Saturday, October 15, 2011

Gordon in the morning: Thank you for the Roses

I think it's fair to say that - unlike most of the things he writes - Gordon Smart's excitement at the Stone Roses reunion seems to be genuine.

He has had to be a little, uh, creative with his own part in events though:

In April, Bizarre revealed how Ian and John had buried the hatchet at Mani's mum's funeral. A barman at the pub where the wake was held asked for a picture of the boys when they were all back together. Word then spread like wildfire around Manchester that peace had broken out.

It was a sensitive time for Primal Scream bassist Mani, who was grieving for his mum, and he kicked off about any suggestions of a reunion being premature.
You'll note that Gordon plays down what Mani actually said:
"I'm disgusted that my personal grief has been invaded and hijacked by these nonsensical stories," he told the NME, referring to the meeting of Brown and Squire at his mother's funeral.

"Two old friends meeting up after 15 years to pay their respects to my mother does not constitute the reformation of the Stone Roses. Please fuck off and leave it alone. It isn't true and isn't happening."
It's also interesting that Gordon is so desperate to be in some way 'first' with the story that he risks reminding us all of his oafish intrusion into someone's grief. Even something that he clearly loves dearly he treated like shit.

Moore and Gordon split

Never nice to hear of the end of a marriage, especially one that's lasted 27 years, but Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore have announced their separation. Besides the personal sadness, there's also a bit of a cloud over the long-term future of Sonic Youth between the lines of the statement from Matador:

"Musicians Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, married in 1984, are announcing they have separated. Sonic Youth, with both Kim and Thurston involved, will proceed with its South American tour dates in November. Plans beyond that tour are uncertain. The couple has requested respect for their personal privacy and does not wish to issue further comment."
I suspect those South American dates will give an indication of if this is a 'still friends, still working together' split, or 'contractually obligations can't stop us throwing guitars at each others' heads' one.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Stone Roses reform, says Clash

Clash magazine claims the Stone Roses are reuniting next year:

Clash has learned that there is to be a major announcement next week regarding the four original members of Manchester’s indie legends The Stone Roses. Though they said it would never happen, Clash sources reveal a renowned promoter has finally persuaded the tenacious individuals to put their differences aside and reunite for 2012.
Of course, if we can raise enough money to put on a Sea Horses reunion, we might still be able to stop this bloody awful idea from happening. Otherwise, get ready to have your memories crapped all over.

Fred Durst: The Bill Cosby of our days

The sudden resurgence of comedy on US Network television has created a crisis, as there aren't enough funny people to go round. Things are so bad CBS is even toying with giving Fred Durst a sitcom.

Yes, Fred Durst.

How do you take a man who is only ever unintentionally hilarious and make a sitcom from him?

In the half-hour project, currently known as "Douchebag", Durst will star as a "rock legend" trying to juggle his family and his famous-person lifestyle.
I suppose at least he's not doing the usual thing and just playing himself then, although in this case that might be more appealing. A half hour about an elderly bloke who dresses like he's 13 and hasn't noticed that he's not even a famous name in his own genre any more could have legs. Otherwise, isn't this just the ill-fated Harry Enfield adaptation of Private Eye's Celeb strip, but without even the saving grace of Harry Enfield?

Never mind the new iPhone...

The Enter Shikari tour tickets are going on sale this morning.

Edinburgh Corn Exchange (March 17)
Hull University (18)
O2 Apollo Manchester (19)
Wolverhampton Civic Hall (20)
Plymouth Pavilions (22)
HMV Hammersmith Apollo (23)

Noel Gallagher: The showman speaks

Given that you're going to hear the Southern Fried Birds, I suppose nobody going to see Noel Gallagher's solo shows would be expecting to be entertained, but Noel is keen to stress just how dull the events will be:

He told BBC Radio 2: "I've got nothing to say to these people who are coming to see me apart from this song is called... I'm not really into audience participation. I wouldn't come down and look down at your computer while you're at work.
"They're here to listen to the music. You clap, I sing, good night, the end."
I guess the discovery that Noel Gallagher has nothing to say beyond the name of the songs shouldn't come as a surprise - his interviews are mostly acres of space dedicated to a man with nothing to say.

But how curious that he equates playing the songs he supposedly loves as being like doing a simple data-entry task. Perhaps if he really feels that way, he could just boil it down a little further: you buy a ticket to a Noel Gallagher gig, and instead of having to go and look at him - for who watches a person at work in other circumstances? - you just get a report of how well the songs were played sent to you by email the following day.

Gordon in the morning: Pushing Pixie

I don't suppose anyone would object much to a marketing message for Pixie Lott's range of clothes being disguised as a news story on Gordon's pages, had it been disguised as a news story:

That’s a Lott of clothes now, Pixie

PIXIE Lott has released so many Lipsy clothing ranges, it's easy to forget she's a singer.

Here she is modelling two new designs for the store. It's a wonder she had time for upcoming second album Young Foolish Happy.

Hope she turns her hand to designing lingerie...
Now, obviously, it would be wonderful if she got a job stocking shelves of a branch of Peacocks and couldn't get time off to make any more records, but why didn't Gordon just go the full distance and merely list available sizes, prices and colours?

Elsewhere in The Sun, there's a straight-faced article which tries to float the idea that Gary Barlow is some sort of sex symbol, apparently not even noticing that his "beard" appears to be printed onto a sheet of plastic and attached to his chops.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Embed and breakfast man: Fanfarlo

This has been pushed onto the YouTube: a taste of Fanfarlo's soon-coming album:

Big Boi stays out of jail

To the disappointment of many, Florida prison inmates aren't going to get to use the "so why do they call you Big Boi" line, at least not now: He's cut a deal to keep himself out of jail.

Mr. Boi had been arrested in August after getting off a cruise ship with various bits of drugs about his person. Frankly, we're bemused why anyone who had a bunch of drugs would have any left by the time they reached the end of a cruise.

GaGa GooGoo No-No

Lady GaGa has moved a step closer to crushing all the joy and wonder out of the world by running to the courts to have Lady Goo-Goo injuncted.

Goo-Goo is a parody of GaGa produced as part of the Moshi Monsters world; there's a video and were plans for a parody single, Peppy-razi. But that's all stopped now:

Lady Gaga's injunction bans the company from "promoting, advertising, selling, distributing or otherwise making available to the public The Moshi Dance or any musical work or video that purports to be performed by a character by the name of Lady Goo Goo, or that otherwise uses the name Lady Goo Goo or any variant thereon".
GaGa already has form for this po-faced attempt to shut down parody: Weird Al Jankovich had to shame her in public in order to get Perform This Way out.

There's a slim argument that the person who put all the work coming up with the ideas that go into making Lady GaGa should have a say over what is done with those ideas, of course. But up until now Madonna has remained pretty relaxed about what GaGa is doing with them.

Gordon in the morning: Simon Cowell goes to the movies

The story Simon Cowell tells about why he doesn't go to the pictures tells us a lot about Cowell's self-image:

The last straw came while watching Hugh play a washed-up Eighties singer in the 2007 romantic comedy Music And Lyrics.

He said: "The last time I went to the cinema publicly was for a movie where Hugh Grant was a failing singer songwriter."
To be fair, I think a lot of people saw Music And Lyrics and emerged grimly pledging that they would never, ever go to a cinema again. I think a few people in County Durham even put their own eyes out to make sure they never saw another film, even by accident.

But Cowell has different reasons for not going:
"Some people recognised me and every time his character sang a song in the movie, everyone turned around to look at me.

"I've never been so embarrassed in all my life.

"It was terrible, they looked at me as if I was going to say 'That was crap.' I was so embarrassed I had to get out of there."
Maybe this really did happen, but I can't help noticing it sounds more like a paranoiac talking - "I just felt everyone was turning at me."

Maybe Cowell was muttering "oh, no, another song! I really hope people don't expect me to give an OPINION! Like I do on television" loudly through the film, which would explain why people kept turning to stare at him and certainly fit with someone telling this story four years later.

But even if it is true, why would that stop you from going to the cinema? Couldn't you just choose movies that don't feature crappy songwriting? Is he afraid that the crowd at Dolphin Tale would be constantly nudging him and asking for an opinion on the feasibility of a prosthetic tail.

More from the X Factor-Movies axis as Gordon types up the minutes from Noel Gallagher's appearance on Christian O'Connell's Absolute breakfast show:
Noel Gallagher has spotted some similarities between Gary Barlow's judging style and Ernst Stavro Blofeld — one of 007's most famous adversaries.

He said: "Gary's sitting sideways a lot. Just like some James Bond baddie, isn't he? Where he kind of swivels round, 'Ah, yes, you're just not good enough'.

"Gary's all right, I've met him a few times, he's a good lad."
Yes, Noel Gallagher now has so little to say he's reduced to chatting about the X Factor. It's lucky for Christian; if he'd booked Noel a couple of weeks ago he'd have had three hours about how it unseasonably warm it is and what Noel's gardener had reported about effects on the fruit bushes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dan Treacy seriously ill

Horrible news this evening, as Dan Treacy of the Television Personalities is in a medically induced coma following surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain. NME reports:

A statement released by Television Personalities members TexasBob Juarez, Mike Stone and Arnau Obiols said:

The band is very much concerned for our dear friend and Brother Daniel at this time, and we are all praying for a recovery.
Police are apparently investigating how Treacy got his injury. The world at large; well, we just have to cross our fingers and think good thoughts.

Bananarama: Where did you get your crazy name?

Talking of CB-TV, here's a small treat for a Wednesday morning - Bananarama getting a grilling (of the light, flash variety) from "young journalists" shepherded by Anneka Rice:

Unhealthy Qriocity

Sony has had yet another security breach of its Playstation and Qriocity network.

Who's looking after security at Sony? Did they hire the guy who used to try and keep Jim Sweeney and Steve Steen out the studios at the start of CB TV?

Wishing On A Star. Wishing it wouldn't happen.

This year, rather than just donating, say, the advert take from one of the weekends, the X Factor charity effort will destroy this song:

Gordon in the morning: GaGa shock tank running on empty

Oh, Gordon tries his hardest with the latest Lady GaGa photos, but like the rest of us, he's trying to stifle a yawn:

GRUESOME Lady Gaga sports S&M headwear in her latest kinky video.
Oh, S&M again? That's nice dear.
The provocative chart-topper is seen wearing a number of different gags in the arty black and white footage
How terribly shocking. You've certainly shifted our perceptions of... well, whatever it was you were trying to shift. Well done, Lady.
Her striking features are also concealed entirely under a series of masks.
Masks? That must have been so much fun. Do pass the ketchup, dear.
One is made of latex with just small holes perforated in it to allow breathing.
Is there much more of this?
Another has nails protruding from it.
Sorry, I was just checking emails... did you say nails? Fancy.
She's also seen clutching a cigarette while wearing a gas mask.
That reminds me - did anyone else know that there's a fanpage for one-note Grumbleweeds character Wilf 'Gasmask' Grimshaw on Facebook?

Apparently all this is to celebrate her fans, and not a desperate attempt to try and wring a little more ho-hum surprise out of an act which relies more and more on rummaging in the bargain bin of a backstreet sex shop in the hope that nobody else has ever worn fetish clothing.

How do you feel about the fans, GaGa?
"They write the history of this kingdom and I am their devoted jester."
Jesters? Those were the ones who tried to disguise the thinness of their act by wearing stupid clothes and waving meat products on sticks, weren't they?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bookmarks - Internet stuff: Rolling Stone

If you've looked at Rolling Stone recently - and it would probably have had a woman in her pants on the cover - you might have wondered just when it started to be so hypersexualised. So did Mary Nell Trautner and Erin Hatton; so they've produced a graph which shows that - perhaps unsurprisingly - women started to appear mostly in their bras during the 1990s. Sociological Images has the graph and commentary.

Mikey Welsh: curious

This tweet from Mikey Welsh is pretty odd:

dreamt i died in chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). need to write my will today.
followed by this one:
@JVittitow correction - the weekend after next
Obviously, that's more-or-less what happened. So either it's a Tweet of a death foretold, or else someone is gaming Twitter in a strange and unpleasant way.

Gordon in the morning: Precocious child

You know the only thing worse than a precocious child? An adult who, despite their successes as an adult, feels the need to claim they were a precocious child. What's that, Jessie J:

She said: "I've been told that my first words were 'Jam hot... you're listening to the girl from the big bad city.' My sisters used to sing it to me constantly when I was little."
Really, Miss J? Your first words weren't a cautious 'mama' or 'horsey', but instead a fully-formed sentence.

Jessie went on to reveal that mother says she was a dancer before she could walk. Mm-hmm, she says she could sing long before she could walk.

One: Whatever people say I am, that's what I'm not

There's been a bit of squawking over the refusal of Clearcast to clear Bono and co's One advert to be shown on the television. Clearcast have explained they had no choice:

We have been unable to clear this ad to date as we believe it is currently in breach of Rule 7 of the BCAP Code, which is itself based on the provisions of Section 321 of the Communications Act 2003. This imposes a blanket prohibition on “political” advertising on television and it is OFCOM who have retained responsibility for applying these rules. If an advertiser or an ad appears to be in breach of these provisions, neither Clearcast nor BCAP have any discretion in the matter of approval.

These rules ensure that ads aren’t being broadcast by bodies whose objects are wholly or mainly political. ONE appears to be caught by this rule as they state that part of their raison d’être is to pressure political leaders. It also appears that a number of the claims are made in the version of the ad that we have seen are directed towards a political end, which is again against the rules. This ad is not “banned”; we are in discussions with ONE to see if there is any way that the apparent legal hurdles can be overcome and the ad cleared.
One are fuming at this, insisting that it isn't fair:
He said: "ONE is not a political party and we have no political affiliation."
You know, that's funny, because last year when people got upset that One raised sums of money, very little of which went directly to the people it was supposed to be helping, the One campaign spoke to everyone like we were stupid children saying 'of course we don't help people directly, because we're a political organisation:
The whole point of ONE is to combat extreme poverty by raising awareness and changing government policy - it has never been to directly fund charity projects in developing countries, work which is done well by other NGOs. ONE was created by philanthropists to tackle the structural policy issues such as debt, trade, and access to health care and other resources which make it hard to break out of extreme poverty.
As other examples of our work, ONE helped successfully press for debt relief for Haiti after the devastating earthquake there and we recently played an important role in the passage of a law in the US requiring oil companies to report any payments to government officials - an effort to end backhanded deals between energy companies and corrupt politicians that hurt people in poor countries.
When it's accused of spending cash on lobbying, One bristles and snaps "of course, we're a political organisation"; when told they can't have an advert because they're political, they then try and deny that they're political. Although not very well, as Adrian Lovett, the European director, says shortly after denying they're political:
[O]ur ad highlights the desperate plight of 750,000 people in east Africa who the UN warns could die before the end of the year. Unless we keep the spotlight on this crisis and the need for urgent action, those people will be forgotten. Who can object to that message?
Which is refreshingly simple minded: we're not political, we just have a political message, but it's a good one so can't we just have an advert. I'm sure the BNP think that no right-thinking person could object to their aims and objectionable objectives, so on the same basis, would One want their ads to be aired? How about a counterpoint to the One campaign - let's say a None campaign - which wanted airtime to argue that "it's Africa's problem, why should European money solve it?" Providing they weren't an actual party and just really believed in their message, would One support their ads popping up during Phil Spencer's new property show?

There's a sense here that the One campaign is more about the rich and the powerful wanting to be seen to be doing good, and the problem is that Clearcast is stopping Nescafe shill George Clooney and suitcase salesman from Bono from bolstering their credentials by showing their caring side.

Still, the upside is that One can spend the money they're saving in TV time by buying some more leather covered Moleskin notebooks to give to journalists.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Janice Long mugged for her access

Horrible news tucked into the Mail today about Janice Long being mugged for her Echo And The Bunnymen backstage pass outside the BBC.

It happened at the end of September; a 51 year-old woman is due to appear in court in December.

DRM doesn't work, says study

It's folk wisdom that DRM is counterproductive - if you make a product that you charge for, and is less useful than a free version, you're going to harm your sales.

Now, some research appears to back it up. TorrentFreak reports:

Researchers from Rice and Duke University looked into the effect of digital restrictions on music piracy. In their paper “Music Downloads and the Flip Side of Digital Rights Management Protection” they conclude that DRM doesn’t prevent piracy at all. Quite the opposite.

“Only the legal users pay the price and suffer from the restrictions. Illegal users are not affected because the pirated product does not have DRM restrictions,” the researchers write in their report.

Ditching DRM and other restrictions would actually reduce piracy according to the analytical model developed by the researchers.

“In many cases, DRM restrictions prevent legal users from doing something as normal as making backup copies of their music. Because of these inconveniences, some consumers choose to pirate,” DinahVernik, assistant professor of marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business says.
It's worth remembering that the research hasn't yet been published, so it's not clear how wide-ranging the investigation was.

Dappy arrested

The law will churn through the allegations that Dappy assaulted his girlfriend, possibly getting to the truth.

For the time being, though, let's just look at the opening to the Daily Mail story:

N Dubz singer Dappy was yesterday arrested on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend.

The cousin of X Factor judge Tulisa Contostlavos was reportedly held for questioning after police were called out to the home of his girlfriend's mother.
He had a solo number one a couple of weeks ago, but he's really famous for being related to a judge on the X Factor. That might tell you something about the state of the music industry.

Indieobit: Mikey Welsh

Mikey Welsh, former Weezer bassist, has died, according to a post on his Facebook wall:

We are deeply saddened to announce that Mikey Welsh passed away unexpectedly today. He will forever be remembered as an amazing father, artist, and friend. May he rest in peace.

Born in New York in 1971, it was in Boston that Welsh thrived as a musician. He was a spine to a number of Boston scene acts, gaining the experience which would see him join first Juliana Hatfield's touring band, and then The Rivers Cuomo Band. When Matt Sharp quit Weezer in 1998, Welsh made the move from Cuomo's side-project to main band.

He was with Weezer for four years - although the band spent some of that time on hiatus - and appeared on the album The Green Album. He left in mysterious circumstances in 2001, a mystery finally cleared up in an interview with now-defunct music website Rock Salt Plum:
Basically, a lifetime of doing drugs and being undiagnosed as having Bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder finally caught up with me when I was 30 years old.

At the beginning of a 3-month European tour with Weezer, I started slowly falling apart. Without getting too graphic, by the time the tour was winding up, my weight had gone down to about 140lbs (I'm 6'2") and mentally completely wiped out. When I returned to the states, my family had made plans for me to see a psychiatrist in Boston. First though, we had to play a few dates around the U.S., and perform on The Tonite Show (which ended up being my last performance with Weezer).

By the time I got to Boston, I was having a complete nervous breakdown. It ended with a severe suicide attempt (an overdose). I was found and rushed to the hospital where I had come to within minutes of my heart completely stopping. I was in a coma for a few days, and woke up in a lockdown psychiatric ward.
There was a happy ending, though - Welsh left music behind to start a second career as a visual artist, in which he enjoyed some success. He would even return to play bass with Weezer a couple of times, guesting on a couple of tracks during gigs in Vermont and New York.
Mikey Welsh died in Vermont. He was 40.

We7 nearly makes a million

It's difficult to know exactly what the We7 financial results are telling us.

There's some good news: turnover trebled, to £965,374.

There's some bad news: losses were £2.97million.

There's some good news, in that the gap between spending and income has never been so small.

There's some disconcerting news, in that We7 must have known where they were before launching the not-universally-loved refocusing.

Although they're still running at a loss, there is some cash behind them:

We7 secured £3.6m in funding in May this year from investors, including Qualcomm Ventures and Pentech Ventures, with a further £2.1m to be paid in the final quarter of this year. It also won a government grant worth £1.8m for this year and 2012.
There's a lot of goodwill there, but it's now become a crazy game-show, trying to plug the losses before the cash runs out. Let's hope they make it.

This week just gone

The most-read stories from across the archive this week:

1. Kylie Minogue proud of her knickers
2. Tatu can't understand why everyone thinks they're gay
3. Take That split again
4. R Kelly's unpleasant video alright for a court outing
5. MOBOs 2011
6. One Direction fans distraught as tickets go on sale 120 seconds early
7. Wayne Rooney likes Grease, makes him a girl, claims The Sun
8. Ronan Keating upset by Thom Yorke
9. AC/DC - iTunes holdouts
10. RIP: Bert Jansch

(The Bert Jansch post was supposed to have been expanded into a full obituary, but our cat ran away and it didn't happen.)

These were this week's interesting new releases:

Deus - Keep You Close

Download Keep You Close

Feist - Metals

Download Metals

Hank Williams - The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams

Download Lost Notebooks

"Bonnie" "Prince" "Billy" - Wolfroy Goes To Town

Download Wolfroy Goes To Town

Pop Will Eat Itself - New Noise Designed By A Sadist

Download New Noise Designed By A Sadist

Lights - Siberia

Download Siberia