Saturday, January 12, 2013

Damon Albarn's endless cycle

Damon Albarn doesn't bother locking his bike - he just pops into the bike shop and spends a few more hundreds on a new cycle each time one gets stolen. Which is frequently, because he doesn't lock his bike.

It's a bit like the Boris bike scheme, only reimagined by someone who has so much money he doesn't understand the value of it anymore.

[Thanks to KarlT for the tip]

Gordon in the morning: Million seller

Despite all the jokes about 'who he?' and 'no, really, which one was he again?', Gordon reports this morning that James Arthur has managed to sell a million copies of Impossible.

The X Factor winner. No, you remember.

So, that's a sign of a strong future career rather than a quick return to the milk round. (I always assume anyone who does well on the X Factor used to be a milkman.) Right?

Maybe not... only three other X Factor finalists have broken the million mark with their prize-winning single. Alex Burke - whose career has more or less judder to a halt; Matt Cardle and Shayne Ward.

If I were James Arthur... well, I'd have gone on Pointless instead of the X Factor in the first place, but if I leaped into James Arthur, Sam Beckett style, right now, I'd be keeping my options open down the dairy.

Venuewatch: Independent fades

When I first read that the Independent is closing, I thought "well, Lebedev isn't made of money." Then I thought "hang on, he probably literally is."

It turns out the news was about The Independent in Sunderland, which has been the city's home of interesting and vibrant music for nearly six years. It shuts tonight, ironically felled by the collapse of the Kwik Save supermarket chain - as part of the demolition work to build homes on the site of the old kwikie, the club is coming down too.

But it's not the end of the story - a new Independent is going to open, across the road, in a matter of weeks.

For once, a story about a club closing is a pause, not a period.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Race Horses reach end of the track

It's something of a rotten January for great bands, as Race Horses are following Shrag into retirement:


We are sorry to announce that we are splitting up as band.
We would like to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us, come to our gigs and listened to our music.

We have enjoyed the past few years and are proud of what we have done together, but it's the end of the road for us as a band. It is clear that, creatively, we are bound for different places.

Sadly, this means that we will have to cancel the February tour dates with the Kaiser Chiefs, and all other upcoming listed dates.

However, we have decided to organise one last gig for anyone who would like to come to see us for the last time.

Sat 9th Feb - CARDIFF Clwb Ifor Bach

Thank you

Meilyr, Mali, Daniel, Gwion, Dylan

Happier times:

Brits 2013: They've nominated the Rolling Stones

So yesterday, the shortlist for the Brits was announced. A chance to show the world how Britain is leading in the music industry; our steely glint staring into the future.

And how do we show this? By, erm, nominating The Rolling Stones for best live band.

Amy Winehouse is also in the running for a prize - best female solo artist. Yes, you don't need to go and check on Wikipedia; she'd died before the qualifying period for the 2013 awards. And although she had a couple of posthumous albums released in the qualifying year, neither was considered good enough to make the album shortlist. This has the feel of the way Annie Lennox always seemed to be automatically nominated regardless of if she'd done anything much, but with a ghoulish tint to it.

Ironically, Adele, who has been working through the period, and released a record considered good enough to be nominated, isn't considered good enough to go on the shortlist.

Here's the nominations in full:

British breakthrough act
Alt-J; Ben Howard; Jake Bugg; Jessie Ware; Rita Ora

British female solo
Amy Winehouse; Bat for Lashes; Emeli Sandé; Jessie Ware; Paloma Faith

British group
One Direction; Alt-J; Mumford and Sons; Muse; The xx

British live act
Coldplay; Mumford and Sons; Muse; The Rolling Stones; The Vaccines

British male solo
Ben Howard; Calvin Harris; Olly Murs; Richard Hawley; Plan B

British producer
Damon Albarn; Jake Gosling; Paul Epworth

British single
Adele – Skyfall; Alex Clare – Too Close; Coldplay ft. Rihanna – Princess of China; DJ Fresh ft. Rita Ora – Hot Right Now; Emeli Sandé – Next to Me; Florence and the Machine – Spectrum; James Arthur – Impossible; Jessie J – Domino; Labrinth ft. Emeli Sandé – Beneath You're Beautiful; Olly Murs ft. Flo Rida – Troublemaker; Rita Ora ft. Tinie Tempah – R.I.P; Rizzle Kicks – Mama Do the Hump; Robbie Williams – Candy; Rudimental ft. John Newman – Feel the Love; Stooshe – Black Heart

Special recognition award
War Child

Critics' choice
Tom Odell

International female
Alicia Keys; Cat Power; Lana Del Rey; Rihanna; Taylor Swift

International group
Alabama Shakes; The Black Keys; Fun; The Killers; The Script

International male
Bruce Springsteen; Frank Ocean; Gotye; Jack White; Michael Bublé
Mastercard British Album Alt-J – An Awesome Wave; Emeli Sandé – Our Version of Events; Mumford and Sons – Babel; Paloma Faith – Fall to Grace; Plan B – Ill Manors

Gordon in the morning: The Brits are coming

The worst thing about New Year is that each change of calendar means that, somewhere, a shady group is getting ready to put on a Brit Awards show. Gordon's excited, though:

IN only six weeks the The Brit Awards 2013 will burst on to your TV – and they are shaping up to be one of the best on record.
Really? One of the best on record, you say?
MUSE, ROBBIE WILLIAMS, MUMFORD & SONS and ONE DIRECTION have all signed up to perform live with more acts to be announced.

JAMES CORDEN is back on board as host, so the winning formula is almost complete. THE ROLLING STONES could just be that extra-special ingredient — and are preparing the Deep Heat after a Best Live nomination.
Those two paragraphs appear to be completely at odds with the first one, surely?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gennaro Castaldo Watch: HMV slashes prices, claims to be fine

HMV is having a massive, massive closing down sale. But it's just what people do, isn't it, Gennaro?:

HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo told Sky News the Blue Cross Sale was not unusual for this time of year.

"Normally we'd look to run a multi-buy campaign of some kind at this time of year, but we thought we'd freshen our promotional mix up a bit and try something a bit different that will hopefully stand out from all the other sale offers on the high street right now," he said.
It certainly does stand out. It's the sort of thing we haven't seen since Borders started making massive cuts.

When is a surge not a surge?

The NME breathlessly runs up with the news that homophobia pays:

The ongoing fued between Azealia Banks and Angel Haze – which then became a row with Perez Hilton – over the weekend has sparked a sales surge for Banks.
Really? Has she sold double the number of records? Treble?

Er, no:
According to Billboard, Banks' '1991' EP saw a sales increase of 18 per cent over the last week, which equates to around 1000 copies sold in the US.
That's not an extra 1000 sales, it's a rise to 1,000 sales. Roughly 200 more CDs across the whole of the US. Compared with a week when there was a national holiday.

But what of downloads?
Sales of her single '212' rose by 3 per cent to 3,000 downloads.
So that's fewer than 100 extra sales.

So the "sales surge" turns out to be 300 extra sales in a nation of over 300 million.

"Tiresome spat doesn't inhibit minor uptick in sales" doesn't have quite the same grab to it, does it?

Guitarobit: Kent Abbott

Kent Abbott, guitarist with Grade and Somehow Hollow, has died.

Abbott joined Grade as they were touring in support of their last proper album, at the same time as Somehow Hollow's Brad Casarin was helping the band out. Casarin took Kent back with him to his main band, but a crisis at Grade led to them returning to the fold for the last year of that band's (original) run. Once Grade finally wound up, Somehow Hollow was brought out of the deep-freeze and reactivated.

Somehow Hollow split in 2004.

Kent Abbott died on January 7th; he was 31. Donations in his memory - suggested for Canadian Mental Health - are being handled by the funeral home.

People's Choice 2013: At last, some good news for The X Factor

It might be looking increasingly clapped-out on both sides of the Atlantic, but there was a small glimmer of hope for The X Factor, as it picked up a People's Choice Award.

Okay, it was in a category for just Competition TV Shows, and the same sophisticated electorate gave the Fantasy TV Show award to Supernatural ("It's Supernatural That A Programme Which Should Have Been Cancelled Two Seasons Back Is Still On The Air" to give it its full title.) But a win is a win, right?

Even more unusually, Maroon 5 have taken the band category. Maroon 5. I checked, these aren't the results from about ten years ago. Especially since the runners-up were No Doubt, Green Day, Linkin Park and Train.

The one genuine surprise in the list is that One Direction's Whatever Makes You Beautiful crushed both Call Me Maybe and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together in the Song prize.

Here's the winners in full:

Favorite Movie
WINNER: "The Hunger Games"
» "The Amazing Spider-Man"
» "The Avengers"
» "The Dark Knight Rises"
» "Snow White and the Huntsman"

Favorite Movie Actor
WINNER: Robert Downey, Jr.
» Channing Tatum
» Johnny Depp
» Joseph Gordon-Levitt
» Will Smith

Favorite Movie Actress
WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence
» Anne Hathaway
» Emma Stone
» Mila Kunis
» Scarlett Johansson

Favorite Movie Icon
WINNER: Meryl Streep
» Emma Thompson
» Maggie Smith
» Michelle Pfeiffer
» Susan Sarandon

Favorite Action Movie
WINNER: "The Hunger Games"
» "The Amazing Spider-Man"
» "The Avengers"
» "The Dark Knight Rises"
» "Men In Black 3"

Favorite Action Movie Star
WINNER: Chris Hemsworth
» Chris Evans
» Christian Bale
» Robert Downey, Jr.
» Will Smith

Favorite Face Of Heroism
WINNER: Jennifer Lawrence - "The Hunger Games"
» Anne Hathaway - "The Dark Knight Rises"
» Emma Stone - "The Amazing Spider-Man"
» Kristen Stewart - "Snow White and the Huntsman"
» Scarlett Johansson - "The Avengers"

Favorite Comedic Movie
» "21 Jump Street"
» "Dark Shadows"
» "Pitch Perfect"
» "What to Expect When You're Expecting"

Favorite Comedic Movie Actor
WINNER: Adam Sandler
» Ben Stiller
» Channing Tatum
» Will Ferrell
» Zach Galifianakis

Favorite Comedic Movie Actress
WINNER: Jennifer Aniston
» Cameron Diaz
» Emily Blunt
» Mila Kunis
» Reese Witherspoon

Favorite Dramatic Movie
WINNER: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
» "Argo"
» "The Lucky One"
» "Magic Mike"
» "The Vow"

Favorite Dramatic Movie Actor
WINNER: Zac Efron
» Bradley Cooper
» Channing Tatum
» Jake Gyllenhaal
» Liam Neeson

Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress
WINNER: Emma Watson
» Charlize Theron
» Keira Knightley
» Meryl Streep
» Rachel McAdams

Favorite Movie Franchise
WINNER: "The Hunger Games"
» "The Avengers"
» "The Dark Knight"
» "Madagascar"
» "Spider-Man"

Favorite Movie Superhero
WINNER: Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man
» Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man
» Chris Evans as Captain America
» Chris Hemsworth as Thor
» Christian Bale as Batman

Favorite On-Screen Chemistry
WINNER: Jennifer / Josh / Liam - "The Hunger Games"
» Emma / Andrew - "The Amazing Spider-Man"
» Kristen / Chris - "Snow White and the Huntsman"
» Rachel / Channing - "The Vow"
» Scarlett / Jeremy - "The Avengers"

Favorite Movie Fan Following
WINNER: Twihards - "Twilight"
» Potterheads - "Harry Potter"
» Ringers - "The Lord of the Rings"
» Rum Runners - "Pirates of the Caribbean"
» Tributes - "The Hunger Games"

Favorite Network TV Comedy
WINNER: "The Big Bang Theory"
» "Glee"
» "How I Met Your Mother"
» "Modern Family"
» "New Girl"

Favorite Network TV Drama
WINNER: "Grey's Anatomy"
» "Gossip Girl"
» "Grimm"
» "Once Upon a Time"
» "Revenge"

Favorite Cable TV Comedy
WINNER: "Awkward"
» "Hot In Cleveland"
» "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
» "Melissa & Joey"
» "Psych"

Favorite Cable TV Drama
WINNER: "Leverage"
» "Burn Notice"
» "Pretty Little Liars"
» "The Walking Dead"
» "White Collar"

Favorite Premium Cable TV Show
WINNER: "True Blood"
» "Dexter"
» "Game of Thrones"
» "Homeland"
» "Spartacus"

Favorite TV Crime Drama
WINNER: "Castle"
» "Bones"
» "Criminal Minds"
» "CSI"
» "NCIS"

Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show
WINNER: "Supernatural"
» "Doctor Who"
» "Once Upon a Time"
» "The Vampire Diaries"
» "The Walking Dead"

Favorite Comedic TV Actor
WINNER: Chris Colfer
» Jesse Tyler Ferguson
» Jim Parsons
» Neil Patrick Harris
» Ty Burrell

Favorite Comedic TV Actress
WINNER: Lea Michele
» Jane Lynch
» Kaley Cuoco
» Sofia Vergara
» Zooey Deschanel

Favorite Dramatic TV Actor
WINNER: Nathan Fillion
» Ian Somerhalder
» Jared Padalecki
» Jensen Ackles
» Paul Wesley

Favorite Dramatic TV Actress
WINNER: Ellen Pompeo
» Emily Deschanel
» Ginnifer Goodwin
» Nina Dobrev
» Stana Katic

Favorite Daytime TV Host
WINNER: "The Ellen DeGeneres Show"
» "Good Morning America"
» "Live with Kelly & Michael"
» "Today"
» "The View"

Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host
WINNER: Jimmy Fallon
» Chelsea Handler
» Conan O'Brien
» David Letterman
» Jimmy Kimmel

Favorite New Talk Show Host
WINNER: Steve Harvey
» Jeff Probst
» Katie Couric
» Michael Strahan
» Ricki Lake

Favorite Competition TV Show
WINNER: "The X Factor"
» "America's Got Talent"
» "American Idol"
» "Dancing with the Stars"
» "The Voice"

Favorite Celebrity Judge
WINNER: Demi Lovato
» Adam Levine
» Britney Spears
» Christina Aguilera
» Jennifer Lopez

Favorite TV Fan Following
WINNER: SPNFamily - "Supernatural"
» Gleeks - "Glee"
» Little Liars - "Pretty Little Liars"
» Oncers - "Once Upon a Time"
» TVDFamily - "The Vampire Diaries"

Favorite New TV Comedy
WINNER: "The New Normal"
» "Go On"
» "Guys With Kids"
» "The Mindy Project"
» "The Neighbors"

Favorite New TV Drama
WINNER: "Beauty & The Beast"
» "Arrow"
» "Elementary"
» "Nashville"
» "Revolution"

Favorite Male Artist
WINNER: Jason Mraz
» Blake Shelton
» Chris Brown
» Justin Bieber
» Usher

Favorite Female Artist
WINNER: Katy Perry
» Adele
» Carrie Underwood
» P!nk
» Taylor Swift

Favorite Pop Artist
WINNER: Katy Perry
» Adele
» Demi Lovato
» Justin Bieber
» P!nk

Favorite Hip Hop Artist
WINNER: Nicki Minaj
» Drake
» Flo Rida
» Jay-Z
» Pitbull

Favorite R&B Artist
WINNER: Rihanna
» Alicia Keys
» Beyoncé
» Bruno Mars
» Usher

Favorite Band
WINNER: Maroon 5
» Green Day
» Linkin Park
» No Doubt
» Train

Favorite Country Artist
WINNER: Taylor Swift
» Blake Shelton
» Carrie Underwood
» Jason Aldean
» Tim McGraw

Favorite Breakout Artist
WINNER: The Wanted
» Carly Rae Jepsen
» Fun.
» Gotye
» One Direction

Favorite Song
WINNER: "What Makes You Beautiful" - One Direction
» "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen
» "One More Night" - Maroon 5
» "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
» "We Are Young" - Fun. ft. Janelle Monáe

Favorite Album
WINNER: Up All Night - One Direction
» Believe - Justin Bieber
» Blown Away - Carrie Underwood
» Overexposed - Maroon 5
» Some Nights - Fun.

Favorite Music Video
WINNER: "Part of Me" - Katy Perry
» "Boyfriend" - Justin Bieber
» "Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen
» "Gangnam Style" - Psy
» "Payphone" - Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa

Favorite Music Fan Following
WINNER: KatyCats - Katy Perry
» Beliebers - Justin Bieber
» Directioners - One Direction
» Lovatics - Demi Lovato
»Selenators - Selena Gomez

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

End of Play: No more CDs from Jersey

With the closing of the loophole that allowed Jersey-based shops (or "Jersey-based" shops) to sell CDs and DVDs without charging VAT, has announced it's no longer going to sell direct to the public:

In a statement said: "Moving forward we are intending to focus exclusively on our successful marketplace, which is our main business area, and to phase out the direct-retail part of our business."
It's going to cost 147 people in Jersey and 67 in the UK their jobs. It's unclear if it'll mean any extra cash flowing to the Exchequer. The guess would be not.

What comeback excited people?

So within a twenty-four hour period, David Bowie, Suede and Jimi Hendrix all came back from the dead with new singles.

Which comebacks excited people? Google Trends, can you help us?

Sorry, Brett. Sorry, the Estate Of The Late Mr Hendrix.

Bookmarks: Why buying records is as a good as a pension

Stumbling And Mumbling sees every penny invested in David Bowie records as a penny wisely spent:

It lies in the concept of consumption capital (pdf), described by Gary Becker and George Stigler.

When we bought and listened to Bowie records in the 70s and 80s we accumulated a stock of consumption capital. And the utility we derive from this is so great that a new addition to it naturally has low marginal utility.

In other words, what we think of as consumption is, in many cases, a form of saving - something that gives us utility in future years.Just as saving builds financial capital which we can draw on in future, so spending builds up a stock of satisfaction which we can draw upon in the future.

Does anyone really think the money they spent on Hunky Dory would have been better invested in the stock market? (If you do, leave now; you're not the sort of reader I want.)

Apparently some people think Doctor "Fox" is a bit Smashy and Nicey

It's like the golden age of Edmonds:

Magic 105.4 breakfast presenter Neil Fox is offering a ride in his own helicopter as a prize in a new sponsorship deal with Nescafe.

Gordon in the morning: All power to the Dumas

Is Gordon tiring of the tabloid life? He's started throwing about latin and literary references:

IT can only be a matter of time before ID star HARRY STYLES’ tattoo collection contains Latin.

And after hearing about the band’s clever contract, I think I’ve got the perfect phrase for him: “Omnes pro uno, unus pro omnibus”.

Alexandre Dumas’ coined the motto “All for one, one for all” in his novel The Three Musketeers.
Gordon, calm down - this is getting a wee bit highbrow for the column that is usually tracking who is having sex with whom. People might think you're some sort of intellectual. Wind it back it, man.
I know it well from the cartoon Dogtanian And The Muskehounds on TV when I was a nipper.
That's more like it.

Gordon rushed to the library after being inspired by One Direction's new contract:
It is the perfect summary for the legally binding document that Harry, LOUIS, LIAM, NIALL and ZAYN have signed — which basically means that if one jacks it in, all five suffer the same brutal financial punishment.
[A source said] “If one of them walks away before then, then all five miss out on the money.

“They don’t miss out on a few quid either, we are talking millions.

“They all get on really well, but it would be the kind of deal that would see them through the worst aggro possible.”
Hmm. Isn't the problem with this supposedly genius bit of legal paperwork that, if someone gets so pissed off with being an origami song-and-dance act that they're prepared to walk away from a multi-million deal, they'd probably have reached the point where they'd see being able to quit and cause enormous pain to their former colleagues as a bit of a bonus.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

First night... erm, morning: Where Are We Now?

So, yes: that new Bowie single.

Absolutely astonishing piece of work to get it released with hardly anybody knowing it was going to happen; and extraordinary for almost the entire world* to listen to a song for the first time, more-or-less simultaneously, and more-or-less without coming to it with a set of recommendations or disrecommendations ringing in their ears.

* - I'm using "the entire world" in the sense of "people who care about Western musicians of a certain age who were up at that time in the morning", of course.

It's possible to both admire the way the song has been put together - craftsmanlike, as you'd expect - and not really warm to it. But you don't care what I think, so let's take a quick look at some of the instant reaction.

The Guardian is surprised:

The glam-rock singer shot to fame in the late 60s with Space Oddity but has been largely silent in recent years, not performing live since 2006 and rarely appearing in public since then.
So surprised, they describe Bowie as "the glam-rock singer".

There's a difference of opinion between Ben Perreau and Jon Mundy:

Ah, you say "dirgey", I say "rootsy".

Still, a new single and a birthday. Joy to the world, eh?

But people who like it, like it very much indeed:

Perhaps the oddest report this morning comes from The Next Web:
Returning after 10 years away, David Bowie embraces digital with iTunes-exclusive single
Josh Ong, David Bowie won a lifetime achievement award from the Webbys in 2007, nearly a decade after he launched BowieNet. I think it's fairly safe to say he'd already embraced digital.

Viva not forever?

The Daily Star is predicting the closure of Viva Forever, the Spice Girls musical:

SPICE Girls show Viva Forever! may be axed if ticket sales don’t pick up.
Are ticket sales that bad, then?
Performances are reportedly often three-quarters full for the show based on songs by Posh Spice Victoria Beckham’s pals.
Even before you get to that tortuous "Posh Spice Victoria Beckham's pals" that sentence is twisting like a mountain snake after a groundhog. "Often three quarters full" sounds bad, but really feels like an attempt to throw the worst possible light on the size of the houses.

"Often", so not always, or regularly, but just sometimes; and the rest of the time, presumably, the theatre must be more than three-quarters full or else it would have been those figures which would have formed the heart of the claim.

So, that's 'West End Show doesn't always fill auditorium in January', then. Well done, Daily Star.

David Bowie's morning surprise

Jesus, you can see why Bowie wanted to keep his new single, released this morning, a surprise. In fact, it's so weak, he'd probably have wanted people to not know about it after it became available.

Still, kudos to Bowie - who but he would surprise the world by releasing a single which appears to be a badly-broken part of Ray Davies' solo output?

Monday, January 07, 2013

One Nation Under A Groove now owned by lawyers

The former lawyers for George Clinton, Hendricks & Lewis, have taken their former client to court over unpaid bills. And, as result, the lawyers have been handed the copyrights on a range of Funkadelic songs.

Apparently, Clinton had run up a debt of USD1.5million - so, presumably, had only had two ten-minute meetings with Hendricks & Lewis.

So, that's a bunch of funk classics now in the hands of a legal firm (at least until they've earned enough to pay off the debt). I think the court should at least mandated that the Hendricks & Lewis can only keep the copyright if they do a cover version. It's what would have happened in Boston Legal.

Revenue stream

Here's an interesting statistic - although there's more-or-less acceptance that streaming royalties aren't massive, they still account for 22% of revenue at Beggars Group.

Also interesting: Cooking Vinyl's Richard Leach expects YouTube to become the label's most significant source of revenue.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Banks attempts to use bisexuality as shield from asshattery

A spat between Azealia Banks and Perez Hilton normally need not detain us, but given that it has now managed to generate one of the weakest defences of bad behaviour since "it was different in the 1970s", let's bring ourselves up to speed.

It all started when Banks recorded a song "dissing" Angel Haze. Perez Hilton - who apparently is still going - upbraided Banks for doing this.

Banks then reacted by going onto Twitter:

‘Omg u should just kill yourself… Like for real… lol what a messy faggot you are.’
Even before you get to the homophobic bit, she's gone too far with telling Perez to kill himself. Seriously, who types that into a Twitter box and doesn't then realise they've gone too far?

But rather than review the idea that she was telling someone to "really" kill themselves, Banks was gearing up to call Hilton a faggot.

The backblow was predictable. But Banks wasn't going to back down. No, it turns out that Banks wasn't being homophobic at all:
‘A faggot is not a homosexual male,’ she said. ‘A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There’s a BIG difference.’
Let's just accept the first half for a moment and poke the idea that "a male who acts like a female" is a bad thing. Or a thing at all. What does that mean? Is it about having lactating nipples or pissing sitting down? What on earth was that supposed to be as a justification?

But let's not worry too much about that second half, because it comes after the first half.

A faggot is not a homosexual male.

Not quite, Azealia. It's not a thing you should call a homosexual male, but it definitely is a slur against them. True, it was originally thrown at old women in the 16th Century, but for the last hundred years it's pretty much been an exclusive insult for gay men.

Azealia hadn't quite finished, though. She went off and had another little think.
‘Really not as moved by this f word thing as u all want me to be. As a bisexual person I knew what I meant when I used that word.

‘And I meant what I meant when I used that word.’
No, Banks. Being bisexual doesn't mean you can slag off gay men with impunity. It just makes it worse when you do.

Still, I suppose we should extend a grudging respect for this inventive updating of 'how can I hate women, my Mum was one' for 2013.

Vini Reilly: Back balanced

Good news, following on from the appeal for help for Vini Reilly earlier this week: he's had enough offers of help to get him through the tough patch. The Durutti Column website has an update:

I've just spoken to Vini and told him how much has been donated by fans and music lovers worldwide – he's ecstatic.

He's said that enough has now been donated to ensure that he can pay off all of the backlog of rent that he owed, and he's asked me to pass on his huge gratitude to you all and let you know that no further donations are needed.

He's explained that going forward he should be able to afford to pay his rent, but the debt relates to the period after he had his three strokes but before he was assessed for disability allowance.
Good news to brighten a dank Sunday.

Virgin closes in Paris

Who knew - besides the French - that there was still a chain of Virgin Megastores in France?

Not for much longer, though, as the Parisian flagship branch is closing and management are struggling to come up with a plan to keep the other branches going - although it admits this will involve closures and downsizing, even if they can pull it off.

The unions are, understandably, unhappy, blaming the owners - Butler Capital - for not having adapted quickly enough.

Although it's lovely to put the blame on a private equity group (Butler own all but 20% of the company; the other 20% is held by Lagardère, who bought the shops from Branson's Virgin back in 2007), it's selling records in a shop. It's increasingly hard to see how that can work as a mass-market proposition.

This week just gone

The most-read things between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day were:

1. Tatu are bemused that people think they're gay
2. NME's singles of the year, 1993
3. One Direction working with Good Charlotte
4. What song is the indie one cooler than Taylor Swift?
5. Charlotte Church wears latex for GAY
6. Look over there, says Gordon Smart: it's a Tulisa sex tape
7. The 2012 vale
8. 2012 in review: May
9. Dave Rowntree demands restoration of grafitti
10. Pop Papers: New Statesman worries for the NME

And, for the record, there were the top-ten stories from 2012:

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

These were out just before Christmas:

Rachel Zeffira - The Deserters

Download The Deserters

Memory Tapes - Grace/Confusion

Download Grace/Confusion