Saturday, October 22, 2011

Coachella saved for an ungrateful demographic

As always seemed likely, a deal has been hammered together to allow the 2012 and 2013 Coachella festivals to happen. Local residents weren't keen on the festival, but were won over by the revenue it brings.

So, 2012 and 2013 are safe. I expect we're looking at another struggle in two years; by that time, the balance may be shifting towards the uppity residents.

Gordon in the morning: Twitter is a terrible place

Jessie J is going off Twitter - as in being less keen on, rather than leaving - reports Gordon:

JESSIE J was one of the first artists to start tweeting – but she's considering sacking it off after getting death threats.
Was she one of the first? Wasn't she part of the big sign-up period when marketing people started to cotton on? (She was three months behind Lily Allen, if that helps with the calibration.)
"I have thought about coming off Twitter. It brings out the best and the worst in people.

"It's an amazing way to speak with my fans and spread a good message, get music known.

"But it's also a forum for people to send you death threats and horrible messages.

"You can't filter out the things you don't want to read from your feedline. It's direct to your phone.

"You can't get away from it. They stay in your head. I'm human. I'm not a robot."
Without wanting to defend people who cram excrement into other people's Twitterstreams, for someone who has been on Twitter for so long she seems a bit unclear about the mechanism - for example, she says one skinbox sent her "I want you to die" 150 times. Now, you might not be able to filter out all of them, but you can block the user after the first message and filter out 149 of them.

Still, encouraging to know that Jessie J is not a robot. Mind you, she does have a lot of metal in her leg right now...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oasis start to talk up reunion

The suspicion that the splitting of Oasis was little more than a gamble to try and increase the value of future dates continues to grow. Both Liam and Noel are starting to talk-up the possibility of reunion dates around the 20th anniversary of What's The Story.

Yes, a reunion party to mark the moment where the disillusion started to set in. What could be more apt?

Stone Roses: Choose your hype

Choose which one you wish to believe:

Either way, still quite a dragged-out affair compared with the One Direction sale, which sold out in minus two minutes.

Please Hammer, don't search 'em

For reasons we can only speculate about - tax loss? hubris? the enacting of a bet? the loss of a bet? - MC Hammer claims he's launching a search engine all of his very own.

The rapper-turned-entrepreneur (after some late-90s difficulties) said a search would render not just direct results, but also information on possibly related topics. Its tagline is: "Search once and see what's related."
So like all other search engines, then. But certainly an interesting competitor to Google in about 2001.

The name Hammer has gone with is WireDoo. Unfortunately, that's what you get when a dog eats string, isn't it?

Gordon in the morning: Playing chicken

John Travolta - in town for a Scientology gathering - tried to book a table at the East Grinstead KFC.

The KFC politely pointed out that it was a KFC and not the bleedin' Ritz-Carlton, and turned down the booking.

Somehow the story has wound up in Gordon's column:

A KFC spokesman said last night: "In hindsight, of course, we would have reserved a table for him."

It's unclear if the KFC spokesperson has got stars in their eyes, or merely had one of the grinding dressing downs that the Scientologists specialise in when they don't get their way.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Maroon 5 now at war with Fox News

Parody news channel Fox News has gone to war with Maroon 5.

Fox quite likes using Maroon 5's music in the gaps between its swivel-eyed skrikecasts; Adam Levine has asked them to stop.

Fox doesn't like being told what to do. (It can work out what the Republicans want it to do all by itself). So they've wittily shot back:

Fox News hosts Greg Gutfeld and Andy Levy both replied to the singer on Twitter, each mocking the "Dear Fox News" phrasing of Levine's tweet. "Dear Adam, that's not music," wrote Gutfeld. Levine elaborated slightly in his tweet, writing "Dear @AdamLevine, don't make crappy fucking music ever again. Thank you."
Ha-ha, that's telling him. Telling him that the music you play on network is rubbish, admittedly, but telling him all the same.

Doll not aimed at kids is unsuitable for kids, claims professor

Bless the poor Daily Telegraph, which struggles enough coping with the modern world outside its own door but now has to try and run stories about matters American as well.

It's copied a fuss about nothing over the "rock chick Barbie" from American news sources:

But parents and commentators across America have criticised the image it portrays to children. Professor Joel Bakan, the author of 'Childhood Under Siege', described it as a "cynical exercise".

"This is a calculated attempt to play on young girls' natural desire to appear older," said Prof Bakan. "This is something to be resisted."
It tosses Mattel's explanation away at the end of the story:
In a statement, Mattel suggested that the doll had been intended more "for the adult doll collector". It said: "Barbie has sported an endless array of styles."
It's not "suggesting", it's saying. The rock Barbie doll sells at fifty bucks, which is the pricing for the collector range, not the children's toy range which is priced much lower. But if you know that, you know that this story isn't about aberrant Barbies dragging kids to Satanic rock concerts, and is actually about Joel Bakan using a lazily-researched target to try and flog his book.

Bjork: It's just like punk

Bjork's Biophila - partly released via apps rather than just on a CD - is like punk. It must be, she says so:

"For 10 years I'd just been listening to people moan on about how the internet was killing music. And I was like, 'Hang on, technology is not the enemy of music.

"Maybe it's because we've let businessmen set up the model of how we distribute music. If artists would get involved... that's why I've been comparing this project to punk. Obviously not literally the songs, but it's kind of like when I was 16.

"When we wanted to put out an album, we put out an album. And made the poster ourselves."
Yes, it's just like the DIY movement. If you ignore it being released in the US on Universal's Polydor imprint, or being distributed in the UK by part of EMI; and if punk meant having to get your music approved by the richest company in the world in order to gain access to the app store. Exactly like punk.

Muse take up some of Vince Cable's slack

Good old Muse have donated £15,000 worth of equipment and money to Plymouth University to encourage students on music courses.

Now, if they could just find a couple more billion to make good the cash axed from the university system elsewhere...

Gordon in the morning: Echo or Narcissus?

Gordon finds room to bring Leigh Holmwood's piece on the Catherine Tate-Jason Orange romance:

JASON Orange fell for Catherine Tate the moment she made him laugh dressed up as him in a spoof Take That video
It's a lovely story, and I hope they're very happy. But... "you know what? When you dressed up like me, I realised you were everything I was looking for" is a bit disturbing, isn't it? It's only one step away from dry-humping a mirror.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Courtney Love makes the most sensible decision of recent years

When she found out The Current Version Of Hole were booked to play not just the same festival as Limp Bizkit, but straight before Limp Bikzit, Courtney did the the sane thing and pulled out.

Matt Cardle: It's always the quiet ones, isn't it?

Clearly, the slow career progression being enjoyed by Matt Cardle means he's got too much time on his hands: He appears to spend his time reading long tracts on the internet:

He said: "Well, there's a lot of conspiracy. I've gotta be careful what I say. The whole 9/11 thing, something's not quite right there. I think the way it was portrayed on TV and who was responsible and the way it happened was not the way it happened."
You've got to love the "I've gotta be careful what I say", like he's a Julian Assange figure.
Then asked whether he believed the US government led by then-president George W.Bush was behind the attacks, Cardle reportedly responded by nodding vigorously.

Asked to elaborate, he said: "It's just not what they say it is. Other conspiracies might be true and the one I believe might also be bullshit. But all I do know is what they're saying is bullshit. From the things I've seen, I don't care what anyone says. To not question it is silly."
It turns out that Cardle will believe anything - that the X Factor is a way to shortcut the process to musical credibility; that there was a million dollar contract at the end of it; that George Bush was competent enough to organise 9/11 and a good enough actor to look so gormless when he was told about the planes.

Still, be careful Matt: we wouldn't want you disappearing totally from public view. I mean, obviously, you more-or-less did almost as soon as you won the X Factor.

Matt Cardle's 2012 tour will start in Guantanamo Bay, before concluding in the tunnels underneath Denver Airport THAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT

Westlife go west; end life

This is how it ends: not with a bland, but with a rolling farewell tour. Westlife have announced they're slaughtered their last song; the bar stools will be turned over and placed on a table for the last time next year.

Mark Out Of Westlife said: "we've been told we can only do a lucrative reunion tour if we break up in the first place, which makes this inevitable."

Relatives of Westlife's victim, Music, told journalists that although they were pleased to hear the torment was to end, it wouldn't repair the damage it has done.

Gordon in the morning: X Factor discounts as Roses return

Here's a surprise: after all the excitement Gordon Smart showed over the Stone Roses reunion, the big story was handed to Tim Nixon to cover.

Gordon was busy on Twitter, though, being slapped down by the mighty Tim Burgess for sloppy attention to detail:

not wishing to be over pedantic gordon but classic line up rather than original would be a better description
Gordon responded:
As always you are correct! But for the sake of Sun readers, that's the original line-up they will remember. I know about Pete G
Eh? The phrase "original line-up" now means "the earliest line-up Sun readers would remember"? And doesn't that paint Sun readers as a bit thick?

@Red_Devil1981 thought so:
slightly patronising Gordon! I think you'll find we know our music mate!
Smart responded by trying to deflect the attacks:
Apologies Matt didn't mean to come across badly. Damn 140 characters! Pls reply to the RT I'm about to fire up!
The RT he "fired up" was this one, from @HerekDales:
there is an advert booked in The Sun next Thurs to sell tickets for #Stoneroses tour. Won't reach many SR fans then
There's a difference between many readers loving the band and most of the band lovers reading the paper, Gordon.

Back on safer ground for Bizarre, the X Factor gets a kicking for having scaled back its ambition:

X FACTOR bosses have quietly dropped the claim that their winner will bag a "million-pound contract" after leaks revealed the act would need to shift FOUR albums to hit seven figures.
I don't think anyone has ever really believed in the "million pound" thing, but it's fascinating that even ITV have dropped the claims.
A show source said: "The bottom line is that unless you have hit album after hit album you will never get anywhere near the £1million from selling records. But it's still a hugely lucrative show."
Yes. For Syco and ITV.

[Thanks to Craig in the comments yesterday for suggesting taking a peek at Gordon's Twitter]

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mazzy Star: A comeback we can all get behind

You know that other kind of comeback? The one where a band gets together to do unfinished work rather than because of unpaid solicitor's bills?

Mazzy Star are about to release their first record in 15 years.

It's a single called Common Burn, and has an Amazon download page waiting for its release on Halloween.

"I don't need to sell my soul..."

So, by the time it became official there was no surprise left: The Stone Roses are coming back.

There's two sorts of reunions; the ones where the band who returns is picking up where it left off; a split which left things hanging, a sense of unfinished business.

And there's the other sort. The sort where the band hope we forget that they'd given up flogging the dead horse.

New material? Really, John? Are you telling us you had songs that were just so good they were beyond Chris Helme's vocal range?

In all the time since the Roses split up, there's been an ongoing debate between people who would have quite liked to hear the band play the songs again, and people who knew what that meant. Nowhere have you come across people who wondered what sort of third album the band would have made.

Maybe it'll be amazing; maybe the magic didn't vanish around the time they flung the last can of paint round the Silvertone offices.

But for now, the future seems to be little more than a man in a beanie hat bellowing "Manchester Vibes In The Area" in a human face, forever.

Music video dancer is a career choice

The people who dance in music videos in America are doing so under an agreement that was drawn up in 1986. The early days of MTV; the days before much sell-through on VHS existed, never mind DVD; the days before the internet. The American Federation Of Television And Radio Artists are trying to get a settlement more appropriate to the age in which they're standing in the background gyrating.

Morrissey remembers he's meant to be suing the NME

Four years ago, when the NME ran Morrissey's comments about the country being "flooded", the singer threatened to sue the NME for making him look like a racist. At the time, he ended up only suing The Word, who apologised in court for referencing the comments.

And that seemed to be that.

Until yesterday, when Morrissey's people and the NME turned up in court. MediaGuardian reports:

Lawyers for the former Smiths frontman told the high court on Monday that the singer "continues to suffer" reputational damage from a controversial interview he gave to NME magazine four years ago in which he complained about an "immigration explosion" leading to a loss of British identity.
The court hearing was to decide if Morrissey could bring an action against IPC and the then-editor of NME, Conor McNicholas. Morrissey contends that the piece remains a blot on his character; the IPC team counter that he hasn't seemed that bothered up until now:
However, lawyers for McNicholas and the NME told the court the claim should be struck out. Catrin Evans, acting for the magazine, claimed that financial difficulties, a legal dispute in the US and an acrimonious fallout with his then manager had "distracted" Morrissey from pursuing his claim against NME.

Morrissey threatened legal action against the magazine in November 2007, days after the interview was published.

According to Evans, the singer dropped the complaint for three years before recently reigniting the row. "The court can infer from this that there has been such a delay that is not a genuine bid for vindication," Evans said. "[The claim] simply didn't figure at the forefront of his mind."

Evans claimed that Morrissey "by his own actions" has provoked "more topical" accusations of racism – including an interview with the Guardian in September 2010 in which he described Chinese people as a "subspecies" – since the NME article was published.
Part of the IPC case is that Morrissey continues to tour and sell records, and that his fanbase seems undiminished as a result of the article - the "nobody pays much attention to the NME" defence.

MediaGuardian ends with this:
McNicholas, whose seven-year editorship of the NME was characterised largely by the well-publicised row, was in court for the three-hour hearing on Monday. The hearing continues on Tuesday.
To be fair, when you think of McNicholas' period at the NME, it's surely the vanishing circulation that you think of first, isn't it?

Gordon in the morning: A grown man of at least thirteen

Seriously, Gordon, have you reached puberty?

BUXOM Beyonce takes the plunge in a series of gaping suit jackets for her latest video.

Foregoing a bra, the superstar shows off her cracking cleavage in the glossy promo.

And she narrowly avoids a pair of black eyes as she performs a high tempo dance routine.
You're writing in something almost like a national newspaper and using that platform to go "hur-hur she ain't wearing no bra and her BOOBIES JIGGLE".

Elsewhere, there's a really creepy long-lens shot of Harper Beckham, which I make is about the two millionth time Gordon's column has ignored the PCC rules about not running photos of children just because they have famous parents. That self-regulation really works.

Monday, October 17, 2011

UB40: Signing on again

The miserable recent past of UB40 projects into the miserable present, with the band being declared bankrupt following the collapse of DEP and the wrangles with Ali Campbell.

The four members of the band - Brian Travers, Jimmy Brown, Terence 'Astro' Oswald and Norman Hassan - have been given personal insolvency orders; Ali Campbell, meanwhile, is being smug from the safety of not being in the band any more:

His spokesman said the bankruptcy court case showed Ali was right to quit the band.
"It is ironic that the very week they celebrate their first gig they have been declared bankrupt, after administration began in 2006, vindicating both Ali and Mickey Virtue's decision to leave UB40," she said.
She then went on to flip a shiny sixpence at Campbell's former bandmates and said "buy yourselves a cup of tea, why don't you?"

There's something sadly circular about a band whose very name spoke of the last Thatcherite economic collapse should be dragged down in the latest Thatchertie economic collapse.

Cliff Richard: After The Joy Of Living has gone

There are obvious jokes clinging to the news that Cliff Richard has said that he'd consider euthanasia, mainly of the 'offering to help' variety, but it is actually quite brave of an older man with an evangelising Christian background to openly support the idea that life might become unbearable; and that such a life is not a life at all:

“It doesn’t haunt me but I have discussed it with my sister and I said, ‘If this happens to me, don’t let it go on too long - and make sure I am looked after, as I don’t want to be a burden on anybody else’,” he said.

“I may live to be 100. It may happen at 90. They may well allow euthanasia. The terrible thing is that dementia doesn’t take your life but it removes it away from you - you don’t have a life.”
There is something a bit odd about saying, in effect, 'I hope I live long enough that I'll be able to end my life early'.

Pity he didn't accept that there comes a point when copyrights have become so old they should be allowed to pass on without fuss, but I suppose there are some things that people will cling to whatever.

Starbucks: now serving with cream, chocolate flakes, music

My first thought when I saw that Starbucks was bringing its free music download of the week offer to the UK was 'were they not doing that here?' I mean, it's half a bloody decade since they introduced it in the US, and they were quick enough to launch that horrible powdered instant coffee muck over here.

My second thought was 'they're still doing it in the US?' I've drunk a substantial amount of coffee in Starbucks in the US, and can't recall having seen an iTunes Pick of The Week promotion for at least two years and haven't been offered a download-redeemy card since... since my memory was sharp enough to hold on to the memory of when things like this happen.

Mind you:

Henceforth, customers visiting Starbucks coffee shops will be given an iTunes gift card that they can redeem on the iTunes Store within 60 days to grab the free download. The service kicks off with James Morrison’s In My Dreams.
I could just be blocking it all out.

Gordon in the morning: At this difficult time

Why are there clearly collaborative paparazzi snaps of Dappy at Butlins all over Bizarre this morning?

The N-Dubz singer organised the budget getaway days after he was arrested over a bust-up with Kaye Vassell, the mother of his two children.
They say "the singer", but this looks like a management stunt; it looks like the equivalent of those grim-faced family press calls the Tories were doing two or three times a week during the Major government - husband and wronged wife stood by the gate, moving on, moving on.

It might work a little better if Dappy had kept on-message, rather than giving the impression that there's better places he could be spending his time:
Dappy, 24, said: "I could have gone to Florida, but Butlins is appropriate for the kids."
I'm sure he didn't mean to make it sound like he was thinking "if I didn't have to be doing this, I could be in the actual Disneyland".

Now, I might be being overly cynical, but if this really was an attempt to try and spend some time with the family what the hell was a photographer doing there? It could be that Paul Edwards hangs around Bognor in early autumn on the off-chance that, say Sting and Trude or Pippa Middleton come for one last go on the Donkey Derby before the camp closes for the year, and these were unwelcome and surprising intrusions for Dappy and family.
But clearly these pictures are staged. Unless Paul also tops up his wages with a spot of work behind the bar?

Surprisingly, it took two people at The Sun to wrangle the "exclusive":
Wonder why team N-Dubz chose The Sun? Although Rebekah Brooks is supposedly gone, perhaps the paper still has understanding for those who spend time down the cop shop following a row with their partners.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Coachella under threat as Indio takes on indie

Coachella's future is looking a bit wobbly, as The City Of Indio is dragging its collective feet over signing a deal to allow the festival to run in the future.

It's not entirely Indio's fault - people in Indio have the sort of problems with festivals most festival neighbours have, but the City has hitherto largely balanced those against the massive revenue the event brings in.

Now, though, the next city along, La Quinta, has started to raise objections. It's been developing in the area that runs alongside the festival site over the last decade and - although people have moved in aware there's a big festival held down the street - they're starting to make a fuss.

As KCET reports:

In a 4-1 vote on October 4, the La Quinta City Council voted to request that Indio complete a review of the festival under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to assess the environmental impact of the noise, traffic and pollution generated by the festival each year. In response, Indio's City Council agreed at a meeting the next day to delay approval of a two-year contract with festival promoter Goldenvoice for thirty days, so that the two cities can negotiate over details.
Why are La Quinta's complaints carrying more weight than those of Indio residents? Simple: the homes being built in La Quinta are significantly higher-end than those of the host district.

La Quinta is unlikely to kill the golden alt-rock goose, but as more people move in, getting a licence isn't going to get any easier.

This week just gone

The most-read October 2011 stories so far:

1. Fred Durst gets a sitcom
2. Dan Treacy is in a medically-induced coma
3. Mikey Welsh tweeted a prediction about his own death
4. One Direction ticket sale starts early; disappoints preteens
5. Jessie J claims first words were a full sentence
6. Noel Gallagher: Don't expect entertainment
7. Video: Bananarama on CBTV
8. MOBOs 2011
9. Take That split again
10. Wayne Rooney likes Grease

The interesting releases of the week:

Wild Flag - Wild Flag

Download Wild Flag

Jeffrey Lewis - A Turn In The Dream-Songs

Download A Turn In The Dream-Songs

Lisa Hannigan - Passenger

Download Passenger

Ryan Adams - Ashes And Fire

Download Ashes & Fire

Radiohead - TKOL RMX

Download Ashes & Fire