Saturday, December 01, 2012

Bookmarks: The Farm

Liverpool's SevenStreets fears for the poor receptionist at the Maritime Museum, forced to listen to The Farm's Altogether Now on an endless loop, all day:

Can you feel that pulsing ice of terror running through your veins at the thought of having to hear “All together now…all together now…All together now…In no-man’s land…” hundreds of times a day with no respite? Listening to the fading sound of Peters Wylie and Hooton wailing away knowing that the Pachelbel-cribbing opening bars are about to remorselessly start up again and there’s nothing you can do to stop it? You couldn’t even put headphones on as that would look ‘unprofessional’.
Footnote: I once spent a New Years' Eve in a small Cambridgeshire village; the locals in the pub were unamused by someone in our party putting Altogether Now on seven times in a row. I had a degree of sympathy of them.

Eurovision 2013: Britain's chances get a little better

Mostly driven by the fear of what it would cost if they won, countries are starting to pull out of next year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Portugal and Poland have both said they won't turn up; Greece and Cyprus are making noises which suggest they might not have the cash to be part of it. That they've only managed one win between all four nations might suggest the fear of an expensive win might be a little misplaced. But even the costs of taking part are proving something of a barrier.

Portugal, interestingly, sat out in 1970 on some sort of moral principle after the first prize had been shared by four countries the year before.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Wall Street Journal struggles with obscure lyrics

There are some songs whose lyrics are cryptic - who is the Walrus? Why is the bustle in the hedgerow? Why did Nik Kershaw release The Riddle in the first place?

And here's one The Wall Street Journal is puzzling over:

Oh, yes, the mystery of that song.

"It's not really about the year 1969" reveals Bryan, just in case there's anyone alive on the planet who might not have spotted that within about three seconds.

BPI take on the UK Pirate Party

Since the BPI's miserable failure to try and close down access to The Pirate Bay, the UK variant of the Pirate Party has been running a proxy service.

The BPI is now trying to get that closed, too, reports Torrent Freak:

Referencing the Party’s pro-freedom stance, [Geoff] Taylor apparently told Kaye, “Freedom of expression is not an absolute right. It comes with a duty to respect the rights of others, including those whose talent, hard work and investment help to create music and other entertainment.”
That's so true - who can forget how Evelyn Beatrice Hall caught Voltaire's stance - "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, providing you don't somehow impinge on an investment by Vivendi while you're doing it."

It's not clear how far the BPI intend to take this - The Pirate Party UK say they've only had a vague email so far, and no formal demand; given how trying to stop people in the UK going to the Pirate Bay resulted in a massive upswing in traffic to the site and the government going cool on the idea of blocking webpages, a wise organisation might choose to do nothing.

But then, when has the BPI ever been wise?

A festive announcement


Are you in charge of organising some sort of entertainment over the coming month or so? A school play, a Very Special Christmas Episode of something? Maybe a sports review of the year?

If you are, this is a plea going out to you.

Look at the bit of script where someone suddenly breaks into a dance, Gagnam Style.

Look at that bit, pick up a pencil, and scrub it out.

Yes, yes, you can't say "2012" without saying "Gagnam Style". But that's as in "god, I fucking hope once we're over 2012, people will stop with the Gagnam Style."

I know you're doing it to get a laugh. I know that you've chosen the most unlikely person to yell "Gagnam style" and do the dance. I know it's going to be the head teacher, or Bob from accounts, or - God help us - Patricia Hodge as Miranada's mother, saying "what I like to call Gagnam Style".

How many nativities are being planned with an "edgy", "cheeky" entrance of The Three Kings Of Orient celebrating the birth of a Tiny Tears Jesus with - ho ho - a traditional Eastern dance?

Pick up your pencil, strike out the dance.

Believe me, the loudest cheers this Christmas will be yours if you do. The producers who resist dragging Gagnam Style into their shows will be hoist upon shoulders, and paraded through the streets. I don't think it's going too far to suggest statues might be raised; medals struck.

Don't go Gagnam on us.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Promoterobit: Frank Barsalona

Frank Barsalona, American gig promoter, has died.

Calling him a promoter rather underplays what he did - sure, he was the man who first brought The Beatles and The Stones to America, but really he did much to create the very idea of there being a "live circuit", helping establish a business which has proved to be more resilient than selling small plastic circles with music on them. As his New York Times obituary records:

Dave Marsh, the rock critic and biographer, called Mr. Barsalona a founding father of the rock business. “The most significant entrepreneur of ’60s rock was not a record company president like Atlantic’s Ahmet Ertegun or CBS’s Clive Davis, or even a sharp promoter like Bill Graham,” he once wrote. “That title belongs to a balding, rotund booking agent named Frank Barsalona.”
Frank Barsalona was 74; he died following complications related to Alzheimers.

Wild Beasts invite you to gamble

Wild Beasts are doing a small show. Rather than just throw open the server and get a twenty second sell-out, though, they're holding a lottery:

Members of the public who want to enter a ticket ballot for the show can do so via the band's official website.

The draw will close on Monday, December 3 at 9am, after which randomly-selected winners will be sent a link to purchase tickets.
You can throw your virtual hat into the cyberring on the Wild Beasts website.

Wouldn't this be a splendid model for Glastonbury to follow?

Gordon in the morning: Robbie Williams asks the public

There's a certain old grey whistle test wisdom in Robbie Williams playing all visitors his new album to see if it's any good:

Rob said: “I’ve been scared, thinking this sounds great, sounds confident, sounds big.

“I’ve been having all sorts of people come in and have a listen — the mail man, the dustman, people delivering things from Amazon..."
As if the foot-dragging of a Yodel delivery wasn't bad enough, they now have to factor in ninety minutes for every delivery in case they have to pull a polite face.
“I said, ‘Come and have a listen to this. What do you think should be the first single? Is it good?’

“You see, this is a really important album for me.

“Every album is important but this one definitely shows where I am in today’s society and pop culture.”
You're standing asking a postman if Candy should be the lead single. That's exactly where you are in pop culture.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gordon in the morning: Plan B displeases

Gordon is outraged this morning. OUTRAGED:

How can Plan B so thick?
What has he done? He hasn't gone and backed Leveson calling for state regulation of newspapers, has he?
PLAN B won’t be voting for BRADLEY WIGGINS at next month’s Sports Personality Of The Year awards.

The cyclist’s achievements over the past 12 months apparently haven’t registered at all.

In fact, the rapper — real name BEN DREW — had no idea who the Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist is.
Not knowing a sports person would surely be a gap in general knowledge rather than evidence of being "thick", wouldn't it?

So how did this terrible failure of Michael Gove's education programme manifest itself?
Ben only became aware of his identity after losing out to the Team GB star in an online poll to find the UK’s most influential man.
Ben said: “I dunno who he is. But how many people has he influenced to start riding bikes? Not as many as I have to wear suits.”
If Mr B really didn't know who Wiggins is, how would he have been able to make a joke about riding bikes?

Isn't this just one of those faux-belligerent pretend complaints which, if Noel Gallagher had uttered it, would have had Gordon clutching his sides to contain the waves of mirth?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The 2012 inch remix: Other people's picks

We read everyone else's picks of the year so you don't have to. Or, more honestly, we read everyone else's picks of the year so we can churn out a post without having to think much about it.

This post will continue to be updated through the next month of so.
Last updated: 30-12-12

Lest we forget: 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

[Part of the 2012 inch remix]

ABC News entertainment blog's album of the year:
Regina Spektor - What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

The Age's album of the year:
Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

Billboard's Top 200 albums number one of the year:
Adele - 21

Billboard's Hot 100 number one of the year:
Gotye Featuring Kimbra - Somebody That I Used To Know

Tim Burgess' favourite album, via Twitter:
Carter Tutti Void - Transverse

CBC's worst musical moment of the year:
Meat Loaf and Mitt Romney singing God Bless America together

Clash Magazine's top album:
Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The Universe

Digital Spy's best single of 2012:
Carly Rae Jespen - Call Me Maybe

Female First's best albums (in no particular order):
Little Mix - DNA
Christina Aguilera - Lotus
Aiden Grimshaw - Misty Eye
Adam Lambert - Tresspassing
Rihanna - Unapologetic

The Fly's top album:
Sharon Von Etten - Tramp

Grime's favourite live act, via The Observer:

Highest-earning musician of 2012, via Rolling Stone:
Dr Dre [$100 million]

Lesbians In My Soup's album of the year:
Aesop Rock - Skelethon

Vincent Neff of Django Django's best live act, via The Observer:
Krar Collective

NME's albums of the year:
5. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
4. Crystal Castles - III
3. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
2. Grimes - Vision
1. Tame Impala - Lonerism

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala's favourite music discovery, via The Observer:
The Field

Paste Magazine's best new band:
Matthew E White (he's not actually a band, is he?)

Li Robbins' best World Music Album, via CBC:
Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars - Radio Salone

Aerrow Shapiro's best track, via KSSU:
Jack White - Sixteen Salteens

Spotify's most shared artist:

Sweeping The Nation's album of the year:
Grizzly Bear - Shields

Time's top album:
Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do

Time's top song:
Usher - Climax

The 2012 inch remix: Uberpost

It's not much now, but this will be the anchor post from which all the review of 2012 posts will hang.

The most-read pieces from 2012 were:

1. Noel Gallagher pines for the Thatcher days
2. Gordon Smart promotes the Tulisa sex tape
3. MySpace surges back... sort of
4. Brits Liveblog
5. Olympics 2012 Closing Ceremony
6. Mick Jagger endorses Boris Johnson
7. Frank Skinner thinks the Brits isn't as good as it used to be
8. Whitney Houston considered
9. Spotify announce intention to kill iTunes
10. Kanye West reckons he could be an architect

Other people's picks - a list of highlights from best of lists

Review of the year:

Vale 2012 - some of those who didn't make it through the year

Interesting releases - a few of the more interesting records of the year, but not all of them as life was too short to debug the list

Adele's chart shame

After 96 weeks, it looks like everyone who wants one has finally got hold of a copy of Adele's 21, and it's finally dropped out the chart.

Only out the Top 40, of course. She's still in the top 50.

Shane McGowan gets some help

The Quietus has a brilliant interview with Shane McGowan; one of the highlights is McGown revealing his unexpected collaborators. The dead:

"I actually see people dictating to me behind me through… they call it the third eye, but the Japs reckon you've got at least eight, apart from the two here. I've seen ghosts behind me in period costume dictating songs on a couple of occasions. 'A Rainy Night In Soho' was automatic writing. I had no idea what it was about. I had a vague idea by the time I got to the fourth verse but until then I hadn't got a clue what was going on."
("The Japs"? Really, Shane?)

It's not entirely unlikely that ghosts would want to work with Shane - if you died years ago, had no body to talk of and some people find your continued existence a befuddling scientific impossibility, wouldn't you look for someone similar to work with?

Chris Brown improves Twitter by around 17,986%

Yes, Chris Brown has left Twitter in order to spend more time with his unfocused rage issues.

Although 'not having Chris Brown on it' has improved Twitter by a massive leap - they're currently using the strapline 'Sign up - it's okay, Chris Brown has gone' on the homepage - Brown did take the approach of a disgruntled student tenant and had a crap in the middle of the carpet before he left.

You'll have read elsewhere about his torrent of tweets aimed at Jenny Johnson, triggered by her refusing to pretend that Brown is some sort of god. But in case you haven't, or are reading this in four year's time, here's a flavour of what America's greatest living poet came up with:

"take them teeth out when u Sucking my dick HOE."
"I should fart while ur giving me top."
"mom says hello... She told me not to shart in ur mouth, wanted me to shit right on the retina."
That last one is especially puzzling - the retina is inside the eye; and even if it wasn't, does Chris Brown poop out tiny little shits that he can control with laser-guided accuracy?

The obsession with crapping in Brown's tweetage is probably appropriate; culturally, he is about as significant as one of those cows who plop in a grid-marked field in games of cowpat bingo.

It looks like a responsible adult chose to intervene, though, as Brown then deleted his account. The kicker, though?
Before shutting down the account, Brown told his fans that the exchange proved "how immature society is."
Quick FYI, Chris: If you've climbed to the top just to shit in a stranger's face, it probably isn't the moral high ground any more.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Baggyobit: Joe Maher

Louder Than War is reporting the death of Flowered Up's Joe Maher.

Not many details in the report, but terrible news.

Pete Doherty still selling stuff

The depressing sight of Pete Doherty selling the memory of Amy Winehouse to the Mail On Sunday is just another grubby episode in a parade of grubby episodes.

But there was a darkly amusing moment in the piece, where it transpires Doherty sees drug rehab the way other people use gym memberships, something you plan to do after a Christmas blow-out:

"It [the Thai rehab] was an unbelievable experience for me. I went through the detox and experienced life clean of drugs. It gave me a vision of how the future should be.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't ready mentally to commit and I ended up coming home. My plan is to finish writing my new solo album and head back there in the New Year. I want to have a proper run at it, scramble over the wall and land in a world of cleanliness."
What's more likely to happen, of course, is that he'll sign up and pay; go a couple of times and just drink the free orange juice, before forgetting where he put the card and making a definite, definite pledge he'll start going more often when the evenings get lighter.

Who wouldn't feel a sense of shame, being involved in the Spands?

Who knew that Martin Kemp has lived his life under a cloud of the thickest, darkest shame?

No, not apparently for the late-period Spandau Ballet output, but for how he joined the band:

Kemp, 51, was recruited for his brother Gary’s band, then called The Gentry, at his mother’s insistence.

But his arrival displaced the existing bassist, a fact Kemp says he still recalls with shame.
I'm not sure you should feel shame at having your mum go down the school and insist you be allowed to play with the other boys; and it's not like the original bassist ever turns up, Pete Best style, playing his own version of Chant Number One and claiming to be the One True Spandau.

And be fair to Martin: what young man wouldn't have killed to have been in this video:

Gordon in the morning: The first rule of Sugababes...

Keisha out of The Band Comprising All The Former Sugababes can't, apparently, talk about her experiences in the Sugababes:

“Legally, I’ve been told I can’t go into detail. I can speak for England and I’d enjoy telling the world exactly what happened but I can’t. I pretty much found out when everyone else did. We had a really good relationship.”
Yes, nothing screams "great relationship" like not even being able to talk about it for fear of being sued.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

This week just gone

The most-read stories from this month:

1. RIP: Mitch Lucker
2. MySpace have a plan
3. AC/DC suddenly realise iTunes might not be so bad after all
4. Neil Young's Pono will destroy iPods
5. Shakespeare and Jeff Buckley - together at last, alas
6. Lenny Kravitz to try to be Marvin Gaye
7. Pitbull hopes we'll respect him when he dies
8. Chris Tarrant is still grumpy
9. Newspaper Licensing Agency wants to be paid for quotes
10. Gordon Smart exclusively reveals the Sherlock news we knew last winter

This week's interesting releases:

Mogwai - A Wretched Virile Lore

Download A Wretched Virile Lore

The Walkabouts - Berlin

Download A Wretched Virile Lore

Blue Nile - Hats

Download Hats