Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Disc jockeys

The always-lovely Awful Library Books weeds a 1971 guide to being a radio DJ out of the collections. Key thing? Leave space for the official station bomber jacket:

Leave that leather jacket at home. Of course, your talent, ability and training will bear tremendous weight, but why overshadow your assets appearancewise?

Gordon in the morning: Oasis lawsuit question answered

Yesterday morning, we wondered what side Gordon would pick in the battle of The Gallagher brothers.

Question answered this morning:

[H]ere's Liam Gallagher at 3am, in a cold Staffordshire field, doing a bit of self-medicating - swigging from a tin of Guinness with fans. This snap was taken only hours before he disappointed thousands of Oasis fans by pulling out of V Festival in Chelmsford back in 2009.

He must have been really poorly.
The person who supplied the photo has "asked not to be named", which perhaps somewhat overstates the importance of this story.

Witnesses! Move to safehouses! Change your names! Plastic surgery cannot be ruled out! The arms of the Liam Gallagher operation are long, and his wrath is fierce. Keep yourself safe.

Friday, August 19, 2011

You know what's wrong with pop music? Katy Perry

Linda Perry reckons Katy 'no relation' Perry is right at the heart of all that's wrong with pop music:

I'm not a huge fan of Adele but that's a solid record and it's selling. That means people are still buying records. It's the crappy, like, who wants a Katy Perry record? I'm sorry, but you're going to get the two songs that are probably the hits that are good, but the rest of the album is going to be crap. It's going to sound like shit.
For younger readers, an "album" is a collection of songs which record companies used as a means of forcing people to buy the tracks they didn't really want.
So people download the single, and that's it. She's great for what she does, but she's not reinventing the wheel, she's not giving substance, she's just giving microwave popcorn to feast on right at this moment. She's not looking to change the world musically, so all the power to her. I'm not saying that's bad, I'm saying it's not what I participate in. That's part of the reason why the music business is in turmoil.
Oh... hang about, then, she's not saying Katy Perry is bad. She's just saying that she only releases songs that people what to buy and not, presumably, recording Tales From Topographic Oceans.

Isn't that sort of the point of pop music? Isn't this like complaining about Calvin And Hobbes because it isn't a Russian novel?

More to the point, Perry writes for Pink. Now, you'll know that I think Pink is, generally, a good thing - but in terms of producing brilliant pop, she's a singles act. There's a yawning quality chasm between Pink and Perry K, but is there really much difference in methodology?

Also: Four Non-Blondes.

Brian Harvey against the State

You want evidence this nation is slowly turning into an Orwellian police state? Hey, look no further than Brian Harvey's video - snatched from under the very nose of The Man. He's fighting a one-man, rearguard action against erm, having to pay your electricity bill.

For reasons that remain unclear - although possibly related to not exactly being busy on the work front - Harvey hadn't paid for his electricity, and the courts ordered that he be put on a prepaid meter.

Given that he wasn't entirely co-operative, a warrant had to be obtained and, as is not unusual, police went along to make sure there was no trouble when the warrant was executed. "Executed", right, like AN ENEMY OF THE STATE. Harvey grabbed his video camera - which, luckily, had a fully-charged battery - and filmed this last erosion of a proud Briton's right to not pay for his electricity:

In the seven-minute clip, posted online, Harvey remonstrates with officials from the electricity company, claiming the warrant to enforce the installation of a pre-paid meter was obtained "illegally".

As at least three officers stand guard outside his home while the device is fitted, Harvey says into the camera, "Just to let everyone know, the police are now enforcing civil matters. Southern Electric are in my house now, fitting a pre-paid meter unlawfully."

Once the workmen are finished, they leave the scene as Harvey tells them: "Dogs, mate - the lot of you. Dogs. And there's the police enforcing it. Unbelievable... communist China springs to mind. Police state."
Thank God Brian is here to bring us the news that police help execute warrants by ensuring that there is no breach of the peace in the process, something that I think will shock and surprise us all. And when I say "us all", I mean "anyone under the age of seven who doesn't have any grasp of how these things work."

Still, it's exactly how Communist China started - one minute, you're making people pay for the electricity they use, the next you're holding large chunks of the American national debt. Let's all consider ourselves warned.

Amy Winehouse: Squatting in a dead woman's shoes

The plans to start a foundation in Amy Winehouse's name has hit a snag, as someone has stolen the name:

[Mitch Winehouse] said [delays to the launch is] because the name 'The Amy Winehouse Foundation' has been registered by someone else.

"Somebody else pinched it off of us before we could get it registered," Mr Winehouse said.

"All these donations which are coming in - we don't know what to do with them at the moment."
Now, it's obviously sickening that some scumpuppy has tried to steal the name, but I'm a bit lost as to why this is delaying things. Couldn't you just set it up under a name like, say, The Real Amy Winehouse Foundation, and then - at some point down the line - sort out the name issue?

It shouldn't be too difficult, all you have to do is follow the unholy stench that must be rising from wherever the sots who have grabbed the name frolic in their own filth.

In the meantime, Mitch might need to focus on what, exactly, people are donating to. Or for:
"The plan is to help all children - not just rehabilitation, not just substance abuse. It's to help all children in need."
Mitch, I think you might find "children in need" has gone, too. I know it must be incredibly difficult for Mitch to focus right now, but the charity is starting to sound a little "Money For People" at the moment.

Pukkelpop called off after storm deaths

Waking up to clearer news this morning from Pukkelpop, where the two stage collapses have left five dead and 70 injured. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the rest of the festival has been pulled, with an official statement:

Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. We truly sympathise with the families and friends of the victims. Words are not enough. We have struggled with the decision to continue the festival. Therefore we have decided to cancel Pukkelpop 2011. What has happened is very exceptional and could not have been predicted. We are deeply moved by all the spontaneous support the festival goers and the organisation have received. We call on all Pukkelpoppers to return home calmly. Extra buses and trains have been organised to bring everybody home. We ask everyone to understand that this decision was extremely difficult to make.
Certainly, the video footage of the storm does look like the sort of weather it'd be hard to protect against, with trees being uprooted. Rescue efforts were frustrated when cranes brought in to lift the collapsed Chateau stage were unable to get across the waterlogged ground.

Many of the acts playing Pukkelpop had been due to move on to the Dutch Lowlands Festival; organisers there are waiting to find out how many will still be in the mood to play.

Gordon in the morning: Court report

There's an actual, proper news story leading off Bizarre this morning, so Gordon's let John Kay and Richard White do the heavy lifting as Liam issues a libel writ against Noel:

I HAVE taken legal action against Noel Gallagher for statements he made claiming Oasis pulled out of the 2009 V Festival Chelmsford gig because I had a hangover.

That is a lie and I want Oasis fans and others who were at V to know the truth.

I was gutted when I couldn't play the gig because I didn't want to let the fans down.

But the truth is I had laryngitis, which Noel was made fully aware of that morning, diagnosed by a doctor.

Noel also falsely stated the demise of Oasis followed a massive row in which he claimed I demanded to advertise my clothing range Pretty Green in the Oasis tour programme.

The truth is there was no such discussion or row between us.

I am used to being called all sorts of things by Noel and I have in the past said things about him. But what Noel has alleged this time went way beyond rock-and-roll banter and questioned my professionalism.

I tried to resolve this amicably but have been left with no choice but legal action. All I want is an apology.
That's Liam's explanation for why he's suing. It's not entirely clear who he thinks cares, but it's clear he couldn't resist the opportunity to push the risible sideshow deeper yet into Jeffrey-Archer-novel territory.

The pair of tireless news terriers attempt to add some meat to the bones of Liam's statement, quoting - of course - a source:
The source added: "Liam felt he had no choice but the courts. He feels a mix of anger at how he has been treated by his own elder brother and sadness it has come to this.

"Liam is an old-school rock star. I'm sure there have been times when he has taken to the stage after a big one the night before. But that night he had laryngitis.

"He lived for being the frontman of Oasis and singing in front of millions of fans."
Did I say Jeffrey Archer? It sounds a bit more like a terrible episode of Lark Rise: All 'e wanted to do was sing 'is toons, sir, and 'e would 'ave, too, 'ad 'is throat not been all broken, your 'onour.

Still, it'll be interesting to see which camp Gordon ends up throwing his weight behind as this sorry saga limps on and on over the coming the months.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Phil Spector appeal rejected, again

For the second time this year, Phil Spector has had attempts to appeal his murder conviction rejected.

Rumours the California Supreme Court are building a Wall Of Nope could not be confirmed.

Breaking News: Pukkelpop stage collapse

Just hearing via Channel 4 News Twitter stream that at least one person is feared dead following the collapse of a stage at Pukkelpop. The Smith Westerns were playing when a storm apparently blew through the site.

NME plummets again

Latest music magazine circulation figures are in, and - once again - they're grim for the NME, down below 30,000.

Here's the list, with change compared to the same period last year:

The Fly: 100,386 ; -7.2%
Kerrang! : 43,033 ; -2.2%
Mojo : 87,262 ; -4.8%
New Musical Express : 29,020 ; -14.3%
Q : 80,418 ; -10.1%
Top of the Pops : 98,030 ; -6.4%
Uncut : 66,004 ; -10.9%

In sheer number terms, the falling away of Q's audience is noteworthy, too. But look at the gap Kerrang has opened up over the NME (or, more accurately, has managed to hold onto) - K! now selling 50% more than the once impregnable NME. Putting on new readers would be a big ask, but surely something must be possible to quell the vanishing audience?

Noel Gallagher repents at leisure

Perhaps - who can say for sure? - with one eye on the cool reception for Beady Eye and another on the tepid interest in the Low Flying Berks, Noel wonders if killing the golden goose might not have been a bad call:

"It was a hasty decision I've got to say, and we could maybe have all gone off and done other things for a few years," Noel explained during an interview with Absolute Radio.

"In my own head the 2015, 20-year anniversary of (What's The Story) Morning Glory is looming and we could have maybe come back, made a new album and played that album in its entirety and gone and been the greatest thing ever, but there you go."
Yes... imagine all possibilities. And by "possibilities", I mean money. A huge pile of money. All that money. What could you buy with money like that?
Oh, yes. One of those. Maybe many.

Gordon in the morning: Cartoon characters

Kasabian have, naturally, got an orchestra on the new record - they're at the point in their career where sales are high and ideas low, so shelling out for an orchestra is an obvious thing to do.

But since it's clear Kasabian's grasp of music is very lmited, how could they communicate what they wanted?

The obvious thing would have been to play Whatever by Oasis and say 'something like that', but instead, the band used film soundtracks as a reference point.

I say "film soundtracks":

Serge said: "I just explained what I wanted in basic terms like, 'You know the bit in Tom and Jerry where Jerry plays Tom's whiskers? - that sound', and she'd go, 'Ah, it's pizzicato!' and we'd get through it like that."
There has been some worries from cartoon cats that association with Kasabian might make their trade look a little childish.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Protection: Have Jay-Z and Kanye outsmarted the leakers?

The BBC News website gets quite excited by the lengths Jay-Z and Kanye West went to to stop their album leaking:

Billboard magazine reported some of the steps they took - such as storing the music on fingerprint-protected hard drives that were kept in locked suitcases.

To keep hackers out, their producers turned off wi-fi on their computers as the album was recorded in pop-up studios in hotel rooms around the world.

Draft versions of songs were not sent by email. Instead, the duo insisted that all collaborators must come to their temporary studios to record their contributions in person.

The album's art director Virgil Abloh even suggested on Twitter - possibly joking, possibly not - that producer Noah Goldstein had been "sleeping with the hard drives for like 10 months straight".
A man who had been fixing the toilets down the corridor from where one of the recordings took place had his vocal cords removed to stop him singing the songs in the street. Kanye West used selective breeding to create guard dogs crossed with giraffes, that would be unable to bark the beats being used. Seventeen people were disappeared to Central America, only being released again once the album was available. And all the files were password protected with the password "pA55w0rd", which nobody would ever be able to guess.

Lots of fun and games - it must have been like being in Spy Kids 5: The Disappointing Musical - but, almost certainly, pointless, as the key measures were quite simple:
Only a small circle of people had access to the music before it was released on iTunes last Monday, at which point it was delivered to a CD manufacturing plant.
Yes, for all the wi-fi cloaking and circles of toads' blood, if you want to stop a CD leaking don't give it to anyone who might knock a copy off before it's ready to hit the shops.

Of course, easy to do when it's a long-awaited crossover-double-up between Mr. Z and Mr. West. Slightly harder if you're, say, Joe Lean And Jing Jang Jong to persuade your record label to just prepare the presses before they've had a chance to hear what they're going to be releasing. So might not work for everyone.

But did it work for Jay-Z and West?
The album has now broken the iTunes one-week sales record, selling almost 290,000 copies in its first seven days.
That might be down to it not having leaked. Equally, though, it could be down to iTunes having it a week before it was in the shops.

And given the margins are a bit better on physical copies than on digital versions, the duo might have been better off not bothering with the warlock fastening their laptops with a hemlock rope, and just carried on as normal.

But, hey, then how would they have got to play the Hardy Boys?

Gordon in the morning: Nude as the news

Tossed into the Smart Bizarre pages this morning is this claim by Cara Lee:

Karen Gillan is nearly nude at Doc Who bash
KAREN Gillan turned heads last night — when she went out looking like she was in the buff.
Except, it turns out she wasn't nearly nude at all. Nor did it look like she was in the buff. She was wearing a long dress in that slightly unpleasant sticking-plaster colour. Still, Google won't know that, eh, Cara?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jackson concert organisers admit maybe hiring people who think he fiddled with kiddies "an oversight"

I don't know if they're actually planning to use the title "The Ill-Fated Michael Jackson Tribute Concert" formally, but, boy, it fits.

Latest nightmare for the organisers of the Cardiff concert is having to uninvite Kiss from the bill after being reminded of this:

Some of [Gene] Simmons' harshest comments came last year in an interview with Classic Rock magazine. "Well, you know, where there's smoke there's fire," Simmons said regarding accusations that Jackson abused young boys. "There's no question in my mind he molested those kids. Not a doubt."
You know, says Global Events CEO Chris Hunt, perhaps putting Kiss on the bill was a bad idea:
"Under the circumstances, we fully agree that even though Kiss is a band Michael admired, we have no choice but to rescind our invitation to them to appear in our tribute concert," Hunt wrote in a statement.
A slightly more interesting question is why Gene Simmons signed up to pay tribute to a man he believes molested kids.

Raising a glass to AC/DC

You'll recall AC/DC's argument about not going on iTunes because it focuses on singles and doesn't represent them musically.

A clear stance, one which might be wrong, but at least admirable.

Oddly, though, the band seems quite happy that bottles of wine named after their singles does "represent them musically".

So, AC/DC fans - you can't just buy the singles you want. Unlesss you buy them in the form of wine.

Vampire Weekend no longer in Contra case

You'll remember a few months back the model from the cover of Vampire Weekend's Contra turned up, claiming she'd never released the image to be used? The legal action against XL and the band which resulted has been settled and dismissed.

The action against the photographer Tod Brody - who, it has been claimed faked a release from Ann Kirsten Kennis - continues. Brody has apparently been cut free by his lawyers, who say he has neither co-operated with them, nor paid them.

Gordon in the morning: The N-Dubz dream is crumbling

Can it really be now that Tulisa has a proper job that she's going to stop mucking about with N-Dubz?

Apparently, we're meant to be surprised by this:

For the first time, Fazer and Dappy accused Tulisa of putting herself first, ahead of the band. She is gearing up for a career without the boys and she doesn't seem too bothered about the consequences - despite her protestations on Twitter.

The source added: "T is not having the boys on the show when X Factor reaches the judges' houses phase.

"The boys are livid because the plan was always to promote N-Dubz as writers and producers, using X Factor as a launch pad."
Promoting N-Dubz as writers and producers sounds a bit like promoting Peparami as a health food. It's not entirely surprising that Tulisa, trying to crack on like she knows about music enough to judge other people, really wouldn't want Dopey and Sleepy turning up, is it? It'd be like your embarrassing parents showing up at school.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Andy Bell claims Noel spat out a tissue of lies

Here's something you never saw when they were in Oasis: One of Oasis slagging off the boss. Andy Bell was given to Liam as part of the divorce settlement, though, and so now is happy to tell us not to trust Noel:

He lied about a lot of things. The argument about Pretty Green was lies, what he said about V Festival and the fake laryngitis was lies - I don't know, maybe he's convinced that's the truth. I don't know what goes on in his head. I know him, so I'm not disappointed. That's what he's like. I know how he spins the press. He's used the press for years. Interviews and press are secondary for us, that's his life.

That's just Noel being Noel. All that shit. There were three of us in that room, and I'm telling you it was nothing to do with Pretty Green. I'm not going to add more fuel to the fire. But I've ended up in a band with Liam, Gem, Chris, with the same management, road crew. But at the same time, I wish him all the best. I want him to be happy.
This is all about what happened the night Oasis died, and who really did what to whom and when and how and why.

It's great to see that Andy Bell is rising above the whole using the press to keep a spat going thing by, erm, giving an interview to the Japan Times about what a terrible liar Noel Gallagher is.

Daily Mail ignores mother's wishes, PCC code, own proprietor

Well done, Daily Mail. By running creepy long-lens shots of Pink and her baby, you're ignoring both the PCC code forbidding using the fame of a child's parent as an excuse for running a story - or "story" in this case; and Pink's own request that paparazzi leave her alone.

Oh, and also the late Viscount Rothermere's pledge not to buy paparazzi photos following the death of Diana.

Perhaps there's a 'but none of the above applies if the photo is cute' clause I've been missing.

Mathew Street experiments with tip-box style free event

The Mathew Street Festival in Liverpool has always been free, but times are tough.

So this year, they're trying to find a way to keep the event free. People going will be invited to buy a wristband for £3 which will... well, give you a wristband.

For a festival largely built out of groups pretending to be other groups, this is a wristband pretending to be a Festival Wristband. A tribute 'band for tribute bands.

But it's a nicer idea than the other way of barking up some funds, which is to create a VIP zone:

Tickets cost £25 a day and include a couple of complimentary drinks, laid back live entertainment, invitations to the after-party and loos without the queues.

There will also be a special zone where guests can be pampered and have their hair and make-up refreshed.

The VIP bar and terrace enclosure will be in Victoria Street Car Park, next to the Sir Thomas Hotel – so far enough to escape the madding crowds, but close enough to jump straight back into the festival action.
That's exactly what Liverpool needs right now - a spot of 'them and us' barrier building, and turning a free festival into an event which you need money to get the 'full' experience.

Gordon in the morning: The stench of desperation

Given that Gordon relies on Simon Cowell and the X Factor Talent machine for about 75% of his articles that don't come from other magazines, it's quite brave of him to run Richard White and Lucy Connolly's bit this morning:

X FACTOR contestants are being plied with free booze in a bid to ramp up the sex and scandal in this year's series.

And cameras will be in finalists' bedrooms 24 HOURS A DAY on Simon Cowell's orders to make sure viewers get to gawp at every alcohol-fuelled grope.
I suppose that this is meant to be "publicity" of the good sort, but from where I'm sitting it sounds a bit like ITV trying to get vulnerable young people drunk to film them having sex. Even R Kelly's got beyond that sort of behaviour.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Edition struggles with new media

Johnny Gill claimed a record producer had leaked one of his new songs onto the internet. (He used to be in New Edition, but that's not important right now. Of course it's not important, it's 2011.)

She has responded by suing him for defamation.

Nut Gill reckons he's got the perfect defence - yeah, he said it, but it was on Twitter, so it doesn't count. He explained this to TMZ:

Gill told our photog he thinks people should say what they want on Twitter, because otherwise "the courtrooms would be filled with a bunch of Twitter people complaining about things people say every day ... It's freedom of speech."
"... and I'm pretty certain there was an amendment to the constitution which made Twitter even free-er-er than other free speech, right? It's the one that allows you to issue death threats through MySpace and organise riots using Facebook without comeback, yeah?"

N-Dubz quit DefJam. And by 'quit' I mean 'are dropped by'

The sudden breakdown in relationships between N-Dubz and their American label DefJam is going to cause DefJam massive problems, as the company will now struggle to have their tax-loss write-down organised before the end of the financial year.

N-Dubz have ripped up the deal. If you ask them, of course. DefJam say they were dropped.

Dappy, what happened?

They might say they've dropped us but we were never going to co-operate with them when they decided to change what we are. If we had co-operated we would still be signed. But I stuck my finger up at them when they wanted us to make another TV show. Tulisa thought we should do it because we could make some money out of it, but I said no.

For them to say they dropped us makes me angry because we just didn't want to change who we are or what we do. We're not just a silly bunch of pop tarts.
Ah, so the deal fell apart due to a lack of self-awareness on the part of the silly bunch of pop tarts.

This so reminds me of the time the Banana Splits quit Elektra in a huff, declaring they weren't just a load of puppets.

The Game - he's a card

The Game came up with a funny prank. He tweeted a number and invited his fans to call it for an internship.

There was no such internship - but how funny to make your fans think there was, eh? Big laughs there, straight away.

The number was actually for the LASD. Yes, the police. They weren't thrilled with hundreds of people clogging their lines, and are threatening to pursue The Game.

How does Mr Game react? Not by saying sorry:

Yall can track a tweet down but cant solve murders ! Dat was an accident but maybe now yall can actually do yall job!!! #ispeak4thepeople
Yes, Game. Because asking one of the hundreds of people "why do you think there is an internship here?" and "solving" this case was a massive logistical challenge compared to something as simple as solving murders, isn't it?

I love the way he tries to hashtag a suggestion that wasting police time in this way was somehow actually a campaigning attempt to force police accountability. And he might have gotten away with it too, were it not for his simultaneous attempt to say it was an accident.

Death comes to the fair: Four killed in stage collapse

There's video of this on YouTube, so if you're the grisly sort who wants to watch people being killed I suppose you can go and search for it, but the details are bad enough: strong winds at the Indiana State Fair brought the staging down on top of fans waiting to see Sugarland.

Four people died; the local TV station WTHR reports over forty were injured.

This week just gone

Most-read stories this week:

1. Morrissey reacts to the riots
2. Tatu wonder why everyone thinks they're gay
3. MIA offers chocolates to the rioters
4. The Sony/PIAS arson: update
5. The PIAS fire: how you can help
6. RIP: Conrad Schnitzler
7. Sony/PIAS fire: was it the only warehouse hit?
8. Should we be helping PIAS labels at all?
9. The Chelsea Hotel closes down
10. Joe McElderry: One of the youths with no future seen near the riots

This week's interesting releases were:

Capercaillie - Roses And Tears

Download Roses And Tears

Drugstore - Anatomy

Download Anatomy

Fionn Regan - 100 Acres Of Sycamore

Download 100 Acres Of Sycamore

America - Back Pages

Download Back Pages

Harry Nilsson - Without You

Download Without You

Moonface - Organ Music, Not Vibraphone Like I'd Hoped

The Bhundu Boys - The Shed Sessions

Download Friends On The Road

Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island

Download On Avery Island