Saturday, July 28, 2012

Offloading Parlophone

As Universal continue to try throwing things out the basket to see if their EMI takeover can get lift-off, the latest plan is to try and flog Parlophone to BMG.

Yes, yes, BMG had stopped being in the recorded music business when it withdrew from what is now Sony alone, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be interested in getting back into such a vibrant, profit-loaded sector, right?

There is a slight problem with the plan, thought. The idea is to convince that the EU that the embiggened Universal wouldn't control too much of the market for the biggest selling acts, but, says MediaGuardian:

One source with knowledge of the situation said that any potential sale of Parlophone, one of EMI's most famous labels, would include Universal "cherry picking" key artists to keep such as the Beatles and, potentially, Coldplay.
It's like those hoarding programmes where the guy agrees to get rid of his enormous collection of plastic horses, only to get to the shop and announce that he's keeping all the dappled ones.

Olympics: So does that make the Arctic Monkeys the biggest band in the world for the next few days?

I'm assuming that Danny Boyle was handed the job with some bits filled in - there had to be the speeches, there had to be the flame, McCartney would turn up and not quite hit all the notes on Hey Jude, but beyond that, it's all up for grabs.

Anything that upsets The Modern Review's Toby Young has to be a good thing, surely, and it's perfectly possible to harbour doubts about the large sums of cash being spunked away on an event, while allowing that at least there's something to show for the money.

There were problems at either end, of course the historical nonsense of Industrial Revolutions and the favouring of Cristabel over Sylvia Pankhurst at the start; the soundtrack going "Match Of The Day goals package" during the procession of athletes. And two countdowns seemed to be over-egging it a little.

But from the bit where the Lloyd-Webber variation Paginini kicked in as the camera flew past The London Studios, you could taste a bit of wit and a big wink coming through. It's hard to argue with an event where the Queen gets to hear Fuck Buttons.

(The NME, by the way, has a rather useful playlist of all the music from the main part of the ceremony.)

Enola Gay sticks out like a sore thumb, doesn't it? After the ill-judgement of a song about one attending nation dropping a nuclear weapon on another, it was a relief to have The Jam kicking in with a song about being mugged in an Underground station to welcome visitors to our capital.

I can't help wondering, though, if every sporting opening ceremony actually makes as much sense to the home audience - if, while the rest of the world four years ago was going 'bouncing dancing boxes? what?', in China people were bouncing up and down on their seats going "look! they've included a bit from The Grumpy Cubes Next Door!"

It shouldn't overshadow the disgusting treatment of Critical Mass last night, although it has; it hasn't magicked away the Zil Lanes, or the involvement of Dow Chemical, or the large sums of money given to G4S simply to stand aside and let the troops in. But if you take it on its own, for what it was - a massive bit of theatre which included a celebration of socialised healthcare - it was pretty damn good.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Worried for Tulisa

Gordon Smart picks up the keyboard this morning to paint a worrying picture of Tulisa's finances:

TULISA will have to watch her pennies – she faces paying more than £100,000 in legal bills for suing over her leaked sex tape.

The X Factor star has to foot the bill because the people she accused of releasing the clip don’t have that kind of wedge.
Gordon's worried that Tulisa is spending a lot of cash on "top flight lawyers" but might only end up with "a moral victory".

Why, it's almost as if he's keen to try and put a halt to Tulisa's continued pursuit of the people who put the sex tape online, and then attempted to draw an audience to it. But, of course, if Tulisa stopped now we might not get to hear the interesting story of how the tape got noticed by newspapers. I'm sure Gordon wouldn't want us to miss out on that.

Mind you, if the idea is to shake Tulisa by laying out the costs of justice... might want to be a bit more careful with the numbers. More than one hundred pounds, eh?

Bookmarks: Chris Moyles

A counterweight to the prevailing view of Chris Moyles and daytime Radio One, from the surprising corner of Chris TT writing in the Morning Star:

I'm surrounded by the sort of music makers for whom play on daytime Radio 1 is a rare occurrence. For some of us it's a major ambition to cross into that kind of mainstream marketplace, while for others it's of no interest as we ply our trade entirely on specialist shows or eschew pop radio altogether.

Either way we should be the last people undervaluing what these shows do, because we ought to understand how easy it is to slip up in live work and how exhausting that kind of extended performance is.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

That Joke isn't coming any more: Killing Joke axe tour

There's a tour in September which brings together The Mission, The Cult and Killing Joke. Or at least, there's supposed to be. The whole thing is looking a bit sick now.

First, as Slicing Up Eyeballs reports, the whole thing downsized to smaller venues as organisers discovered the supply of ageing Goths isn't as large as they'd first thought.

Now, it looks like Killing Joke have quit the tour, although not yet officially:

[A] scathing note about the tour and, specifically, The Cult (“All their songs suck!”), purportedly written by Jaz Coleman, was posted then removed from the band’s Facebook page.

In part, that note read: “Frankly, playing at a gig with The Cult never appealed to me in the first place. The only reason we allowed ourselves to be talked into it was to blow both bands off the stage and to steal their respective audiences. As the concert has been downgraded to a venue that we have recently headlined (and sold out) it doesn’t make sense.”
Really, Jaz? You've agreed to do a tour simply to pick up a few fans from The Mission? Fans who have clung doggedly to The Mission through thick and - let's be frank - an awful, awful lot of thin? Is anyone else thinking of that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine tries to turn the guy?

Has Jaz stopped to think that if last time his band sold out all the tickets, and yet even with addition of two other bands the tour can't even do a decent stab at filling out a larger venue, there's a possibility that the sell-out audience for Killing Joke left the venue going "I'm never going to see them again"? Because it doesn't sound like there was much demand for a second go, does it?

Gordon in the morning: Listening to Paul McCartney

With people from News International being charged with illegal interception of Paul McCartney's telephone messages yesterday, how amusing that Gordon Smart has nabbed a front page with details of a conversation between Macca and someone else.

This time, though, the discussion has been lifted from Shortlist. (Yes, the UK's biggest-selling paid-for newspaper is offering its readers a lead story today copied from a giveaway magazine; unless the FT has copied its front page direct from the MK Citizen, I can't think of a worse bargain.)

The paper flashes this as an 'exclusive', by the way. If you see Gordon trying to shove every copy of Shortlist down his trousers to try and justify that claim of exclusivity, you'll know why.

McCartney has a beef that David Beckham isn't going to be playing for Team GB in the Olympics:

Macca, 70, who will top the showbiz bill at the curtain-raiser, told Shortlist magazine: “It would’ve been great for him to lead out our British football team.

"But some person somewhere said, ‘So-and-so’s playing better.’ Like it matters.”
I'm not a football fan, but isn't 'someone being better at playing the game' quite important?

That might explain how Ringo managed to stay the drummer in The Beatles:
- 'ey, Paul, d'you think we should get the best possible drummer?'
- 'No, let's not'

Given that this is just an old man moaning to a different magazine, and he clearly admits that choosing Beckham would make the team worse, Gordon Smart and story co-author Nick Parker wouldn't embarrass themselves, and us, and McCartney, and Beckham by actually suggesting to Team GB that Macca should be picking the team, would they?
Last night a Team GB source said former England hero Pearce would NOT be moved — and that Macca should Let It Be.
It looks like they did.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kate Moss is not a great songwriter after all

Remember when Kate Moss was hanging out with Pete Doherty? Of course you do. What you might have forgotten was at the time Pete was more-or-less in a band called Babyshambles who put out an album. It's more than likely Pete doesn't remember. I suspect he doesn't remember very much about those days.

Kate Moss had a writer's credit on three of the tracks, including for Baddie's Boogie. Mysteriously, though, that credit has subsequently disappeared.

I say "mysteriously". There isn't actually a mystery; turned out a huge chunk of the lyric turns out to be virtually identical to a line from Nick Toczek's Stiff With A Quiff.

It's taken five years, but he's finally got a payment for the infringement from Doherty's team. Chrysalis Music describes this as being settled "amicably" - presumably it was so amicable they dragged it out for five years because they were just enjoying everyone's company so much.

[Thanks to Michael M]

Gordon in the morning: One Direction work their aisles

Yesterday, One Direction had a go at serving food and drink on a British Airways flight.

It was partly for charity - in aid of Comic Relief - but mainly "a little glimpse of the future, if they're lucky".

Monday, July 23, 2012

Danny out the Script is now the second-most-famous person on The Voice

Trouble at The Voice, with both Jessie J and Tom Jones finding better things to do with their time instead of joining the next series.

Jessie J is desperately trying to arrange a tour so she has an excuse when the BBC pop round with an invite, while Tom Jones is apparently unable to think of any more anecdotes mentioning Elvis, so really can't see the point.

"I did think I had a tale left about meeting Marvin Gaye" explained Tom, "but then I remembered that I'd used it on the second programme. And, to be frank, the sort of new anecdote I was minting on this show - 'I once had a Nespresso with Danny out the Script' - weren't helping."

Will I Am will almost certainly come back, providing he's allowed to bounce up and down. Mr Am added: "And to go on a train. I wanna go on a train. And have ice cream. Oh - look, there's a pony."

Danny from The Script isn't yet sure he'll be coming back. A friend said "he realises last time he was lucky nobody realised he was only there to drop off a parcel; he doesn't reckon he'd be that jammy twice."

N-Dubz: Can we hang on until 2014?

You remember how we were told we'd be doing the Olympics, and then there was a long wait, and now there's an Olympics?

That's what's going to happen with N-Dubz:

Fazer is planning to return to N-Dubz in 2014 after releasing his debut solo album and building up his Sky's The Limit production company.
I think it's sweet that Fazer thinks he's the one of N-Dubz who will decide when, or if, they start putting records out again. It's like hearing the car plotting when the next road trip will be.

Gordon in the morning: People watching

Gordon reports from GAY this morning:

LAWSON made themselves as useful as The Village People during their gig at London’s G-A-Y club night on Saturday.

The ladband got kitted out in security bibs and mucked in by collecting tickets, mixing drinks and frisking punters.
Eh? Making themselves as useful as the Village People? Is Gordon confusing The Village People with The Wombles?

The teaser text tries to make more sense of the Village People comparison:
Boyband Lawson are the only Village in the G-A-Y

LADS take a turn as the YMCA icons, even wearing dayglo bibs, during their gig at the famous London club night
Ah, yes. You can see the similarities:
This is Lawson from Saturday night...
... and this is The Village People.

It might be the other way round, it's virtually impossible to tell the difference.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Plan B is saying sorry

Plan B has issued something approaching an apology for his Skrewdriver tshirt.

The explanation of the genesis of the shirt - basically, he copied it from Gavin Watson's book Skins without bothering to ask exactly what it was he was copying - is in full on the Quietus, but B admits his error:

"The minute I found out what the words on the t-shirt meant I was angry with myself for not questioning them. The t-shirt is not official nor is it on sale anywhere. It was of my own doing and therefore it is my mistake, but that is all it is."
Earlier, though, he explains why he used the imagery in the first place:
I asked [Gavin Watson] if I could print shots from his book on to t-shirts. I made a number of these t-shirts. Gavin's photos are relevant to me because they represent the demonised youth of the past. Just like my generation of young people are demonised in the media to all be hoodie wearing thugs and chavs so were the skinheads in the 80's.

"Not all of them were racist but because some of them were, the rest were all tarred with the same brush. That is why I feel the images of the skinheads represented in Gavin's work are relevant to me and this generation.
I guess this proves that if you're going to play about with right-wing politics to make some sort of point, you need to be bloody certain you know what you're doing.

It's a fair point that not all skins were racists, but B is fundamentally confused if he thinks that being a skinhead in the 1980s is on a par with wearing a hoodie in the earlier 20th century. There was a distinct political outlook which had chosen the skin look as part of the badge of belonging, but the world was smart enough to know that not every skinhead was a fascist; those that were demonised were attacked for their politics, not for their cropped hairstyle - and people who felt intimidated by skinheads usually were actually being intimidated by far-right skinheads at the time.

Hoodies, though, aren't the mark of a violent, fascist subculture - the demonising of the hoodie wearer and the chav is not calling people for what they believe (or even what some people who dress like them believe) but because of who they are.

In short, then, Plan B tried a well-meaning but poorly though-through comparison, and got his fingers burned. But then, if Plan B really knew anything about the politics of skinheads, he'd have spotted Skrewdriver on his chest from the off.

The question does remain, though: if he knew that there were racist skinheads, wasn't it a bit lax to print up a t-shirt and wear it for a front cover magazine shoot when he admits he didn't know what the phrase was? Google offers over three quarter of a million responses to the word - any one of them would have flagged the folly in an instant.

Plan B chest mystery

An interesting piece over on The Quietus, pointing out the surprising tshirt Plan B is currently wearing on the front of Shortlist this week:

Yes, that's a Skrewdriver tshirt.

Yes, the skinhead Nazi Skrewdriver.

It's unclear why Plan B is wearing something like that - I don't think it's likely that he's a secret Nazi using a tshirt to send a hidden message to a sleeping bunch of racists.

It's possible he just thought it was cool, and pulled it on without thinking. Which is fantastically disappointing.

This week just gone

The most-read stories from across No Rock And Roll Fun so far this month:

1. Tatu puzzled that people assume they're gay
2. Bloc festival dissolves in chaos
3. The last Mark and Lard in full
4. The Sun promotes the Tulisa sex tape
5. Chris Moyles announces the end
6. Kate Moss reduced to hanging out with one of N-Dubz
7. Susan Boyle gets a doctorate for... um... winning a game show?
8. Silence, Sprinsteen: London pulls the plug
9. The G4S corporate song. It's vaguely charitable.
10. LiveNation: We cut Bruce for your safety

It was a quiet week for releases:

The Be Good Tanyas - Collection

Download Collection

Susanna Hoffs - Someday

Download Someday

Blancmange - The Very Best Of

Download a slightly different best of