Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hanson worth more than Bobby Womack

There had been a planned minifestival in LA, but the Sunset Junction Neighbourhood Alliance couldn't get permits and had to cancel. Which means the event went into bankruptcy. Which means the money they were going to pay acts is now in the public domain:

Butthole Surfers $24,000.00
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah $22,000.00
Hanson $20,000.00
k.d. lang $20,000.00
Ozomatli $20,000.00
Bobby Womack $15,000.00
Gayngs $13,000.00
Peaches $12,800.00
Lil' Jon $10,000.00
Tapes 'n Tapes $10,000.00
Art Brut $8000.00
Arthur Adams $6000.00
Charles Bradley $5500.00
Dum Dum Girls $5000.00
Helmet $5000.00
Rooney $5000.00
The Growlers $5000.00
The Melvins $3300.00
Butch Walker & the Black Widows $3000.00
EC Twins $3000.00
The Original Vandellas $2500.00
Kim Weston $2250.00
Brenda Holloway $1500.00
DJ Trent Cantrelle $1500.00
Morgan Page $1500.00
Natalia Kills $1500.00
The Hundred Days $1250.00
400 Blows $1000.00
Cary Brothers $1000.00
Madi Diaz $1000.00
Soft Pack $1000.00
The Rescues $1000.00
DJ Swedish Egil $800.00
DJ Lazr Tag $750.00
DJ Reflect $750.00
He's My Brother She's My Sister $750.00
Lemon Love $750.00
The Stripminers $750.00
Chris Pierce $650.00
Arm The Animals $550.00
DJ David Palmer $500.00
DJ Drew $500.00
DJ Fashen $500.00
LA Derby Dolls $500.00
Lady Danville $500.00
Nick Waterhouse $500.00
Shadow Shadow Shade $500.00
Sunny War $500.00
The Belle Brigade $500.00
The Fling $500.00
Vanaprasta $500.00
Vaud And The Villains $500.00
Art vs Science $480.00
DJ Derterous $450.00
30 Years After $350.00
Carina Round $350.00
Jim Bianco $350.00
Milo Greene $350.00
Barrio Tiger $250.00
Cinderella Motel $250.00
Greylag $250.00
Hands $250.00
Holly Conlan $250.00
Lesands $250.00
Nicole Eva Emery $250.00
Olin & The Moon $250.00
The Bitter Branches $250.00
The Steelwells $250.00
The Three Degrees $250.00
Ruby Summer $200.00
The Damselles & The TC4 $200.00
Buddy $150.00
Erin McLaughlin $150.00
Yellow Red Sparks $150.00
Apart from how much it costs to get Hanson, I think the biggest surprise there is what a song you can pick The Three Degrees up for.

[via Hypebot]

Bums on Seatwave

Although Viagogo was the official tout company which went to court to try and stop Channel 4's investigation into the industry, Seatwave were also singled out for criticism.

Their approach was somewhat different, with CEO Joe Cohen sending a letter to their marks - sorry, customers - and doing interviews, such as the one with The Next Web.

Part of the problem with Seatwave was the impression it gave that you were buying unwanted tickets held by fans - their slogan had been "fan-to-fan" - but that wasn't the case. Cohen attempts to play this down:

In 2011, 35% of the tickets sold on our platform came from brokers or professional sellers. No matter who sellers are, it’s their right to make a profit on tickets they are selling.
You'd have to suggest that the 35% figure is likely to be just the ones Seatwave know about - and what is the difference between a "professional seller" and someone who buys a dozen One Direction tickets to resell on the side?

And I'm not sure about this "right" to make a profit on tickets they're selling. In the abstract, they have taken a risk in buying them, and could lose their money, so strictly speaking economically you'd let them make a profit.

But the profits are dependent upon supply and demand - and they're soaking up tickets from a limited supply, at the same time creating a false demand. If these guys hadn't been buying tickets, they'd have gone to fans; because the fans couldn't get them in the original sale, it creates demand which pushes up the prices and create the profit. It obeys the laws of economics and the strict law of the land, but doesn't feel like a societal good.

And amongst the fans and scalpers, also on Seatwave are, erm, Seatwave employees. Cohen is quite bullish about this:
We have a very clear employee policy that has been in place for several years. Our employees need to understand our platform, so it’s important for them to use it, but there are very clear limits to what they can and cannot do.

So in practical terms, they can’t have multiple accounts, they can’t buy and sell during working hours, from the company’s premises or using our equipments – and they can never work from home on Fridays, which is often the day tickets go on sale.
I've read this a couple of times now, and still can't see anything other than "yeah, it reeks, but we take care to spray a few cans of air freshener around."

Sharon Hodgson had introduced a bill in Parliament to try and sort out the secondary ticket industry; it got talked out. Amongst those objecting to regulationwas Jacob Rees-Mogg, who took the line that if a charity gig had £46 tickets which someone else sold on for £106, the fault was with the charity for not charging £106 in the first place. Apparently he didn't feel the risk of charity events that were only ever going to attract a Rees-Moggeseque audience wa a bad one.

Universal charge Eminem the costs of trying to rip him off

There's a strange little detail in the audit of monies owed to Eminem by Universal.

The label had been to court for a tussle over iTunes royalties - Universal said they should be at the lower rate for sales; Eminem felt they were licences and should be charged at a higher rate.

Eminem won; hence Universal having to work out how much they owed. Techdirt's Mike Masnick spotted the sting:

However, the most insane thing here may be the line at the bottom, in which it appears that Universal held back $2 million in a "legal hold." Gardner notes that this is money held back to pay for this very lawsuit.
Obviously, it's not ethical - it's a record label, you wouldn't expect them to behave ethically - but can that even be legal?

Gordon in the morning: One man crimewave

Gordon reports that Noel Gallagher filled his boots after the Brits:

Noel wrote on his blog: "I'm having trouble remembering anything after the Brits! What a smash up!

"Called it a day at about 10am. Proper old-school business.

"Didn't get home until 5pm the next evening and I'd somehow managed to nick a giant shoe and ended up with an £8,000 watch! And I don't even wear a watch!"
"Smash ups", stealing shoes and valuable items? What does that remind me of.

Oh, yes, the riots last year.

I remember Noel being quite clear on those:
. The people who are at these riots aren't poor. These are kids with fucking mobile phones and all sorts of shit. The police and government have to take drastic measures.
Clearly, the trouble with the rioters is they didn't first play a track with Chris Martin, which makes the difference between mindless criminality and high-spirited larks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Planning a gig in Bedfordshire?

With some of the nasty things that can happen in nightclubs and venues, it makes sense that proper thought is given to making sure everyone has a safe night.

I think the Risk Assessment Form that Bedfordshire Police appear to insist on having completed might go a little too far in the opposite direction.

It's an eight-page document, with a surprising level of detail being demanded.

There's the awkward "is there a particular ethnic group" attending question; a demand to know when and where the event will be advertised; and a demand to know everything that happened the last time the promoter promoted at the venue.

They want to know the "dress code", too, presumably in case it's a "wear dangerously high heels and carry a swtichblade" evening.

Then there's the acts:

Please list below all ARTISTES, THE ACTS / SOUND SYSTEMS /OTHER PROMOTERS perfoming.
They want every name, every alias, every address and contact details for all. Every last drummer.

A warning follows that there might be an inspection, and if anyone is found performing who wasn't included on this, it "might jeopardise any future events by the promoter or at the venue."

Really? So the support band breaks down on the motorway, a local band offer to play a quick set instead, and that casts a cloud over the venue's future?

Or Tom Jones happens to be in the audience, clambers on stage to knock out a duet with the band, just as a policeman walks in, and it's lights out for the venue?

There's then a question which asks for details of any times any of the acts appeared at the venue before. Even if the event passed off smoothly, you still have to volunteer detals about the security in place.

And what about the crowd expected? To be fair, Bedfordshire Police don't quite yet demand a name and address for everyone in the audience, but do want to know if the audience includes "patrons travelling a long distance". God forbid you've booked a touring band who have got people following the tour.

There then follows a really detailed risk assessment along with "helpful" suggestions - like "all performers will be searched [for drugs and weapons] every time they enter the venue.

This all has to be done fourteen days in advance. I've known a lot of small promoters who struggle to pin down a line-up 48 hours in advance - how are they supposed to cope? Should they give all the details of all the people in all the bands they're talking to, just in case?

Do the police really need all this information? There's a good principle of data collection, which is you should only ask for what you're going to use. Contact details for every member of a sound system seems to contain more fact than a licensing department should require for most events - if they did need to ring the drummer from Cud, surely they could just reserve the right to ask for it later?

The idea isn't, I'm sure, to stifle creativity and live events in Bedfordshire. But I bet Festival Republic are glad Reading is in the next county.

Tom Jones goes vinyl only

This is lovely: Tom Jones has created a limited-edition, coloured-vinyl version of his Jack White collaboration Evil, and is only selling it through Spillers.

Spillers being the shop in Cardiff where he bought records when he was a tiny Tom.

Gordon in the morning: Partied out

Kate Moss once clung like a limpet to the coolest and most interesting people on the music scene.

Now, though, it's this:

Kate Moss parties with N-Dubz Fazer in Rihanna's hotel room
I think that's the equivalent of having your programme moved to Radio Quiet, isn't it?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Viagogo tries to close down Dispatches investigation

Tonight, Channel 4 shows a Dispatches investigation into prices charged by "official" secondary ticket agencies - you know, the ones which save us from having to pay rip-off prices to touts by, erm, charging rip-off prices.

The programme nearly didn't get to air, though, as Viagogo went to court to get an injunction.

And what were the grounds for trying to stop the programme?


Viagogo tried to prevent the programme being broadcast "to prevent customer information being made public", according to its UK director, Edward Parkinson.
Ah, that would be it. It wasn't worried about being portrayed as a mark-up shark-site; it was just worried about its customers being outed.

Mind you, if you're paying the eye-watering prices charged routinely by Viagogo, chances are you'd have to be a Duke or someone working for RBS. Doubtless you'd value your privacy.

Breakfast with Burgess

I think most right-people thinking have long had a dream of the perfect morning: waking up, grabbing Tim Burgess' delicious balls, splashing something creamy over them and just cramming those balls into their mouth.

Now Kelloggs have made that fantasy a reality.

MSNBC reports:
A few weeks ago, Burgess joked to his fans on Twitter that he wanted to invent a cereal by that name based on his favorite treat, Rocky Road.

“I was thinking it'd be cool to come up with a breakfast cereal,’’ Burgess told the Manchester Evening News. “I heard someone use the expression 'totes amazeballs,' and it sounded like something from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' I sent a cheeky tweet saying I'd invented a new cereal and that Kellogg's were interested!

“But within an hour they'd got in touch.”
So far, there's just been the one box made, so only Tim knows what his balls taste like. Although Tim seems convinced they're going to be on sale at festivals.

The idea, though, is enough to make us happy. Now, we're waiting for Matteson's to get in touch with plans for a luncheon sausage.

Brits 2012: Adele was cut short; the story not so

After James Corden's producer-enforced stage-rush to shut her up, ITV are hoping Adele will accept their apology:

"The Brits is a live event. Unfortunately the programme was over-running and we had to move on. We would like to apologise to Adele for the interruption."
Yes, it's a live event. That, surely, is the point? Is there any point in showing a programme, constantly chanting 'the most important award of the evening is the best album award', and then rushing the presentation of that prize?

Yes, Blur were about to come on - but they didn't finish their set on ITV1 anyway; given that there was already going to be an awkward mid-song bungle off to ITV2, could a couple of minutes not been found for Adele?

In fact, was it really so important to scramble to keep ITV on schedule? Yes, pushing the News At Ten back to the News At Five Past Ten might have been awkward, but would it have been that bad? The delay would have knocked on through the rest of the schedule - but what delights did ITV have lined up?

A repeat of Benidorm.
A repeat of The Cube.
Some sort of gambling show.

Could it have been what ITV was really worried about was missing the start of the junction for that, Jackpot 247? Was the concern that letting Adele say "cheers" would have delayed the network's attempts to separate fools and money?

Lily Allen senses another motivation:
"I'd rather hear adeles acceptance speech," she tweeted after the incident, adding, "I can't say I'm surprised [it was cut off]. It was like the music industry's attitude to women played out as a metaphor."
Up to a point. More like the attitude to musicians. It's all just content, and must be cut to fit the gaps between the sales points.

Brits 2012: I imagine this is how Capital think they'll claw back their investment

Awkard on Tuesday when One Direction thanked Radio One for the Brit award organised for them by Capital Radio. Not sure, though, I'm buying this as a genuine response, albeit appearing in MediaGuardian:

Global Radio boss Ashley Tabor and his director of programming Richard Park, who were at the Brits, were both said to be upset by the incident.

An appearance by One Direction planned for Wednesday on Capital was dropped. The band are also understood to have been bumped down the station's playlist with their music said to be conspicuous only by its absence this morning.

"One Direction as far as Capital are concerned are only going in one direction," said one industry source.
Oh, sure, there'll be some pouting and foot-stomping, but do we really believe that - having polled their audience to find out their favourite band - Capital will then drop that band?

Or will they just make a fuss and stick out a press release to try and wring a bit more publicity from the sponsorship deal in light of all the fuss?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Indieobit: Christopher Reimer

Some grim news this morning, I'm afraid: Christopher Reimer, guitarist with Women, has died.

The news was broken by the Calgary Herald, Women's local paper, but further details are vague at the moment.

Gordon in the morning: Adele, interrupted

For Gordon, one story outshines all the others from last night's Brits: The shoddy shambles at the end.

He sets a small team to cover the cutting short of Adele:

No, really, it does take four people to bring the story. The multiple byline isn't a bid to try and convince the finance department the paper really needed to send all those people to the O2.

It was, in case you missed it, a shambles:
FURIOUS Adele makes a one-fingered gesture last night after she was "cut off" making a speech at the Brit Awards.
Later she said the insult was aimed at "the suits" putting together the show — screened live on ITV1. She said backstage: "I flipped the finger but it wasn't to my fans. I'm sorry if I offended anyone, it was the suits that offended me."

The seething singer was later said to have stormed out of the venue, London's O2 Arena.
What a nightmare, eh? You'd hate to be the poor saps who sponsored the bit of the night that went to pot.

Oddly, this year, Gordon seems to have neglected to mention how his column was sponsoring the Best Album prize. Normally he's so proud of that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Brits 2012: The Liveblog

Pancake night. The day when you use up all your ingredients that are about to go stale. The night when people will applaud the biggest and best tossers. The perfect night for the Brit Awards 2012.

With a shudder, I've realised that this is only the second of James Corden's three-year contract. Last year he did it without any attempt at humour, which at least showed he knows his limits. This year, in the gaps between promoting his autobiography, Corden has been claiming that he's discovered humility. He's put the way the nation cooled on him as being down to "the work not being good enough", which might mean that he's going to be trying a lot harder tonight. It's a frightening prospect.

We know that the show is going to end with eleven minutes of Blur. There was a time when the prospect of Blur doing eleven minutes on live TV would have filled me with delight and butterflies. But at that point, I would also have felt the same about buying pvc trousers or going into work with a hickey. For Alex James' sake, lets use a food metaphor: Blur have become like a quirky restuarant that have spun out into being a chain. The dishes might have the same name, but it doesn't quite taste the same.

It's twenty years since the KLF/ Extreme Noise Terror showstopper. Back then, Sir George Solti walked out in disgust, which might strike you as the sort of thing the Brits should be doing. Tonight, his ghost has already appeared on ITV2 telling Fearne Cotton he's really looking forward to Blur's appearance: "I hope they do a medley with Boys And Girls in it" he said, "and that they bring on an unexpected female vocalist as a guest."

What else can we expect? Clearly, part of the plan tonight is to try and make Jessie J as big a global star as Adele. Is that going to work? Isn't the idea of selling J to America a bit like selling Canadian cheddar in Somerset - there's going to be some takers who don't care that much, and it'll fill a sandwich, but really: why would you?

In case there are some of you who think that the Brits are some sort of anti-establishment howl of rebellious joy, I direct you to this tweet:

So much to see @Brit_Awards 2nite. Britschools' @officialadele, 11min performance from @blurofficial & all hosted by @JKCorden #shabbatronic
Yes, that's minister of state Jeremy 'Rhyming' Hunt throwing a shabbatronic hashtag into his timeline.

Jeremy Hunt saying "shabbatronic". For two hours. That'd be your Brits.

I'll be back at eight in a semi-official observer role. May the Lord have mercy on us all. (Refresh for updates, but not until about 7.45 as I'm going to have Nachos.)
ITV is currently showing a very dull programme about extreme fishing. Is this any way to prepare the nation for Coldplay?

(The nation responds that it's watching EastEnders, thanks very much.)

The Webuyanycar ad is on. This might be the best song we hear for the next two hours.

"This is the Brit Awards 2012, and this is Coldplay." Oh, god, just 120 minutes to get through.

Chris Martin looks like a recruitment ad for the marines from a nation that isn't too fussy. And so much dayglo.

Didn't Gordon Smart promise us Noel Gallagher? Was he hiding?

James Corden has come on. "How amazing were Coldplay?" he asks. Well, I suppose they set the bar low enough.

Jesus, that Brit Award looks like something from a disappointing Happy Meal.

First of the 'best album' packages is up, for Adele. Oh, we're getting a bit of talky stuff about how it was made. Adele is doing her best to make everyone forget why they took her to their hearts.

We're onto a Whitney bit. We've all been shocked, apparently.

Sure, it's nice to remember Whitney, but what about all the other artists who've died in the last twelve months? Is there a qualifying amount before you your death matters?

Second performance before we've even given out a prize. It's Florence And The Machine. Good to see the Brits keeping faith with Florence, even although, frankly, she's already fizzled out. Mainly through the over-exposure that her too-soon appearance at the Brits generated.

She's wearing a dress made out of solid gold, and accompanied by an entire Greek temple of dancers.

ITV Player has fallen over completely. Nice chance for the commercial network to show off its technical chops, eh?

Actually, this Florence performance would be a great entry for Eurovision. If we were Ukraine.

ITV Player comes back to life, with the QDOT strobing away in the corner. No prizes given out, but they're already running late.

What the hell is this frightening commercial? Mark Ronson, gymnasts, a vague song about "anywhere in the world" where we're "moving to the beat"? And table tennis? It can only be Coca-Cola throwing the kitchen sink into its Olympic campaign.

@dillpickle points out MyloXyloto sounds like something they add to sugar-free gum.

ITV taking the opportunity of the influx of a large audience to remind people they're the official broadcaster of Celebrity Juice.

First prize: Corden gets a chance to slobber over Kylie again (remember 2009?) as she comes out for best British Adele. Sorry, female solo artist.

Jessie J gets more cheers than Adele, though. Perhaps Adele isn't the sort of person you cheer?

Luckily Adele can be here to pick up the award, otherwise it'd be quite an awkward evening in prospect.

Fearne Cotton doesn't appear to have a role in this year's events, which must be the first time since about 2003. Should we send a search party?

Jessie J and Jack Whitehall come on for International Man prizegiving - Guetta, Blacc, Adams, Iver, Mars. Mars is here tonight. I wonder who'll win?


Well, at least he's not wearing his stupid hat. Perhaps he would if his hair wasn't so large. Maybe there was a struggle backstage to get his stupid hat onto that stack of hair.

Corden says there's "still an incredible performance to come from him". Predicting the future, James?

Who was the bloke walking past Corden mid-flow? Had he spotted Olly Murs coming on stage and thought "that's it, I'm off"?

They've more or less flooded the stage with women in red clothes. They should have tried actually flooding the stage.

Oh, god, Murs is pulling moves. Jeremy Hunt must be having the night of his life.

Critics Choice awards, which are going to Emelie Sande. Given she's already been in the MasterCard breakbumpers, isn't she a bit beyond the new act accolades?

Corden celebrates the prize by, erm, talking to Jessie J, who thinks we care about if she's judging or coaching on The Voice. James is settling down and starting to try some jokes, which is ill-judged.

Ed Sheeran - a man who would be too bland and limp for a guest slot on Alphabet Zoo - is giving the ITV regions a chance to line up the next advert break.

Lego House. And to think they used to say The Field Mice were twee.

Oh - an advert for The New News Of The World.

Over on Twitter, OneDirection fans are getting tetchy - they're keen to hear the winner of best single, and are hoping it'll come before their bedtime.

British single, voted for by you (as in us) the "fans".

Mr. Tempah is out to give this one out. He's reminding us that he won a prize last year, perhaps to try and point out that he's not getting anything this year.

They're running through a list of songs that would persuade any sane person to uninstall iTunes. And probably rip out their soundcard.

Pixie Lott still makes records, does she? That's a surprise.

So, block voting has delivered a prize to One Direction.

That's what happens with sort-of-democracy. They should have had the vote using pens and postcards. That'd have hit their share of the vote.

One Direction say the award is for the fans. But they're the ones who voted for the award.

One of them thanks Radio One. Awkward, given it was Capital who sponsored the prize and did the voting.

They mumble on for about three hours, until Corden shoves them off.

Next, International Female - last year I think this was the prize Lewis Hamilton gave out. They've moved down a gear this year and gone for walking slumber Jensen Button.

Rihanna wins. Hey - that's lucky, as she's here to do a song anyway. What a happy coincidence.

To be fair, James Corden isn't having such a bad night tonight. Although there's no reason why Corden has to be doing the job, as he's not exactly doing anything a semi-competent chap from HR could have turned in.

Ed Sheeran's album bit has just floated by, before Corden says "what an honor" to introduce Noel Gallagher.

I wish I hadn't fed the cats already. This would have been a good time to do that.

The drumming High Flying Bird looks like he's off to do a stint as Estragon once he's finished here.

Chris Martin has turned up to play piano on this. His style is reminiscent of Rowlf from The Muppets.

This from GarethAveyard on Twitter:
Ed Fucking Sheeran - "Yeah, well, I started writing songs after I first saw that http://match.comadvert last year." #Brits

Capital advert on: "let's make some hits". Unfortunately straight after their ad it cuts to another with the words "no wonder they're bored."

On twitter: @guanoman:
Is there really any need for Olly Murs and Bruno Mars to be separate people? This just seems decadently inefficient to me.

Oh, Amy Winehouse. I was genuinely sat there going 'who is he talking about' as Corden was lining this up.

Again, nice to remember Amy - and where better than in a room full of representatives of the industry that showed such a duty of care to her - but what about the others?

Plan B. There seems to have been a strange decision that anyone who played last year has to give out a prize this. Although I suspect Imelda May might still be waiting for a call.

We're going to have best solo artist. Surely they won't be as crass as to give it to Noel for turning up, will they?

Nope, it's gone to Ed. Who also, erm, did a performance.

They're trying to justify the prize - which frankly people will stare at in five years time on Wikipedia and go 'who was that again' - by quoting how many Twitter followers he has. Because remember kids, the more spambots you attract, the better a musician you are.

Jo Whiley - who, by law, has to appear at any music awards ceremony on the British mainland - has come on with Huey for Best Group.

Listeners from Radio 2 voted for this one, so it's a chance to disprove that stuffy, fusty, old-fashioned image, right?

No. They give it to Coldplay.

Half way through.

Now I know that Plan B's at the Brits I wish I'd bought all those tonnes of fertiliser like I'd planned.

The appearance of the short video for Let England Shake in the midst of this show is a bit like Newsround suddenly pausing for an op ed by George Galloway.

Music that is about things.

The O2 falls quiet; Corden tries to chase away the appearance of thoughts with a PJ and Duncan joke.

Oh, and there's a pointless bit between him and Kylie. It's like when Jools Holland wanders into the audience, only with a bit more sexual awkwardness.

Of course everyone loves Kylie, but hasn't her work this year mainly been a car advert that appears to have been written before they'd decided who would appear in it?

Adele has the performance she did for the Grammys ready to roll again.

I wonder if this will sell any copies of 21 for her? If anyone at all is sat at home going 'this is a lovely song... I wonder if it's out on record to buy yet?'

We've still got the threat of Bruno Mars hanging over us.

The VirginMedia buffering ad doesn't really work when you're, erm, watching it online.

"Take Me Out. Exclusive to ITV1." Although I suspect Challenge TV are clearing a gap in their 2013 schedule.

Corden's started to edge towards irritating again - "I'm kidding." No, you're not.

He said it was Brian May and Roger Taylor, but it looks like my Aunt Lena and Bill Oddie have come on stage.

International Group. Any shortlist featuring Maroon 5 isn't worth winning. No wonder the Foo Fighters couldn't be arsed to turn up to pick it up.

Some footballer and Nicole Searchinlookinforlove are handing out the breakthrough act prize. Really? A footballer?

The Vaccines aren't going to win this, are they?

Ed Sheeran has taken the breakthrough act, which makes sense given we're supposed to believe he is the best British Male solo artist currently working in the country. I say "makes sense", but you know what I mean.

"A big night he'll never forget" says Corden. Like the rest of us, he's picturing Ed in 2020, finishing his shift at the kennels, remembering that time he was apparently the biggest star in Britain.

Oh, I get it: Bruno Mars is a KD Lang tribute act. Now it makes sense.

No, really, I don't get it. Bruno Mars is like a generic 'pop star' created in Happy Days for Joanie to have a crush on, but because he'll only be on-screen for thirty seconds, they don't bother to flesh him out with a character or backstory or even really bother to write much more than half a chorus for him to sing.

"They're on their feet in here, and I'm not surprised" says Corden. Yeah, I'd have chosen that point to nip out to the toilets, too.

Florence is now telling us about her album and how she made it and everything. Her sounds are dramatic and overwhelming and conflicted, apparently. And not Arcade Fire Made Simple.

James Corden is now sat at a table with One Direction. There are fingerpainting tables in nursery schools that offer more intellectual challenge.

Corden pisses himself laughing at his own joke about Harry OneDirection "stepping out with Denise Welch". Let's just say a small prayer of thanks that he hasn't peppered his script with similar - ah - material.

Ooh, another break. I see GoCompare do home insurance now.

"I'm quite fussy..." Although not so fussy as to avoid shopping at Asda, I see.

Shit, watching TV live is horrible, isn't it?

ITV suddenly decide, three quarters of the way through, to warn people there might be flashing lights.

A bit more warning about Bruno Mars might have been nice, mind.

Rob Brydon and Will I Am come on together to do International Breakthrough. Because they're a crazy mismatched pair, do you see?

How did Foster The People get shortlisted here? Was it part of the horsetrading to allow Warners to take over HMV?

Lana Del Ray wins this, of course, because the team behind her had actually started from 'winning awards' and worked backwards.

Voiceover woman claims - wrongly - that Del Ray "likes to call herself the Gangsta Nancy Sinatra". Because why would you bother fact-checking your script for the biggest music night of the year, eh?

Del Ray thanks her label. BUT ONLY BECAUSE THEY TOLD HER TO.

Rihanna's doing her performance now, every second thinking "shit, in two or three more years I'm going to be reduced to only getting a slot sat next to Corden while he mock-flirts with me."

Still, the set's quite nice, people in plastic cubes flinging paint at each other. I expect that's going to be a tribute to the Stone Roses reunion, is it?

I could check on, but I'm content to believe Rihanna is singing "we found love in our halter place."

James does a period joke.

Ray Winstone has come on to do the 'Prize given to a band we'd like to perform but won't come if we don't give them an impressive sounding prize' prize. Which this year goes to Blur.

In the production suite, they're currently going 'Phil Daniels! That was the chap we were thinking of to do the prize giving. Dammit.' Or possibly 'is Ray Winstone and Phil Daniels different people, then?'

If Dave Rowntree had managed to win a seat for Labour at the last election, would we be seeing this reunion now?

Alex James is standing staring emptily into space. Which was the style he used to use when playing the bass, if memory serves.

Ray Winstone is standing at the back of the stage like the mayor of a small market town wondering if he's made the wrong choice for the Christmas light switch-on.

If I'd known in 2012 Damon would be rambling on like this for ages and ages, I'd have worried less about the Liverpool Poly amps looking like they'd fall on his head.

Jesus, haven't we got through the album nominees yet? And they've saved the Coldplay for last.

Hadn't noticed this category is sponsored by Daybreak and Gordon Smart's column. It's like a toxic dump for fatally wounded media brands.

Ah, Vodafone have spent some of the money they stole from us in taxes to buy an ad break during the Brits.

They're trailing the News At Ten - that's still going, too, apparently.

The album award is being handed out by George Michael. I think, to close some sort of circle, this means Norman Tebbit has won.

George is only slightly slurring his words, claiming he came back from Australia because he knows who won. Presumably Adele owes him a tenner or something?

Coldplay dressed as elephants. That never fails to make me look more kindly on ivory poachers.

Of course Adele has won. And, to be fair, it's hard to see how she couldn't have won this one.

(Although Ed really looks like he thought he was going to win it.)

"I'm so proud to be British and flying our flag". Corden cuts her off. Because, yeah, that's the point you want to be worrying about timings, not when you're doing an interview with One Direction.

Well, the ghost of Sir George Solti is delighted they've started with Girls And Boys. "Something of a surprise, no?" he giggles.

It's odd that Alex James is still able to play following the smoking ban.

The producers find Louis Spence in the audience, like men determined to clobber the very last credibility the Brits might have had left in them.

So, will ITV let the show overrun and hold up the News At Ten? Or are the network saying 'let's see if the next one is off the Justine Frischmann break-up album, and if it is, we'll go straight to ITN."

Over on Twitter, there's a bit of a storm at Corden cutting off Adele. Yes, ITV might have a schedule to keep to, but if it was the Champions League that was edging towards 10pm, they don't send Adrian Chiles on to grab the ball and close things down, do they?

On the other hand, they would have to fill some dead time on ITV2 while waiting for the main programme to finish. So you can sort of see their point.

Phil Daniels and Park Life rather than Ken Livingstone, then.

That's it; fading away with Blur still on the stage. Doing the amazing performance that ITV and its hosts have been telling us would blow us away all evening. That one.

The Brits done for another year, then. See you back here next year?

By the way, does anyone remember Mumford And Sons?

Brian May grumbles at lack of Brian May in Jubilee bunfight

Who can forget the Golden Jubilee, when Brian May stood on top of Buckingham Palace playing 'Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee'?

Nobody can forget. Nobody can. Sometimes it might slip from your mind for a few seconds, but then Andrew Marr looms into your face, waving the video of the event: "It's evidence for how vital and amazing the Queen remains" enthuses Marr, "that she can have an actual rock star on the roof of the actual house she sometimes lives in. Isn't the Queen marvellous? She's marvellous. Like some sort of marvellous marvel - and she's cheap. If you had a president, it would cost three times as much, you know."

It's a little-known fact that May has remained on the Palace roof for the last ten years, surviving on energy bars lobbed up to him by Prince Harry. "I'm clearly going to be asked to stand on the roof and play 'I'm 'Enery The Eight I Am' to mark the Diamond Jubilee, so it's not worth coming down" May has explained.

But - oh dear - Gary Barlow, who has been put in charge of the "gig" - has chosen not to ask May to play. Not that May's bitter about it:

“No, we haven’t been asked at all which is a shame — maybe next time we will, perhaps the one after diamond, whatever that is,” May, 64, tells [The Telegraph's Tim Walker] at the awards concert at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

“I don’t how they’re going to top the Golden Jubilee event we were involved with, but that’s Gary Barlow’s problem. They’ll have to drop him from a helicopter or something.”
Yeah, because that's the only way they'll top the bloke married to Angie Watts playing a guitar on a roof. There is literally no other way than tossing Gary Barlow out of a helicopter over the crowd, without a parachute, making him play the riff from the Hawaii Five-O theme tune.

Not that May's bitter - did we mention that he's not bitter? - because he's too busy elsewhere:
May says he is, in any case, pre-occupied with the sequel to the West End show We Will Rock You, a celebration of the music of his Queen rock group. “We have it written now,” he says. “I can’t tell you what it will be called, but it’s looking good – we’ve had input from Ben [Elton], who wrote the original and is like a member of the band now, so we talk all the time. We’re looking at where we can take it as it’s at production stages.”
Looking for somewhere to take a sequel to We Will Rock You? I think we can come up with a few ideas.

Bookmarks: Brits 2012

Peter Robinson looks forward to tonight's event:

A win for Kasabian prompts the TV voiceover artiste to make some sort of reference to the resurgence of guitar music, conflating guitar music with authenticity along the way.

Gordon in the morning: A little closure

Okay, it's not quite as surprising as Northside playing the opening ceremony, but...

Blur will headline the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony
That's quite a surprise. Headline? Did we hear that right, Gordon?
Blur will close the Olympics
That's a surprising honour. They'll walk into the stadium on the last day, and knock out a few bars of Trimm Trabb as the athletes pack up their training shoes?

Er, no:
Damon Albarn Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree will play London's Hyde Park on the last day of the Olympics.

The BT London Live Closing Ceremony Celebration Concert will take place on Sunday, August 12, with support from The Specials and New Order.
This is a gig on the same day as the Olympics ends - the poster for the event doesn't even have the word "Olympics" on it. It does have a logo of The Sun on it, though. And the words "closing ceremony celebration concert".

I think there's the makings of an event there that we could all get behind.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Harriet Harman somehow blames piracy for the deficit

Harriet Harman has suggested that the government really should do more for the unicorn industry. Sorry, copyright industry:

"The Government's emphasis on cutting the deficit crushes out their ability to engage with innovation."

She said Britain needed an equivalent to Cass Sunstein, President Barack Obama's tsar in charge of regulating the internet, in place of a plethora of UK agencies with overlapping responsibilities whose job is to protect copyright. Google and other providers should be involved in making sure music is free on the net only when artists want to give it away – as they sometimes do – and not because it has been stolen, she added.

"Young people are massively connected with music. They not only want to use the music but they want to actually work in the music industry, many of them. Many of them want a future in the industry. Therefore the industry must have a future. That means public policy action, not just standing back and saying 'we are too busy to do any of this; we're just going to cut the deficit and let the free market rip content off from creators'. Every day they don't act, money is haemorrhaging."
Naturally, the "money" that is "haemorrhaging" is a bit like all the money that just needs benefit fraud to be stopped to end to release. In other words, it doesn't really exist.

If Harman really wants to help create a new generation of musicians, she might want to argue for a benefits system that allows young artists to develop instead of forcing them to work for free for Tesco.

[Thanks to Michael M]

The Game is a delightful piece of work, isn't he?

Ha ha ha, The Game has been posting some jokes to Twitter:

"If you look any other way but straight while you pissin' you got that #FagSwag"
"If you cried when the ship sank in Titanic... You got that #FagSwag"
The Game - a pretty young thing who has doodled stars on his face - was called out on this by Perez Hilton ("You know you're in the wrong when Perez Hilton is in the right" being a Twitter meme all by itself) and you'll never guess his response?

He was only telling jokes, right?
"@PerezHilton this is comedy.... Stop gettin ya panties all inna bunch... That's #FagSwa."
I see, Mr Game. Trouble is, your pledge that it's comedy fails on two counts - first, it's nasty homophobia and secondly, more importantly, you're confusing "comedy", which is funny, with "witless buttdribble", which is what you've created.

Mr Game's jokes are in no way a bid for him to try and cope with the strange feeling he gets in his pee-pee when he imagines 50 Cent showering.

Jazz FM becomes Jizz FM

Listeners to Jazz FM on Saturday night had something of a surprise - the jazz stopped, and was replaced with what appears to have been the sounndtrack of a gay porn movie.

Which most people would probably have viewed as an improvement, but not the management at the station. MediaGuardian reports:

The unlikely interruption to the station's Funky Sensation programme was blamed by management on "unauthorised activity and inappropriate behaviour in the studio".
That really does make it sound like it wasn't a movie soundtrack, doesn't it? Let's hope they just mean somebody watching porn.

I think that would be better than actually having sex in the studio, wouldn't it?

Movie companies sniff opportunity to rake in cash from Houston's corpse

You'll recall the cynical move of Sony Music, getting the news of Whitney's death and instantly hiking the prices of her records.

They weren't alone. It turns out Netflix had their rights to stream Houston films pulled, as the studios sensed a massive DVD payday.

Charming, eh?

NME gets lost in the basement

You'll have come across the strange story on the NME website last week which suggested that Jamie Oliver had found New Order and Joy Division mastertapes in the basement of his new restaurant, along with guns and gold. Complete with the certain statement that:

Oliver has since given everything found in the basement to the treasury.
The NME gave Holy Moly as the source for this.

Now, you probably thought 'if that was in any way true, why would Oliver have given the masters of a New Order album to the Treasury?', shrugged and moved on.

It turns out that the whole story was based on a misreading of a story on Manchester Confidential:
We had reported how £1.1m of assorted valuables (and a gun) had been left behind in the safety deposit boxes. But we never said anything about Joy Division master tapes being left there.

We’d put: ‘For each box there were two keys both of which had to be used to unlock the box. The person who rented the box had one key and the bank manager kept the other. All sorts were stored down there from diamonds and gold to the master tapes of Joy Division and New Order. When the bank was decommissioned prior to the restaurant refit a problem became apparent. Some of the boxes hadn't been emptied.’
The half-arsed story also appeared in Metro, but that's a sister paper of the Mail so you wouldn't expect them to bother with facts getting in the way, but, seriously, NME: what would make you think 'hello, here are some master tapes? They'd be crown property, then'?

[Thanks to the wonderful Morag]

Gordon in the morning: The Brits countdown

Tomorrow night is Brits night, the traditional evening when the eyes of the world are on the UK music scene. Until the world starts to stab itself in the eye with a mascara pencil to make it all stop.

As part of the exciting build-up to the exciting event, James 'surely this one is the last one under that ridiculous contract' Corden is talking things up with Gordon. Apparently it'll be exciting because Corden's got a bad knee.

Yes, the most thrilling backstage prep is a cortisone injection.

This just in: the eyes of the world have sent their apologies, but they've got some emulsion desiccant they've got to see in action.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

InStyle: First with the news

Monthly magazine journalism. You write stuff up ages before it makes it to the stores, and just hope events don't wind up making you look foolish in the meantime.

Still, InStyle, a big cover given over to how brilliant Heidi Klum and Seal's relationship is won't blow up in your face, will it?

Rockobit: Michael Davis

Michael Davis, MC5 bassist, has died.

Although not part of the original line-up, Davis had joined the band before the recording of the debut (and, to be fair, career-peak) album Kick Out The James.

Davis had been part of the reunited band, but after a back injury following a 2006 bike smash had been concentrating on a non-profit project to bring music to school children and various art collaborations. He seemed to be really content with his life - he'd last updated his Facebook page's 'about' section to read "Happy in His Universe" and in 2010 gave an interview to Oregon Music News where he revelled in his home in the state:

Still being alive, in relatively good health, it’s kind of amazing. It definitely took its toll. I don’t fool with substances or anything anymore. I don’t smoke, none of it. It’s pretty amazing. There have been some dark moments for sure. I was pretty fortunate I wound up with a family, a group of people who need me and who I need me. We function as a little solar unit. Life is good. We arrived in the state of Oregon, and I’ve been doing some research on the history of the Oregon Trail, the people who came out here, and the general origin of the land. It was quite formidable, the amount of bravery it took for the people who came. It’s a really wonderful place. The people here have a lot of the values I’ve been looking for, a community that is aware of ecology and resources, avoiding that whole mass marketing thing that’s everywhere. We really like it here.

He'd been unwell with liver disease for a month; he died on Monday from liver failure.

Whitney Houston death: a massive inconvenience

Someone send for Christopher Elliott, as tourists are demanding refunds. Following the death of Whitney Houston.

People who were staying on the fourth floor last week when Whitney died want the Beverley Hilton to refund their room charges.

At first, this just sounds like a ghoulish bid to get a freebie, but when you look at what they had to put up with, you might have a bit of sympathy:

TMZ spoke with several guests who stayed on the 4th floor when Whitney died -- the same floor Whitney had been staying on -- and they tell us ... the entire floor was on lockdown over the weekend, making their lives miserable.

We're told guests couldn't walk down a hallway without being hassled for their key cards by hotel security -- to prove they were, in fact, guests of the hotel.

Worse ... we're told law enforcement and EMS were running all over the hotel all weekend, creating an intolerable ruckus -- making it impossible to get a moment's quiet, let alone sleep.
You might think that a hotel proud of its luxury status would accept that 'dead celebrity down the corridor' is grounds to not expect people to pay for the night, surely?

Dappy owes it all to drugs

Dappy who, let's be clear, doesn't do drugs any more, believes the drugs he used to do - emphasis on the 'used to' - are what makes him fascinating:

He said: "I was never doing drugs to Amy Winehouse's extent but I could've really gone downhill. I could've easily stayed on drugs because I've got the money.

"Of course I'm not [still taking drugs]. I'm fresh and I'm clean. I've got two kids. But if I had none of that past, I'd find myself boring. What would I have to rap about?"
Did Dappy mention that he doesn't do drugs now?

Imagine that. If Dappy hadn't in the past done drugs, he might have been reduced to farting out empty songs completely devoid of anything interesting to say. What a crazy world that would be to live in, eh?

Just to be absolutely clear: Dappy doesn't do drugs any more. Did you get that message, kids? Dappy says it's probably vital to do drugs when you're younger, otherwise you won't have any experiences to draw on later, but don't do them to the extent that they kill you and make sure you stop before it would appear in the papers.

This week just gone

The most popular entry points so far this year:

1. Noel Gallagher remembers when it was all Thatcher round here
2. Whitney Houston: Technical perfection isn't the same as being a great singer
3. The MySpace revival
4. How does Gordon Smart know so much about Robin Gibb's health?
5. When life gives you Bono, make Bonoade
6. Was Megaupload targeted for what it was about to do?
7. BPI nearly sound upbeat about their successful business
8. Gary Glitter wasn't on Twitter
9. Fifty Cent promotes energy drink by visiting the poor
10. Someone off X Factor covers the White Stripes in a bid to get noticed

This week's interesting things:

Field Music - Plumb

Download Plumb

Boy & Bear - Moonfire

Download Moonfire

Rosie Thomas - With Love

Download If Songs Could Be Happy

Pulp - Freaks

Download Freaks