
Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi
Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!
Everything Everything - Man Alive
Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
Gwilym Simcock - Good Days At Schloss Elmau
James Blake - James Blake
Katy B - On A Mission
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
Metronomy - The English Riviera
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
Tinie Tempah - Disc-Overy
There's the usual mix of acts on there - couple of previous winners, couple of smarter indie acts, couple of "urban" acts, the one jazz guy hoping that this will be the year that they decide to give it to the jazz guy to prove the award's credentials in the face of generating disappointment.

And, as ever, there's obvious titles missing - you'd have thought Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells would have been right up the shortlist's favourite street, and the only plausible explanation for it not showing up is that - under the unwritten quota system - King Creosote & Jon Hopkins would have had to move over to make room.

I'm guessing Cornershop didn't remember or didn't care to enter themselves.

Still: Metronomy, surely? Surely?

Gordon in the morning: That's unusual

After all the fun and games of yesterday, what has Gordon Smart got to fill his column today?


I don't know.

The Bizarre webpages haven't been updated since yesterday morning.

Perhaps Gordon has finally decided that if he has nothing to say, he won't say anything.

(Or maybe things are in such meltdown at Wapping they don't have anyone left to update the website.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gordon in the morning: A man in control

You'll have been worrying if Gordon's column today is the genuine thing, or if LulzSec still has control of the Sun website.

There's a bunch of made-up stories all over the Bizarre page, and a bunch of stuff that wouldn't appear in a proper newspaper. So, hard to tell.

But hang on, what's this?

NOEL Gallagher's first hurdle as a solo artist will be having to face Coldplay in a battle of the albums.

The guitarist will have a job on his hands to stay at the top of the charts for more than one week this autumn.

Chris Martin and the band are releasing their latest offering seven days later.
A facile "chart battle" story about two records that aren't even being released on the same day? With Noel Gallagher involved?

This Gordon Smart column passes Some Sort Of Turing Test.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Borders sale fails

Grim record shop news from the US: Borders sale has failed; all 400 stores are now to close. Reuters reports:

The Hilco group will begin liquidations as early as Friday, with the process to conclude sometime in September, Borders said. The bookseller will seek bankruptcy court approval of the closing procedures at a hearing Thursday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

Andrew Glenn, an attorney for Borders, told Reuters last week the company expected a liquidation sale to bring in between $250 million and $284 million.
It had lost much of its sparkle over the last couple of years, but Borders was still shifting a lot of CDs.

Gordon in the morning: Robbie Williams tricked into bed by a lobster

With all the actual news, you might have missed the sorry tale of Take That being forced to cancel a gig after Robbie Williams fell ill.

Try to avoid the story, it's full of Smart laddisms that you probably won't have heard since you were about 12:

The Take That star has spent the past 72 hours running to the bathroom on tiptoes and shouting for his pal Huey down the pan.
Smart seems to endorse the claim that it was the lobster at the hotel Williams was staying at that gave him food poisoning. Given it looks like Williams only ate the crustacean on Friday night, it's either impressive how quickly the Danes have got to the root of the incident. Or incredibly brave of Smart to point the claw so early on.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Say hello to good buys, bye bye to the bad buys, bye bye to the buys in-between...

This is pretty nifty: if you care about saving the odd few pence here and there on downloads, the "team" behind MoneySavingExpert have pulled together this searchy tool, Tunechecker, which finds the cheapest version of available music.

I'm not sure there's so much in the way of savings to be made - at the moment - as to make flitting between numerous download services worthwhile, but it might help with trying to find whether you can do better than the place you usually get your stuff. And, it'll find CDs as well, which reveals just how often buying a hard version can be cheaper than the digital version on slightly more obscure choices.

[Thanks again to Michael M]

Roadmender's weekend: Ash

Shining Light, anyone?

[Buy: Ash - best-of]
[Part of Roadmender's weekend]

Roger Taylor takes on Murdoch

People are starting to fight back against the Murdoch empire, using whatever they're good at to land jabs on the already-reeling business. Or, possibly, they're running quite fast to leap onto a bandwagon that's rolling.

Roger Taylor - the one out of Queen and not the one out of Duran Duran - has done this:

What's interesting is not so much the anti-Murdoch polemic (why didn't you say this last month, for example, Rog?) as the video he's made for it. All the cash at his disposal, and he's produced something that wouldn't look out of place for a fan-made clip to support an early Queen b-side?

[Thanks to Michael M]

Roadmender's weekend: Glasvegas

There's a lot of red lights down at Roadmender's, isn't it? Here's Glasvegas, swathed in red light, doing Daddy's Gone:

[Buy Glasvegas]
[Part of Roadmender's weekend]

Roger Daltrey confuses U2 with socialists

Roger Daltrey has popped up again to share more of his political insights with the Daily Mail. U2, for example?

We get on to the issue of U2, who recently faced a demonstration at Glastonbury after moving their multimillion-pound company out of Ireland, depriving their suffering country of their tax revenue.

‘I find it very interesting that people who spout socialism don’t want to pay for a socialist state. Weird,’ he says. ‘It doesn’t quite add up.’
That would make some sort of sense, if U2 were socialists and Ireland was a socialist state.

Let's try something closer to home - well, to one of Daltrey's homes - shall we?
A lifelong Labour voter, he’s disgusted by the last Government. ‘I was appalled at what Labour did to the working class — mass immigration, where people were allowed to come here and undercut our working class,’ says Roger.

‘It’s fine to say everybody can come into your country, but everybody should work towards a standard of living expected by people who live here. Not come here, live 20 to a room, pay no tax, send money home and undercut every builder in London. They slaughtered the working class in this country. I hate them for it because it is always the little man who is hurt badly. It’s terrible. It frustrates me."
Apart from "paying no tax", which seems to just be an assumption on Daltrey's part, surely if people want to live in cheap digs - not 20 to a room, which is just Daltrey making himself look stupid - that's up to them?

Is he really suggesting that there should be some sort of rule forcing immigrant workers to spend the same portion of their wages as British workers? Is he going to have people who refuse to get a Sky+ HD box deported for being, in some way, "unfair"?
‘We have got to stop pandering to people because we won’t be able to afford to keep this going. At the very least, it should be a pre-requisite that people have to learn English."
Why? Daltrey spends a lot of time in America - has he learned much Spanish?

He's fuming about the very idea of people getting something for nothing:
‘What really made me angry about that period is not that people shouldn’t come here — that’s fine — but you have to make allowances for the strain that is going to put on your social services and they made none.

‘Talk about sticking their head up their a***. The arrogance, the audacity. They don’t realise how hard the average man has to work to get that and to pay those taxes.’
It's not entirely clear who has their heads up their arses. Apart from Daltrey, of course.

So, Daltrey believes that people should only get what they have on merit, not as if by some divine right. Right?
And at the other end of the spectrum, there is his adoration of the Queen, who presented him with a CBE six years ago. ‘She’s amazing,’ he gushes. ‘She talks with her eyes. She has a twinkle in them — wow — she’s so special. I think she’s so wonderful and we, as a country should be so proud of her. It’s a dreadful position to be in; she can never be free. But her dedication to duty has been amazing.’
Oh, get a room, Roger. Probably at the State's expense. Does he Roger not realise how hard people work to pay the taxes that support the Royal lifestyle?

Roadmender's weekend: Kate Nash

Not the most HD of video, but kind of listenable. You can look out the window while it plays, if you'd prefer. We Get On.

[Buy: Made Of Bricks]
[Part of Roadmender's weekend]

Downloadable: Electrogothy goodness

Fancy a big, doomy, gothy compilation from the fine people at SideLine magazine? Just woosh over to SideLine's Facebook presence, like them, and you'll get the link.

(Am I alone in finding there something slightly creepy about this 'tell me you like me and I'll give you a present' set-up? It's a bit like a mother withholding supper until you tell mummy you love here.)

Roadmender's weekend: Casiokid

Filmed from above, doing Save The Emotion in November 2007:

[Buy: Topp Stemming PA Lokal Bar]
[Part of Roadmender's weekend]

This week just gone

Rootling about in the darker recesses of Google Analytics, these are the people who have been most searched for "nude" this year:

1. Lauren Laverne
2. McFly
3. Edith Bowman
4. Jo O'Meara
5. Cerys Matthews
6. James Blunt
7. Clare Grogan
8. Diana Spencer
9. Heather Mills
10. Sandi Thom

This week's interesting releases:

Eleanor Friedberger - Last Summer

Washed Out - Within And Without

Download Within And Without

Enter Shikari - Live From Planet Earth

Download Common Dreads

Suzanne Vega - Close-Up Volume 3

Download Close-Up

Madeleine Peyroux - Standing On The Rooftop

Download Standing On The Rooftop